Posted by: suek2001 | August 29, 2014

Friends are Friends Forever…

I realize my last blog was a bit dark but it needed to be written….and so, this is a bit of continuation of that thought…

It was 20 years ago today, that God gave me one of the greatest gifts of my life….friends..true friends…honest friends…

In my previous entry, I wrote about being an outsider and feeling like I never fit in..especially in high school….and that led to some serious thoughts…

Well, a lot of that changed in on August 29th, 1994.

It was the first week of classes at North Central Bible College. I had gone to this school to seek His will and guidance and use my writing gifts for His glory. It turned into so much more…

It was a Tuesday Afternoon, North Central loved to welcome new freshman with a walking tour of Downtown Minneapolis. I had lived there as a child…and visited there in the Summer so I really wasn’t planning on going but one of the tours was geared to older people who were freshmen…I took a chance and went on the tour…

We met in the back of the Chapel…I recall this one red headed woman with a warmth and a smile that just exuded love and compassion..Jane Michelkamp…She would turn out to be a spiritual force that would transform all those around her…young and old…and yes, even me.

I noticed this guy..older..glasses…hair receded but his eyes were dancing and his smile was great…dressed in a suit and tie…NOT typical college wear…I thought he was a Faculty advisor..I had seen him around campus at various incoming freshman functions…I really thought he was on staff at the college.

He wasn’t. He was seeking God’s will in his life…to be a missionary to Alaska..and when our paths crossed, my life would forever change…

His name was Dennis Mertz…

I recall that tour like it was yesterday..It was a nice summer afternoon…We walked towards the main shopping area of downtown..Dennis kept chatting up the ladies and other gents..I tried talking to others in the group…and for the life of me, I can’t recall anyone else in the group but Dennis and Jane…Jane challenged Dennis at one point,

“If you really want to treat all the ladies in this group to something special, go into that Godiva Chocolate store and buy us all chocolate bars”

..and he did..but here’s the funny thing, he didn’t buy enough…by the time he got down to the last bar, he wanted to share it with me…I didn’t mind..I thought it was funny that he actually bought the chocolate for the women…and the guys in our group were left to look like chumps…

So, Dennis and I shared the chocolate..He introduced himself and we talked…and talked..and laughed…There was something about him that day that made me feel like at long last, I had made a friend.

The group would split up at a local mall..Dennis and I wound up together and both of us wanted to go to the bookstore…we perused the aisles..talking faith..life..and Milwaukee(where he was from)…

The next thing I know it’s dinner time…and while most of the group wandered off to Mcdonalds..we went to Arby’s in the food court…and then he bought me dinner…Imagine that…I had only met him hours before and he bought me dinner..
We had the same class the next morning so we agreed to meet early to make sure we got to class on time..

He had to get the bus to his suburban apartment and I bid him goodbye untill the next morning…

The tour continued a bit longer but I knew I had to head home..and in my mind, my mission of making friends had been accomplished…

20 years later, I still celebrate that day…it marked a turning point…College wasn’t going to be scary if I had friends like Dennis in it…

Dennis would pass away a year later(I’ve written about that extensively elsewhere)..but his friendship changed me….All of my friends from Bible college had their impact….and through the wonder of Facebook, I still connect with them. Our lives may be in different states and on different paths, but we all still care about each other…

They say college is about finding out who you truly are…I was blessed…I had friends that helped me find out who I truly am all along…

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Responses

  1. I love this, Sue. Tears come to my eyes when I think of Dennis and what a lovely person he was. It is so touching and a true “love” story. I feel the same way about the college. Some of the best years of my life and still friends to this day. xoxo

  2. […] friend of mine was feeling a little nostalgic and recently wrote a blog post about how it’s been 20 […]


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