September 6, 1998 – Sunday – 9:39 a.m.

It’s been three years now since Syndi and I went to Deep Creek.  That night with her, just sitting and talk in her car, still remains one of the most amazing conversations of my life.  I can in no way remember what was said, but only that it made an impression upon my soul.

Friday night’s youth service went really well, and we are having our first drama meeting on Wednesday night.  These kids are amazing.  I can’t believe God gave me this beautiful family so early after arriving to a new land.

Yesterday, Nicole and a girl named Patricia and I went up to my Grandparent’s house for lunch and to do some filming for a video project we have due.  We had such a good time. My grandparents were great hosts.

Last night I went over to Mary Jo’s and April’s since they were having a get-together.  I met some new people and we laughed the whole night.

The God that I love today is the same God who loved me and watched over me in my youth.  Even then, he knew.

I talked with Josh and Jessica over the weekend.  Josh was such an inspiration to me.  He also seemed lonely.  He misses me and I miss him.  He said things are different at Lees-McRae.  He said I was able to join all the people together and he can tell a difference now that I’m not there.  I told him that he should make the effort to bring people together.  We prayed and he admitted that perhaps it was him and not the others.  He says he feels really insecure and he’s not sure the others want to be his friend.

I do miss Lees-McRae, but I know that is not where I supposed to be right now.  I know without a doubt that is was where God wanted me for the days between August 28, 1994 and May 10, 1998.

And he has set these days here at Regent aside for me now.

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September 2, 1998 – Wednesday – 11:56 p.m.

Another September 2nd has come and gone again.  Already September.  Ten days until the six year anniversary of that night in the balcony with Ryan and the others watching Jason perform two roles in Camelot.

Such good days.

Monday classes were fun.  I have definitely found my place and can that God destined me to attend this school here and now so long ago.  Tuesday afternoon I went to see Saving Private Ryan again, only this time with two girls I met at the swing club, Chris and Nicole.  Nicole is 24 and Chris is 22.  After class on Monday, Nicole and I walked back to the Regent Apartments together.  It is long trail through the woods and we had a nice chat.  And after the movie yesterday, we hung out together in Nicole’s apartment for a while, just talking about movies.

I got an email from Sarah.  She says she went to Banner Elk Christian Fellowship on Sunday and plans to continue.  That is a good thing.  She seems to be doing okay, but her email had an echo of loneliness in it.

I sent Doc an email, just thanking her for Lees-McRae and telling her what was going on. She sent a lovely poem back to me and said she posted that email for all to read.

I purchased the widescreen version of Titanic yesterday and watched it last night with Matt.

I couldn’t help but think of my days with Sarah.

I miss the sound of her voice.

August 16, 1998 – Sunday – 9:10 a.m.

I called Sharon last night, left a message and she called me back.

I miss them so much.  All that is in that house is what I want for my own life.  Sharon told me how Hannah is taller than Laura now, that Hannah cooks breakfast sometimes and can crack an egg with one hand.

It is August again.  I know exactly how Lees-McRae and Banner Elk feel this time of year. RA training begins tomorrow, but without me for the first time in three years.  I remember my first room there, the window, the view of the ground, and that old spoon that someone threw out.

I called Abigail two nights ago at her house in Tega Cay, SC.  We had such a nice talk and she really seemed to genuinely care about me.  She was so happy that I called and she said my name they way she used to say it.  I love the way she says it.

I do have some good friends on this planet.  Thank you God.

Yesterday was a great day.  I worked with Dawn, a beautiful girl who just turned 18 and graduated from high school.  She is engaged.  It was only the two of us working yesterday.  She seemed to open up to me a little bit.  I pray I can have a good friend in her.  I pray that when classes begin I can meet some people close to my age that my spirit really connects with.

I went to the movies alone yesterday.  I saw The Mask of Zorro.  It was alright, but Saving Private Ryan and The Truman Show are the best movies I’ve seen this year.

I’ve been writing a lot recently.  I want to be in another show.  It feels like I’m starving, not having a project to work on.

Today is the last day I will ever be 21-years-old.

Time to go enjoy it!

August 5, 1998 -Wednesday – 8:30 a.m.

Yesterday was our final day of ministry, and we went out with a bang.  Three of our four teams came together and did the drama simultaneously.  We led an entire township to the Lord.  Today we will do some debriefing and then go on a safari.  We head out to the airport tomorrow.

