After finals were over and I’d gotten some rest, things got much better. David decided to give me another chance, which I was grateful for (though we never actually talked about it; he didn’t tell me he had considered ending things until much later). We had made plans for me to come to Carrollton to officially meet his parents soon after finals, and I was very nervous. You just never know how that’s going to go.
I needn’t have worried, though, because his parents are the nicest people on the planet, even if his dad tells cornier jokes than Ellen Degeneres on #ClassicJokeWednesday. We went to a Christmas dinner at David’s home church, and I got to meet several people there that had the nicest things to say about him. It was sweet and precious and I loved it. You know you’ve found a good guy when the little old ladies from his church seek you out to tell you how much they love him.
After church, David wanted to take me to a mall in Douglasville. We went to Build-a-Bear, where he bought me a Frosty the Snowman, and I got to act like a little kid as I hugged the heart and fluffed Frosty’s fur? snow? Then David took me to the top of a parking garage to see the view. I jumped out of the car and went over to the edge to look at how beautiful the town was at night. When I turned around, he was holding a white rose and asked me to be his date to the Epsilon Sigma formal dance, White Rose (clever, right?). I gladly accepted.
A few days later, we headed to Covington, KY, for my first-ever mission trip. I was very excited and nervous for this new adventure. I knew that we would be working with children a lot and doing a lot of things out of my comfort zone, but I was ready to let God use me.
I hadn’t had a great relationship with Christ since my last boyfriend had broken up with me and had started bringing his new girlfriend to church. Rather than be the bigger person and pretend like it didn’t bother me, I just stopped going. I was also working most Sundays, so it just got easier and easier to not go. Being with David, though, and seeing his intense faith and love for the Lord, made me want to grow closer to Him, as well. This mission trip was a huge step for me in growing closer to God, and I was excited to work on the relationship with Him I’d been neglecting for so long.
Before this trip, I didn’t think I wanted kids. I’d never really been very good with them and they just sort of stressed me out. I knew that this trip was going to teach me a lot of things about myself, but I don’t think I was completely prepared. Each night, kids came to the MAC, or the Moore Activity Center, to hang out with us and play games or get help with homework. During the day, we would clean or help at the daycare. It was chaotic and energetic and God was moving there in big ways.
The missions part of the trip was absolutely wonderful, but I loved our free time at night when we would play Mafia. Mafia is basically the best game ever. Everyone sits in a circle and gets a card. If you just get a number, then you’re a townsperson. If you get a Queen, you’re the nurse, the King is the cop, and an Ace means you’re the Mafia. So the narrator makes everyone close their eyes and then wakes up each key player in turns to see who is who. The Mafia chooses someone to kill, the cop tries to figure out who the Mafia is, and the nurse tries to save the person they think was killed. Then the narrator wakes everyone up and tells an intricate tale about the death (or lack thereof) that occurred while everyone was “sleeping.” The townspeople then try to figure out who the Mafia is, chaos ensues, and it’s just fantastic.
Unfortunately, the first time we played, I got killed first, but I still loved it. It is such a fun game and a staple for the Covington mission trip. David and I made a pact that, if we were ever the Mafia, we wouldn’t kill each other (something that he stuck to and I wasn’t so good with).
The week was absolutely wonderful. I got to know Derek better, bonding over our love for Jimmy Eat World. I tried Skyline chili and loved it (it’s an acquired taste). I got to go to Cincinnati, which is just beautiful. I got to see David serve and help serve alongside him. We played, we taught, we learned, we performed, we cleaned, we gave. We helped make a small difference as we packed up bags of food and toys. We showed people that God can do great things through performances, funny or serious. We helped kids see that, even though life is hard sometimes, there is always someone out there who cares about you.
We had a free night on Thursday, so we went to Newport, KY, to a shopping center with a huge Barnes & Noble and some other shops and restaurants. We ate dinner then went to Barnes & Noble. My friend, Tori, and I grabbed some children’s books and headed to the stage in the children’s department. Tori got on the stage and read me a story. I don’t remember the story but I loved it. Then it was my turn. I got up on stage and got ready to read when a little boy came up to me, holding a Christmas book from the movie Cars. “Read to me?” He looked up at me with big, blue eyes and my heart melted. I took the book, sat him down next to me on the stage, and began to read.
David was nearby, but I didn’t know it. He was hiding in the shelves, contemplating buying the first Harry Potter book since he knew how much I loved it, and wanted to give it a try. He overheard me reading to the little boy. He was surprised that I, someone who had said she didn’t really like kids, would read a story to a random child in Barnes & Noble. He knew God was working in my life just from that tiny, insignificant-to-some interaction. And in that moment, he told me later, he knew that he was in love.