I am sometimes amazed at how friendships start. How did you become friends with your friends? I am sure that we all have many unusual stories.
I want you to meet my friend Jeffery. Gina and I first got to know Jeffery when in February 2004, we went to San Pedro, Belize in Central America with 15 members of our church to start building the New Horizon SDA Chapel. While we were there we made lots of friends. We were only in San Pedro for five days, but during that time we made special friends with Jeffery and his parents.
JEFFERY HELPS HIS DAD SING IN CHURCH
Gina and Jeffery formed a special bond almost immediately. She held him through church. She played with him on the beach. Jeffery's Mom and Dad helped with the construction of the chapel, so we spent time together. Whenever Jeffery was where Gina was, he wanted to be with her.
GINA AND JEFFERY HANG OUT TOGETHER
JEFFERY PLAYS WITH GINA'S SUNGLASSES
On the project I worked closely with Jeffery's dad, Adam. After we returned home to Arkansas, we kept in touch by phone. When we were able to return to Belize in the spring of 2005 we looked forward to seeing our friends.
JEFFERY WITH HIS MOM
We had the good fortune of being able to rent an apartment for the ten days we were there. With an apartment we were able to have visitors. While we visiting with Jeffery and his family they learned that I would have my birthday while I was there. My birthday and Jeffery's are a couple of days apart. Jeffery's mom, Felicia wanted us to celebrate our birthdays together. We had about thirty people at our apartment and had a wonderful birthday party.
OUR BIRTHDAY CAKE
When we returned home we continued to keep in touch, and looked forward to the time we would be able to return to Belize and see them again. Jeffery would talk to us on the phone, and we would try to understand him without much success. When we called to tell him that we would be returning to San Pedro, he was very excited.
JEFFERY, ADAM AND FELICIA
Gina is still one of Jeffery's favorite people. He wants her to stay at his house when we are in Belize. Gina asked him where she would sleep. He said that she could sleep in his bed and he would sleep on the floor.
GINA AND HER FRIEND JEFFERY
Once again in 2006 Jeffery and I celebrated our birthdays together. We had our birthday party at Rigoberto and Shirley's house. We took Jeffery and Felicia with us on a snorkeling trip. Jeffery liked the boat ride, but he was afraid of the water.
It was the spring of this year before we were able to return to Belize. Jeffery had really grown in the last two years. Even though it had been two years since he had seen us, he was still excited for us to be there. He always wanted us to come to his house.
JEFFERY IN MARCH 2008
Just this weekend Adam and Felicia called us on the phone. They wanted to tell us that this Monday, Jeffery would be starting school at New Horizon SDA School. It is hard to believe that the baby we met on our first trip to Belize is starting school, and is still a good friend. Tennessee Williams said "life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is made by the friends we choose".
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I was born in 1956 in Madison, Tennessee, while my parents were attending Madison College. I grew up along the Front Range in Colorado, attending schools in Longmont, Brighton, Boulder and Loveland, Colorado. Two years after graduating from Campion Academy, I married my sweetheart, Regina. We lived in Loveland, Colorado for six years before moving to Mena in western Arkansas.
I love the people of Mena and the friendly easy going way of life here. I have owned and operated my own business since moving to Mena. I enjoy the natural beauty of western Arkansas and being out of doors.
My newspaper column in The Mena Star, An Arkie’s Faith, premiered on January 7, 2016. In March 2017, I published my first book, titled An Arkie's Faith, using articles from the column.