Katherine and I met in the summer of 1998. My brother, Sam, was working at LLYC and brought home a group of counselors and staff for a day off. I was senior in high school and getting ready to go to college, so I was unable to attend camp that summer. I remember thinking Katherine really caught my eye, but I headed off to college.
Fast forward five years, I finished college in California and accepted a cook position at Echo Valley in 2004. Katherine was finishing her fifth and final summer out at camp and was one of the Girls Work Crew bosses at Singing Hills. We immediately connected and had a great friendship that summer. We like to say this was indicative of our future roles: mine being cooking and hers being cleaning. We remember having many deep conversations on the Singing Hills playfield under the clear blue skies and star dipped nights. Once camp was over, we went our separate ways, but stayed in touch through the years. I actually asked her out on a date, and met her in Austin, but much to my surprise, she brought a bunch of friends to our “date”. I figured she must not be that interested, but it was a fun dinner in Austin. Her version is a little different than this… A few years later, I was at my desk at work, thinking about people from camp, and Katherine crossed my mind. I thought I would try again. I called her and asked her to go dinner with me. We met at Trulucks seafood restaurant and, as we like to say, there was no luck involved! After a long time coming we finally had our chance!
Eight months later, we were engaged, and three months after that we were married. 9 years later, we have 2 children and run a wedding and event venue together in New Braunfels (grueneestate.com). Our relationship with each other and with many of our close friends is built on the connections and ministry of Laity Lodge Youth Camp. We share the common Christ-centered values and desire to live those out in our daily lives with each other, our family and our community. We both are now a part of the Young Life and Young Lives ministries and often think about the theme verse that was shared at camp one summer:
1 Thessalonians 2:8 “Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.”
We desire to live this out every day, not only each other, but the people around us.
Camp continues to impact not only our lives, but also the lives of our children at Laity Lodge Family Camp. One of the greatest blessings of camp are that the relationships that started out one summer at camp have exponentially grown and are now lifelong friendships that have trickled down to our families and children. We could not think of a better place for our relationship to begin than in the Canyon, on the Frio River, for the best “two weeks of our lives.” Little did we know what God had in store for us through the gift of our marriage and family. Two weeks has turned into 10 years and counting and we could not be more grateful.