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Ever had that cousin you see at family gatherings every six or so months, and that’s the only contact you have with him or her for a number of years? Whether that cousin is older or younger than you, you two both grow up, only seeing a sliver of each other’s lives for a few hours at a time, once or twice a year.

Occasionally, there’s a new set of braces, maybe some new facial hair, or a deeper voice some time after that. And maybe in a select few interactions with your cousin, it dawns on you that this relative has a unique life with a social network, with triumphs and agonizing losses, with odd sleeping habits and pet peeves. Of dreams to pursue.

You have a special invitation to walk with Vern Thompson, perhaps a guy not unlike that cousin you see every so often, and view what can actually be an extraordinary life. One of contested growth, and of newfound faith – learning your cousin is actually pretty okay to hang with, once you get past “What year in school are you in now?” or “What’s your major again?”

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