I will never forget the long drive from Dallas to San Diego. We were so excited and had no idea what to expect from Southern California or from Youth Ministry. 3 and 1/2 years later, we couldn't have asked for a better Youth Group or Church to get us started in Youth Ministry. I've decided to make a list of things I will miss/special memories I've created. In no particular order:
- I will miss living in the mountains. I live in a truly beautiful place. Huge boulders, Palms and Pines living harmoniously. After 3 years, I still note what a beautiful drive from Walmart to my home. I can count on 2 hands the number of thunderstorms we've had since I've lived here, but when it does thunder, the sound of it echoing off the mountains is magical.
- I'll miss the quiet small town feel of Alpine.
- Panda Machi. I don't care what anyone says about Panda vs Ahi Sushi, I still think Panda Machi has the best sushi in Alpine. Maybe in SoCal. Maybe on Earth. When I visit Alpine in the future, I will be dining at Panda!
- I will miss our students. Our kids. Past and present. I thank God that He has honored us by giving us the last few years with them. We've met some incredible teenagers and I love them. We've shed tears over death and divorce. We've walked through addictions, depression, impurities, and life in general. And they will always be our first youth group. The trial and error crowd. ;) (If anyone is wondering why this isn't further up on the list, I can assure you that I wasn't shedding tears over leaving Panda Machi.)
- A couple months ago, I was at a graduation and I had the privalege of holding the baby of one of our former students during the ceremony. It allowed me to get a glimpse into the future of my ministry. I'm still young, but to hold the next generation of those we've begun a ministry to was very special. Thanks for that moment, Marielle.
- Tapatios. Tapatios, you changed my mind about Mexican Cuisine. Marty, when you visit me, you better bring me a shrimp burrito! PS - My first shrimp burrito from Tapatios was brought to our door by Josh, Mary, and Judah our first week in Alpine! I've been loving them ever since.
- My dear friends, I will miss you. I've made some great friends here. Stephanie and Marty ministered with us the entire time we were here. There isn't much as awesome as sharing a passion for ministry with someone for a long time. They weren't only fellow ministers, they're close friends. My partner in crime, Renee. Joe and Damara, who else would come over and kill zombies with us? I'll tell you, no one. (Except maybe 15 yr olds) There are really too many friends to name, but I could go on and on. I will miss you all.
- Pamela. God sent you out here to us. Having you so close warded off homesickness more than you know. And your sweet family brings me immense joy.
- Yogurt Mill.
- Dr. Friday and Marti - How will I ever find Chiropractors like them? Marti sent me a recipe in the mail for Eggplant Parmesan the other day, just because she thought I would like it! They are good people.
- I will miss beating Taylor up at every camp.
- Our time in Haiti with our Youth was immeasurable. I loved every second of it.
- I will miss outreaches to Alpine. Parades, Flower hand outs and Halloween Festivals. Bethel loves the community of Alpine, and I love that about Bethel!
- I'll miss the eccentric elderly people at our church. They were one of my favorite parts of the week!
I could write so much more. I've been very blessed!
Here is a video we made a couple of months ago in memory of our time as Pastors of The Chozen Student Ministry: