July 11, 1999 – Sunday – 10:10 p.m.

The events of the past four days seem very distant and foggy.  We’ve had plane trouble, so we are still at the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.  Needless to say, things have been crazy.  Let me try to recap.

I did see Brandon and Sara and their little Madison at Disneyland.  Mary spent a little time with us.  It was so good to see them.  We took a break from the park in the middle of the day and I went with Brandon back to his hotel room.  Little Madison and I played together there.  We had so much fun!  She’s the cutest little girl.

Disney was a good time, and Mary and I were able to have some alone time there as well.  I saw the Fanstamic show that night.  It was really neat; such imagination!

Thursday we went about an hour east of L.A. to Fontana and spent the day with this youth church out there.  They treated us so kindly.  During that time Mary and I had a chance to talk, and we really opened up to each other, which may not have been a good thing.  I can hardly remember what was said now, but it was a sweet and precious time.

However, she has been acting really funny the past few days.  She’s been acting really selfish and her conversation used to be really Godly, but now it has been totally petty and pointless.  I’m not sure what happened, but when yesterday came, I was so ready to go home.

We went to Santa Monica and there the whole group just stopped acting like a group of Christians doing ministry and started acting really worldly; especially Mary.  I hated it.

After sunset we went to the observatory near the Hollywood Sign.  I needed to get away from everyone, so I slipped away and found a trail down to the left.  I sat there, finally alone and sang to my Jesus.  All of the man-made lights below me were beautiful.  I saw the entirety of the L.A. skyline and the surrounding areas and there the Lord and I had a special time above those 13 million people.  There were even fireworks off in the distance.

I thought about who I was and what I was supposed to do.  I thought about how Mary was perfect for me on some days and totally wrong for me on other days.  I thought about the homeless woman I saw try to kill herself by laying down in front of an on-coming train.  And I thought about how natural it felt to be in L.A.  Finally, I thought about how thankful I was that I’d soon be leaving.

Last night, before we left the observatory, we had a time of reflection where everyone went around and said goodbye to me and shared their feelings about me.  I’m leaving the team when we land in Norfolk, but they have another couple of weeks together.  They all said very sweet things, things I’ve heard others say about me before.  The greatest compliment though was that I not only taught them the Masks drama, but that the example of my life revealed to each member of the team the mask that each of them was hiding behind.  They told me that I have a wisdom unlike any they’ve ever encountered.

I shared with them how hard it was to strip my soul bare for every new group of people, but that doing so also continually helps me and keeps me open; though sometimes it feels like it nearly destroys me.

. . .

So, I’m in the air now, flying far above both land and clouds.  I don’t know about Mary and I, except that I will try to keep in touch through email.  I’m looking forward to getting some things together and organized for the next year of school.  I hope to visit some Lees-McRae friends during the first couple of weeks in August.

Thank you for these days sweet Jesus.  Thank you for molding me and for fixing me.

And thank you Mary.  I will remember L.A.

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July 7, 1999 – Wednesday – 7:40 a.m.

Everyone else is getting ready.  We will leave for Disneyland soon and hopefully I’ll get to see Brandon and Sara and little Madison today at 1:00 p.m.  Yesterday, after working in a soup kitchen, and a rummage shop, we went to the 3rd street promenade down on Santa Monica Blvd.  It was so crazy.  The richest people.  The poorest people.  Complete chaos.  We performed Masks, but the CD player messed up, so it was a disaster.  Oh well.

Mary is sitting in front of me right now, eating Honey Nut Cheerios.  Throughout each day we find the smallest ways to touch each other and show our affection.  I can’t believe I’m going to leave her soon.  It hasn’t truly hit me yet.

Man, life is crazy.  I’m in L.A., surrounded by 13 million people who don’t know me.  I’ve got four days left here.  I’m sure I’ll spend time here again, that much is clear to me.  But the true question on my mind is…will my beautiful Mary be with me?

 

July 6, 1999 – Tuesday – 3:15 p.m.

