Andrew and Kat: They found love at the University of Mount Olive
By Rhonda Jessup, Director of Public Relations, University of Mount Olive
It is no secret that many college students, while seeking an education, also stumble upon lasting love. That was the case for Andrew Alphin of Kinston and Katherine “Kat” Cahoon of Columbia.
The pair first met at a youth retreat during their senior year of high school. They had an immediate connection – they both loved the Lord, liked to laugh and enjoyed being around God’s people. The weekend retreat was enjoyable and memorable, yet neither ever expected to see the other again. Fast forward one year later to August of 2006. It was move-in day on the Mount Olive College campus (now the University of Mount Olive).
“I was coming out of King Residence Hall when I saw Andrew’s red Explorer in the parking lot,” Kat said. “I immediately recognized him from the retreat. I called out his name, ran over, and gave him a great big hug.”
“I tried to remain calm and play it cool,” Andrew recalled. He couldn’t believe that Kat was talking to him because, as he said, “I thought she was completely out of my league.”
At Mount Olive College, both Andrew and Kat became heavily involved in campus life and ministry. Kat played softball, was an Ambassador, a member of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC), and a ministry leader. Andrew was involved with Thursday night worship services, the Free Spirit singing group, manager of the Trojan men’s basketball team, intramural sports; and a member of the Kornegay Krazies Trojan Fan Club. Kat and Andrew’s paths crossed often on the campus and their friendship grew through their individual and shared experiences, especially their ministry involvements.
“Mount Olive College was a place where we could be who God called us to be,” Andrew said. “Kat and I became best friends. We enjoyed our time serving in the ministries and guiding our circles closer to God.”
Andrew and Kat were MOC Ministry Team leaders where they helped with and often spoke at Monday night prayer time, Tuesday night Bible study, and Thursday night worship. “We poured a lot of time and prayer into those we ministered to and we enjoyed it,” Kat said.
“Our time in ministry at Mount Olive is where Kat and I found out who God had put in our paths to be partners in life and in ministry,” Andrew stated.
The friendship between Kat and Andrew eventually grew to more. Kat was drawn to Andrew’s witty personality, kind spirit and love for God. “He is faithful, loyal and has such a giving heart,” Kat said. “He would do anything for anyone. He was, and still is, my constant encourager and best friend.”
Likewise, Andrew was attracted to Kat because of her ability to push people to be better versions of themselves. “I have to admit, back when I was a college student, walking into a room with Kat by my side made me feel like the biggest man on campus. Even now, walking into places with her still gives me a sense of confidence. Kat brings out the best in me and makes me a better person.”
To solidify their feelings, Andrew popped the question in a big way. “I’ll never forget him asking me to be his wife. It was softball senior night. I was standing on the diamond, when Andrew came out, knelt down and pulled out the ring. I am so thankful I said, ‘Yes!’”
Andrew graduated from Mount Olive College in May of 2009 with a degree in mathematics. Kat followed in August with a degree in recreation and leisure studies and a minor in religion. The couple has been married for 10 years and enjoy raising their two daughters, Anna Blake Alphin, 5, and Logan Kate Alphin, 1, in Sims and working in Wilson County. Andrew is a math teacher at Hunt High School. Kat is a health and PE teacher at Springfield Middle School, where she also serves as the athletic director and volleyball coach.
The couple still actively share the message of Jesus Christ. Both Andrew and Kat lead FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) at their schools. They are active in Marsh Swamp Original Free Will Baptist Church, where they lead Wednesday night youth ministry, help with the nursery rotation and assist with various committees. In addition, Andrew leads praise and worship at the church on the second and fourth Sundays.
In reflecting about their time at Mount Olive, Andrew said, “I went to Mount Olive College because I felt God leading me. I stayed because I felt God using me. God’s plan for my life was nurtured and fulfilled because of the faculty, staff, and atmosphere that Mount Olive offers. Keeping Christ first while guiding us academically allowed Kat and I to become the people that God called us to be.”
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