How We Met Our story begins like an after school special, one of those, "OMG this is so sweet I think I'm going to puke" type of things. I would like to apologize to begin with to those of you that couldn't care less about the sappy stuff, but I have to share this. It was a beautiful summer Sunday morning in Chicago, birds were singing and the sky was a vivid cyan color. (As you can tell, I'm setting a mood!) This particular weekend I spent at my godmother's house and she wanted to take me to church with her family. Church wasn't a regular thing for my immediate family unless we were going to a wedding or funeral. I was 14 years old and woke up excited to try something new. My godmother often spoke of her church and everytime she did she appeared to have a glow about her that made this church, and the message it gave, seem like the best thing since sliced bread was invented. "Melissa get up", I hear my godmother say as she was attempting to get my other cousin Karina ready for church. "Are you ready mija?", my grandmother asks me as I'm watching my godmother do my little cousin's hair. I let my grandma know I was ready and excited, she seemed to be happy to hear that. Finally, after Melissa decided on dragging her butt out of bed, we were all ready to hear the Word. We pile into the van and take off. About fifteen minutes later we arrive at our destination. I read the sign hanging on the side of the humble church that said, "Principe De Paz", which translates into "Prince of Peace". We all get out of the van and start toward the church. At this point I began feeling the butterflies in my stomach because of the excitement and the small amount of nervousness that was developing. This was entirely new to me. My godmother was so happy to introduce me to everyone that we were passing. It was as though these people were extended family I did not know. Handshakes, hugs and kisses along with the, "God Bless You". We entered the meek church and I felt a sense of comfort and overwhelming happiness. I never felt anything like it. Finally, we're walking into the sanctuary. I noticed a bunch of kids around my age and I begin to scan the group of boys and girls, one boy stuck out in particular. Gimme a break, I was a teenager, hormones at that point were unavoidable. He was a few inches taller than the other boys and he noticed me as well. I smiled and he smiled back. I then asked my godmother who the boy was, she smirked and said, "Oh that's Joselito." My grandmother laughed at me and began teasing me about me liking Joselito. I laughed it off and got serious because the sermon was about to start. After the sermon was done I then understood why my godmother spoke about church so much. IT WAS AWESOME!!! The music, the praise, the love and the energy was like no other. The whole time though, I felt the boy staring at me. I would sneak a peek to confirm it and sure enough he was. As we were walking out of the sanctuary to meet up with my uncle, I notice a group of boys playing around outside and in the foyer. My godmother calls out to Joselito. He starts to approach us and my butterflies start up again. "I want to introduce you to my goddaughter Cindy", my godmother says as I sheepishly smile at him. "Hello", he says nervously as the boys began to laugh at him from afar. Joselito then tells me to go with him so he can introduce me to his friends. I follow and all I remember is the boys saying hello and looking at Joselito like he was a goof. My godmother than called out to me because it was time to go. Joselito stops me in the foyer and asks me for my phone number. I gave it to him reluctantly because my dad would kill me but I had my godmother, uncle and grandmother in my corner. From that point Joselito and my relationship blossomed into a teenaged puppy love. We would stay on the phone with each other for hours until the batteries would die often times making our parents angry because of the astronomical phone bills. We would see each other at church which was always great because it was like a twofer. I got spiritual food for the day and got to see my boyfriend. Everything was lovely, I even named my goldfish afer him. One day he disappeared. Not a word, he was just gone! It wasn't until a week later on a Sunday that I found out he was shipped out to Cleveland to live with his father because of some trouble he had gotten into at school. I was heart broken but not devastated as most 15 year old girls just find another boyfriend. And they call it puppy love. 15 years and many unsuccessful relationships later Facebook brought a big surprise. I received a friend request from a handsome guy that went by the name of Jose. I typically delete friend requests from people I don't recognize but something told me to check his photos out. I couldn't figure out who this guy was because he was wearing shades in every photo. Upon further inspection I noticed one pic with no glasses and realized that I did know this person but I wasn't sure. I then saw his birthdate listed and knew beyond a doubt that it was Joselito. I couldn't believe it, but he sent me a confirmation in a message saying, "Cyndi, it's me Jose from Prince of Peace" right at the same time I sent him a message saying, "I think I dated you". He was still living in Cleveland and told me that he was going to be visiting Chicago in a couple of weeks and we agreed to meet up. We met up and again there were those butterflies. We spent a friendly day together at the Lincoln Park Zoo. It was so much fun. We remembered the good times and shared our own stories of the years we missed. We ended the day with a hug and we agreed to keep in touch. We did and everything blossomed once again. A month later he moved back to Chicago and we began dating and six months later were engaged. He has made me the happiest I've ever been! Why we're raising money and how it will help Now to explain why we're trying to raise money and how greatly it would help us. Although love is plentiful in Jose and my relationship unfortunately that's all we really have. Sure we're able to maintain our week to week expenses, but because of recent situations we haven't been able to save up much for our wedding. We plan on getting married August 15th this year and we're struggling to get it done. It's been both of our dreams to have a traditional wedding and we're even trying to get married at the church our journey began. It seems like since this year started we've had a snowball of horrible situations, starting from me having to have surgery and miss nearly a month of work. Shortly after, Jose hurt his hand at work and lost his job. We've already put money into the venue so we have to make this happen somehow and we're hoping and praying for miracles. We have the best wedding party possible, all of them family and friends who have supported us from the beginning. They have been trying to help as much as possible, but our wedding is so close and now we're beginning to wonder if we'll be able to pull it off. We're trying to raise enough money to pay off the venue, the caterers and the photographer. Receiving help will help Jose and I have the wedding we wished to have. One that will allow us to have our family and friends there to join us in our most joyous occasion. Why help us? Jose and I truly love each other. We've been together for going on 2 years now and our love just keeps growing. We're an awesome team and we actually want to get married to be together forever the way marriage should be. Our love is a rare find. We were teenaged sweethearts that were separated, lived our lives for 15 years and found each other once again. Now we want to start our lives together as husband and wife. We pray to be able to do this on August 15th 2014 God willing and with your help.