Pen Pals and Chocolate Chip Cookies

by Justin Sarauer

How in the world did I get here? Jesus brought me. My location, church, job, and ministry today are all a complete result of following His voice into the unexpected.

I happen to love adventure and the unknown. In 1994, my home church in Detroit invited a youth group from a church plant in Wisconsin to visit. We played games, ate pizza and hung out. I had met some new friends and we exchanged phone numbers and addresses. Some time later I received a letter in the mail. Who do I know from Wisconsin named Jacqueline? In the most unexpected way, a friend I had made during that evening with my youth group had passed my information to her friend. So out of nowhere, I had a pen pal and we wrote to each other throughout high school and into our first semester of college when we both moved on to Bible school.

Six years later something unexpected dropped into my heart. A strong sense of God wanting me to pray for my old pen pal Jacqueline. One prayer turned into many and three months later, quite curious to know how she was, I decided to call her. My expectations were that a husband or kid would answer the phone. I made the phone call and left a voicemail explaining that I was her old pen pal and wanted to see how she was. Jacqueline called back, sort of remembering who I was, and it was clear as she described the three months during my conviction to pray, that God had brought her out of an overwhelming season in life. We began to talk more and continued to for months after that. Clearly, no husband or kids were in the picture.

We arranged to meet face to face and soon after, with no promises, I moved to Wisconsin to see what God might be up to. As our relationship grew, so did Jacqueline’s nerves. Driving from her Bible Study over to my house one night, she began to plead with God. “If You want us to be together and this is Your plan, I need I sign. I need to pull up to his house and Justin needs to be on the porch with warm cookies from the oven.” You guessed it… I stood on the porch to welcome her with warm chocolate chip cookies.

Jacqueline and I have been married since 2005 and have two children. We often revisit our story to remind us to look for God in unexpected places. He has amazingly woven us together and has been there every step of the way, continually proving that we can trust Him in the unknown and unexpected.