In May of 1995 while visiting Kodiak for the annual Crab Festival I heard about a youth summer camp that the Kodiak Assembly of God was hosting with help with youth from Wasilla Assembly of God and the Alaska District Youth leadership team, including Pat Donelson & Jen Mickelson.
The camp was held on Woody Island in July of 1995 and I was there as an adult helper. This is where I met Mike Pinkston, Wade Nelson, Donnie Dysert, Frances Barlow, Joy Arestad (now Dysert), Mary Ruge (now Hancock) and many others for the first time.
That fall I traveled to Wasilla to decide whether or not to move there to be a part of their school of ministry, led at the time by Pastor Chris Miller. On November 29th I attended service at Wasilla Assembly of God and afterward a bunch of us went to the Kashim Restaurant where I met a beautiful young lady named Christy Lucus. I won't go into the details, but her first impression of me was that I was a jerk.
I made the move to Wasilla in January of 1996. A big part of that training time was heavy involvement in the youth ministry, led by Jeff Baker. There was a team of young adults that helped out, including Christy. As we all did ministry and life together, I began to see more and more what a wonderful person she was.
In the summer of 1996 the youth ministry did a two week mission trip to Barrow, Alaska. As leaders, Christy & I spent a lot of that time working together. After we flew back to Anchorage from Barrow, I hopped on another flight to Kodiak to help my friend Tim Thomas (who was now the Youth Pastor in Kodiak) do another youth camp at Camp Woody. After two intense weeks with the Wasilla team in Barrow, I was missing them when I got to Kodiak. But the more I thought about, the more I realized it was mainly Christy that I was missing...
Shortly after the time at Camp Woody, I realized I was broke. So in September of 1996, I went back to Afognak Island to work for a few months. Christy & I called each other almost every evening and wrote often. I had asked her to check my mail for my while I was gone, which gave me the excuse to call often...
On a Sunday afternoon on September 29th I got a phone call from Donnie Dysert. We chatted for a moment, and then he asked me about my feelings for Christy. On a hunch, I asked if Christy was there listening in on the conversation. Donnie replied that she wasn't there and that he was just curious... Turns out he was LYING. Christy was there. (Doesn't this sound like Jr. High all over again...)
I told him that I had realized my feelings for Christy had gone way beyond friendship. I then asked him if he knew about Christy's feelings for me. Christy, who was standing there listening in, told him "Tell him I 'like' him too, in a round about way." She was saying to tell me in a round about way, not directly. Donnie misunderstood and said "Yes, she likes you in a round about way."
That left me pretty confused... Until the phone rang about 15 minutes later. It was Christy. She was almost in tears, apologizing for making Donnie lie to me. She was there, she did have feelings for me. So now what? I was going to be on Afognak for another month and a half. Do we start "dating" or wait until I get back? So to decide, we flipped a coin. Heads we date now, tails we start the relationship up when we get back. Yeah, I know, it's silly... The coin came up tails. But since we had already established that lying was okay, I told her it was heads.
Two months later, on the day after Thanksgiving 1996, which was November 29th, I got back to Wasilla and we had our first kiss. Two years later on September 29th, 1998 as the sun was setting behind Mt. Susitna at Point Woronzoff I got down on one knee and proposed. She said yes.
Ten months later on July 31st, 1999 we stood at the altar at Wasilla Assembly of God as Cecil Lambert officiated our wedding. And today Christy is my best friend, the love of my life, my biggest supporter and partner in crime.