By: Dr. Tabby Cox, CVM Fieldstaff serving in Ethiopia

Because Valentine’s Day is not celebrated here in our adopted country, and because we were so many years down in the bush away from any stores where one might procure some chocolate or flowers, I must admit the day has mostly gone by uncelebrated by the Cox Family.

What we’ve missed in that, is actually not the chocolate or the flowers or the heart decorations, but the chance to celebrate one another and the love we have for each other. And because I regret those missed opportunities, I would like to dedicate this prayer letter to my Valentine, Trent. (It’s ok to be sappy every once in a while, right? )

1998: What first attracted me to this fun, cowboy-boot-wearing, handsome guy, besides his magnetic personality, was his incredibly strong (and seemingly out of character) values. His views on marriage and family impressed me. That and his sincere pursuit of God: not one veiled in Christian-ese, but a fresh and honest hunger for truth and transformation. Trent personifies Paul’s words in Philippians, “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”

1999: We wed on May 8th. Graduated from vet school the next week. Moved from TX to CA the week after that. My knight had indeed carried me off…unknown to us at the time…never to return.

2001: In mid-August, we boarded a plane that would take us far away from our families, from our friends, and from our country, to a strange place we had never been. You see that pursuit of God led us to a choice…to choose His way and obey (knowing that even if it’s hard, His way is always for our best), or to choose our way. Oh, how happy I am that Trent chose obedience. He loves his Lord. And it is my joy to follow him as he follows God.

2017: After 17 years of marriage, one grows to appreciate their spouse in so many more ways than they could’ve ever guessed in the beginning. But when most of those years have been lived in the African bush…let’s just say I’ve seen qualities develop in Trent I may have never seen otherwise. My handsome equine vet soon excelled at car repair, house repair, plumbing, solar electricity, wells and water pumps, and generally fixing anything that broke, whether for me or for others from the village. He persevered in things that didn’t come easy like learning two languages and two cultures and how to live in them. He was a good neighbor, giving of himself and his time to provide emergency transport for patients when we were the only wheels around. He was the one who opened his arms and his heart to a motherless babe, and labored through the bureaucratic unknowns to make her our own. His compassion for burn babies, his heart for widows, his love for his co-workers, his ability to make people laugh, his passion for church planting, his willingness to serve in leadership…this I saw, this I treasure. He’s a man of vision and a great leader. And yet the most unpretentious person I know. He’s a loyal friend. Quick to forgive. Never holds a grudge. He’s a loving father. The protector of our family. A most faithful husband. My personal triple AAA roadside assistant. The one whose love I have never doubted, and in whose eyes I am always beautiful. He “…always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Dear Lord, thank you so much for gifting me with Trent. Thank you for bringing us together and giving us this unique life. He was just the right man for me…I guess you always knew that. I am so grateful. Thank you for this incredible man. Help me be an incredible wife.

Forever grateful. Forever in love.

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