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.

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August 27, 1998 – Thursday – 5:10 p.m.

We had a youth ministry meeting last night.  I’m excited about how God is using me at Parkway.  I also talked to Jeni over the phone last night.  It is so great to know we have a wonderful friendship.

I got an email from Sarah.  It was rude and cold, but I wrote the nicest letter back.

Orientation is tomorrow.  I only have classes on Monday, which I guess is nice, but it is very different from what I’m used to.  I want to go to class, I like it, but now they are all crammed into one day.  How different my new world is.

Matt called last night.  He went to Minnesota because his girlfriend’s dad has brain cancer and might die.  I’ve had the place to myself and it’s simply insane with how well I get along with myself.

Emily is supposed to call tonight.  I wish I could hold her.  She makes life normal.  She makes it romantic.  She adds so much and she does so little.  I do hope the day will come when we can see each other again.

I need to share my heart, to share my life.  I need to ride out and see the Grand Canyon with someone.

 

August 19, 1998 – Wednesday – 8:21 a.m.

There are nearly 500 days left in this millennium.  Crazy!

They threw a little party for me at work yesterday and gave me a card where my co-workers said the coolest things about me.  It’s just unbelievable how amazing my birthday was.  I mean, I’ve practically only been here a week.

I’ve called a few folks based on some posters I’ve seen, and, over the next month or so, I will be helping other film students on two different projects.  I’m excited!  And I talked to the youth pastor at Parkway Temple.  He said he would love for me to help out with their drama ministry.  The Lord is simply fulfilling the desires of my heart.

Emily and I talked for over an hour last night on the phone.  She asked about Sarah.  I told her I didn’t know.  Sarah told me before that she was going to have letters waiting for me when I got back from Africa.  There was nothing.  But Emily and I had such a good talk.  I prayed for her.  She cried.  We’ve come such a long way; over five years now.  She will always be there.  She never lets me down.

The days are moving faster now.  I hope I can spend the last hours of this millennium sitting next to Emily.  I hope that is possible.

What a wonderful little life I’m living.

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.

July 28, 1998 – Tuesday – 8:30 a.m.

We went to a pretty awesome church service Sunday morning.  I sat with a girl named Amber there and back.  We had some cool talks.  That afternoon we had a cookout and visited with some missionaries from South Africa.

The Lord laid something on my heart that night and I called Sarah’s home in Winston-Salem.  She was at Lees-McRae though.  She went up there to see Starqueen and visit her friends.  So I called Ann-Marie’s room and she was there.  When we talked it was as if we were strangers and had nothing in common.  I told her that when I was with her I wasn’t a complete person and I’m sorry for any thing I did.

She just basically said “okay.”

We visited a lion park on Monday and I got the chance to play with some huge lion cubs.  One bit me on my bicep.  I have a scar.  It was awesome!  We then went shopping and I bought a bracelet similar to the one PK wears in The Power of One.

We had a funny little “Christmas in July” party last night.  Everyone thinks it is cold here, but it feels just like a Banner Elk summer.  But I guess July is the cold season in the Southern Hemisphere.

While in the lion park, I spent most of my time with Jessica.  She is the sweetest girl.  She’s 17 and from Georgia.  We shared some nice conversations and I thank God for her daily.

I’ve discovered that I have a lot of pride in my life.  It keeps me from listening and learning from other people.  Before I leave here I want to give all that pride away to God. I fear it keeps me from growing.

I love this mission thing.  Teen Mania functions in a way that I can’t relate to, but I have molded to its ways.

I’m looking forward to the world of film.  I want that to be my mission field.  I hope I can understand that world.  I just want to know my Jesus and understand him better and share him with those who haven’t heard of his love.

I am now on a bus and in just a minute or two we will be headed to Piet Retief in South Africa.  It is about a five or six hour bus ride.  Later on we will drive into Swaziland.  “It’s a whole other country,” to quote Forrest Gump.  I’m excited for the long bus ride!  I just want to stare out the window.  After our final ministry days, we will go on a full out African Safari!

Not much time is left.  Only about a week and a day.  I have many plane rides to look forward to and a new job waiting on my when I return.  But for now, I’m in Africa.  I don’t know when I’ll be back, so I’m going to enjoy it while I can.

Humble me God.  Melt my pride.  I just want you.  Thank you for these days.  You are so big and I am so small.

You are all I have.

You are all I need.

You are all I want.

July 25, 1998 – Saturday – 8:10 p.m.

I have so little time left here.  So little time left in Africa.  So little time around these people.  So little time left on this planet.

I read a quote today by Frank Lawbach, “I have this minute in my control.  It is all I really do have to work with.  It is as magnificent or drab or vile as the thoughts which fill it.  I fear our most common sin is empty minutes.”

Ephesians 5:15-16 tells us to redeem the time, to set our time free from evil, to fill our life with good.  My life is full of empty minutes.  But I don’t want to live through another one ever again.  The other teams that went to Swaziland and Escourt came back today.  It was so great to see everyone.  I had been missing them and didn’t even know it.  I spent time talking with Jessica.  She has such a sweet spirit in her.  And then I talked with a girl named Emily here.  She is 15 and so smart.  She has such a Godly heart.  And while talking with her and hearing her passions, I realized that so many of the minutes I spent with Sarah were empty.  Many were filled with life, but many were not.  I was hurt by her.  Why do the ungodly ones always want me, but the Godly ones never do?

Well, last night, we went to a youth service, and I went up for prayer for God to help me give my past up to him.  I ended up on the floor and God definitely did some work in me.

And so, I am moving forward.  I will still keep in touch with Sarah, but I need to let her know that I need to be away from her to grow.

I think she already knows that though.

 

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.