September 15, 1999 – Wednesday – 4:30 p.m.

Hurricane Floyd is on his way up the coast, but my soul is calm.  All classes and work have been cancelled for tomorrow.  I bought some new music today.  Music makes me so happy and peaceful, especially the music that sings of my savior.

Today was SEE YOU AT THE POLE.  I went to Kimberly’s school to pray.

Early in the afternoon I drove through the rain to downtown Norfolk to go the federal building, but it was closed.  So I just walked around in the rain.  It was nice.  I went to Town Pointe Park and to the Armed Forces memorial.  And there at that flag pole, I placed my SEE YOU AT THE POLE bracelet.  I stood there in the rain, and I thought of all those who had died for my freedom to pray to God in this nation.  And even as I’m writing this, I’m still so thankful.

August 6, 1999 – Friday – 8:32 a.m.

Well… I am in Freeport, Maine.

Wednesday morning I left Banner Elk to drive through Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia to get to Mount Airy, MD.  I stayed with Lindy’s parents.  Her house is so neat.  She is from classic, small town America.  Her parents and I had some pasta and then walked around downtown.  I wish she could have been with me.

I woke up yesterday morning and drove through Pennsylvania and New York to get to Connecticut, where I took a scenic route, and then drove through Rhode Island and downtown Boston, Massachusetts.  Boston was under some major construction and the traffic was horrible, so I got out of there as fast as possible, drove through a small corner of New Hampshire, and now I’m in Freeport, Maine, just outside of Portland.

I couldn’t find a campground and it was pouring outside, so I got a hotel room that cost me over $70.  It is really kind of scary being way up here all alone.  It didn’t hit me until it got dark.  Portland seems interesting, but I’ve been listening to the radio and they are talking about Y2K, which sounds terrifying.

Well, I’m going to leave this shoreline and drive up to the mountains.

 

August 7, 1998 – Friday – 7:00 a.m

I’m in America!  America the beautiful.  Everyone working in the Miami airport though speaks Spanish.  I have yet to hear English.

I am in the same state as my parents; the same state as Emily.

So, according to all the news magazine covers, it appears the world is going nuts over something Bill Clinton did.  I’m not sure what exactly, but there is this other woman on the covers that is not his wife.  I’m back in America for one second and I’m already disgusted.

Ducky is here with me now.  Her real name is Amy.  I call her Ducky because she kinda looks like Ducky from The Land Before Time.  She keeps glancing over here and reading everything I write.  Doesn’t she know journals are personal?  Quit looking!

Ha, she’s smiling now.

I’m sure I’ll read this a few years from now and have a good laugh.  Thanks Ducky!

July 18, 1998 – Saturday – 9:00 p.m.

I have some free time to myself now.  I just called my mom and she said she had a mammogram and they found something.  She is going in on Tuesday to get it taken care of.  I trust God will take care of her.

Today we went into some other Joburg places.  I led a young boy named Isaac to the Lord and talked to many young South African children who were already Christians.  Everyone here dreams of America and they ask us if we personally know movie stars.  They all want to live there.  It’s crazy!

I ate dinner with Dawn, Jessica, Rebecca, and Amy; they’re such beautiful girls.  Jessica looks like Jewel.  Anyway, Amy began telling me how much she misses me since we are not on a team together.  She was at the MA camp with me.  She said that I was a person who meant the world to her simply for being myself.  Then all the girls started talking about how neat and unique I was.  Finally Jessica, with whom I’ve shared some nice conversations and longing stares, laid her head on my arm and said, “I’m very glad that I met you.”

These are some of the most amazing girls I’ve ever come across.  I feel so far away from that chapter of my life that was obsessed with Sarah now.  It’s as though I’ve opened up a beautiful new book.  I’m in Africa for crying out loud!

I left the table after talking to Amy for a while and hung outside with Brandy and Krista, two homesick girls.  I told them some jokes and they both said the next time they feel down, they are coming to me since I made them feel so much better.

