Fortuna, California, USA
This page is only for romantics! (And if you're not a romantic, you're going to have a lot of trouble with what Jesus is doing in the world today – because the Bride is preparing Herself for the Bridegroom and you better be ready for Love!) What follows is a story – filled with signs and wonders – of how God prepared a Bride for me in my Jubilee! You'll be astonished and overjoyed to hear of God's favor in our lives. And a quick note to those of you who wish you were married – don't seek a spouse! Seek the one and only Spouse, and allow your Heavenly Father to espouse you to His perfect choice here on earth.
After being married for over twenty years to my first wife, Janet, she ended many years of struggle against cancer and joyfully went to her everlasting Reward! She left Kelly and Jordan (ages 9 and 6) to be raised by me. (She didn't want to do it... she hated leaving me but even more hated leaving her children!)
For the next few years, I pastored a traditional congregation in Willow Creek (population 1,700) and single-parented the kids. Everybody all-around lost out on that season of time, considerably. Many of my friends would urge me to get married and my response was that "Our town doesn't have enough singles bars..." Truth was, I've been through so many counseling sessions with married couples, I knew that any woman who looks good to me on the outside might be – well – maybe wouldn't look so good on the inside. It's so clear that God and God only looks on the inside of a person; anyone I married, I needed for her to be examined on the inside.
So I waited on God. For several years, I waited – in a small community where I knew every church-going single available woman – and all three of them were older than me...
An old pastor friend from when Jim Durkin's Gospel Outreach still existed, called and urged me to come preach at his church, five hours south of Willow Creek. He said it had been too long since I'd been there before and, besides, he had a woman in his congregation that he wanted me to marry.
Ha, ha. He wasn't the first to try and set me up. But I wanted to visit his church again anyway and as far as getting married, I'd told God I wouldn't "shop" for a wife, but if He wanted me to ever marry again He'd have to set it up. Declare His "Chosen Vessel".
It didn't bother me at all to go take a look at my pastor friend's choice for a new wife — see if it was a "God thing".
I drove down with my son, Jordan (11 at the time), ministered at the church and became deeply interested in "the woman". (Jordan instantly decided she'd be his new mom...) I'd met Michele but had no sense as to her response towards me! Saturday morning, we went to breakfast with Jordan and I, the pastor and Michele's family, then went to dinner with just my pastor friends, went to church where I preached that morning, had a potluck afterward and waved good-bye to Michele and her kids, and I went back to Willow Creek.
Next day, I e-mailed my pastor friend and asked, "So — do you know if she liked me at all, or after meeting me did she want to run screaming for the hills?" He e-mailed back and said, "I don't know. I haven't seen her to ask." I e-mailed back and said, "Do something to find out." Meanwhile, Michele e-mailed me with a nice, general type e-mail and we exchanged telephone numbers.
The second week after meeting her in Lakeport, we spent several hours on the phone getting to know each other. Back then, all long-distance calls were charged by the minute and we supported MaBell and all her subsidiaries — for weeks! We'd call each other about 5 AM and talk a couple of hours, then at night we'd call in the evening and talk anywhere from three to six hours. Every day. Every night.
It was six weeks before we saw each other again, but when we met a second time, we knew each other better than any other human on earth! It was Christmas vacation then, and by the end of the vacation, the day before New Year's Eve, I proposed and she accepted.
Here's some of the signs and wonders:
Two or three months before we met — in fact, before my pastor friend even thought about me as a potential suitor — their church listened to a prophetic teaching by Graham Cooke on the "Favor of God". It encouraged people to cry out to God to make the Enemy return all that he had "stolen". Everyone in the congregation there in Lakeport made lists of "stolen things". Michele did so, placed it on the church altar with all the others, but then forgot about making the list. After we were married, she went back to find her list and the number one item was "a godly husband and father for her children". It took less than two or three months for God to "restore what the Enemy had stolen from her".
Also, when she'd asked God for a godly husband, Michele had specifically prayed for a "Boaz" — her thoughts fixed romantically on the biblical story of Ruth and the wonderful "Redeemer-Kinsman" God brought to her. Asking God for a "Boaz", she didn't realize until after we were married that in Hebrew (the ancient language in which that story had been written), "Boaz" means "swift"... She had specifically asked God for a "swift" and wound up married to "Emil Swift"!
Her pastor told her he wanted me to come down and meet her, but before we'd even met, the Lord told Michele that I was the one she would marry. Before we met, she told her friend that God said I was the one, but she never told me that! Not until after we were married! After we got married, we got an e-mail from the friend she'd told who said, "Do you remember, before meeting Emil, how God told you he was the one?" Actually, throughout our entire relationship, God has brought supernatural confirmations of His purposes in our union together.
When I proposed, I did so very romantically in a coffee shop. She didn't care since she'd already decided to say "Yes" — she tried and tried but just couldn't find any way to get me to ask! After she accepted my proposal (truly a wonder to me) I happened to glance at my watch and realized that she'd accepted my proposal exactly seven years to the day that my late wife had passed away. The thought had never even crossed my mind, but the "seven years" of my being widowed is prophetically significant.
The next night, we went to the New Year's Eve services at Mountain Chapel (Bill Johnson's old church near Redding.) Dan McCallum (Vacaville, CA) ministered. He has a powerful ministry in personal prophecy. That night, he prophesied over everyone, but he missed Michele. Now, no one knew she'd accepted my proposal the day before! We'd told np one but our parents on the phone (thanks again to Ma Bell!) We weren't standing together like a "couple" but were in different places in the sanctuary when Dan started to prophesy over her. He'd glanced over at Michele and said, "Oh! I'm sorry I missed you!" When I saw him head for her, I walked over to eavesdrop, standing a little behind her. Various leaders of Mt. Chapel as well as from my own church in Willow Creek were standing nearby as well, as Dan McCallum began this huge, five-minute long prophecy about Michele. He called her my "wife" and "a pastor's wife", looking briefly at me even though he didn't know me and had no idea I pastored a congregation. He spoke in great detail of her divinely, ordained role as a prophetic watchguard in the congregation and lots, lots more. Not only did no one know we were "interested in" each other (after all — the romance had developed on the phone!), but Dan also had no idea at all that I wasn't part of the Mt. Chapel congregation or even that I was a pastor!
As Dan prophesied, my friends stood transfixed, shocked — their mouths literally fallen open! One indicated he was going to stop Dan from prophesying since he'd clearly "missed it", but I signaled to let Dan continue. Earlier that evening, as we drove over to the church, I'd told Michele it was going to be hard for me to explain to my congregation that this woman whom they knew nothing about and I'd known only six weeks, had consented to become my wife. I never counsel people to "rush" into marriage — but we had many, many clear signs from the Lord that the relationship was His and so was the timing! So, I let Dan prophesy our marriage (in the past tense, mind you, as though in God's eyes we were already married!) and afterward (when I could quit laughing and crying from joy), I explained that the prophecy was nothing more nor less than God announcing our upcoming wedding to the world! I never had to send out announcements! The Willow Creek grapevine grabbed the astonishing prophecy and spread it all over town!
In another six weeks, we were married on Valentines' weekend. The short period of engagement didn't seem to bother anybody, especially after God Himself favored us with that confirming Word! We were prophesied as "married" on New Year's Day (about midnight) of 2002, as I entered into my Jubilee Year.
And we're still living in the Jubilee!
Do you feel the Wind?
Emil and Michele Swift
Fortuna, CA 95540 USA