While I was serving a mission in South America, my family moved to north San Diego County, California. So I joined them there when I returned home from Ecuador. I opened up my own insurance agency and became very involved in our church’s young single adult program. But most of all, I kept my eyes open to spot that special someone I would want to spend eternity with. While attending a regional young adult conference, I was immediately attracted to a beautiful young woman as she bore her testimony at the end of the conference. Not only was she pretty, but her whole presence projected a level of peaceful confidence that captivated me. This certainly was someone I wanted to get to know.
I was pleasantly surprised when she came up to me after the conference and introduced herself as Jean Magill and informed me that she was from Chula Vista, which is located in South San Diego County. I had met several other young ladies at that conference who were from Chula Vista, so I devised a plan to date some of these other girls I had some interest in first before I took the risk of asking Jean out on a date. Hopefully, I would make a good enough impression on the other girls from Chula Vista that there would be less chance of being turned down when I asked her out, as she was the person who I was mainly interested in getting to know. I started attending church dances down in San Diego looking for a chance to interact with Jean. The more I saw her, the more interested I was in going out with her.
One Saturday night, I went to a young adult dance with the specific intent of asking Jean out on a date if she was there. Little did I know, but prior to going to the dance, Jean thought that she would keep her eyes open for me in hopes of getting to know me a little better as well. When I arrived at the dance, they were selling raffle tickets for a play sponsored by a church group. I knew if I bought the ticket, I would win. I had no doubt about it. It was just one of those things I knew would happen. At first, I mentally debated whether I should buy the raffle ticket or not because I was concerned that it might be too closely akin to gambling. I was way too devout, but eventually reason prevailed, and I decided that it was OK because a month or so before, I had attended a large business convention where a general authority from our church won the prize with a raffle ticket he bought. So, I bought the raffle ticket, and went into the dance.
At first, I was pleased to see that Jean was there, but my joy was soon dashed when it became apparent that she was spending all her time with another tall young man. They really seemed to be an item. I felt discouraged and thought about going home. But I decided to stay so I could get the tickets I knew I would win at the end of the dance. Sure enough, my ticket was drawn, and I won two tickets to the play. Afterward, I was standing out in the foyer when Jean came up to me and congratulated me on winning the raffle. Well, I had come to the dance hoping to ask Jean out on a date, and I was holding two tickets in my hand, so I asked if she wanted to go to the play with me. I was afraid she would say no because it appeared that she was going steady with the fellow she was with at the dance, but to my delight, she said yes. I then got her address and phone number and set up a time to pick her up a couple of weeks later to go out for dinner and the theater.
Two weeks later, I showed up at Jean’s house at the appointed time, only to find out that Jean was not there, but had gone to a baptismal service for one of her girlfriends. She was not sure I was even going to show up because after setting up the date, I had never called her to confirm or to just chat. Little did she know that I had a phobia about talking on the telephone. While growing up, we were not allowed to use the phone because it might tie up the line when someone wanted to talk with my parents about one of their many business ventures. Anyway, when her friend decided to get baptized, Jean had a hard choice about what to do, but her brother broke the indecision by stating that she had to go to the baptism, and that if I did not understand, then it would not be a big loss. I was not upset and took the opportunity to talk with Jean’s mother for a bit, then drove over to the church where the baptismal service was being conducted. I was glad to see that Jean had planned on going on the date and was apparently glad to see me.
After the service, we went to dinner at a restaurant where one of my roommates was a cook. We were running late for the play by the time we finished eating, so we rushed to the theater, and the usher directed us to our row after the lights were out. Jean noticed that a couple of seats on the end were open and sat down, even though they were not our assigned seats, because the show had just begun. To my horror, the person Jean was with at the dance was sitting there right next to her. I wondered if there was some hidden message there. We moved to our assigned seats at the next break.
The play was about a woman who became disenchanted with the traditional roles of wife and mother. Driving home after the play, I asked Jean if she thought women often felt that way. She said, “Oh yes!” I was very impressed with Jean’s honesty and confidence. She was real. She was not trying to make an impression. That peaceful confidence that initially attracted me to her continued to captivate me. She certainly was someone I wanted to keep dating. I was concerned that she might be seriously dating the other young man she was with at the dance and whom we sat next to at the play, but I decided I did not care; she was worth fighting for.
Well, I asked her out again, and nine weeks later, we were engaged, and we married three months after that. The rest is history. I didn’t just win a raffle that night, but the greatest prize of my life.