I don’t mean to brag, but I have some pretty serious connections to the real-life town of Farmville (VA). I’m talking about a town that is so awesome it had a Facebook game named after it (leaving only the towns “Cityville” and “DiamondDash” on my list of Facebook-based towns to live in).
My wife and I were driving to the bustling burg of Farmville yesterday to visit her family and play in a festival, and as we were driving it hit me just how much of an impact this town-not-the-Facebook-game has had on my life. For instance…
I had my first post-high school worship leading experience in Farmville. In my freshman year of college, I had the opportunity to lead worship for a contemporary service at a rural Baptist church, where I learned that a) I didn’t know everything about church like I’d thought I did, and b) people can actually love Jesus AND sit in pews and sing out of hymnals. This blew my mind. (As a side note, I actually was led to this rural church by the guy who pastors the Church where I now serve. That’s right, THE Rob Shep Dot Com also found some roots in Farmville.)
Farmville was also the town where I learned how to work. I thought I worked hard before Farmville. In high school, I worked at a Subway, a car wash, and spent a summer working construction. But I learned there’s a difference between car wash hard work, and beef farm hard work. Tommy, the farmer I worked for in Farmville, taught me that you’re not hurt if you’re not bleeding… and if you are, there’s a roll of duck tape in the truck bed.
It was here where I learned how to drive a skid-steer, corral livestock, and clean a hog house. It was also here where I came back to Christ after a couple years of searching, and where I found my way back into church ministry.
But above all that, the thing that changed my life the most about the real-life town of Farmville was Brooke. When I wandered into a worship service at Riverside Community Church one fateful Sunday, I knew instantly that the woman standing on stage singing some soulful worship song would one day be my wife. I didn’t know her name quite yet, but I made it my goal to learn it ASAP.
This girl WAS Farmville. She was bold and unpretentious, but as sweet and bubbly as southern charm gets. She was hard-working. She was classically beautiful in an age of synthetic glamour. She was eclectic, diverse, and a breath of fresh air.
So thank you, Farmville, for the life lessons- for giving me a start and a restart, for my wife, and for the way you’ve changed me that I won’t ever be able to forget. I owe you. Oh, and thanks for the multiple hundreds of Facebook notifications you’ve given me from friends who’ve invited me to water their fake crops. I appreciate that too.
What’s the funnest named town that you’ve ever lived in?