I’m in L.A.  I don’t really like this town.  It seems so odd.  We went to Beverly Hills, we went to Hollywood.  I saw all the handprints at that Chinese Theater, but none of it made any sense to me.  It seemed like idol worship.  I hear there are other smaller towns where film production happens like Wilmington, NC, Austin, TX, or Tulsa, OK.  Perhaps I should look into them.

I’ve been here a day and already it seems very clear that I’m not supposed to move here.  We are now leaving to feed the homeless, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many in one place.

 

July 5, 1999 – Monday – 10:40 a.m.

This has been the greatest of all mornings.

I sit now in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport in Texas.  I was here nearly a year ago.  I sure didn’t know then that I’d be back.  The rest of the team is in the air right now, on their way to L.A.  I, because I’m an adult, was forced to take a later flight since the other one was over booked.

So, I’m alone now, and that is a good thing.  I need this time to write.

We had an outreach in Chesapeake on Saturday and afterwards the team went to see Tarzan at the movies.  I sat next to Mary.  Our elbows rested on the same arm rest and touched.  And around the middle of the movie, we discovered that we could touch each other’s fingers through the cup holder without any of the team seeing.

It was awesome.

After the show everyone went to my apartment and some of the girls and Corey cooked for everyone.  Mary and I got a chance to talk again.  We wanted to make sure that we weren’t just using each other for a little summer fling.  We hold each other in the highest respect.  The night ended in a crazy conversation about our most embarrassing moments.  Everyone was laughing so hard. A dozen or more teens were in my apartment having the time of their life and not even realizing it.  It was priceless.

July 4th was the next morning and we ministered at a small church in Toano, which is the same town my grandparents live in.  I went to visit both sets.  I even saw my dad, who didn’t look well at all.  He’s gotten insanely fat.  He also told me that Kevin got in another accident last night.

I hurriedly returned to my Master’s Commission gang, fully aware that I’d rather spend time with them than my own father.  We decided to take the super long and scenic route back to Chesapeake, which involved a ferry ride.  That evening, Meagan and Mary and I went to Meagan’s beautiful country home out in Pungo.  The three of us drove to Sandbridge and spend the final hours of the last 4th of July of the 1900s playing in the deep dark waves of the Altantic Ocean.  An airplane made amazing glow-in-the-dark smoke trails in the star-filled sky above.  The night was perfect, but soon midnight came and the day that I am now breathing in began.

We left Sandbridge around one in the morning.  Meagan drove, Mary sat in front of me, and she would reach back and we would hold and touch each other’s hands.  We got to the house and showered all the salt and sand off of us.  Meagan went to bed and then, for about two hours, I held and touched the most amazing girl alive.

Mary and I spent the early hours of this morning realizing this would be the only chance we had to touch each other.  So, we cautiously spoke into each other’s hearts while guarding them at the same time.  We did not sleep.  It was the most precious few hours of my history.  How beautiful was its purity!  Her soft skin.  Her eyebrows.  Her neck.  Her back.  Her ears.  Her hair.  Oh, and she wanted to shave my face, so I let her.  And then I shaved her legs.  How weird and crazy we are!

I want her so bad, but I’ll only be around her for another week, and in the busy town of L.A. at that.  Our conversation this morning was so precious.  We were no longer two team leaders, but we were man and woman, stopping the world for a few brief hours, so we could acknowledge the value in each other.  Thank you for this morning God.  Use it for your glory!

Now she flies over New Mexico, while I sit in Texas.  Why do goodbyes take place?  Why do I have to part from this girl?  If coming to Virginia Beach did anything for me, it introduced me to Mary, and that makes everything worth it!

Above that though, God has used her to do a healing in me.  My faith in Christian women has grown strong again.  She and I are no accident.  We are no mishap.  This is divine.  I’m not saying she is the one, I’m just saying she has been divinely appointed to me for this brief time, as I have been to her.

Sweet Jesus, you never let me go.  You are my desire.  You bring such good things into my life.  Thank you!

 

July 3, 1999 – Saturday – 9:15 a.m.

Mary and I talked yesterday about our relationship with one another.  It was amazing.  We were so honest and so smart about it.  Thank you God for your wisdom.  She said that when I touched her face on Thursday night, she melted.  I told her that God has been speaking to me very much about my career through this trip, and that he said nothing about a girl.  That doesn’t mean that we are not put together for a purpose though.  So, we are just soaking each other in, appreciating this time.  God, please protect our hearts.  Please have your will.

