November 4, 1998 – Wednesday – 11:00 p.m.

Tonight was wonderful.  I talked with Jeremy and Robin on the phone last night.  They are two teenagers from the youth group who had gotten into a little word fight at school concerning the youth group and their spirituality.  I was on the phone with them for hours.  They play Adam and Eve in the play, and have to get close, so things weren’t good.  I gave a little talk before practice tonight, an hour and a half long talk, about living in harmony.

I used many illustrations, even read from my journal, and I let the others talk.  Others opened up and everyone had a cry fest about all the transitions we’ve been through recently.  God healed our body, our team.

And tonight, when I got home, Christin called me up to say thank you for tonight and that I was very special to her.

Then David called and we talked about the evening.  He said the most amazing thing.  He said that he was concerned about Tammie and Jose leaving because they were a couple and that Tammie helped nature the girls.  He said he was in his office, praying, asking God to bring him some women to help in the youth group.

“Bring me another Tammie, God,” he prayed.

And he told that when he was walking down the hall in church one day, he passed me by, and God said to him, “There’s your Tammie.”

Isn’t that amazing!?

It all makes since now.  God called me here for this season to help be a spiritual mentor to these girls.  Veronica, Jenna, Tenielle, Christi, Rya, Amy, Cheryl, Jeni, Tracey, Abigail, Ann-Marie, Lindy, Hannah, Laura, Sarah, they were all to help bring me here and prepare me for this time of ministry.  God has been teaching me.

He knew what he was doing all along.

You are so perfect God!

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October 10, 1998 – Saturday – 12:30 a.m.

It’s past midnight.  Memories haunt me.  Faces, smells, and touches.  I am missing Lees-McRae.

Hard to believe it has already come and gone.

I talked to Tracey tonight.  And for the first time since she has returned to Lees-McRae, I tried to call Sarah.  I woke up her roommate instead and Sarah wasn’t there.  Elizabeth said she would have her call me.  It is Homecoming weekend there.  I’m afraid tonight I may lie awake waiting for her to call, but I know she never will, just like she never did so many nights that I waited in McAllister Dorm.

I fear God has created me to just drop me into a place for a season, then I’m off to somewhere else.

We live to communicate, but most of that is just us asking questions.

I can’t get to sleep right now.  I’m wondering what God is up to.

Why is he so good to me?  Why does he like to blow the wind through my hair?  Why am I constantly studying the shapes, angles, and beauty of every girl’s eyebrows?

Look where I am now.  This is one heck of a ride, but the ending is all that matters.

Words are losing their value.

All except these three:

Jesus loves me.

September 20, 1998 – Sunday – 8:28 p.m.

My life has gone on a crazy ride recently.  To begin, my Communication Theory class blew my mind.  God is definitely using this class to deal with the way I think and see the world.  Perhaps I’ll go into detail with that later.

I worked Wednesday afternoon and that night we had drama practice.  It went okay, but these kids really have no idea of how to do this thing, but I guess it’s my job to teach them.  Nevertheless, we all had fun.

Sometimes at Regent I feel like I just don’t fit in.  There is a Law School and a Theology School and I feel like some of those students in their suits walk by and judge me and my duck-taped sandals.

I worked all day Friday, it was a bit rough.  I just wasn’t happy with all that was around me.  But once I got off work, all that changed.

Dawn, a coworker, needed a ride home.  She’s insanely beautiful and a lot of fun, she actually reminds me Emily.  Well, I was taking her home and she wanted to stop and get some pepperoni rolls at a nearby bakery, so we did.  We ate there together and talked and it was just simple fun.  I shared a meal with an insanely beautiful girl and sometimes that is all a man needs to make it through the week.  We drove to her house, and I was just being me, you know the one that often feels like he doesn’t fit in at Regent, and she was just cracking up a storm, telling me I was the funniest thing in the world.

Thank you Dawn!  You saved my life that day.

Then, I went back to Regent to watch some of the student films that were being screened.  I saw three and they were all pretty good.  Then I left to go watch One True Thing at the Regal Cinemas.  That movie changed my whole perspective.

One day, my own mom is going to start dying.  I love her so much and that day is many years away, but still, we will all die one day.  And the movie taught me that I have so much here in Virginia Beach to love and care about.

I haven’t been doing that well enough.

I cried the entire way home from the movie.  I just a big baby in the car.  I didn’t like who I was and I wanted to change.  I asked God to forgive me.

