Our Love Story
It all began back in September 1961. Graham, an Aussie-boy born in Brisbane in 1941, had just arrived in Minneapolis, USA to continue his tertiary studies at Northwestern College.
Frieda, also born in 1941 but in faraway Hunan province, China, of German missionary parents, then a Northwestern College student, was quietly pursuing her university studies in the hope of serving as a Christian missionary in Asia. She was about to face some unexpected changes in her life!
But let’s first back-track a few years. In 1959 after hearing a stirring message by the renown evangelist, Billy Graham, on the Christian home, Graham started praying daily for the girl he would one day marry. Then early in 1961, about six months before he would leave for America, he was prompted to make a vow not to date another girl until he knew in his heart that this one was the girl God wanted him to marry.
On the other side of the globe, while relaxing at home in her Wisconsin home during her summer vacation, Frieda also reached a milestone decision: to surrender the “marriage question” into God’s hands – willing to go out as a single missionary if this was God’s will. Within weeks, Graham appeared on the scene.
Their first meeting took place early September 1961 in Northwestern College’s dining hall. Graham with meal tray in hand, met Frieda, the smiling, welcoming, dining hall cashier. (This was her part-time college job.)
In the days that followed, Frieda and Graham kept meeting up with each another around Northwestern’s campus. Both “noticed” the other. But what about that vow Graham had made? And what about Frieda’s thoughts about being a single missionary? Graham felt that he must keep his distance from this pretty, Chinese-born, American-of-German-descent young lady from Wisconsin . . . until God gave the green light. But neither could he lightly dismiss the special warmth he felt when he met up with her.
At this time Graham heard about a large youth meeting scheduled for the following Saturday evening. He thought to himself: I’d love to go with Frieda! But then the vow! He must wait for God’s “okay”! And this is exactly what he received while sitting down to study in the college library. No audible voice; just a quiet and clear “yes” deep in his spirit. God had spoken. He had God’s blessing to invite Frieda on this date.
Not given to letting the dust settle under his feet, it didn’t take long for Graham to find Frieda. She didn’t say “no”!! Returning home to the men’s dormitory that evening, Graham’s studies were furthest from his mind. Rather he spent time preparing himself to open his heart to Frieda the next morning.
All went according to plan. When Graham arrived for breakfast, he invited Frieda to join him in the college lounge after she had finished her dining hall duties. In this holy moment, Graham simply and confidently informed Frieda what he believed God had shown him – that she was His choice of a life’s partner for him. He also shared some life principles for their relationship – trusting God to supply their needs, praying and reading the Bible together, and serving the Lord together.
Needless to say, Graham’s announcement sent Frieda into a minor tailspin! How could he be so sure, she thought. For the next week she struggled to make sense out of this “new thing” that had descended upon her life. How was she to respond to this confident, 19 year old Aussie boy? God’s answer came the following Friday evening. While on her knees together with Graham, she also received the same “yes” from God in her inner spirit.
That was September 1961. The following February, Graham slipped the engagement ring on Frieda’s finger, and on June 15, 1963 at a Sheboygan Congregational Church in Wisconsin, Frieda’s father, the Rev. John Hermann Baris, pronounced Graham and Frieda “man and wife.”
Since that time, God has greatly blessed them with four wonderful children: Alison born in the USA in 1966, David born in Singapore in 1968, Scott born in South Sulawesi, Indonesia in 1970, and Elizabeth born in East Java, Indonesia in 1979. And He has also showered His great kindness on each of these children, their spouses and their children. Each has proven the greatness and goodness of God in their lives.
Since finishing their studies in 1967, Graham and Frieda have served together as missionaries and pastors – in SE Asia, especially Indonesia, in Australia, in Central Europe as well as in other parts of the world. To this day, they find great joy and fulfilment serving God as “equippers” and “encouragers” of His people.
God also continues to enrich and deepen their love relationship for each another. Do they deserve any of these wonderful gifts from God? Not even one! From start to finish, their life together proves one thing: God is great and God is good – that He delights to fill the lives of ordinary people with His innumerable and imperishable riches.
Can you also have a share in the same kindness and goodness of God? Of course! You may never have thought about this before, but God wants everyone to experience His love and kindness.
You have probably sometime heard or read this well-known verse from the Bible: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) The following verse is just as amazing: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” One important person included in this “world” is YOU!
Married love can be full of both highs and lows but there is no love to be compared with God’s perfect love for us hurting and needy human beings. And the greatest demonstration of His love happened on the day that Jesus, God’s Son, sacrificed His very life’s blood on a rough, Roman cross so that He might rescue us from the consequences of our rebellion against Him and give to us a life that defies imagination.
That’s Good News. We don’t deserve it but we may enjoy it to the full. How? By simply saying “yes” to God’s love advance in His Son, Jesus:
deciding to turn from trusting in ourselves and instead putting our complete trust in Jesus’ death and resurrection as God’s way to make us right with Himself.
When we do this, God wipes off His record books all our wrongs for ever. But even that can’t be compared with the greatest honour that He gives to us: to adopt us as His own children, giving us the full rights of sonship.
If you have never said “yes” to God’s love, we invite you to take a moment to do so right now. Ask God using your own words, in a straight-from-the-heart prayer, to give you all that He has promised. You can be sure that He will keep His word.
From that point on, you can look forward to a brand new life with Jesus as your travelling Companion and God’s Spirit as your Helper through every problem or heartache in life. Your life will never be the same.
All we’ve written in our Love Story is true. And we know that God longs to prove also to you the exact same reality and wonder of His love for the world.
We hope you will give Him a chance.
Graham & Frieda Roberts