Our Love Story Part 1.

In December 2010, I sat on a bus on our church’s High School Winter Camp. My best friend and I were together, as per usual, but there was a guy we had never seen before sitting near us. He was by himself so we decided to make conversation with him. We found out his name was Josh…He told us a little about himself and we got to know him. We thought it was odd that we had never met him before that day, since he had attended our church all his life. We go to a large church so it was possible for us to have never met him. Since we had never met before we continued our small talk, hoping to make this youth group new-comer feel welcome. We discovered Christ had recently done a huge work in his life he was experiencing tremendous spiritual growth. Once we arrived at our destination and got off the bus, I didn’t think much else about him. We said hi the rest of the week when we saw each other, but other than that we continued on with the camp. Apparently he was asking around about me though, because someone told him I was weird…haha!

Fast forward a little less than six months. Preparing to go on a youth missions trip to Honduras that summer, I attended a mission trip training. It was then I realized Josh was also on the mission team. My interest was piqued because I knew my best friend was crushing on him, so I was friendly. When I realized we would be assigned to sit next to each other on the plane, I saw it as the perfect opportunity to grill him in order to see if he was good enough for my amazing best friend. He was nice and easy to talk to so I figured I would keep investigating. I found out later he thought I was annoying and wished I would just be quiet! Haha! (Editor’s [Josh] note: Ok, just to be clear, Merribrooke took a breath about every 20 minutes on the 3-4 hour flight. I was doing my best to prepare for my first international trip and first mission trip. Her conversation made that a little more complicated than I was hoping. Ultimately, it turned out extremely well…in the moment, not so much.)

Throughout the course of the trip, my view of Josh rapidly descended. I came back from the trip telling my best friend he was no where near good enough for her and she didn’t need to waste her time…that view was heightened by the fact that he left for Honduras single and came back with a girlfriend. It was clear his priorities were not in the right order.

Regardless, it seemed like the Lord kept putting this guy back in my life. Josh and I attended the same weekly bible study, our parents became friends, and we kept running into each other at church. I decided I might as well be friends with the guy, even though I would never in a million years date him, or let my best friend date him for that matter. Plus, he still had a girlfriend. So we became friends…one night our families were together at his parents’ house. It was four days before he was supposed to enroll for his senior year of high school. He kept saying that he hated his school and wished he could do something else. My Mom saw something in him and felt a mother-son love for this kid she barely knew, so she immediately volunteered to homeschool him. She was already homeschooling me and my best friend, so why not take on another? After talking it over with his parents that evening, he told my Mom he was in.

A few short weeks later, Josh started coming over to my house weekly for classes. We also saw each other at other times in the week to study or at church, so we became really close friends. However, I still had no interest in him and he still had a girlfriend. About a month into the school year, he knew the Lord was telling him he needed to break it off with his girlfriend. He listened and they ended things.

The rest of that semester we three homeschoolers got closer and closer. We enjoyed each other’s company and had many laughs and special conversations. My junior year of high school will be something I treasure forever because of those memories. Just three friends learning, growing and laughing together…then in January things began to change.

Read next weeks post to hear the rest of the story. (Editor’s note: What a cliff-hangar!….spoiler-alert! it ends with 2 kids and a calling to Africa.)