So much has happened during my few weeks here.  I have seen poverty unlike I ever have before.  I have so much to be thankful for, including my health.  I’ve dealt with my pride, and know with confidence that I do not want to return to Sarah.  This time was a great way for me to transition from college to graduate school.  Being here, I have realized how much my heart longs for the salvation of the American people.

So, after seeing some fantastic African animals in the wild, I will humbly return to America and serve my God.  I am nothing and the salvation of one more person is everything.

June 13, 1998 – Saturday – 11:07 a.m.

Things aren’t good.  I don’t feel happy.  I came to visit this place and it’s people.  They tell me they love me, but in reality my time here is over.  I am a “has been.”  This place is different now, for it seems Allen and Vince drink way too often, and even once Sarah returned to this land I felt a distance from her that I felt during the semester.

We talked a little last night, and I don’t think I’ll see her much this weekend.  This land is still new to her, she wants to visit with her friends who have stayed up here for Summer Theater, and I don’t want to compete for her time or attention.

I’m pretty miserable, for I no longer have my own room or place to go.  Lindy wants to stay up here longer and doesn’t want to take me back home now.  I’m not sure if Sarah or Jessi do either.  I feel like a burden, like extra baggage.

I’m staying over at Charlie’s.  The guys know I’m here, but they already made plans for the weekend and aren’t changing them.

I simply shouldn’t have come.

May 10, 1998 was a wonderful ending.  Now I fear this weekend will be all I see when I remember this place.  If this is how it will be from here on out, I don’t want to visit this place again.

I’d rather it live in on my memory…in my dreams.

June 3, 1998 – Wednesday – 10:00 p.m.

I just got back from church.  You know, I’m really beginning to miss Lees-McRae.  It can never again be like it was.  Vince, Dan, Allen, Curtis, Charlie, Justin, Josh, etc.; I don’t think I’ve ever had better friends.  Lindy, Tracey, Jeni, Abigail, Ann-Marie, Jessica, Ashley, Ellen, Jessi, Sherlive; I don’t think I’ve ever known sweeter girls.

Except for Sarah, of course.

And I know the God who designed their souls, who drew out the patterns in their eyes, who knew those very eyes would one day shoot daggers through my own soul.

A week from tomorrow I will be leaving to visit them all again with Lindy.

I feel Sarah has changed since she has returned home and taken her job at YMCA.  She seems more mature.  I like it.  I think about her constantly.  I want her forever; to grow old with her.  To simply experience everything by her side.

I will soon go a long time without seeing her, but I will never go a long time without loving her.

I’ve been thinking and I believe that my life has stages.  God plans on using me in different places, different areas, and in each area, in each place, he just wants to watch me interact with and love the other people he has made.  He wants me to experience his creation.  He made me to show me off, and he made others to show them off.

But each stage will eventually come to an end, and the love between us will be all that will live on.

Nothing truly dies.

The Emmanuel Players skit group was a time.

Chatham Central High School was a time.

Lees-McRae College was a time.

Heaton Christian Church was a time.

South Africa will be a time.

Regent University will be a time.

And possibly, some day, I will satisfy these desires in me to make movies, to make theater, to write, and I will move on to what’s next.

It’s funny though, because through all of these stages, I feel they came to a peak when God showed me Sarah.  Or perhaps it feels that way because I’m currently in this moment.  Perhaps she is just here to aid in the transition to the next stage.

If I never see Sarah again after South Africa, all will still be well for the rest of my life, for I know I at least had seven great months by her side.

And even an hour is way more than I deserve.

May 27, 1998 – Wednesday – 11:30 a.m.

I received a letter from Emily yesterday.  It was very sad.  Her break up with Brandon has destroyed her.  She has been with him for as long as she has known me.  I talked with her over the phone for an hour and a half.  She cried the entire time.

She is such a beautiful girl with a very tender heart.  She doesn’t like the world and refuses to let her harden her.

I talked to Sarah yesterday too, and she isn’t enjoying her job.  She was down as well.

I’ve been praying for both of them.

I can’t believe this month is over.

Lees-McRae is over.

I feel my life drastically changing under my own feet.  What lies behind me was unbelievable, but I still feel there is more for me.

Oh God, you are doing this…not me.

I miss Sarah.  I miss the guys.  I miss me when I’m with them.