I arrived home, slept, and got up early yesterday morning and left with some members of the youth group to go to King’s Dominion.  I spent most of the day with our leaders Tammy and Jose, as well as Kimberly and Lauren.  Kim is 15 and Laura is 13 and we eventually split off and it was just Kimberly and Lauren and me.  And I had the best day with those two.

I just loved whatever was around me.  Kim and Lauren and I talked the entire day.  I was a 22-year-old graduate student who got to feel 14 again.  God was giving me a gift and I was reminded of who I was and what I’m called to.  God knows me better than I know myself.

Kimberley reminded me a lot of Ryan, my first crush, and Kimberley said I make everything so much fun that she wants to do everything with me now, even shopping.  Lauren was an absolute sweetheart and I now have two dear new friends.

What a lovely thing that is, a friend.

One True Thing revealed to me how I had needlessly complicated my life.  I’d forgotten about the simple sounds, simply joys, simple tastes, and simple smiles of the good life.

On Saturday, September 19, 1998, I became young again.

August 26, 1998 – Wednesday – 4:21 p.m.

Hurricane Bonnie is on her way.  I am not afraid.

My encounter with Rachel was a good one.  We talked about 30 minutes.  She knows I’m at Parkway and she knows some kids out there.  She said she might come out on Friday nights.

There was a bombing in Cape Town yesterday.  It seems like the world is about to explode.

I awoke this morning to a note from Matt on my bathroom mirror saying he had to leave in the middle of the night to go on a secret mission.  He won’t be back until Sunday night. I’ve decided I think Matt is a little weird.

Last night I called Tracey, Lindy, Abigail, Ann-Marie, Dan, Vince, and Ashley from Lees-McRae.  They started their classes today.  How strange it is that I am not there.  I miss them all so much.

God please be with me here.  Let me grow and prosper.  Bring people to me that I can minister to and bring me to people who can minister to me.

I love you God.

I need you.

July 24, 1998 – Friday – 3:10 p.m.

Yesterday we went to minister in the malls in our normal street clothes without doing any drama.  Amanda was my partner; she reminds me so much of Emily.  We talked to many different people, and we bought lunch for some homeless guys.  It was nice to share the Lord with them.

Amanda, like Sarah, dreams of Broadway.  She is only 15, but her relationship with the Lord is strong.

A girl named Lauren and I had a great time putting on each other’s stage make up this morning.  She does not dream of Broadway, but of a simple life with a good husband and six kids.  And for a brief second, I dreamed I would be that good husband.  Hmmm.

It is nearly August.  I’ll be back in Virginia Beach in about 15 days.  We only have six days of ministry left here, but other days of worship, safaris, and traveling.  I hope to leave here with the mailing addresses of all my new American friends.  They spread all of the nation, so much so, I could travel America and never have to pay for a hotel room.

My parents are moving soon.  I will be a student again soon.  But all I want is to truly know my Jesus.  I lay my life before you Lord.  Please reveal yourself to me.  I just want to love you.

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 15, 1998 – Wednesday – 10:30 p.m.

Tomorrow is the birthday of two girls on my team: Angela and Sarah.  One will turn 15, the other 19.  Angela has an amazing heart in her and I see a fire in Sarah’s eyes that I never saw in my own Sarah.  And I’m jealous because she is so bright at just 15.

I’ve had some unique food so far, but it has all been pretty good.

Today was dedicated to rehearsal our street drama and we’ve got it down pretty well.

This morning during my quiet time, God showed me how important each of the people here are to him and how happy he makes him to see us sharing our life for this brief time.  Already I feel haunted by their eyes.  The girls here seem so pure.  I like how righteous they carry themselves and how they are saving themselves for their husbands.

And I am doing the same, though my two previous girlfriends so desperately wanted me to touch them.  But even that is too far, for a girl here said a guy should treat a girl like fine china, “no fingerprints.”

Hmmm.

Well, God protected me, and seeing all these pure eyes and pure spirits has given me so much hope that I will marry a woman who loves God as much as the girls around me do.

And I think they see the same in me.  One girl told me this morning that I was such an amazing guy.

Paul just entered.  He is 15, but in no way looks like it.  He is 6’3″ and from Maryland.

John is my other roommate.  He is 19 and from Arizona.

They are both here now.  Time to chat with them.