July 13, 1998 – Monday – 6:30 p.m.

I am flying over the North Atlantic.  We just recently left New York.

The past four days have been amazing; forgive me for not writing during the time, but I was super busy.  My fellow missionaries and leaders are fantastic.  Audrey is my flight partner.  She’s 18 and a senior in high school with really pretty eyes.

The past four days of training alone have already changed me.  I am a different person.  My heart has been broken for the world.  I am ready to change it.

My new buddy Chris is sitting behind me.  The poor guy thew up on the bus ride in New York.  My Mission Advisor Group is myself, Chris, John, and Paul.

This is the most amazing plane I’ve ever been on.  They gave me a blanket, a pillow, socks, and a toothbrush.  Wow!

Every person here is so wonderful.  They are overflowing with the Lord and are completely committed to him.  It’s difficult to begin writing about this new time, for there are simply so many people.

In a few hours I’ll be entering the Southern Hemisphere for the first time.  God is so good.  He is using me to change the world.  There is no joy in a life lived for the self.  Only complete giving of ourselves to God and to others will satisfy.  I love you God!

July 9, 1998 – Thursday – 10:05 p.m.

I’m in Texas!  Dan is here.  He’s going to Alaska and I’m going to South Africa.  We’ll try to hang out a bit each night.

The girls going to South Africa with me are so beautiful, but even more amazing is their deep relationship with Jesus.

It is so warm here.  The moon is full and orange as it sits on the horizon.  I never saw the moon so close when I was in the mountains.

Our South African team is easily the most verbally excited group here.  We’ve made up our own chant and everything.

We will fly out on either Sunday or Monday

July 8, 1998 – Wednesday – 9:15 a.m.

I’m probably over Tennessee now.  The ride over here was with Groome Transportation and Justin’s family paid for the ride.  I rode with a guy going to Alaska and he was complaining about how the government took his money to pay for families that don’t know how to use birth control.  Wow, so much negativity; it broke my heart.

This is exciting!  The flight attendant is here with some food.  Awesome!

Last night I got a message that Mary Jo had a table for me.  She even recruited some guys to help me move it to my apartment.  That was so nice of her.  I also got to see Coleen last night.

Food is here!  Must eat.

July 7, 1998 – Tuesday – 11:00 a.m.

I just had an interview with the Regent Bookstore manager.  She wants me to call her from Texas around Friday and she’ll let me know if I have a job or not.  It went really well though.

Going to the 700 club was really neat yesterday.  Then I drove up to Lanexa and visited both sets of my grandparents.  They gave me a lot of food, it’s so nice being only an hour and a half away from them.

I met a guy yesterday who said he heard about me through Coleen.  He’s in the Theater Department.  Another girl stopped me today and somehow had heard of me and knew I was studying film, she asked if I wanted to help on a film shoot, but I told her I would be in South Africa.

I called Sarah last night and she isn’t doing well, but she said she was happy to hear how well I was doing.  She said she still loves me, yet I feel like I’m growing up so fast and I’m not sure where she fits in right now.

Everything is packed and ready for Africa.  All except this journal.

Here we go…!

July 5, 1998 – Sunday – 9:38 p.m.

I went to Parkway Temple this morning.  I felt so welcome!  One woman came straight up to me and told me I had the most beautiful eyes in the world.  Afterwards I went out to lunch with David and two other members of the youth group.

That afternoon I spoke with Emily and Lindy over the phone.  Then I went to the Founder’s Inn on campus and stood in line for 40 minutes to see Mark Lowry in concert.  I stood in line and sat with three beautiful women: one mother, one daughter, and one aunt.  The mom went to Parkway Temple.

Mark Lowry was hilarious.  I saw him many years ago with my mom in Asheboro.  I also got a free ticket to see him on the 700 Club tomorrow morning.  How cool is that!

I feel like God is showing me so much and it’s making him so happy!  Loving God and enjoying everything he has made is the only way to be alive!  He has truly given me an abundant life!

July 4, 1998 – Saturday – 11:59 p.m.

I am now in a beautiful country home on the outskirts of Colerain, NC; a place I’ve never been to before.

I went to the youth service with David at Parkway Temple on Friday night.  It was so awesome.  I’ve never seen kids praise the Lord like that before.  I was around an entire new set of people, but I felt so at home.

After the service I went over to Justin’s house where he and all of his camp friends were getting together.  I spent another two hours with people I’ve never met before.

The past few days have just been new people after new people!  America is just filled with wonderful people everywhere I look.

Then, this morning, I left with David, Mary Jo, and Mark and we drove down to Mary Jo’s house here in Colerain, NC, 15 miles east of Ahoskie for the 4th of July.  All three of them are Divinity students at Regent, and we spent most of the day on the shore of the Chowan River that runs nearby.

Mary Jo’s parents are hilarious, especially her dad.  They are so hospitable and they fed us like crazy!  Three other friends of hers came over, Kelly and Chad from Greenville, NC and Coleen, another girl from Regent.

