Almost 10 years ago I moved to Stockton to be a part of a church. I worked a few different jobs and served at the church in different capacities before getting hired by the church for an administrative position. I didn’t think I would stay in Stockton forever but I wanted to make it home while I was here.
I met my wife here. She had just moved back from LA and started coming to the church. She joined the community group that I was leading and hosting in my apartment above Empresso, one of the local coffee shops. We ended up dating and the rest is history. Both of our kids were born here. We got to see them be in the nursery at church to running around the sanctuary with their little friends.
I’ve made some of the best friends I’ve ever had here. My homies in Stockton who I would play FIFA, dominoes, and watch movies or binge watch Netflix shows on Sunday nights with. I’ve had friends that have been there to check in on me and pray for me when I needed it most. And my homies outside of Stockton, well we played some dominoes too, some spades, and ate all the wings. These are all friends that all the way up until our last days in Stockton told me “whatever you need. I got your back.” I really didn’t deserve friends like this but I’m thankful God blessed me with them.
A big part of us staying here in Stockton for as long as we have is because of the friends that we made and my job at the church. I had been on staff at the church for a little over 6 years. Although the church and our close group of friends were our family away from family, we started realizing how much we were missing being around our family. My parents live 3 hours away in Visalia. Steph’s parents live 3 hours away in Pacific Grove. We started to feel like Stockton was becoming less and less like a home to us. We started praying and seeking if God was moving us in a different direction. Then about a month ago, I was told that my position at the church was being phased out. We took this as a confirmation that it was time to move on.
We prayed through a few cities for where we would want to live but wanted to keep in mind that it had to be for a reason. We didn’t just want to move somewhere to be there. We made the decision to move to Visalia to be close to family. We decided that we needed to make this a priority since we had been without it in Stockton. We want our kids to grow up around their grandparents and their aunts and uncles.
As I was looking and praying for jobs in the area, I didn’t know where I would be employed next. The first job I applied for was the Marketing Production Manager position at Fresno Pacific University. Then I applied for a lot of other jobs through Linkedin but nothing seemed promising. After about a month, I got a call for an interview at Fresno Pacific and then I got a second interview. Just this last week, I got the job offer. God has been so good to our family.
What’s crazy is that I almost went to Fresno Pacific right out of high school. I actually lived on campus for a couple of months while taking a summer class and was going to be on their water polo team. Financially it just didn’t work out though so I moved home and went to Porterville College.
The thought of moving to Visalia just seems like such a relief. Although I’ve never lived in Visalia, I spent 11 years in Porterville which is only like 30 minutes away so Visalia is pretty familiar. The distance from Visalia to Pacific Grove is just about the same distance from Stockton to Pacific Grove so we still won’t be that far from our family there. And we’ll only be 3 hours away from LA so I’m hoping to see my family down there more often.
We only have about 2 more weeks left in Stockton. As sad as we are to say bye to our life here, we are really looking forward to this next season in Visalia.