There are friends. And then there are friends like Jenny.
We met during my freshman year of college. Although we became acquaintances in the first month, I didn’t get to know her until spring semester. I was close (and still am) with her roommate, Julie. Because the shallow friendships with my floormates began to run their course, I took up the habit of visiting Julie’s dorm in Gay Hall. It’s then that I got to know Jenny. After a couple of weeks, it became evident that I was no longer crashing Gay to see Julie. I was all about hanging out with Jenny. We’ve been close ever since.
How do I even begin to describe Jenny?
She’s the kind of person you want by your side. She’s a wonderful listener and is always ready and able to give you encouragement. She’s smart, insightful, and notices details that often get glossed over. She’s incredibly funny and can drop puns like nobody’s business. She’s gifted in hospitality and an expert in how to make an excellent cup of coffee.
Most of all, though, she has an incredible heart for God. It’s been amazing watching Him turn her life around. When we met, she had her heart set on majoring in biology, running a nursing home, marrying a lumberjack and settling down with kids. Now, she’s a Morris grad (with an English degree) on the brink of moving to Japan to spend the next two years as a missionary.
Throughout college, I got to see Jenny’s faith grow and evolve. She had her own plans and dreams, but one day, God spoke to her. He said: “If I asked you to go, would you?” She said yes. The process of being called to a lifetime of missions wasn’t an easy one. Jenny had to let go of a lot. She had to face her struggles, her insecurities, her fears. She says it this way:
While I can hardly believe I felt this way initially anymore, at first I felt utterly dejected. Like I said, I had other plans for myself, filled with good things that I wanted to do in this world. I knew I was going to have to let those go. So I asked God, that if this was really what He wanted for me, to change my heart, to make every other possible career choice and plan for my life be completely unsatisfying and empty. Over the course of that year He did exactly that. Now there is hardly a thing that excites me more than active ministry and loving people. (Taken from one of her blog posts)
Although she graduated a year early, Jenny has been one of my solid rocks this school year. She’s been living at home, floating from job to job, and has always been available to talk. When I’m frustrated, I call Jenny. When I’m ecstatic, I call Jenny. When I just need someone to talk to, I call Jenny. With her, conversation flows from one subject to the next and, before I know it, hours have passed.
Yesterday, I saw Jenny in person for the last time. We went out for tea and, in true fashion, talked for hours. I intended on being home for dinner, but it wasn’t long before I realized that wasn’t going to happen. Why go home when I can be with Jenny one last time? In a couple of weeks, she’s off for at least two years teaching English in Japan.
It’s hard saying goodbye to someone who has had such a big impact on your life. But, with Jenny, it’s not as if this goodbye is forever. Even though we’ll be on the other sides of the planet, it’s not like we won’t talk. That’s the beauty of the internet. Yes, staying in touch is challenging and definitely takes work. But, with Jenny, it’ll happen.
If you’re interested in getting to know Jenny, following her adventures in Japan, and seeing what God does in her life, you can follow her blog, Go Bold. If you ask me, she’s worth paying attention to.