I first met Malachi at the fundraiser dinner for his and Connor's outdoor school trip in their 6th grade year. I was in 5th grade at the time and Connor wanted to go say hi to his new friend, dragging me along with him. Malachi was sitting at a table in the McMenamins Pub with his dad and I just stood there as Connor talked to him for a few minutes. From then on, I began to know Malachi as Connor's best friend, assuming he probably didn't like me, as I was Connor's annoying little sister. We sat next to each other in band class my 6th grade year and he would come over to my house occasionally. It wasn't really until I was a freshman and he was a sophomore that we began to get to know each other more. I would sit with Malachi and Connor at the lunch table, as I was new to this high school and didn't know anyone else yet. We would spend our lunch time playing multiplayer games (GamePigeon) on our phones and this naturally carried on after school, when Malachi and I started playing these games digitally between just us. Then we'd chat about school, the math class we were both in because I was too smart for my own good, and the after-school dance class we both attended. We had been taking dance classes since middle school, when it was a required class we both had to take as part of the school. We, along with Connor and some other friends, were talented in these dance classes, so we were put in "Advanced Dance," where we learned advanced forms of latin dancing, including salsa and Cuban salsa (Malachi was always my favorite partner to dance with). We really enjoyed it and when we moved on to high school, our teacher decided to continue this class as an optional, after-school class. We continued this all the way up until March of 2020, when everything shut down. As bummed as we were about this, we were even more bummed we couldn't see and talk to each other every day like we had. We continued texting all the time and it was clear that we both had feelings for each other. Malachi had been wanting to wait to officially ask me to be his girlfriend until things got back to normal, but they never did. So, on May 7th, 2020, as I was washing my mom's car, he texted me, asking me to be his girlfriend. It was unconventional and informal, but I made sure he had asked both my dad and Connor if it was okay before I decided to say yes. We did end up going on real dates soon after and actually saw each other in person. We knew pretty early on that we wanted to get married, but being so young, it wasn't in the near future, especially because Malachi was planning on joining the Army. He ended up not, but the wait to get married still felt like so long. This was especially difficult when we watched Connor and his now wife, Natalie, get married last year after only dating for a short period of time. We were both jealous of how they didn't have to wait like we did and it was difficult to come to terms with that. However, we also were able to realize that we had immense blessing in our waiting. We worked through difficult things, got to know each other's burdens deeply, and grew in our relationship with the Lord, both separately and together. We knew it was so going to be worth the wait. On May 28th, 2023, Malachi finally asked me to marry him in a park down in Dallas, Texas. It was hot, humid, and I definitely had too much caffeine that morning, but I was also thrilled that we had made it to that point. The ring was my dream ring and I have no recollection of what he said to me as he was down on his knee, but it was such a sweet moment. Now, on May 20th, 2024, we will be getting married in front of a lake, surrounded by nature and our favorite people. Our story is not perfect, but it depicts the Lord's grace and blessing for those who wait and hope in Him. We are so excited for that day, because it will be a day we have endured much patience for and that will make it all the more special.