SPORTS EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first in a series documenting the personal testimony of Farmington senior Alexis Roach, a track and field star as well as two-year starter for the girls basketball team, which won more than 50 games during her tenure.
FARMINGTON -- Farmington senior Alexis Roach came full circle competing at the Panther Relays hosted by Siloam Springs on Thursday, March 28.
Alexis played an instrumental role helping Farmington (193.5) win the girls team championship trophy by 1.5 points over the host, Siloam Springs (192). Alexis won the long jump (15-10) and triple jump (34-10.5) edging out former teammate, Jael Harried, of Siloam Springs, in both events. Alexis also placed third in the 200 meter (29.83), but her role could have been vastly different had she not conquered fear.
Several months before Zach Williams' hit "Fear Is A Liar" played on Christian radio, Alexis, now a senior in her second year at Farmington, lived it.
Alexis found herself starring in a personal video she originally had no desire to take part in.
The song released Jan. 19, 2018, as the third single from Williams' debut album "Chain Breaker" would have made an appropriate soundtrack for choices Alexis faced.
Speaking at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes event, Alexis candidly revealed how she struggled against tormenting thoughts when her father, Jacob Roach, accepted pastorate of Northwest Assembly Farmington Campus, an Assembly of God franchise established locally.
Alexis' battle began the day her dad came home and told the family, "I have this job opportunity to be a pastor in Farmington."
A teenager acclimated to her comfort zone where she had been raised in adjacent Benton County at Siloam Springs, Alexis was instantly terrified.
"At that point I really didn't know where Farmington was even though it's not that far from Siloam Springs," Alexis said. "I had been here once to play volleyball or something."
The shortest distance between the two high schools is 28.4 miles via State Highway 16. Geography seemed irrelevant at the moment. Alexis frantically questioned everything.
"How far away is that? Where is that?"
Her father endeavored to calm her fears, reassuring Alexis, "It's just 30 minutes down the street."
Every time Jacob Roach brought up the subject, Alexis felt overwhelmed and scared.
"I knew that that meant that I would have to move and I wanted anything else but that," Alexis said. "I had made a home in Siloam (Springs) and so every time that Farmington was brought up, I'd cry uncontrollably and it sounds a little weird, but I would."
An external force seeped in, presenting thoughts designed to discourage her. Although raised in church as daughter of a long-time youth pastor, Alexis admits she initially didn't recognize her true enemy.
"Fear, ... would just keep throwing lies at me that there's things to be scared of," Alexis told those attending the FCA event.
Messages of doubt bombarded her coming in waves of three.
"You aren't going to fit in."
"You aren't going to make friends."
"You shouldn't want to go because if you go you're not going to have a good time."
Another voice also spoke to her contradicting the negativity.
"Deep down I knew that God was calling me here (to Farmington) because I get an opportunity like this (to testify), and my dad gets to make a difference in the community," Alexis said.
Jacob Roach accepted the pastorate. Yet, Alexis wasn't sold on making a move -- not yet.
In the fall of 2016 while Alexis began her sophomore year at Siloam Springs, Jacob Roach began driving back-and-forth to the church office at Farmington. Yet, the issue wouldn't go away.
"After awhile we decided that 'yeah, he'll take the job but we just won't move so he'll just commute to work every day,' and I know a lot of people do that, but it's hard to do that and grow a church," Alexis said. "So, after five months of doing that, we decided that we'd move."
The Bible verse that brought Alexis a breakthrough, to a point where she said, "OK, finally, I will move, I will move to Farmington," is Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight."
Alexis made peace. She became willing to uproot herself and become transplanted into a new community.
"I knew that God had a bigger plan for me than I could see and that he had a bigger future than I knew of and that the first step of doing that was trusting him and moving to Farmington."
NEXT WEEK. THE WORST IS YET TO COMESports on 04/10/2019
Print Headline: To Move Or Not To Move