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.

 

August 28, 1997 – Thursday – 11:50 a.m.

Three full years now.

There is a lump in my throat.  I lay in my bed in a somewhat emotional state, I’ll admit, but everything I’m thinking feels painfully true.

I’m getting older.  I’m losing my hair.  I’m dying.  My mother will soon be a child and I will be her father to take care of her.  My youth seems to be escaping me.

Although I hate it, I’ll probably have to play the dating game soon.  Hmmm.

Am I still young?  What about those days from so long ago?  Those days of innocence with Jenna and Tenielle?  All my life, I’ve always wanted to be different.  People color their hair, pierce their bodies, but I was going to remain different by staying the same.  But I have changed.  I am changing.  Changing like the rest of the generation and the world.  I wish I could escape somehow and not be a part of this.  That way I would be completely different.

But instead my sin has also killed Christ and he died for me as well as all the others.  I am no different.  I am a sinner.  I did nothing for my salvation.  I simply accepted His Grace.  So I will continue to live and go through this life in the footsteps of my forefathers.  I will simply try to share God’s love in all I do and everywhere I go.

My emotions will tickle me.  I will laugh, cry, and simply live this roller coaster with a smile on my face and a tear in my eye.  This mask will leave me and I will be free.  My freedom comes now in simply knowing that I will be soon.  Loving and praising God is all that matters and all that will last.  That is the key.  That is the absolute.  That is the truth.

My children will begin to leave me on the day they are born.  And I will love people by letting them go.

And I will even let myself go.

December 23, 1995 – Saturday – 11:17 a.m.

From my parents last night, I received some clothes, a cassette case, some tapes, and some mousse for my hew haircut.

It was fun.

There was some talk last night concerning Tenielle and Kevin and John.  I don’t know everything; I don’t need to know everything.  None of it concerns me whatsoever.  But John has lost some sense of reality.  He feels trapped because of his job, his wife, and his five kids.  Tenielle has never had a father figure and she clung to Shurby just like she clung to John.  But Shurby didn’t let his life get out of whack, just because a beautiful 14-year-old girl adored him.  To John however, it made him feel young again.  He grew jealous of Kevin and abused his authority as youth pastor to try and tell him what to do.  Kevin went to Pastor Steve and Pastor Steve ordered John to never go near Tenielle again and takes him down from his position as youth pastor and as trumpet player on the worship team.

John’s marriage however, is falling apart.  Kevin is discouraged because he looked up to John, his lifestyle, his family, and John threw it all away.  Kevin told me last night that it tore up his spiritual life so much that he couldn’t even pray or read the Bible anymore.

And Pastor Steve feels like he is all alone in trying to take care of these people.  He feels like no one is listening.  He feels like a failure.

I see all of this.  I have eyes.  I am a red light.

But Pastor Steve is not a failure.  He has saved me.  He has changed my life.  Abundant Life may be dying around him, but there is an abundant life in me that is helping my world:  Banner Elk.

He helped bring Allen to the Lord and I’m going to tell him that.

Endtime Warriors.

Emmanuel Players.

Abundant Life.

They will never die.

And I will see to that.

August 28, 1995 – Monday – 8:10 p.m.

Today has been a good day.

I got the role of the sentry in Antigone.  I was also cast for some directing scenes.

I had fun in all my theater classes today and Charlie and I went out to eat in Boone.  I haven’t seen Syndi at all today.  I talked to her a few times over the phone.  I felt a little weird this evening because she accidentally mentioned that she slept with her ex-boyfriend Eric when they were together.  It hurt me because I care for her.  I don’t think I’ve ever liked a girl that wasn’t a virgin before.  In fact, I may care too much for Syndi.

But look at me.  Look at me and Jeni.  Jeni and I might not have ever had sex, but we were too intimate.  In God’s eyes, is it the same sin?

I have been forgiven, and so can she.

Rehearsals for Antigone start tomorrow night.

This thing with Syndi will probably hurt in the long run, but I can’t help but care for her.

Good night.

April 21, 1995 – Friday – 11:15 p.m.

It has been one heck of a day.

Everything was okay until the afternoon.  Derek treated and still treats me like crap.  I asked him if he hates me and he said no, but he treats me differently than he used to.

To top everything off, Jeni’s parents came to visit and see the Dance Concert.  Missy was with them.  I said hi to all of them and made some small talk.  I don’t know how they see me now.  Before the concert began Jeni actually said something to me.  She told me to make sure Gary sits next to her family.  She asked me; not the house manager or the usher, but me, the sound guy.  It’s not my job to seat people, I thought it was pretty low.

