When I moved to Virginia Tech in the fall of 2016, I did not know anyone or anything about the area. I spent the first two years trying to find my place in a large university but failed to get it right time and time again. In 2018, I began thinking that what needed to change for me to fit into the college atmosphere was “me”; that’s when my life spiraled out of control. When I started attending weekly services at Northstar, I realized how far I had drifted spiritually from a relationship with God and recognized that I had been searching for approval in all the wrong areas. I filled out a Howdy Card, swiftly passed it to Erin Petersen after the service, and hoped for a quick response from whoever or whatever would pull me out of the worst time of my life.
That afternoon, I received a text message from Katie Farnsworth – a text that began the best era of my life.
On the Howdy Card, I requested to be connected to a mentor that could guide me in a Bible study and life in general. Katie Farnsworth was the answer to my unknown prayer. Over the course of the semester, Katie led me in a weekly Bible study of the book of Ephesians. She showed me how to live by grace through faith (Ephesians 2), how to pray for spiritual strength (Ephesians 3), how we live a new life as part of the Body of Christ (Ephesians 4), what it means to walk in love (Ephesians 5), and how to don the Armor of God (Ephesians 6). Katie poured her time and energy into me when it was not the easy thing to do. She was constantly willing to open up her home and her calendar to care for me when I was feeling alone or disheartened.
Fortunately, Katie is not the only Farnsworth who has invested in my life.
While Katie was caring for my spiritual well-being, Tyler Farnsworth made it evident that I am part of their family – a family that is a little cuter now-a-days thanks to Riley.
Without a support system, it is very easy for a fragile faith to be shaken; and although Katie was strengthening my faith relationship, I still felt alone in Blacksburg. This is where Tyler stepped in. After finding out that I played volleyball in high school, I was immediately recruited for the Northstar Church volleyball team. Tuesday mornings were spent in class, afternoons in Bible study with Katie, and nights at the volleyball games with Tyler. The Farnsworth’s were intentionally investing in both my spiritual and social lives, and I began to feel a little more at home.
After going home to Knoxville at the end of the school year, I actually missed Blacksburg for the first time ever; more specifically, I missed Northstar teachings, church volleyball, and the Farnsworth’s hospitality. In June, I returned to Blacksburg to visit my Northstar family when Katie and Tyler opened their home for summer nights of food and fellowship. In July, Katie and Tyler came to my motocross race in Wytheville – a testament that their investment in me stretches further than their comfort zone. Upon my return to Blacksburg this spring, I knew that I wanted to become even more plugged in to Northstar because the Farnsworth created made it feel like home to me. After attending the Discover Northstar dinner in January, everything clicked. Northstar is my church. I became a member, joined a Bible study, volunteered on Sundays, signed up for a volleyball team, and am beginning the Discipleship Initiative this week. All this has happened because Katie and Tyler have directed me back into a real, love relationship with God.
Here is how I see it.
Katie planted and tended to the seedling (my life and my faith). Tyler transferred the sprout into nourishing ground (getting me involved in Northstar). Now I can grow and produce fruit (further developing my faith and giving back to the church).
I wish I could thank Katie and Tyler Farnsworth enough for truly caring and raising me during my time in Blacksburg, and I believe they will do a spectacular job raising their new baby girl Riley.