By Patrick Miller
Most people sign up to volunteer in Crossing Kids because they want a hands-on way to serve. But if you ask the volunteers themselves, they’ll tell you about one great perk: new friendships.
In one case, Crossing Kids led to a new marriage. Jake and Tricia met each other serving in Crossing Kids, started dating, got engaged and planned a wedding. Then Coronavirus happened. Rather than waiting, they decided to get married where the first met: in a Crossing Kids classroom.
We’ll let them tell the story.
Tell us the story of how you met.
I was the team lead in a Night Crossing classroom when Abby McClelland placed Jake in my classroom. From the start he made me really nervous and I didn’t want to talk to him. If you know me you know I could talk to a stump in the forest so I just avoided him at all cost since that was an unfamiliar feeling. I told him to go play with kids or serve them pizza anytime he tried to talk to me. I eventually talked to him over the six weeks of Night Crossing little by little.
We met at Night Crossing working in one of the 1st grade classrooms. When I signed up, I told Abby I was happy to help wherever it was needed. She put me in a 1st grade room that Tricia was leading.
Why did you sign up to volunteer for Crossing Kids?
My senior year of college, I was in all the same classes with my friend Jared, who also went to The Crossing and served there quite a bit. When we were sitting in class one day, I started to ask him a lot of questions about getting more plugged in. I remember telling him I had a lot of sin and was scared of being judged. He told me to just get involved in the church and I would realize that it wasn’t so scary. I love kids, so that is where I volunteered.
After I graduated, I realized I had way too much free time on my hands. I wanted to start getting more involved at The Crossing where I had been attending Sunday services throughout college. I have always enjoyed working with kids and taking on mentor roles, so when I heard the recruitment message for Crossing Kids I decided that sounded like a pretty good place to start. I signed up to help with Night Crossing on Wednesdays and Crossing Kids on Sundays.
How did you end up going on your first date?
Night Crossing was coming to an end and I remember thinking, “Well, if things get awkward (I had no idea if I was friend-zoned or not at this point) I can just tell Abby to put us in different classes next Night Crossing session.” Luckily as we texted more, he started to make me less nervous. I honestly have no idea where our first date was. I couldn’t remember our anniversary for the first 2 years of our relationship either.
I’m not sure either of us remembers the exact details. We had been texting quite a bit after a few weeks of Night Crossing and decided we should hang out outside of church so that we could actually spend some time together one-on-one. I’d call the “first date” the time she introduced me to Hyvee Chinese.
When did you know you wanted to get married?
I knew Jake was the one I wanted to marry within six months dating. I wasn’t so sure about “when” though. I changed careers during our first year of dating and needed to figure out myself a little bit more first. Then after about 1.5 to 2 years in, I was like “Okay I’m ready.” Jake FINALLY proposed after 3 years together
About the time she introduced me to Hyvee Chinese… joking aside, I’d say I knew she was the one within the first year or so. I wasn’t quite ready for marriage then, but I was confident she’d be the person I married before too long.
Tell us what Coronavirus did to your wedding… and what you did instead.
Jake & Tricia:
COVID-19 definitely put a wrench into the grand wedding plans we’d made for ourselves. We weren’t going to be able to carry out the perfect early-summer wedding and honeymoon that we spent so much time and effort setting up, but it wasn’t going to ruin our marriage plans.
Once we realized a large June gathering wasn’t going to happen, we went ahead and rescheduled with all of our venues and vendors. But after we did that we kept coming back to the question of our actual marriage (you know, the important part). After talking for a couple weeks between the two of us and with our families, and getting some well-timed advice from our pastor, we decided we weren’t going to let COVID-19 delay the start of our marriage.
Patrick agreed to marry us in the Crossing Kids classroom where we met, and we carried out a small 5-person wedding just a couple days after that. We still plan to have family and friends for a vow-renewal ceremony, reception, and all the other fun stuff later. But the wedding we ended up having allowed us to really focus on the depth and meaning of this covenant we were entering in a way we never would have while trying to host 200 guests.
We invite you to join our Crossing Kids team. There are many different ways you can serve and use your gifts. Serve twice a month and we will work around your schedule.