For the next and a half year Molly and I had a long distance courtship. She was still living in Lafayette enrolled at UL and I was living on campus in Thibodaux.
From August to December, I aced all my grad school classes and was the best darn graduate assistant the campus had ever seen. I helped dozens of international students navigate the enrollment process to enroll in the Spring – which, if you saw the Windows ‘95 computer allocated to me by the department, was a miracle unto itself. That semester I moved back into the dorms and led what was honestly the best Life Group of all Life Groups to ever taken place at Nicholls. The group was so amazing that shortly after the semester was over, Long Hall itself was demolished as it was decided that the building had fulfilled its ultimate purpose.
Despite the success of the semester, though, having a relationship with someone who lived 96 miles from Thibodaux began to get expensive. For one, in those days, cell phone plans weren’t cheap. Or unlimited. And I was still paying ten cents per text message. For another, gas was getting expensive in the mid-to-late 2000s. I don’t think we were quite at the $4 per gallon mark yet, but we were starting to get close. With all that, my $500 per month stipend I was getting from my graduate assistantship just wasn’t going as far as I originally thought it would.
As much as I was enjoying what I was doing, and as successful as things were going, it was time to get a job. A real, full-time, money-paying job.
That December I explored several options – I looked at going back offshore, applied for a full-time position with the admissions office, and chased a few other leads. But then, a door opened that I didn’t feel like I could pass up. Chris Buckel called and told me that Victory Assembly of God in Vacherie was looking for a new youth pastor.
This was an intriguing idea. One that I had never considered. I had all this training now in ministry, and was – though gun-shy – open to the idea of getting back into it as a career. I thought it over, talked with Molly about it, sought out some other counsel, and – sent in my resume.
A few days later, I had an interview with the Pastor. And after that interview, I had a job.