“You should go to camp.”
“Naww, not this year.”
“But it’ll be fun. It’s always fun.”
“But there’s work, and I’m busy. It wouldn’t hurt to just skip a year for once.”
“It wouldn’t hurt to just go either.”
And back and forth the little debate battled inside Cherith’s head the weeks leading up to church camp. Should she go? Should she not? As a very active member of the church, Cherith wouldn’t usually miss an event as she usually helped run things. But this year was harder.
The room was filled with eager campers of the Prescott Pines Church Camp. It was the summer of 2012 and not even the scorching heat could exhaust the excitement in the big cafeteria where everyone was greeting each other. Some were reuniting with friends that flew from across the country, drove for hours and had been counting down the days, hours and seconds until they could spend a weekend together. Sitting around a table with friends, Cherith’s gaze skimmed the cheerful gathering and she couldn’t help but smile at the happiness of friends reuniting, the shy newcomers slowly coming out of their shell and the rambunctious kids hopped up on Red Bull and sugar after sitting in a hot car for hours.
“Cherith, it’s your turn!”
Pulled out of her moment, Cherith quickly refocused and introduced herself to the new faces sitting around the table, noting to herself that there seemed to be more newcomers this year. That was good.
If you’ve ever been to a church camp, theres one thing everyone’s aware of and that’s how fast the weekend always seems to fly by. Full days spent catching up with friends, playing uno and other games until the wee hours of the morning, then up all too early to get ready for the
boys day. If you were stuck in a room full of girls, bathroom space was first-come-first-serve and it gets competitive. After breakfast and devotions, the day whizzes with a schedule full of sports, games, endless volleyball and activities. Come late afternoon the cafeteria and dorms slowly fill up as red-faced, sweaty and dehydrated kids slowly trickle off the field needing to escape the merciless sun. Then comes church and its time to recharge.
Cherith remembers the group of newcomers at the front of the church, introducing themselves to the crowd.
“He’s pretty cute,” she thought to herself as her eyes skimmed the group and delayed for an instant on the blonde guy who had a charming accent (New Zealand accents always grab the ladies attention). Not dwelling on the thought, Cherith forgot about his face until seeing him later that weekend.
Camp came to a close and Sunday afternoon was a bittersweet time as everyone packed up their bags, gave their friends final hugs goodbye, exchanged numbers and promised to see each other next summer. Exhausted youth drained the cafeteria of coffee trying to work up the energy for the long trip home.
Cherith packed up her things and headed home. There were a few people coming over to her parents house for some last rounds of uno and socializing so she figured she’d drop in and say hi.
Walking in, she noticed that cute blonde guy – now known as Chris had come. She smiled to herself, feeling a little bit nervous all of the sudden. Walking over to the table she sat down and joined the fun. By the end of the evening, she knew one thing. She really liked him.
This was weird. She barely knew him. They barely spoke at camp.
But she liked him.
Guess what? Chris liked her too. He remembers her introducing herself at that table, day one of camp. She was beautiful he thought – a very likeable person as Cherith is extremely warm and outgoing.
Later, they became friends and messaged each other via email and Facebook as Chris had to go home. For over a year and a half, they learned about each other and couldn’t stop talking. Long distance relationships are not easy at all, and there were rough times, as well as times that were wonderful and perfect. Work, family, and other trials made their friendship strong and they encouraged each other through the hard times and rejoiced together at the good times.
But were they just friends, or was it something more than that? The question lingered in Cherith’s mind.
The following summer in 2013, Chris mentioned that he would be in Europe for several weeks, training for work and he asked Cherith if she knew anyone on that side of the world and if there were any youth camps he could attend. Cherith is quite the traveller so she’s the perfect person to ask. A close friend of Cherith’s from Washington lives in Belgium and faithfully invited her out every year to camp. Long story short, Cherith applied for some last minute time off from work and was approved to fly to Belgium for New Years Eve. Chris had no idea, she was going to surprise him.
They spent a short weekend together and on Monday, January 6th, 2014, Chris made Cherith the happiest girl by asking her to be his girlfriend. He then got her fathers permission and it was a month full of excitement and love. No better way to start the new year than that!
Christopher and his sister Jasmine came to visit in May and stayed for several weeks. They did a big road trip to Texas and Cherith hit it off with Jasmine, instantly bonding. They spent time in Arizona with family and Cherith recalls the trip as being one of the best times of her life – but the best part was just getting to spend time with Chris. They knew after that that they wanted their friendship to be forever.
Chris surprised Cherith in July by flying in for her birthday and a few months later Cherith got to go see his side of the world.
Fast forward to December 2014.
Chris made the big call to Cherith’s pastor and dad getting his blessing to ask for Cherith’s hand in marriage. He flew into town a few days before Christmas. Christmas morning, they got up early and made a quick trip to the top of the hill by their home to watch the sunrise together (aww). Before Cherith knew what was happening, Chris was down on one knee holding out a gorgeous ring and asked her to become his Mrs. Mounter.
Cherith said yes, of course.
They couldn’t be any happier and excited for their future together. I got the amazing privilege of getting flown there to do their engagement photos and had such a great time. We got some amazing photos and I cannot wait until their wedding in April!
Congratulations, Chris and Cherith. Your love is inspiring and I am so excited for your future.