“We were both camp counselors for underprivileged children in inner-city Baltimore. A couple years before she went on that trip, she came to the Urbana campus and participated in the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s Urbana conference. That led her to, a year and a half later, spend a summer in inner-city Baltimore. I had a completely different path. I wasn’t an Illinois student at the time, but I too decided, completely independent of her, to go on that same project. We spent 10 weeks there together, really hit it off.
"Most of the time that we spent getting to know each other was over email and over the phone. If it wasn’t for the conference and the time she spent on campus, we probably would have never met.
“Racked up a lot of long distance bills, back when you had to pay for long distance. It was email on a terminal, right, it kind of looked like an old-school computer terminal with black background and green letters on top of it. I spent a lot of time either at the residence hall computer labs or the math computer science lab, sending emails back and forth.
"She never came back to campus while I was a student there. We have gone back to campus since I’ve graduated; We’ve brought our kids there a couple of times. Went back to the same residence hall to say, ‘Hey, this is where Daddy lived!’”
Bryan Jenchowski’s wife Annick first came to the Urbana campus in 1996 to attend a conference, and inspired by it, decided to join a summer inner-city missions program in Baltimore. Bryan, who ended up transferring to Illinois that fall, spent 10 weeks at the same missions program, where he met Annick. The couple then continued a long distance relationship for two years after Bryan graduated from Illinois, with Bryan commuting from Connecticut to Philadelphia. They currently live outside of Philadelphia with their three children. Bryan received an actuarial science degree from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Listen to Bryan's story. For the entire #ILLINOISlove playlist, listen here.
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