Ryan and Emily | Ohana | Hawai’i

A New Friendship

Butterflies danced in my stomach as I walked into the freshman orientation class on my first day of classes at Creighton University. A girl I thought to be an upperclassman directed us little freshmen about with the confidence of a leader. I felt an ease wash over me when she sat down and introduced herself as Emily, a fellow freshman. Emily sat next to me before class began letting me know that she was also a freshman. Her gentle heart loves life and it didn’t take us long to connect. Now she is one of my dearest friends in the world. During our sophomore year of college, we lived together on campus on the eighth floor of Swanson Hall. We may have spent half our time goofing off or talking and then the remainder cramming for our biology class! So many great memories together that it would take novels to write them down.

Ryan was one of those guys who everyone liked. Our paths crossed at a Bible study that he started on campus. We all became fast friends. Many of my memories with Ryan include him marking all over the papers he edited for my classes, layering them in red ink (I don’t think he kept many of my original words other than “the”), watching Star Wars, playing his guitar, and hanging out with friends, just to name a few.

Strengthened Over Time

Over the years, our friendship continued growing deeper. Phone calls may have gotten further apart, but we always picked up where we left off. As often as I could, I visited them wherever they lived, whether in Baltimore or Hawai’i. They always welcomed me and my friends into their home with generosity and love.

Over the years, God has blessed them with two beautiful children, Audrey and Sammy. They fill their house with energy, laughter, and love. Two small jewels shining brightly. We had the honor of celebrating Sammy’s birthday and attending Audrey’s dance recital in April. Our hearts ached and melted when they asked Emily if we could live with them!! To be honest, I think they enjoyed dressing Aaron up and covering him with stickers.

Through the years Emily has been a true friend. She is selfless and kind, and steadfast. Even separated by thousands of miles, we have managed to be there for each other, sharing struggles, laughter, and tears. This beloved family created a home that lives and breathes Ohana, a Hawaiian concept of family, love, fellowship, and togetherness. Ohau is called the gathering place and their home emulates just that. Their doors are always open to friends and family. We are so grateful and blessed to have such generous friends in our lives. Thank you, Ryan and Emily! Aloha!


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