Our story. My favorite story of all time!
Writing this story is hard for me because I want to write it in a way that does it justice! I want to tell it in a way that you can feel how involved God was all throughout our story. So I thought I’d let my 18 year old self write it.
A little background. When I was a junior in high school I went to Kenya and fell in love with Africa. I knew I had to come back. I literally remember the moment that I decided I was going to graduate early and return to Kenya. So I did what I had to do to graduate high school early and go back to Kenya. However, the internship that I had set up fell through just a couple months before I was planning on leaving. I was pretty devastated, just because I was set on that idea. I regrouped my thoughts and stared at a map of the world. I decided to switch gears and volunteer at a children’s home in Ghana, Africa. I found an organization called IVHQ and thought it looked great and signed up to volunteer for three months.
January 15, 2012
Well, here I am, almost to Accra, Ghana. I’ve been waiting for this for almost a year! I said goodbye to my friends and family yesterday and man, that was hard. A lot of people think that I’ll regret graduating early, but honestly, I think it is meant to be that I am coming here.
January 22, 2012
Oh man, good weekend trip. We left yesterday morning and went to the beach at Kokrobite. Austin and I decided to go out to the beach and there was this huge bonfire and dance party with a bunch of drums – so epic. Pretty fun night and it was really fun to get to know Austin, we stayed on the beach until two am just talking!
February 7, 2012
Okay, I know it’s really bad timing, but I really like Austin just because he’s the most fun guy ever and we always have a good time. He’s just different from other boys that I’ve liked. If nothing comes from it, it’s totally fine but if anything, he has taught me to be a better person and he’s just made me want to really try my best to be good.
February 10, 2012
On another note, I really like Austin. I don’t even know what to do because he leaves in a couple days for Uganda. Seriously, I honestly think he’s the most amazing guy I’ve ever met. I don’t even know how to explain it – it’s just different. Oh my gosh though, we have so much fun with whatever we’re doing. Today at the pool he threw me in with my clothes on but it was so funny. We go running every day and just talk. We aren’t dating or anything but we’ve talked about how we like each other I guess. I hate to say there is no point – so I’m not going to – but it sucks. I’m going to Hawaii and he’s going back to Utah State. Honestly though, whatever is supposed to happen will happen. So it’s fine, but still sad. He told me the other day that he doesn’t like me because I’m one of the only girls out here – but even if we were in Utah with 50,000 girls I’d still be the one. He said he’d come to Boise when I get home!
February 14, 2012
Austin left today, it was kind of a little sad. I’m going to miss that guy so much. He just texted me and said ‘It was hard for me to even smile when I left because I knew I was leaving you. You’re great Ari girl.” When we walked him down to the street so that he could catch a taxi, all the kids, Mama Sarah and other people from the village came. Austin gave me a hug and kissed me on the forehead and that was that.
February 15, 2012
“Ari, when I looked at you getting in the taxi, my heart just sunk. Is it so bad that I miss you already?”
He told me that he found his paperwork for his Ghana placement and he was supposed to go to the yellow group. He got switched around moments before he was on his way and ended up in the green group (that’s us!). What can I say, it’s destiny.
February 18, 2012
What are the chances I’d find him here?
February 20, 2012
“I miss you from my head to my toes. I’ve never met a girl that I think about so much when I’m away.” – Austin.
April 13, 2012
A little over a year ago in Kenya I knew I wanted to come back to Africa – so I graduated early, got a job and came to Ghana. Here it is, 3 months gone and I’m coming home. I think I’ve grown a lot and seriously have a new perspective on life. I will forever miss my Ghanaian family. I’m so sad that my Ghanaian chapter is over, but excited for the upcoming BYU Hawaii chapter. I know I was meant to come to Ghana at the time that I did. I had such a great experience and it was everything I wanted and needed.
April 27th, 2012
My highlight last week was when Austin came to Boise for a couple nights! He was at my house until 4:30 am because we were just talking and laughing. We went caving and Austin kissed me! He told me a couple days ago he loved me! He said “Ari, I have loved you since I left you in Africa.” I think I love him.
May 4, 2012
I am in love with Austin Johnson. He is everything I want to be. I told him I loved him!
May 24, 2012
When I went home for my grandpa’s funeral, Austin was in Salem, Oregon. We both drove 8 hours so that we could spend 3 together in Pendleton, Oregon. The night before I called him and asked if he wanted to meet me. He told me that he could marry me tomorrow!
June 25, 2012
I flew into Portland where Austin picked me up! I just remember the entire flight I had butterflies – I was so so excited to see him! I know I should be freaked out about marriage, but I’m not! The thought that I would get to spend the rest of my life with someone as great as Austin Johnson makes me so happy! I almost feel bad praying if I should marry him – I feel like God has answered that in almost every way that he can – it is so obvious. Not once have I doubted my feelings for him. I decided this week I’m transferring to BYU and Austin will transfer to UVU so that we can be together. I told Austin I don’t mind leaving Hawaii for something ten times better.
July 14, 2012
Right now I’m on the plane to Honolulu again. I had a layover in Portland and I got to see Austin. He just flew in from Korea. I’m so lucky I got to see him, even thought it was just for an hour. I loved every minute I got. Seven weeks and I’ll be living right by him. I said something like “I don’t even want to go back to Hawaii, I just want to stay with you.” And I realized no normal girl doesn’t want to go back to Hawaii.
August 16, 2012
Aloha! I’m panicking about not having much time left in Hawaii, but I am trading it for something a million times better. Whenever we talk about getting married we always say “if” but tonight, he said when.
August 28, 2012
Here I am taking off to Boise, leaving BYU Hawaii. I have a lot of similar feelings as I did leaving Ghana. I’m leaving my Hawaii family and it was so hard to say goodbye. But my time with Austin Johnson is about to begin. I’m so happy.
October 14, 2012
This girl is getting married to the love of my life! He proposed on September 29. He told me he sprained his 2 fingers so he had his hand wrapped up. That night we drove up in the mountains and we were sitting on the back of his truck. He asked me if I wanted to see his hand so he unwrapped it and he had my ring in there and he asked me to marry him! I said yes and then I hit him. because all day he had me help him do laundry, get him food, help him eat. It was such an Austin way to propose. But I can’t even express how happy and excited I am to spend the rest of my life and eternity with him. Eternity isn’t even long enough. He is the one who will make me the best that I can be.
May 26, 2013
Time has flown! Oh, life is so good! Austin and I had such a beautiful wedding. December 28 was the happiest day of my life.
So there’s how this Johnson family came to be! I love this story because it obviously gave me Austin, but I love how it taught me that God is so involved with our lives! At the beginning, I was so bummed that I wasn’t able to go back to Kenya like the way I had planned. Instead, God sent me to Ghana and look what happened!