Moving to Southern California and returning to live at home with my parents was not my first choice of living arrangements. Because my parents were working at Azusa Pacific College ( now Azusa Pacific University ), I went to that school for my sophomore in college with a 75% discount on tuition. I spent the next few months getting involved in a college youth group in the church I would eventually get married in. There was a girl in the high school youth group, her name is Montie, that I was particularly attracted to. The college and high school groups got together frequently joining in different events. I was encouraged by another friend of mine in college to date her. I ended up asking her to go with me to the Christmas banquet the church was having for the youth groups. We had a great night together and I knew I had to go out with her again.
After encountering this blonde, native Californian, I was swept off my feet and didn’t know who I was dating or how she would impact and guide my life.
Shortly after that on December 28, 1969, I was baptized and formally declared my belief in Jesus – by immersion. I finally understood why this was an important step to take as I grew in my faith and love for my Lord. 3 days later, I was having a second date with this wonderful girl I had met at church. We went to Pasadena with another couple and we were going to try to sleep on Colorado Blvd. while waiting for the morning to dawn with the Rose Parade. It was quite an eventful night. Not much sleep was occurring. The parade was great and I think her sister was in one of the high school bands and drill teams that were marching in the parade. It was a great time at the parade. We were both exhausted when we got back to Glendora mid-afternoon.
Additional dates and meetings at church for youth group was all it took to cement our relationship. Right around this time we began to discuss our future plans.
Amazingly, I found out that my future wife was going back to the Chicago area to attend nursing school. She was graduating from high school that June of 1970. I had already made a decision that I was going back to Trinity in Deerfield, Illinois ( a suburb of Chicago ) for my junior and senior years. What an amazing journey together we were going to be embarking on in those next two years in the Chicago area.
More information on those years will follow in another post.