It was during Algebra that I met new person #3 in my high school. I was staying pretty quiet, feeling unsure if I would fit in there, or who even cares about that as much as the unconscious question: Would I find even a few people that would really like me? REALLY accept me for who I was, and even for who I wasn’t? Most kids in this school were more well-to-do than in my last school, and I was feeling out of place.

While the math teacher droned on, with her overly-dyed blonde hair, I subtly scanned the room. I will never forget the pretty skinnier-than-me girl in the KU sweatshirt that sat one seat back and one row over. I think she was studying me for a minute, sizing me up, to see if it was worth the risk. She took it. “Hi, I’m Jodi Briegel, what’s your name?” And after a short interchange, I felt comfortable enough to accept an invitation to go to her church youth group that night. “Let’s do Algebra homework together first at my house, eat some of my mom’s awesome bean burritos, and then go to church together.” She was the first Christian I ever remember meeting.

We became fast friends and it wasn’t too long before I realized she had something I didn’t have, but that I needed, desperately. After asking Jesus to be my Lord too, I remember times of fellowship, as 14 year-olds define it. We would hang out a lot after school, doing homework together, braiding each other’s hair, and even praying or singing our favorite worship songs from youth group out on her covered front porch. At one point we (along with several other students) started a prayer time at our public school out in the front open grassy area each week.

As the years have raced by, we settled into different colleges, different routines, eventually even different states. The one bond that has always kept us close, has been the bond of true fellowship in Jesus Christ. All it takes is a phone call, and I know she’s there to pray with me, for me. Rare is the faithful friend that actually means the “Let’s keep in better touch, K?” comment at the end of a phone call. But Jodi does. Her sincerity and genuine heart are gifts from the Lord, and I know that 26 years later now, she will continue be there for me, until He comes, or until I go, and even then I know we will meet again at that heavenly feast and remain forever friends.”

~ A Friend

“I have had the honor of attending Jodi’s weekly women’s Bible Studies for a little over seven years. She has been such a source of wisdom, encouragement, and godly counsel in that time. I know I can call her with any petition and she will take it to the Lord and point me to His Word to calm my fears, shape my desires or feed my soul. I have cried with her, worshiped with her, loved with her, served with her, and laughed with her until our stomachs ached. I am grateful for the soul friend that she has become and that she points me continually to my soul’s truest friend, Jesus.”

~ Ali Roeschley

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