I grew up in a small town, Leeton, MO, with most of the same classmates grades K-12. As a child and teen, I was determined to some day leave Leeton. I can’t imagine a place farther away from Leeton then Yaoundé, Cameroon. I didn’t go to Cameroon as a way to leave Leeton, it’s what the Lord called us to after establishing our family life in Missouri. Even before moving to Cameroon, I saw the value in being raised in a small town and being part of a close-knit community.
We currently are living in Pleasant Hill, MO about 45 minutes – 1 hour from Leeton. I have ran into some friends from my childhood who also live in the vicinity, however, I was surprised to run into one particular friend on Saturday. David and I walk the neighborhood daily. I’ve been trying to keep my 3 miles a day that I started in Cameroon. We’ve noticed a house under construction down the street, but hadn’t seen workers there until Saturday. As we were nearing the construction site I heard a familiar voice coming from the site. It was a friend I went to school with K-12th and who we got together with his family in 2012. Reid is a big, burly guy who can intimidate people by his appearance, but he has a sweet, tender heart. I remember in high school after a boy who took me on a date dumped me for someone else during the date leaving me in a neighboring town without a ride home, Reid was there and he let me cry and go on and on about my heart break as he drove me the 20 minutes home.
We stopped and greeted Reid asking about his family and briefly sharing about ours. He asked where we were living specifically (not just down the road). We shared our location and he shared he was the one who built the duplex we were living in. It was a neat, encouraging encounter.
This was one of the oldest photos I could find with some friends I grew up with. I’m on the standing row all the way to the right. Reid is on the sitting row, third from the left. The funny thing is I went to school with and remember the names of 14 of the children pictured. This was a VBS preschool picture.