Friendsfirst day rejoicing

by Katharine Gray

January 2011

This week has started with great joy. I arrived in the office to a message from Dawn telling me one of our members had got engaged and would I like to call him to discover who he was marrying. So I did and the most wonderful story emerged.

Terence was engaged to Curlene – “oh my goodness”– “Curlene from Birmingham?” I asked. “Yes that’s right” he said. I was over the moon as I’d had a lot of contact with Curlene and was just so thrilled it was her getting married.

Curlene first contacted us in October 2006. She didn’t join at that point but rang the following May (2007) to get another form. We spoke and she said she was keen to join (or certainly her friends at work were keen for her to join and kept encouraging her) but was a bit worried about the expense and whether she’d find anyone. Despite her nervousness I could tell she was an enthusiastic go-getter type of person, although also perhaps a little unsure of herself as well. She eventually joined in September 2007 after more encouragement from her friends – who’d even helped her write her profile. She told me she felt too shy to contact anyone so we started to encourage her to do so little by little. In March 2008 we were in touch again to find that she was a bit overrun with exams so we encouraged her again not to let her dream of finding someone go but to make an effort still. Once again she said she was feeling ever so shy about doing so. Her membership was coming to an end but by this time she’d made friends with someone and was asking our advice about it. The relationship didn’t work out and we encouraged Curlene not to give up hope, even if she’d suffered a disappointment before. It was a touch and go thing and she was brave to continue. It would have been so easy to give up then but again we encouraged her to keep contacting people.  We were glad to hear that she was being proactive when we called her in March 2009 and that she was making new contacts again.

In the meantime Terence had also been in touch with us because he’d been in touch with another member and was a bit devastated when it didn’t work out.  We spent quite a bit of time talking to him and how he felt and how it had affected him.  We were very pleased to hear that by December he was back contacting and being in regular touch with other members. In March 2009 we learnt that life wasn’t a bed of roses for Terence but were particularly glad to hear that he was being helped in this difficult time by some friends he’d made through friendsfirst. In late May we learnt that he was in touch with Curlene and a good friendship had started.

It was in December 2009 that Curlene told us she was in touch with Terence and the rest, as they say, is history – although in their case it was a bit of a bumpy road – with a few issues to resolve. However, these were resolved and by October 2010 it was clear they couldn’t live apart and they got engaged in November. Praise the Lord!

I spoke to both Terence and Curlene on the telephone just now and they both sounded as excited as each other – down to earth about the realities of relationships – but delighted that God had worked in their lives and brought them together.  For myself of course I am absolutely delighted for them, but particularly thrilled about the delightful but shy Curlene, who needed encouragement to join, and encouragement to get over her shyness and contact people, and encouragement to persevere when she got a bit hurt – and that we were able to give her this encouragement and it’s led to a wonderful outcome.

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