Last night we ministered at Parkway Temple.  God did a work in me, preparing me for L.A.  I cannot believe the work he is doing in me.  I see now that I am so small.  I used to think I was called to save Hollywood, but I’m actually just a small town church kid going to film school.  I’m not called to break down the chains of bondage around Hollywood, I’m just called to pray, to praise his name, to live in holiness, and to love others.

He’s the one doing everything.  He is all powerful and mighty.  I just wake up and worship him.

 

July 2, 1999 – Friday – 8:30 a.m.

A beautiful and precious thing happened last night.  After a crazy and peaceful afternoon full of tubing behind a boat, swimming, laying out in the sun, little miniature sandstorms and a yummy seafood buffet, Mary and I ended up alone together on the walkway of the Cape Henry Memorial in Northern Virginia Beach.  A tall lighthouse was off to our right, and a beautiful huge house was on our left with all the windows lit up.  The ocean was out in front, yet we were high above it, and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel to the Eastern Shore was sparkling over the horizon.

And there in that perfect spot we were able to spend fifteen minutes away from the group.  We heard nothing but the waves, the wind, and each other’s voice.

The wind blew some of her hair into her eye, so I moved it back behind her ear.  It felt so good to touch her face.

I have been to that spot twice now.  Both during the summer; once in 1998 and now once in 1999.  It will remain a special corner of this world in my heart.

The group had some discussion time this morning.  Many little petty things were taken care of.  I’m so thankful that God gave me this adventure for the summer.  It is a blessing.

I’ve been reading over the beatitudes in Matthew.  Our Lord is so simple and wise.  How I love him who made me.

Lord I want to bless and protect Mary’s heart, not hinder or destroy it.  Let me know what to do and how to act.

Thank you so much for your protection over my life.  I want to bring you as much joy as you bring me.  You are perfect in all your ways!

July 1, 1999 – Thursday – 7:50 a.m.

I’m at Seth’s house in Norfolk.  The guys stayed here last night.  What a wonderful family.  The father went to Lees-McRae; crazy!  And the brother-in-law went to Regent.  He and Seth’s sister pastor Living Word Church where we ministered last night.  Its amazing to see a family so united.  I pray I stay good friends with all these Master’s Commission kids after this is over.

Everybody, the guys and the girls, have started picking on Mary and I.  They say our crushes on each other are so obvious.  They’ve been giving us a hard time, but we just laugh along and enjoy it.

The thing that gets me most about Mary is her relationship and dedication to God.  She is so strong in her faith, and she feels to be so intimate and romantic with him, it even intimidates me.  She is a born leader with a romantic spirit towards life!

Tuesday night during the service at Bethel in Pungo, I just sat at the altar seeking God’s will about my career in theater and film.  After a while, a man whom I did not see, for my eyes were closed, laid his hands on my head and God spoke through him to me.  He told me he would take me beyond what I had envisioned for my future, to lean not on my own understanding, and to follow him.

I cried.  Then I took a walk in the parking lot under a full red moon and listened to the frogs.  The word gave me a new level of trust.  I feel called to do a work, but it may not be forever, it may just be for a season, and there is something else beyond that work.

July has begun.  Will I have finished my Master’s degree by this time next year?  The last 4th of July was spent with David and Colleen on a swing by windy riverbank in Colerain, NC.

I wonder if Mary and I are just two lonely Christians forced to spend a lot of time together, or is it something deeper and divine?

Will I ever have a wall with pictures of my children hanging on it?

What will happen to me when I step off the plane in Los Angeles?

I talked to Dan and Lindy the other morning.  They told me that Curtis and his girlfriend Megan are planning on getting married next August.  That sent me for a whirl.  And they said Allen and Jessica are talking about getting engaged over Christmas.  Lindy is looking into moving to Houston for a theater gig, Dan might go to Denver for YWAM, and Vince may go back to Guatemala.

Seth just came up.

Its time for breakfast.