Continuing on with our theme of love, I’ll tell you about our first date.
As I mentioned before, Mark was already a pastor, so I was very clear about what I was getting into. It came as no surprise that our first date would be on a Sunday and it would start at church. That’s only fitting for what the next 12 years would bring!
My drama team (Loveta, Abe and Tyrone) and I all drove from Lake Stevens to Renton to attend New Life that morning. We drove two separate cars, so I threw my purse and jacket in my car, locked the door, and gave my keys to Loveta to hold for me. I didn’t want to be encumbered by all of my stuff when I saw Mark for the first time.
We were mobbed at the door by a bunch of teenagers that we had met at camp, so we waded our way through and into the sanctuary. Mark and I met and talked briefly, but he was busy with the events of the morning, so we parted ways. The pastor’s at that time all sat together on the front row, which was not where I wanted to be on our first date! My friends and I found our own seats and enjoyed the service.
When it was over, I said goodbye to my friends and made my way to Mark. He introduced me to a lot of people and then said, “Why don’t you stay here and talk to Alvina while I go get changed for our date.” I stood there and made small talk with the woman that would later be my mother-in-law, but Mark had failed to mention that she was his mom!
As we were leaving, I told Mark that I needed to stop at my car to get my purse and jacket. That is the moment that I realized that my keys were already on their way back to Lake Stevens, nearly an hour away. We had no cell phones back then and the phone at the camp was not manned on weekends. I was officially stranded in Renton.
We went on our date anyway, which was lunch and window shopping at the Seattle Center. We had a nice time together and the conversation was very easy. Time flew as we got to know each other a little better. I hadn’t planned on staying for the evening service at church, but I found myself still in Renton, so I decided a few more hours wouldn’t hurt. In the meantime I had miracously gotten a hold of Loveta and she came all the way back to give me my keys!
A special speaker named Donny was at the church that night and we thoroughly enjoyed the service. After our second round of church, we got the privilege of taking the speaker out for a late dinner. Donny enjoyed the time with us by grilling us on an assortment of questions, “Do you want to get married? What type of guy do you want? Do you want kids? How do you feel about being a pastor’s wife?” And on and on and on…
Mark and I still laugh at that dinner because it was like speed dating. If there had been any concerns, we’d have known all about it on our first date.
After dinner, Mark took me to my car, where we sat and talked for a while longer. It was now about the 12th hour of our first date and I still had a drive ahead of me. We agreed to meet again, and thanks to Donny, Mark knew that I don’t kiss on the first date. He gave me a hug and sent me on my way. And the rest is history.