I did what she asked.  I believe the reason I feel bad is because I feel like I have hurt that family.  But at the same time, they seem to be fine.

From the sound booth I could see Gary talking to Jeni’s mom.  That used to be my place, but I threw it away.

Oh well, all is fair in love and war.  I did what I had to do.  That relationship made my mind go places I wasn’t comfortable with; it caused me to sin.  So, I cut it off.  I would rather not have a friend than have a girlfriend and a heart full of sin.

Forgive me Lord!

Charlie and I went out to eat tonight.  We went to Boone and had a fun time.  We laughed our heads off.  He is so funny!

I thank God for him.

I can’t imagine this place without him.

October 3, 1994 – Monday – 2:03 p.m.

We went to church yesterday.  I enjoyed it.  Jeni was dressed so beautifully.  We did some homework together and then we both took a nap in her bed.  Tracey was above us on the top bunk taking a nap.  It was so nice to sleep so close to Jeni.

Last night after rehearsal we went to Subway and after we got back Jeni and I went for a walk.  We prayed together.  Then she sat on my lap and we began kissing each other.  That went on for a while.  Then she leaned forward and had me lying down the stone bench with her on top of me, kissing me.  After a few moments she got up and said, “I think we better go.”

I agreed.

We have been a couple for 11 days.

I only met her about 20 days ago.

Look how far we have come.

Physically we cannot get any closer without sinning.  And that will not happen.  We can only get closer emotionally and spiritually.  We have moved fast, but it bothers neither of us.  It feels natural.

I might go home with her for fall break.  It depends on what her mother says.  If I do then I will be in Cincinnati, Ohio.  I was born in Columbus, Ohio.

In 1976 on August 17th I was born in Columbus.

In 1976 on September 10th she was born in Cincinnati.

Five weeks later, two hours away.

It’s funny because although I’ve only known her for 20 days, it feels like I’ve known her for much longer.

Why is that?

May 24, 1994 – Tuesday – 9:10 p.m.

I can see the truth now.

I am here.

I am here because God wanted me here.

He created me.

Why?

Because of the simple reason he wants his creation to praise Him on their own free terms and will.  However, since that connection was broken in the beginning, Jesus intervened to connect us back.  And since a fallen angel is here to distract us, Jesus has also provided a way for us to resist the temptation of sin itself.

But what about me as a person?  An individual?  What has God created me to do?

I asked that question tonight and here is my answer.  I am here to love people in a way they are not normally loved.  I am here to glorify my creator.  I am here to show my art to the world so that they may see who God is and have hope.  I am here to experience and that experience influences my art.  I am also here to be shared and so that God can share parts of his creation with me.  All, simply because He loves me.

There is more to me than the present.  There is more to me than Jenna and Tenielle.  There is more to me than my family.  Yet while the more of me is coming about, I have begun a collection.

A collection of names.  A collection of stories.  Of needs, of wants, hurts, passion, and laugh.

A collection of greetings and farewells.

My challenge?

To live purely and honestly.

To serve the Lord.

To experience without sinning and to help save the world through my art and my love.  I should have realized this four years ago when I was becoming a freshman.  Perhaps I would have made a bigger difference.

But I will have to do my best with the eight days I have left.

September 8, 1993 – Wednesday – 4:35 p.m.

Marcus’s brother told me today that in Greensboro a seven-year-old boy went into a public bathroom while his mom waited outside.  Some men in the bathroom attacked the little boy and cut off his penis and flushed it down the toilet.  The boy bled to death and died.

Did you hear what I just said?  I don’t understand.  What is out there in the world?  My parents have shielded me from the world for so long.  Christians are there in the world, but the wicked are out there too.  One day I must leave my home and go out into the world.

What an insane idea.  Who out there will love me?

But I must go; my destiny and my fate pull me there like a magnet.  The world is dark and terribly wild.  There are people out there who would kill a little child.

I miss the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.  I’m not sure why it isn’t on any more.  It always made me think about what is out there in the world.  I’ve experienced so little.  Months ago, when I stood on top of Pilot Mountain, I saw so much and I saw so far, but I still saw so little.

I used to live in Germany as a kid, but I hardly remember anything about it.  This world is so large, and I wish to see it all.  There is so much out there.

So many souls.

So many lives.

So many stories.

We must discover the world for ourself.