We swam in the river, enjoyed the beautiful scenery, but the fireworks were cancelled that evening due to strong winds.  Instead, we just sat on the swings and talked.  We spent hours and hours there; the conversation just flowed.  The warm wind blew all over us.  Coleen is so unique and beautiful.  It was just the most perfect 4th of July I could have had.  Talking and sharing with new souls who seem so eager to know you is one of life’s greatest gifts!

Now it’s time for a peaceful sleep.

July 3, 1998 – Friday – 4:03 p.m.

Matt and I went to the birthday party with David yesterday.  The girl’s name is Christina and she is turning 34.  Everyone there was what I would call a “spirit-filled revivalist” and we spent five hours praying for each other and in worship.  My body was shaking most of the night.  I was told I have a gift of prophetic intersession and I had a word from the Lord for two people that night.  I was prayed over about four different times and God told me that me being at Regent was not a mistake and it was just the beginning.  Those who prayed for me had fire in their hands, I could feel it.

God moved so much last night.  I made so many new friends and they’re so much older than me.  I’m looking forward to learning so much from them.

What a different world from Lees-McRae, where I was the only charismatic Christian who spoke in tongues until Abigail and Ann-Marie showed up.  But we never got together and prayed for each other like the group last night did.

I talked to my mom last night and she said God was rewarding me to staying faithful to his spirit during my time at Lees-McRae.  Most Christian families I spent time with during my time at Lees-McRae weren’t really “spirit-filled revivalists,” but they sure knew how to love each other and love me in a very practical way.  Perhaps God is showing me the best of both worlds to make me a complete person.

I’m amazed at how he cares for and provides for me.

July 1, 1998 – Wednesday – 11:00 p.m.

Today was a good day.  I spent the day looking for a job, so there’s a good chance I may work at a Christian bookstore in the area.  One of those could be the campus bookstore.  While there I met a guy named David, who used to be a missionary in South Africa.  We talked for a while and even hung out in his apartment for a bit.  His roommate’s name is Hunter.  They came over here later and seem to be really cool guys.

Our phones began working today, but I can only call out, no one is able to call in yet.

I called Sarah.  We seem to be living our separate lives, but still loving each other.  It’s nice.

I’ve been invited to a birthday party tomorrow at David’s church, and he says they need a drama director.  Perhaps that will be me.  Thank you God.

June 30, 1998 – Tuesday – 10:39 p.m.

I wrote a bit this morning, and then I left for the beach to go ahead and get the tourist in me out of my system.  It worked.  I feel like a resident now.

I bought a beach towel and everything and tried to play the part, but it just wasn’t my thing to do.  I took a walk.  The waves were beautiful, but I couldn’t really see them due to all the people being in the way.  I couldn’t really see the sand either since that too was covered in people.  Folks were just putting themselves in a baking oven; I couldn’t believe.  I saw white folks today who were darker than Marcus.  I walked to the end of the boardwalk and had a perfect glass of lemonade, but then I got out of there as fast as I could.

I cooked hamburgers and fries this evening.  Matt and I watched Citizen Kane, and then I went for a walk.  I took a new sidewalk that ended up leading to the far side of campus.  I walked through the campus by the CBN Headquarters.  There was so many giant satellite dishes, I just stood in amazement.  Then I found another trail that wound through some trees and ended up behind the library, which I had never been to before.  There was a sculpture of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, it was so beautiful.

I enjoy walking.

Now that I actually have a car, I do drive it, but there is just something about walking.  It feels like the land is yours when you take the time to walk over every inch of it.

Banner Elk and Lees-McRae felt like mine, but they belong to others now.

This place will be mine very soon.

June 29, 1998 – Monday – 9:29 p.m.

Today is Allen’s birthday, but I haven’t called him yet, since I don’t have my phone hooked up.  Happy 22 Allen!

Matt and I watched Braveheart last night.  I woke up kinda early this morning and tried to run some errands, but there wasn’t much I could do.  I did meet some faculty members, but very few.

I drove to the beach today.  It was very touristy, so I drove onto the Fort Henry Military Base at Cape Henry.  I went to the Cape Henry Memorial.  I was alone, it was nice, like my own little corner of the world.  There were dolphins playing in the waves.  It reminded me of Hilton Head.

Wow, that was a long time ago.

I miss Emily and Sarah.  I miss a beautiful woman in my arms.

Matt and I went to see The Truman Show tonight.  It’s such a perfect movie.  There was a beautiful storm brewing outside as we left.  I can see so much farther here.  Well, not as far as if I were on top of Grandfather Mountain, but far simply because it’s all so perfectly flat.

In nine days I depart for Texas, and five days after that I leave for South Africa.  Today I went to places I’ve never been before.  And that is pretty much going to be my life for the next month.

Tomorrow is the final day of June, then 1998 will be half over.  And I did the math, after I turn 22 in August, it’s 500 days until the year 2000.  Crazy!

Our phone should be hooked sometime tomorrow.  I’m looking forward to that.

Virginia Beach is the largest city in Virginia population wise, but it’s been pretty peaceful since I hardly know a soul.