Everyone likes a love story, right? With all the hatred and violence in our world it is like a breath of fresh air to hear stories of love, joy and celebration. The following is my version of Heidi and Anthony’s love story. These last couple of years I’ve been a spectator to the growing romance of these two. It is intriguing to me how God orchestrates events so two people living thousands of miles apart, in two different countries, meet, fall in love, and now wedding bells are ringing for them.
My daughter, Heidi, has lived and worked in India helping children living in the slums or on the streets. One year a lady came from the U.S. as an observer and to help her in this work. After her stint she returned to the U.S. and studied at Talbot Seminary in California. The next summer when Heidi returned to the U.S. while waiting to renew her visa, this friend invited her to California to visit her. She was working on her PhD and was using some data from India for her thesis. Heidi gladly went and gave a few suggestions. Heidi also went to church with her friend and her friend introduced her to a young man named Anthony Cassise.
Anthony said he was happy to meet someone from India. Would Heidi please put him on her e-mail list. He would like to add her to his world map as he didn’t presently have any missionary from that country, and he would like to pray for her.
Heidi’s visa soon arrived and she returned to India. As promised, she copied Anthony on the e-mails she sent to various churches and supporters. Over time Anthony’s interest in Heidi grew into something more than prayer support. The next time she was home she visited him in Calif. and he came to visit her in Pennsylvania and in India.
But after one of her visits to California, she felt distressed about the relationship because she didn’t have any assurance from the Lord that a future with Anthony was God’s will. She told me that it wasn’t fair for her to lead him on when she did not have direct guidance from the Lord.
When she told Anthony she had to break up with him she said, “I’m so sorry Anthony. You’re such a good person. It has nothing to do with you; I’m just not sure in my heart about God’s will in this.”
Anthony’s reply, “Oh, Heidi, don’t say, ‘Sorry’. It has been such a privilege to love you.”
Heidi returned to India thinking she would forget all about him and she could trust God to make his will clear.
Almost a year later with no communication between them, Heidi received a phone call from Anthony. “Heidi, this is Anthony. I still love you and I think God has a future for us together. May I come over and talk to you?”
“What do you mean, ‘Come over’? Where are you?”
“I’m in New Delhi, at a hotel just a short distance from your apartment. I came here from California just to tell you this. Do you have time to talk?”
Heidi was shocked and said she’d call back in an hour. They did meet and he embraced her as if he had been waiting all year for this moment. He shared with Heidi that he still loved her and asked her to trust that God brought the two of them together…and to trust him to be the man who would love her for life.
Heidi shared that she was still in the same position of not knowing for sure it was God’s will, but they agreed to be in touch once a week. Heidi wrote to some of her trusted prayer partners telling that she was back in touch with Anthony again and asked them for any advice or wisdom, words from the Lord that they thought might help her find the Lord’s guidance.
One dear friend wrote, “Well, I can’t really say this is a word from the Lord specifically for your situation but this verse from James 1:17 has often guided me when I’ve needed wisdom in decisions: “Every good and perfect gift is from above , coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadow.”
When Heidi read those words she said, “Yes, that’s the light for my pathway that I was asking for. Anthony is that good gift and I can accept him as God’s gift.” The day that this “revelation” came to Heidi, I was visiting her in India on my way to Papua New Guinea. I felt so honored that the Lord directed my travel plans to coincide with this joyful announcement. She gave her “yes” to Anthony when he phoned the next night. When they finished talking I asked Heidi, “What was Anthony’s response?”
“He cried,” she said.
In March Heidi had to return to the States because her visa for India was expired. Anthony surprised her by arriving a day earlier than expected. She was planning a hike with her sister and brother-in-law, not knowing they were in cahoots with Anthony. When they got out of the car at the park there was Anthony sitting beside the trail. The two ran to each other. Heidi told me later that Anthony read a beautiful poem he had written especially for her and asked her to marry him. She has a gorgeous ring to prove that she said, “yes.” He surprised her by driving to Lancaster and taking her on a hot air balloon ride.
She returned to India have an engagement-farewell party there with her many Indian friends and co-workers on June 21. The wedding in the U.S. is planned for September 7 at Fort Washington, PA, then it will be off to Calif. and another reception there on September 21. With three wedding receptions the knot is surely tied securely.