There were two girls, Alana and Liz, at dinner who yelled out “J-Dog!” and startled me so much I fell out of my chair.  Oh, this place is so much fun!  I want to take all these people with me into my future so I can be with them forever.  But forever will have to wait until Heaven.  Until then, I can be with them now.  I must be fully alive and aware that this moment is passing.  I don’t want to fully live in the moment I have.

I spent some good quality time talking with Shawn, my Team Leader, on the bus this evening.  His leadership style has confused some missionaries, so I talked with him about it.  He’s 26 and runs us like an Army platoon, which is fine, but some aren’t used to that.

I’m thankful I can blend so well with the younger ones as well as the older ones. Oh God, you are so good to me.  Everyday you amaze me.  The eyes and smiles of those I shared the gospel with yesterday are firmly planted in my mind.  Thank you for the gift of memory.  I can’t wait until Heaven!

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.

April 15, 1995 – Saturday – 1:20 a.m.

It’s been a long day!  To me it is still Friday, so I will refer to it as such.

I went out to eat with Dan, Charlie, and Jaime today.  We ate at The Parson’s Table in Historical Jonesboro, Tennessee.  Dan works there and had a $50 gift certificate to help cover the cost for all of us, but it was still an expensive lunch.  Amazing meal though.  The restaurant is beautiful.  It’s in this old church.

After lunch we went out to Dan’s place.  Dan is 25-years-old.  He is from Oregon and currently attending Emmanuel School of Religion in Johnson City.  He arrived here about two weeks before I did.  He stays at a house with four other guys who attend Emmanuel.  He lives out in the country in Eastern Tennessee.  It was so beautiful out there today.  The three of them talked summer business for the youth group.  I went for a walk while they did that for their back yard is a huge mountain.

I found a trail and followed it a little ways.  The trees are beginning to bloom.  It was so beautiful.

Dan’s hobby is photography.  He’s very good at it.  I saw several of his photo albums.  I realized that there is so much I don’t know and so much I haven’t seen.  When he came to school here, he drove all the way from Oregon to Eastern Tennessee.

Do you realize how much of America that is?  I’ve seen so little of America.

Dan went to work and on the way back home we stopped at Milligan College to simply look at it.  It was a beautiful school.  I saw a student walking on the sidewalk by himself.  I realized that he had loved somebody in his past.  And at the same time he was walking, there was a girl on that campus thinking of another guy on that campus.  Somebody is falling in love with someone else on that campus right now.

Every student has their own story to tell.

When Charlie and I got back to Lees-McRae we had a water gun fight.  We both soaked each other.  We went to see Tommy Boy later on.  It was funny, but Act Ventura and Billy Madison were funnier.

Charlie really is just a big baby.  Tonight he did everything just to get his way.  It hurts a lot.  He puts me down and doesn’t even know he is doing it.  He thinks that Performing Arts is a waste of my college life.  He just doesn’t see me.

I complement him all the time, about how good of a preacher he is and about how I value you him as my brother in Christ.  But he just tosses me around.  And I let him.

Perhaps he will see me one day.

The guy who lives across the hall from me is named Mike.  Tonight, around midnight he and I went to see the Brown Mountain Lights.  It is supposedly an unexplainable natural phenomenon.  During the day you see nothing, but when you look towards that ridge at night you see what looks like a flashing city, but it is only trees.  Some say they are UFOs, others say they are the spirits of dead Indians.

There are so many mysteries on this earth that cannot be explained.

And truthfully…I think Emily and I are one of them.

I love you Emily.

January 15, 1994 – Saturday – 10:30 p.m.

Today is January 15, 1994 and today would go under the category of “One of the Best Days of My Life.”  It wasn’t exactly what happened that made it a good day, but it was more about what I learned.

The only way to begin is with last night, which also ties in with today.

