Esther was a skeptic of online dating, and she was determined enough in her conviction to join CatholicMatch to prove it. "I finally decided one night to give it a quick try," she recalled. "Basically to prove to myself that it was not a good idea."
The 32-year-old from Washington state might have had doubts about this venue, but she was also open, and prayed that if it was God's will to find her spouse in this way that it be shown to her. She got a couple of messages, but nothing that looked to be long-lasting.
Then Jacob sent her a "wink" emotigram. She went to his profile and was favorably impressed. Esther was looking for someone who answered all seven faith questions affirmatively. Jacob did all that and more--he called his faith his "greatest treasure" and said he would trade all material possessions if necessary to keep it.
Jacob's profile further told seekers that he was the self-employed director of a Catholic bookshop, and a founding member of a local organization aimed at promoting the Catholic faith.
Esther sent a return note to the 38-year-old from Australia, but figured nothing would come of it, because of the distance separating them. One return note became another, and pretty soon Jacob and Esther had about two hundred messages between them, most of it focusing on how they felt about faith and family.
The connection between them was strong enough to keep Esther awake at night--she would find herself waking up about the same time Jacob was sending her a message, and their correspondence revealed how they prayed the Rosary for each other at the same time each day. This prayer wasn't something that was planned in advance.
Esther hoped things could work out for her to meet Jacob face-to-face, but how was this going to happen? She prayed to St. Joseph, and one hour later there was a message from Jacob asking her what she thought of the idea of him coming to the United States.
"I was in complete shock over how my prayers had been answered and couldn't believe it was true," Esther recalled. Appropriately, it was the Feast of the Annunciation when he appeared on American soil. To Esther, it all seemed too good to be true.
"After I dropped him at the house where he was staying, I went home and knelt down in front of my statues of Jesus and Mary and placed myself and Jacob in their care," Esther said. "I could hardly sleep because of all the excitement."
Jacob's time with Esther in America was a profoundly spiritual one. It was Holy Week and they attended all the Masses together. The prayed together and watched sunsets together. She saw how Jacob was honorable, yet humble. "He increased my faith, hope and love for God and inspired me to holiness," Esther said.
Throughout their time together, Esther was praying to St. Joseph, and she felt herself growing in love for Jacob. She asked that the hand of God guide her to know if this was the man she was supposed to marry. And if so, if He might prompt Jacob to do something about it.
It was the Saturday before Divine Mercy Sunday, and Jacob and Esther took a little trip to Orcas Island, and went to the top of Mount Constitution. As they gazed out on the view, Esther turned to see that Jacob was on one knee asking for her hand in marriage.
"I have never had such immense joy," Esther said. "In fact, I was pretty much rendered speechless." But she did get out the most important word:"Yes."
At the end of October, Jacob and Esther were married and are beginning their lives together in Australia. They both trusted God every step of the way en route to a new life.
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