I completed my Grief Recovery Program on August 12th, 2013, which was a three month program. The day I graduated was Carole’s spiritual birthday. Special thanks to Curt Clemens, who is certified in Grief Recovery. He became my best friend. He guided and supported me spirituality during a lot of difficult times after Carole’s passing. That day, I removed my wedding ring and I accepted that Carole went to Heaven and I was to move on with my life.
On July 30th, 2013, I met Chante Fefee on Facebook. We started talking and decided to meet up on Skype. From there, our friendship blossomed. I shared with her about my loss for Carole and how it was very difficult at times. Chante was very supportive and that I liked that. She shared with me about her past marriage situations, which showed me she was open to sharing. I shared that Carole wanted me to be happy with my life after her passing. Chante agreed with that I should be happy with my life and not be depressed.
Chante and I went on a Google Hungout video date with another couple on August 17th, 2013. I called Panera Bread and ordered her lunch, comprised of her favorite foods: Apple Fugi salad, Chai tea, and shortbread cookies. After picking it up she signed into her laptop and our date began. She was so encouraged. It was a lot of fun. After the couple left, we continued to talk for a few more hours. Oh how time went by quickly. During our date, I expressed I was nervous about our date, but Chante made the date enjoyable. She confessed that she was also nervous because she never went on a date with a deaf disciple. She knows American Sign Language, which I appreciated.
We did confessed that she and I have an interest with each other, but I shared that I wanted to take the relationship slowly. She understood. Chante expressed that I am worth the wait, which blew me away. I felt so encouraged that I began to pray to the LORD about my feelings with Chante. On August 25th, I texted Chante and asked to Skype. When we did, I got straight to the point and shared that I was very interested in her and I wanted to grow our relationship possibly to the next level. We texted and Skype weekly.
I sought advice from Darin and AT Ford who are Evangelists at the Annapolis Regional Church about my interests with Chante. They were very excited and prayed for us. AT suggested I speak with Jesse and Lynn Carey who are close friends with Chante. For this reason, I wanted to seek advice on possibly dating Chante as I wanted to take our relationship to the next level of our friendship. Chante and I had our dates using Google Hangout. We had a blast, which made me more interested in her.
My goal was to visit Chante in October. I sought advice from Mike Taliaferro about my plan but advised me that was too fast and it would best to meet her in person first at the SW Conference in Long Beach, CA. I agreed with Mike’s advice to meet her first before planning to visit.
My goal was to have a great time with Chante at the SW Conference. We met for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. We had more opportunity to share and discussed about life. She did expressed she was disappointed I didn’t fly out in October to visit her, but she understood that I seek advices from the brothers at church.
Chante & I were nervous for meeting in person for the first time on November 7th. After I picked her up, we went to Wendy’s for lunch to talk. Afterwards, we went to meet her grandfather. That was a lot of fun.
That evening, we went on a double dinner date at Subway with Gabriel and Nicole. I remembered Chante asking, ‘What our goals was for the next five years?’ Chante expressed she wanted to get married, have kids, and co-lead a Deaf Ministry.” I was thrilled to hear Chante expressed this because I also dream to lead a Deaf Ministry. I also expressed that I wanted to marry and have children in the future. Chante smiled.
On Friday, November 8th, we dressed formal for the James Bond single event. Our double date was with Gabriel & Brittney Taylor-Davis. We went to eat dinner at the Olive Garden, went to the event and had a blast together. It was an evening to remember.
On Saturday, November 9th, I led a signed a song in American Sign Language and preached a message for the Deaf Ministry. The topic was ‘Breakthrough In Your Outreach to the Deaf Community”. I thought I did well for my third time. I was very nervous and wanted the sermon to go well and be understood by the audience. I got a lot of compliments that I did well which made me feel better.
That evening, Chante and I went on double date with a couple names, Zach Lotane and Courtney Branson, for dinner at La Creperie and went to a single’s dance event. The next day Sunday, we stayed at the conference for the short time because Chante needed to arrive at the airport very early. After Chante picked up her flight ticket at the Delta ticket counter, we talked for a while. I expressed how I appreciated our time together and enjoyed every minute together. I cried because our departure was difficult to say goodbye, not sure when I would see her again. Chante expressed she was very grateful for all the encouragements and wonderful times together.
On Wednesday, November 13, I had a meeting with Mike Taliaferro for an hour. Some disciples were concerned about my decision for dating Chante because they thought it is too soon after Carole’s passing. I explained to Mike not to worry what people think about my decision. I was ready to move on. Mike asked me when I plan to ask Chante to be my girlfriend? I was happy that Mike accepted my decision that I was ready for a new relationship with Chante. Carty and Ford from Annapolis supported my decision to ask Chante to be my girlfriend.
I discussed with Chante to visit her for 2 weeks from November 25th-Dec. 9th and it was agreed. On Monday, November 25th, Chante pick me up. I took her to lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. I gave her poem ‘When I Open Our Good Book’. She read the front page then I show to her the back page by ASL. The poem reads:
I feel gospel of new promises Revelations.
We both can picture Skype face hope in person—focus our scripture as faith smiles looking above us;
Text our reconnection, change is the Genesis of our story just beginning
Psalm hands read the signs prayers reach new life chapters—
When the good book opens to our story, Heaven shines on new hearts,
We can reflect the message of joy together written on every page.
I shared my memories when we first met and how I am very grateful for our friendship. This was the time I planned to ask her to be my girlfriend. Boy, I was nervous! When I asked, she was shocked and answered with a YES! She hugged me twice. God answered our prayers about dating. We had much in common by long distance relationships experiences, married experiences, & Deaf Ministry experiences. I am very happy that Chante can communicate with me using ASL.
We planned a second trip to visit her from December 23rd-January 7th. We had a fantastic times together. I am glad I met some disciples for fellowships at Annapolis Regional Church and planned double dates. I appreciate she interpreted for me on Sunday and midweeks. Chante have done terrific job. I interpreted church songs to give her a break. A special thanks for my team interpreters, McCall Finnerty, Lindsay Koncz, & Chante on Sunday, December 8th, 2013.
Chante’s receptive skills for American Sign Language is growing since I have been teaching her the right way to sign during our video-chat times on Skype and FaceTime. I believe God has great plan for the future for the both of us to lead the Deaf Ministry together. We are looking forward for our ongoing relationships to be closer to the Lord and staying faithful in Christ in 2014!