Science teacher Anne Stringfield walked across Bottoms Bay, a surfing beach in Barbados, with her boyfriend Walter Elder. Elder had a rugby tournament so Stringfield and some of their friends were staying in a rented Airbnb to visit him for a tropical holiday vacation. Elder and Stringfield walked, cows grazing in a green pasture on one side and turquoise water lapping at the sand on the other. An eighteenth century sugar plantation house with vines crawling up its walls watched the couple as they walked.
“Honestly I kind of knew [what was going to happen next] because he was acting a little suspicious and kind of funny,” Stringfield said.
They walked out to some cliffs overlooking the powerful waves.
“My heart was racing from the moment we left the house all the way to the point,” Elder said. “When we finally got to the overlook the sun was setting, the waves were crashing against the cliffs, and I was ready.”
“We were talking and I was trying to ask him questions, but he kind of was acting funny,” Stringfield said, laughing a bit. “He then started to just say some really kind things about the power of the waves and the ocean and how the Lord was to be the center of the relationship and the rock that we built it on. Then he got down on one knee and pulled out the ring and asked me to marry him!”
Stringfield cried a bit, even though she had known, since the summer of 2016, that the proposal would be happening soon. In fact, the couple had already taken their engagement photos a few weeks prior.
Stringfield and Elder met when they were kids. They went to the same church, but had never actually known each other very well. When Stringfield was in college, she met Elder’s sister through a Christian organization called Icthus and became reconnected with the Elder family.
“It was funny because the year before my mom had mentioned I was single and she was like, ‘What about that Elder boy?’ and I said, ‘No no no, I’m not interested in him.’”
The following fall they ended up having an anatomy class together. On the first day, Stringfield went up to Elder and introduced herself.
“We chatted for a second while everyone began sitting down and I was so sure she would sit down next to me and we could continue our conversation,” Elder said, recounting their meeting. “However, just as our professor walked in and began setting up, Annie proceeded to tell me how nice it was meeting me, and then went to sit on the other side of the room. I sat down absolutely confounded by this girl. She would later tell me that she needed to sit on the other side of the classroom so she could focus on the lecture instead of me.”
A couple weeks later, Elder asked her on a date. Stringfield, however, declined. He wasn’t following the Lord at that point and Stringfield wouldn’t date him unless he was. They remained friends, studying together every now and then, for about a year, until Elder found his way back to God, truly deciding to follow Him as his own decision. Stringfield and Elder started dating.
“We’ve been dating for two and half years and now we’re engaged,” Stringfield said, smiling.
The wedding is set for May 27 in Wichita and all of the high school students will be invited. The ceremony will be held in a church and the reception at the Elder’s family farm.
“[It’ll be under] either a tinted canopy-like thing or a white tent. Colors will be blush and gold and lots of green and [there will be] peonies,” Stringfield said. “Mrs. Loganbill is doing the flowers too.”
Stringfield says her future with KCC is currently undecided. Elder has been successful in his rugby career and that may take them to San Francisco. They also want to take a year off to go traveling around the world. Staying here is still in the cards, but nothing has been decided.
“I guess I feel pretty good about the whole thing! Haha,” Elder said. “I mean, when the girl of your dreams says she will spend the rest of her life with you, I’d say things are going pretty dang well!”
Stringfield and Elder’s engagement has been a long anticipated event here at KCC, but finally the anticipation has turned to excitement as Stringfield wears a gorgeous ring on her finger. The ring, a large, oval diamond with a band encrusted with smaller diamonds, dazzles, much like the happy and very much in love couple themselves.