Following God's call: O'Neal, Wait strike lifelong friendship

Hailey O'Neal and Lily Wait
Hailey O’Neal (left) and Liliana Wait (right)

Hailey O’Neal (JR/Pipe Creek, Texas) and Liliana Wait (SR/Parker, Colo.) had no way of knowing their paths would collide at Tabor College.

Immersed in college softball and tennis, both played their respective sports in junior college before choosing to attend Tabor as transfers. “Attached at the hip,” the pair felt it was only right to become roommates in fall 2021 after striking a bond in their first year in Hillsboro. The two also saw their first-semester roommates leave, only making it easier to build their friendship.

“I feel it’s God’s calling that I was brought here and to meet Hailey and the many friends I’ve made on campus,” Wait said. “Senior year does make it kind of sad, but making that connection is so vital, and it’s so good to have it at a school like this because these friendships are invaluable.”

When O’Neal was first contacted by Head Softball Coach Jeff Brewer, she found it to be similar to a school that was closer to home. Having previously attended Northeast Texas Community College, she found Tabor to be that perfect fit of Christian education and a team she wanted to be a part of.

Striking a chord with Wait was the perfect cherry on top.

“We all have our down days, and I’ve learned to trust Lily with anything,” O’Neal said.

Tabor was not unfamiliar to Wait as her Hesston College resident assistant Brenna (Peters, g’20) Kliewer chose to become a Bluejay.

“(Brenna) told me I’d love Tabor because how much she loved the campus and the community,” Wait said. “I didn’t think about it as much at first, but after taking a year off of school, I felt God was telling me, ‘Go to Tabor.’”

As dedicated as both are to their sport, they know their friendship and their academic pursuits will resonate the deepest once they depart Tabor.

Hailey O'Neal and Liliana Wait

Between being roommates and spending time with their housemates in the Townhouses, the 1, 2, or 3 a.m. conversations bring a smile to their eyes.

“Our RAs do a great job of creating activities for our house,” O’Neal said. “We can all come together and build relationships together.”

While neither have traveled to each other’s hometown, the two have already begun plans to connect outside of Tabor because of Wait’s impending graduation.

“I’ve been blessed by three wonderful roommates,” Wait said about her college years. “Another great thing is even when I’m not home in Colorado, Hailey is a part of my family here, and I’m forever grateful that God is at work bringing people together for a reason.”