“I will walk by faith even when I cannot see.” 2 Corinthians 5:7
Has The Lord ever called you to go to an unfamiliar place that you have never been before? A place where you don’t know a single person within a two hundred mile radius? This was Charlottesville, VA for me. When I accepted my spot in the Fellows Program, I was just being completely faithful to God and hoping that he was leading me to a place comparable to Texas.
You see, I love Texas. I was born and raised there, went to college there…I even have a nephew named Texas. I didn’t know what to expect from my time in Virginia. In all honesty, I started off with a bit of a bad attitude. My thoughts were: “The amount of trees and mountains make me claustrophobic”, “It gets too cold,” “Everything is organic?” and “I won’t be eating any decent Mexican food for a while…” It wasn’t that I didn’t like Charlottesville; it just wasn’t Texas.
But God has challenged me on these preconceived notions. Especially this one: “People are nicer in Texas”. My first few days of interactions with people were great, but they were a whirlwind of meeting so many new people and being exhausted from the two and a half day drive up from Texas. One of my favorite parts was getting to know people in smaller groups. One conversation in particular stands out:
We were driving to a cabin in Lexington over our first weekend retreat. There were four of us in the car talking about a range of topics, when finally, they asked about part of my story. I ended up telling them about paying for college and graduating with debt, and how money has always been a struggle for me. Thinking about this still brings tears to my eyes because when I finished telling my story, my new friends—that I barely knew—started to rally behind me, telling me how fired up they were about my struggles, and how they were on my team. If I needed help, they were there and would find ways to help me out.
At that moment I knew God had proven me wrong. These people were as nice as Texans. Even more, I felt secure in these relationships and felt Christ’s love all around me through the support of these new friendships. I am not sure yet why The Lord has brought me here to Charlottesville, but I know that the people I am meeting here are some of the greatest that will be placed in my life.
–Ashley Crank (Fellows ’15)