Mary Paul Hunt’s voice quivered as she told a story Wednesday evening, revisiting a traumatic experience that occurred two years ago to the day.
Hunt, now a senior at Enloe High School, was a sophomore with her sights set on playing Division I soccer when she suffered an injury in a club soccer game that spelled the end of her career in the sport.
Soccer was where Hunt found her identity and was what she was known for among her peers.
But she found peace after the incident, she told a crowd of more than 200 that gathered at the Knightdale High School football stadium Wednesday, in something much greater than any injury.
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“I cannot play soccer ever again – I don’t know if I will ever know a day without pain in my entire life again,” Hunt said. “But because I have Jesus, that does not matter to me. Of course, there’s a human side of me that wants healing, but I have Jesus and that is greater than anything that this world can give me.”
Hunt was one of several local high school student-athletes to share their testimonies in a Fellowship of Christian Athletes Fields of Faith event.
The event has grown nationally over the past 12 years, giving students a place to invite their friends and neighbors for worship, to share their faith and introduce people to Christ.
The FCA groups at East Wake, Knightdale, Rolesville, Heritage and Wake Forest high schools and Zebulon Middle School planned the event over the past couple months, repeating the event those same high schools had put together last year at Rolesville.
“I think it’s an amazing event, just how the community is involved,” said Katie Vaughn, an area representative for FCA. “It’s not just the high schools and it’s not just the kids, but really they get out their parents and neighbors and everyone out to to hear one message, and that’s of Jesus.”
The evening started with a hot dog meal, and the program started and ended with praise music courtesy of Cross Point Community Church worship leader Michael Roach and Executive Pastor Barry Jones.
After the student speakers, Poplar Spring Baptist Church Co-pastor Steve Chromy imparted the message that simply appearing to be good isn’t good enough for today’s students.
“Don’t walk down the halls and say, ‘Oh, I’m a Christian,’ (when) everyone knows what you do on the weekend doesn’t look like it,” Chromy challenged the crowd. “You have to change. There’s time to change.”
The event concluded with a large prayer circle under the lights of the Knights’ athletic field.
Clayton High School had a Fields of Faith event scheduled for the same night, but it was canceled with the county closing schools the entire week in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.