Friday, February 03, 2012

A Real Life Love Story ~ Josh and Paola Bradfield

Josh and Paola on their wedding day, May 10, 2009
Written by my brother, Josh Bradfield:
          Josh here. In my opinion I have the most wonderful woman in the world (Paola Bradfield) who I am so blessed to have. I Thank God for her everyday! Our love story is anything but normal and that’s kind of the way I like it. I’m not the kind of guy who just wants to settle for an ordinary life in the same small town where I was born, not that there’s anything wrong with living in Rome GA, but I have a heart for other nations including Brazil, where the fire of God burns hot. My first visit to Brazil was in November of 2003 with evangelist Vincent Skinner. I also had the privilege of spending a lot of quality time with a good friend of mine, James Padley and his awesome family and friends. The passion that these Brazilian churches exhibited left a mark on me that I couldn’t erase. Their zeal for God was made apparent by their vibrant worship, love for the word, and evangelism. Also, I was told that Brazilian girls make better wives (no offense American women) and I noticed they were very sweet. I just wanted to marry someone who places little value on “things” and much value on serving God, regardless of where they were from.

        Well, I was on myspace one day doing one of those “friends of friends searches” when I noticed a picture of a beautiful young lady from Sao Luis Brazil that I had never seen before. The moment I read her profile, I knew she was sold out and in love with Jesus, so I sent her a short message to introduce myself and see if she would respond. She did respond and we began corresponding regularly. Given the fact that she was in another country, and she didn’t even live close to any of my friends in Brazil, I didn’t expect anything more than just a Godly female pen pal. How would I ever really meet her in person? Well, for a long time I had been planning to revisit my good old friends in Brazil while taking another missions trip with Vincent. One of our dates was canceled, so I had to wait a few more months to go. During that time, the devil was really attacking my finances and this was causing me to reconsider my decision to go to Brazil. But God in His faithfulness provided the means for the money and I did go. However, there was one problem.
             We were only going to be in the Southern part of Brazil, but Paola was in the North. The first trip, the one that was canceled, was going to be in Belem, a city not too far from Sao Luis. There, I was going to meet Paola and her friend Marcella at the conference. Since this trip was canceled, I thought I would never meet her. But I did pray that God would make a way for me to meet her if it was His will. By this time, I already had an idea that she was the woman of my dreams. But she didn’t see me that way yet. Nevertheless, when I told her I would be traveling to the Southern part of Brazil, she insisted that before I come home I must fly up North to visit her, and do some missions work in the tribes with her church group. This sounded like a great idea to me! The only problem would be finding a way to break this news to my friends and family without them thinking that I had lost my mind. But thankfully I never had to fight anyone over my decision, so guess what? I got to meet the woman of my dreams!!! 
              I remember being so excited when I was on the plane heading to Sao Luis. Every time the flight attendant mentioned “Sao Luis” I felt a rush of excitement about meeting Paola. When I finally arrived, I waited a few minutes before she found me. My first glimpse of her was when she was looking for me in the wrong place and I stayed with my luggage until she saw me. That was a happy moment.
          At her house, we didn’t have much time to do anything before our missions trip to the tribes with her church group. I remember the long hot ride in the van and all the bumpy roads leading to our destination. The people in our group were great and very helpful to an American who didn’t know what he was doing. After a few hot days of work in the tribes, we came back to Paola’s house and had plenty of time to watch movies, eat ice cream, and go to the beach. The history center and the mall was also very cool. I also really liked her church in Brazil. They were so passionate and godly. The first week with Paola was a little frustrating because I was trying so hard to be Mr. perfect and she didn’t seem to like me as anything more than a friend. Being the smart girl that she is, she knew that I liked her. At some point during my visit we had this kind of awkward conversation in which she told me that everyone seemed to support the idea of us as a couple, and I explained to her what I had been telling God. “That she was His daughter and if He wanted to give her to me, then I would love her with all my heart and try to be the best husband that I could be to her.” My memory is a little vague, but I’m sure I also prayed that if it was His will for us to marry, that He would cause her to like me as more than a friend, and if it was not His will for us to be together, that I would quickly loose interest and not be disappointed again. I couldn’t help but love her after seeing how sweet she was and how she could lead people to Christ with such a gentle spirit. It seemed that she had no agenda of her own, she just lived to please God and love people. Add this to her beautiful appearance and you have one amazing woman that any man would be lucky to have. She is more than I deserve! 
             Eventually she did start to show more and more interest in me and our relationship grew, however we were still “just friends” in her book. We enjoyed many activities including a trip to Lencois Marenesis, (bad spelling I’m sure) a tropical paradise with many miles of sand hills and crystal clear water to swim in! I met several of her best friends on this trip including Aline, Kellen, Danielle, and Marcella who wasn’t with us at LM. I also met some of her disciples including Ester who was very sweet to me. She was one of my biggest supporters of Paola and I getting married someday. The day I went home was sad because I knew it would be a long time before I saw her again, and I couldn’t wait to get home and send her a message. So we went back to talking on the internet a lot and it was about 2 weeks after I came home that she finally said “I love you” to me in a text message. What a joy it was to receive this. I had told her in Brazil that I loved her, but she was reluctant to respond because she understood the seriousness of those words. So to hear her say this was a monumental moment in our relationship.
I thank the Lord for such a wonderful woman of God!

The Bradfield Family. December  2011


Anonymous said...

Like I said, Josh can tell our love story in 5 minutes, but if you ask :):)
I love to read his version though! :)

Lindsay Rich said...

haha! yes this story is soooo Josh! !!!