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 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 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!

June 19, 1999 – Saturday – 11:30 p.m.

I’m in Buckingham, VA exactly six years after the first time I met Emily.  This has been a very good day.  Our Master’s Commission team met at Parkway Temple and drove to Richmond.  There we met up with Mary and were trained in rock climbing.  Mary and I have been talking all day and she is simply amazing.  I’m just floored by her.  Thank you God for her.  These three weeks will be fantastic, mainly because I will be near her.  This time with her is a gift from God.

Mary is the mentor for the girls and I’m the mentor for the guys.  Their names are Corey, Matt, and Seth.  Camp starts tomorrow night.  It is simply wonderful to be here.

I love you Jesus.

June 4, 1999 – Friday – 10:39 p.m.

Looking back, I see my little midnight drive down the Outer Banks to be the latest Eternal Instant of my life.  It was perfect; just me and the Lord.

I slept Wednesday night for a solid twelve hours.

I met with Dayton today about Master’s Commission.  It’s fifteen days away.  I give God all the glory and thanks for this opportunity.  I’m going to spend three weeks all over Virginia and Los Angeles.  So perfect!  My collection continues to grow.

This has been a difficult week.  There now remains only one week of my summer courses.  I am in four Actor Coaching scenes, I’m directing another one, plus I have a 15-page Film Noir paper due, as well as a Film Noir final exam.  But it will all get done; it always does.  God is good.

After being here for nearly a year, I’m beginning to see how much this place is becoming a part of me.  I remember how bizarre the streets were when I first arrived.  Now I know my way around here like it’s all mine.

Visions of Fire Youth Ministries is simply amazing.  It is an honor to be a part of it.  Our worship band is so anointed.  They play as good as any band on the market.  I feel bad because school keeps me from expanding the drama team.  I’m not really sure what is happening with it, but I am sure that many special, beautiful, and perfect moments occur in this land.  Between the bookstore, the classroom, the church, the youth, the film shoots, and the time I find to be alone…God is blessing me as though I were a king.  He prepared this place for me.

You are my king sweet Jesus!

Forever and ever!

May 26, 1999 – Wednesday – 7:38 a.m.

I slept with the window open last night and this bird that sounded like Scuttle woke me up.

The past few days have been pleasant.  Matt has been gone for the past three weeks, but he finally returned last night.  My summer classes have been nice and I’ve been able to act in one of them.

It is nearing June, which is the month in which I first came here.

God is good to me.  I’m thankful everyday.

I’ll finish school on the 14th of June and then I’ll work as the Key Grip on Josh’s film until the 20th.  That’s when I’ll leave for Northern Virginia.  I’ll spend two weeks all over Virginia and then one week in L.A.  And it looks like I’ll get to see Brandon while I’m over in L.A.  He’s my good buddy who moved out to Arizona when I was in high school.

I love you Jesus.

May 15, 1999 – Saturday – 8:43 p.m.

It’s the middle of May.  The world seems to be covered in Star Wars merchandise.  If we only celebrated Jesus the way we celebrate Jedi.

I only have four weeks of summer classes remaining.

I believe God is dealing with me about how to graduate.  I could just take comprehensive exams, but I’ve decided I need to make a short film while I’m here.  I am going to make Eyebrows.  It may keep me here another year, but it would be a tragedy if I came out of film school without something major under my belt.

I went to the mall today and quickly grew overwhelmed.  It just seems like the world is getting worse.  How much longer than this go on?  I don’t even feel like I live in this world; I’m not in touch with popular culture.  I’m sure I’m missing out, but I’m so thankful that I’m so comfortable in my solitude.

This evening I spent 15 minutes over at Mary Jo’s.  Her new guy Rob was there and he’s okay, but wow, Mary Jo becomes a complete weirdo when she’s around him.  She even sounds different in her voice.  Super strange.

David and the youth group went to Richmond for Youth Quest, but I stayed back to watch Ed’s short film that I was in.  Our kids did really well and David said that about ten of them will go to Nationals.

I’m proud to work with those kids.

Thanks God.