Our Story

Ted: It was early in September 2004 and I started to hear about this new family that started attending my church. I had been gone for a couple weeks because of my busy schedule. When I returned, I met them. My first memory is playing volleyball with the girls and meeting Sarah’s dad and interrogating him about his reasons for attending the church.
Sarah: My Dad had a special assignment with the Air Force in Minnesota. The odds of us ever getting stationed in Minnesota were very small but there we were. While he worked in St. Paul we lived in a suburb of Minneapolis so he had a reverse commute. We started visiting churches in the area and at one of the soccer practices for the kids someone recommended Normandale Baptist Church to my dad. So, we tried it. And we loved it! Shortly after we started visiting the church, they held their Labor Day picnic. I remember meeting Ted as he was visiting with my Dad and playing with my 4 year old brother at the picnic. At the time, he was 25 and I was 19.
Ted: My first vivid memory of Sarah happened one Sunday morning when I was up front preparing for the service and Sarah walks by and I said, “Good morning, Sarah.” She probably didn’t hear me. But, I thought she ignored me and thought, “Ooo! She’s feisty.” Soon after, the church had a retreat to Storybook lodge. I barely knew Sarah or her family then but I really got to know her sisters at that retreat. They were like, “Yo everyone! Here we are!!!” Sarah, was the hardest to get to know because she was reserved. But, I grew fond of the Vander Hamm family.
Sarah: At Storybook Lodge I couldn’t tell Ted from his twin brother Adam. I remember Ted sang with his brother Zach in one of the evening gatherings but I thought it was Adam singing with Zach… don’t worry, I can tell them apart now!! I noticed that both Ted and his brother tended to be the leadership figures among the young people. And after Storybook my sisters started attending a Sunday School class for the high school kids where Ted was one of the teachers. He was actively involved with teaching and mentoring the young people.
Ted: After getting to know them, I began visiting often. We were working on the Christmas program and started to get to know Sarah more. For Easter, we were working on a cantata where Sarah had a solo part. I fell in love with her voice right there. I taught Sunday School and one time, Sarah was visiting my class and challenged me on something. She was right. That attracted me because of her critical thinking and not taking everything for granted. I began hearing about different activities Sarah did like her Bible club with her siblings. She was excellent with music and was intelligent - taking tests to pass out of college classes. All this attracted me.
Sarah: Ted would go mountain biking on a trail near us and one time Ted biked and Adam took a nap on our couch. :) Ted also took Abby’s senior portraits and I was the poser/chauffer. One night we went to a place in St. Paul for pictures and then Ted, my dad, Abby, me and a friend went out to dinner afterwards. Needless to say we got a fair amount of time to get to know him within the context of our family and prayer meetings on Sunday nights.
Ted: This whole time, I knew that Sarah and her family would be staying only 10 months. As the time grew closer, my visits became more frequent. I was not looking forward to the time she would be leaving. I was interested in Sarah but didn’t feel I knew her enough to start a deeper relationship. I knew, though, that there would be three more times after she left to be able to observe her and then decide for sure – the church mission trip I was leading, a wedding of a friend in San Antonio, and two weeks of a Christian leadership training camp in Colorado of which I was going to make one week.
Sarah: As we approached moving I knew I was interested in Ted but didn’t know he was watching me. Even with seeing him those few more times that summer I never knew anything might happen that would bring us together. He seemed to fit with our family so well… was great with kids… and I even remember telling my mom how I didn’t need to hear another great thing about that guy after somebody had told me something he had done that was very special for a little kid.
Ted: The mission trip came and went. I observed Sarah outside of family and church constraints and I was impressed with the way she handled conflict and applied herself. Between the mission trip and the wedding of my friend, I came to the conclusion that Sarah was most probably the one for me but I was going to wait until Colorado to make sure. When I walked in after my friend’s wedding, Sarah was standing at the kitchen sink right inside the door. When I saw her, my heart did the proverbial skip. I was certain this was the girl for me. All this time, I had not let on. On the outside, we were friends as I was a friend to many others.
Sarah: When Ted came and visited after the wedding we had just had baby #10 arrive 2 days before. I remember hovering around as Ted held our new little arrival. We had a great water fight and some fabulous games of “slap ‘em” uno!! My older brother was also visiting so it was a great time. In Colorado Ted showed up for about the last week. I was pretty busy since I was attending as a student and therefore had lots of sessions and such to attend. At one of the sports times when Ted was there a big rain storm came in and so we all took shelter in a picnic pavilion type area. A friend and I were sharing her sweatshirt but then Ted got his jacket and let me use it... :) It was a great trip and especially a good time for me to be with my sisters.
Ted: I drove 12 hours straight after work to make it to Colorado. I wanted to hike up Pike’s Peak with Sarah. But, the hike turned out to be the following day so I really didn’t need to drive straight through. That was one of the more dangerous things I have done. At one point, I was startled awake while driving because I thought a small plane was landing on the road behind me. It was just aligned headlights and taillights of cars in my rearview mirror. I never did hike with Sarah because another friend had physical issues and needed a companion as she lagged behind. When we met the group with Sarah, they were already heading back down because of not reaching the base camp. Adam and I wanted to hike all 14000+ feet so we left the group and continued. During the trip to Colorado, I finalized my decision to ask Sarah’s dad if I could court her. As I left, I jokingly said to Sarah, “Have a nice life” to which she responded, “Yeah right! You can’t stay away.” At this point, I had never let on to her that she was special in my eyes and I was still unaware that she had a special interest in me.
Sarah: On the way home from Colorado I was crying as I drove while telling one of my sisters I didn’t think Ted was interested in me. Shortly after getting home I went back to school to continue my pursuit of my bachelors in music. While I was having a hard time “getting over” Ted…
Ted: After Summit in Colorado, I tried to find a good time to talk with Sarah’s dad. I had asked Sarah’s younger sister for her dad’s number because it had changed since they moved. I deliberated for about a month before calling – sometimes opening my phone and just closing it again. This was a step I had never taken before. The main reason for continually putting it off was because I could not see the end from the beginning. I thought a very real scenario was that Sarah could say, “Get lost!” I finally called on October 3rd, 2005.
Sarah: My dad was out of town at the time but came home for a weekend to visit. He was leaving on Monday but told me he wanted to take me out to lunch on Monday. I thought it was going to be him and my mom and some of the kids because they needed to go shoe shopping. When they came to pick me up from school it was only my mom and dad. Well that was fine… it didn’t really matter to me. So we went downtown and found a place for lunch and my dad told me the news. I kind of freaked out but talked with my mom that night and decided to go forward and give Ted a chance. While this may seem contradictory to my last statement of trying to get over Ted, the Lord had brought me to the point where I had finally been able to let go of Ted… and now here he was asking for me??
Ted: 2 weeks later, on a Friday night, Sarah’s dad called at a break in a Worldview Weekend conference giving me his blessing to begin courting his daughter. That was October 14th.
And the rest is history –right? Ted courted Sarah for 11 months before proposing on September 16th, 2006. Engagement ensued and there is now less than a month until the wedding. YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!