Love on a Mission: 3 Countries, 2 People, 1 Marriage

Love on a Mission Part VI

Love on a Mission is the story of how Chuck and I met and fell in love on our Teen Missions International team. If you haven’t already read the beginning go to my Love on a Mission page and get caught up!love on a mission


{From part v: Then Chuck drew me into a hug that was much too long and much too close for a brother and sister in Christ. When we finally pulled part, I turned and boarded my plane. Our summer was over.}

The flight from Florida to Alaska is a long one; I had plenty of time to think. I was still sick and weak from the malaria. Finally free from the rules of Teen Missions, I could indulge in secular activities like reading magazines and watching the inflight movies. I enjoyed the hot coffee delivered by the flight attendants and did a lot of staring out the window.

I was sorta going home, but not really. Instead of going back to my parents’ home, I was moving in with my grandma so I could attend the University of Alaska. There would be no breaks and little time to think once my flight landed. School had already started at the university, and my grandma had attended the first three days of classes for me, meeting the professors and taking notes.

I thought about Chuck a lot. That summer, during a Bible Study with just the girls, our female leaders had encouraged us to pray for our future spouses; and I did. They encouraged us to be specific; and I was. Interestingly, Chuck fit the description of the spouse I was looking for perfectly (!)…never mind that he was there in Brazil and on my mind while I formulated those prayers…

I was eighteen, full of confindence and recovering from malaria. I was headed off to university for the first time and considering which direction my life might take. In a moment of complete candidness a female leader told me I might want to consider reigning my sarcasm in. My quick wit and jokes made me funny, but often at someone else’s expense. So many thoughts were tumbling through my head. Not the least of which was how viable a dreaded Long-Distance Relationship could possibly be.

The plane landed and I was greeted by my parents and my grandma. Hugs were exchanged, stories shared, dinner was a feast to be remembered. The very next day we were at Costco dropping off my film to be developed. I couldn’t wait to show everyone photos from my adventure in the jungle. My mom had already noticed my new and unfamilar backpack. I told her it came from my team leader, Chuck, and that I was interested in him.

Beginning my new university life, in a new city, with the new confidence that can only come from being young and idealistic, I was straight up about my interest in Chuck. Kids, I figured, had secret crushes. Adults could admit that they had a romantic interest in someone.

I didn’t want to seem too eager to Chuck, so on the plane I promised myself I would wait a full week before I sent him a letter. As it turned out my worry about seeming too eager was unfounded.  Before the week of Self-Imposed-Self-Control was up, I received a postcard from Chuck. He and a friend had driven from British Columbia to California to buy some car parts. The  postcard read:

Hi how are you doing? Wish you were here. Just thought I would make you envious of me here in California. Tomorrow is Disney, Thurs Universal and Fri Magic Mountain. Anyways its rather cool here- about 80-85 degrees. Just though I would send you a cool post card. Chuck 

The absolute first  thing to cross my mind was, “he took my address with him to California?” Obviously he had a real interest in me if he was planning ahead to write me while on a trip with his best friend. Secondly, I was now free to write Chuck. No longer associated with Teen Missions, we were allowed to pursue a relationship and discuss things that would otherwise be considered forbidden. By the time the second postcard arrived I had written Chuck a lengthy  letter.

A week later we picked up my photos and I proudly showed them off: Boot Camp, the Amazon jungle and Chuck. I had mustered the courage to ask if I could take his picture in the Orlando airport. I knew he was in the background of several of my photos already, but I want a good shot of him. Finally, I could show my parents and brothers what this mysterious Canadian, Chuck, looked like. Chuck smiled broadly in the picture, his blue eyes sparkling, the light shining off of his blonde hair. He was cute.

Life was a whirlwind of school and studying. I had officially declared my major as English (it gave me priority registration) though my true love was Linguistics. Never one to shy away from hard work, I was taking  two English classes, Latin, Anthropology and, of course, Algebra with my grandma. Grandma and I sat side by side in our Algebra classe; taking notes and listening to the lectures. After our twice weekly Algebra class, we would say goodbye in the halls as I headed off to Latin and Grandma headed off to her French class.

After my last class of the day I would brew a pot of coffee and drink it as I completed my homework. My grandma suffered from the insomnia that often comes with age and would get up at  two or three in the morning and do her homework. More often then not, I would go into the kitchen at six am and find her math homework spread out all over the counter. I would know then that she had been up in the night studying.

One afternoon, just a few weeks after my arrival back in the United States, Grandma came walking into the house with a puzzled look on her face.

“You got mail” she said.

“From Canada” she added.

Then she handed me to the two envelopes, mailed from two different cities in British Columbia.

“Who is Frank?” she asked.

Read Part 7…

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