Our Story

Eric and I met in our senior year of high school when we were set up by mutual friends to go to our Senior Prom together. (I wish I had a photo to scan in!) We became friends and kept in touch after graduation... mostly.

I moved 5 hours away to go to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. I spent 5 great years there, living first in the Agriculture dorm and then in 2 other houses with friends. I received a B.S. Degree in Ecology & Systematic Biology and then spent one additional year completing my teaching credential in science.

Eric stayed closer to home and began attending Calvary Chapel Bible College in Murrieta. After 2 semesters there (one of which he spent in the dorms on campus) he and our dear friend Maurice, felt the Lord leading them to visit Peru. They flew down there, in faith, and ended up being the first American students at the Bible College campus in Lima. (This is a story they LOVE to tell). A year later, Eric packed his bags and moved to Minnesota for one year to attend band instrument repair school.

During the 5 years we spent apart after high school, the Lord was teaching each of us how to follow and serve Him... and revealing to each us of our calling to the mission field. During the summer after my junior year of college, I spent 10 weeks living and serving in Ukraine with Calvary Chapel Priluki.

The Christmas after returning from the Ukraine, I was in my senior year of college and Eric was in the middle of his year in Minnesota. He had flown home to spend the holidays with his family, and I was in town for the same reason. He called one evening and asked if I would like to get together and catch up. In the past 4 years, we had probably only exchanged a dozen emails and a few random phone calls. I was looking forward to getting coffee with Eric at Starbucks, but had no idea how dramatically the direction of my life was about to change.

As we sat there that evening, discussing all that God was teaching us... I remember being so impressed by Eric's sincere heart for the Lord. He was a different person than I remembered... he was a man now commited to serving Jesus with every breath. And I was truly amazed. We talked for hours before Eric finally said the shocking words. The summary of his statement to me was that he believed the Lord was leading us to be married. I was absolutely shocked.

I spent the next few days seeking the Lord and praying. I knew that Eric embodied what I had been specifically praying for in a husband. I felt that still small voice saying "this is the way, walk in it". And so I did. On New Year's day, I called Eric and told him that I agreed. Hours later we each returned to school... me to San Luis Obispo, and Eric to Minnesota. The next 6 months were very long!

I made the decision to stay for summer school following my senior year, so that I could begin the credential program in the fall and be finished by June so that we could be married during the summer. We planned the wedding, visited when we could, and excitedly anticipated marriage.

We were married on August 7, 2004 in an evening wedding outside. We spent a week in Kauai on our honeymoon and the day we arrived home, I started my first day of work as a science teacher in Downey, Ca. When we had settled into our apartment, we began looking for a Calvary Chapel. Eric remembered that he had met the pastor & a group from CC Santa Fe Springs during his semester in Lima. The church was only 5 minutes from our house, so we decided to go! (And we never left!!!) We told Pastor Ray of our desire to be missionaries early on and hoped that one day we would be sent out.

During our three years in Downey, we fellowshiped and served at CCSFS. We developed amazing friendships and felt incredibly blessed to be part of such a loving and commited group of believers. At some point, Eric was put in charge of the New Believer's Ministry. We recognized that this would be excellent preparation for full time ministry and we enjoyed our time serving in that way. We also spent 6 weeks in Peru during the summer of 2006 serving in a variety of ways.

In October of 2006, we learned that we were expecting our baby girl and we were overjoyed! Anna Grace was born on July 1, 2007. Isn't she adorable?

Seven months later we packed our house, sold our furniture, and moved to Panama. We served in Panama for 18 months before prayerfully deciding to transition back to southern California. Those months are packed with stories of God's faithfulness, and we are both honored to have been a part of what God is doing in the hearts of the people of Panama.

We are now in the process of settling back into life in California, and eager to see what God has next for our growing family. I began this blog in late 2006... so if you go back far enough, you can read all about my pregnancy and Anna's birth and our crazy time on the mission field. If you've gotten this far, thank you for reading this! We truly appreciate your interest in our family!

Many Blessings,
The Tharaldsons