We were really nervous for the day today and could barely sleep because of it. We had our first interview at 10:30am and then three more following right after. While I know you’re thinking 10:30 doesn’t sound very early, you should also know that breakfast ended at 9:00, and we haven’t been getting to sleep before 2 am very much recently. By the end of the day we totally felt like we knew what we were doing, but our first interview took us about 20 minutes to set up for. We arrived at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church at about 10:15 and took multiple trips to and from the car to get our equipment. After our interview, we toured the church with Pastor Br and then had to hurry off to a cafe for the next one. While setting up, Lexie received a call from a church that neither of us remembered reaching out to in the first place, but we are very glad we did. They scheduled an interview for 2:30, snugly between our 1:30 and 3:30 plans. Luckily everything in Wichita was about 5 minutes away from everything else. Our second interview didn’t go as well as the first, but I can say we learned a lot more about our sound equipment and how much background noise it can take.
I can honestly say we felt like a legitimate film crew rushing between locations setting up and taking down our equipment as fast as we could. We're starting to wish we had just one more person to help carry equipment and maybe write these posts after we're exhausted from the day.
All three of the students we got to interview from Wichita State University had amazing lives and stories to share and we are so grateful to them and Pastor Brian Sutton for welcoming us into his beautiful church, but by far our most impactful interview was with Rev. Jackie Carter at the Table of Hope MCC. We rushed in, set up all of our stuff and introduced ourselves to Rev. Jackie, quickly explaining everything we are doing as she had no clue. She simply knew that their receptionist had told her two girls wanted to talk to her and that we were only in town today. Despite that, she welcomed us into her church and shared her stories with us. All of Wichita had been a pleasant surprise. We were expecting a lot of homophobia, negativity, and even violence from the #1 Worst Town for LGBT People in America, but instead we found welcoming churches, open students, and a lot of Bernie Sanders bumper stickers. Rev. Jackie explained that Table of Hope was a church created for LGBT people so that they had a place to go and know they were loved by god. She sat in front of beautiful stain glass windows and told us of times people had shot through them, trying to scare the church out of town. She was even moved to tears recounting a story of a mother terrified she would not see her son in heaven because he had been LGBT and committed suicide rather than face the world we live in. The entire experience left us feeling very fulfilled, and sure that we are doing work that needs to be done.
After we finished our interviews, we ate dinner and drove through the night to Dallas.
We can't wait to meet more people along the way and see what other incredible stories we can share. Thank you so much to everyone who gave us an interview today:
Pastor Brian Sutton, Rexy Que, Devante Garcia, Rev. Jackie Carter, and Crystal Lemon.