After work, I went to Mr. Gatti’s; mom dropped me off.  Jenna, Tenielle, Shar, and Sunny showed up a few minutes later.  Shar and I split a pizza.  Then Scott showed up and he had a few slices.  Later, Jenna, Tenielle, Shar, Sunny and I played a game.  It’s too difficult to describe here, but we had a blast.

While we were playing, Ryan came in with a friend.  They sat at a table across the room and then a guy sat with them.  For about 45 minutes I didn’t say a word to her, then I excused myself from the game for a moment and went over to her table and said, “I just wanted to say ‘hey’ so you couldn’t accuse me of being stuck up later.”  I smiled.  She smiled back and said, “Oh Jacob,” and I left and went back and sat with the four girls.

Four.

It hit me.  Something was different.  All the other times I went to Mr. Gatti’s it was always with Ryan, Amy, Cheryl, and Christi.

Now, I was with Jenna, Tenielle, Sunny, and Shar.  Retrospect hit me and all the girls noticed something was wrong and kept begging me to tell them what I was thinking.  Jenna and Tenielle mostly.

The five of us joked about everything.  I never did tell them though until later.  The evening was great fun, but then we had to leave.  Sunny’s parents came to pick them up and they said that they needed a ride tomorrow to the door to door ministry shindig.  I offered to pick them up.  Sunny’s mom gave me directions.

They left.  I went with Scott to his house and Kevin picked me up from there later.

We went home and soon, morning came.

We picked up Marcus, like we do every Saturday morning, (unless he’s staying the night), and we drove to Sanford.  Cheryl showed up at Band Practice.  I was supposed to leave at 10:00 a.m. to get Jenna, Tenielle, Sunny, and Shar.  I didn’t leave until 10:30 a.m. since Kevin and Marcus took the car to get something to eat.

Well, I’ve never been in that part of Lee County before and I got lost.  When I finally found their house, I discovered that they somehow conjured up another ride and had already left because they didn’t think I was coming.  Well, I drove back and when I arrived at the church, I saw Tenielle running out to explain everything.  Jenna and Shar followed.  Sunny didn’t come.

We all had a good laugh.  We then went in and prayed for a while and then head out into the city to spread the Word.

Dear God…I saw poverty today like nothing I’ve ever seen before.  And I complain when the hot water in the shower runs out.  It made me thankful.

Very thankful.

A few people got saved, one baptized in the spirit.  A wonderful, wonderful, time.  There is nothing like sharing the gospel.  I love it.

We all ate pizza back at the church and had a service.  I took the three girls back and we had a wonderful conversation.  I told them what I was thinking about in terms of Ryan and the other girls I used to spend a lot of time with.  They were thankful I was with them.  I wish I could live through that conversation again.  There was more laughter and joy in that short drive than I’m most experience in a week.

I took Shar to her house and Jenna and Tenielle to theirs.  They live in a trailer park.  The trailer itself isn’t that bad.  When we got there, Jenna gave me a letter she had written to me the night before.  And their mom gave me $3 for gas money…I accepted.

We said our goodbye’s and I left.  While I drove off, I saw Jenna come outside in the bitter cold and wave goodbye.  I waved back and drove on.  In the rearview mirror, I saw her standing there waiting until she couldn’t see my car anymore, then I’m assuming she went back inside.

I smiled.

When I got back to the church, the skit group met and we got stuff cleared away.

Then myself, Kevin, Marcus, Cheryl, and Sherry and her sister all went bowling.  I won and then the three girls left while I watched Kevin and Marcus play a game in the arcade.  While there, I saw so many people acting “worldly.”  Praise God I’m a Christian.  I can be myself and take off my mask.  Everyone always seems to be performing for everyone else; trying to get attention; simply being too loud.  It’s like I’m the only one who is aware of who I am.

We went home, and I read Jenna’s letter.  I’ll try to write in here later.

The reason today was so wonderful was because it was so simple.

Right now I’m going to call Brandon; Mom said he called earlier.

And I’m going to end this wonderful day by talking to my wonderful friend who moved across America more than a year ago.