Birthed from the beauty of genuine relationships, this book came from you: friends and family, missionaries and teachers, mentors and therapists— the souls that made mine, interconnectedness of saints, and the stories that formed mine, which is what Stories do, igniting and uniting our essence, for anyone who dares to read or see. You met me where I was in that new, foreign land and accepted me as I am, which is difficult and painful to do, as Change did what it does— from my home, where this all began, to my heart, where everything changed; Indiana, Carolina, Paraguay: I owe all to you. I know that I can be complicated but you, my friend, accept me anyway and dare to understand me though I know I can be complicated. From exchanging ideas at breweries to the conversations after church, from the teary-eyed talks at coffeeshops to laughing ’til our stomachs hurt on kitchen floors and shorelines; from dissecting our faiths on wild nights to worshiping on Sunday anyway, from sitting on couches, healing our hurts, to working through life on road-trips that we couldn’t afford, we had each other, and that’s all that mattered. Reader, friend, beloved, these words are for you. Thanks for sharing a piece of your story, for it helped to form my own.
By Stephen Copeland