- Associated Press - Sunday, February 8, 2015

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - In sixth grade, a skating accident left Mason Farquhar with a wrist injury so severe doctors told his parents he may never have use or feeling of it again.

They kept that possibility from their son, who was insistent on continuing to play football. He endured two surgeries and a year of rehabilitation. There were a lot of prayers.

“I’ve always loved football,” he told the Tulsa World (https://bit.ly/1Kyl0SW).

Through his persistence, Farquhar became a two-year starting quarterback for Union High School, playing in two state championship games and being named to the All-State team this year.

On national signing day, the 17-year-old chose faith over football, signing with Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri. It’s an NCAA Division II school that rebooted its football program in 2013 after hiring a new head coach.

During his college visit, he was just as interested in the ministry classes, meeting with the professors and checking out the chapel.

With a powerhouse program such as Union’s, it’s hard not getting caught up in choosing a school based on possible football opportunities - either to get a chance at Division I ball or the NFL.

Farquhar went in the direction toward God.

He will be majoring in Christian ministry with a pastoral emphasis. After earning his bachelor’s degree, he plans to enter the seminary and begin a career as a senior pastor.

“I felt God calling me to that,” he said. “My athletic performance is a platform to sharing my faith. Faith is first in my life, then family and school. Football is a little down on that list. I love the game and want to play it for the next four years. I’ll always be a fan and want to one day get my kids into playing football.”

Farquhar first put on a helmet in the second grade, which seemed a bit early to his father for tackle football.

“We had friends suggesting it, and I thought it was kind of crazy,” said Mark Farquhar. “But then we got into it and realized it was OK. The coaches, especially at the varsity-high school level, make football about character. They have to do community service and center everything around being of good character.”

For Farquhar, faith grew along with his football ability.

“By eighth grade I knew God wanted me to expand my faith and wanted me to speak about it,” Farquhar said.

That year he asked his chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes if he could give a talk. Something clicked. Talking about God and Jesus is a natural thing for him.

He has been an invited guest speaker at several churches and youth groups. Often he works in his favorite Bible story - David overcoming the giant Goliath - which can lead to all sorts of sports analogies.

“That story is about putting faith in God. David stepped forward with no one else backing him up,” he said. “In creating sports metaphors, I have to watch it. I have to make sure not to use too many in case there are people who aren’t sports fans.”

Of all the awards and attention this senior year, Farquhar is most proud of receiving Union’s Scott Harper Award, which is given to athletes who show exemplary character and leadership. He is a member of Life Church and is a follower of Pastor Steven Furtick, founder of North Carolina’s Elevation Church.

Farquhar envisions his brand of ministry being similar.

“Life Church is modern, welcoming, not judgmental, and focuses on your relationship with God,” Farquhar said.

Don’t think being a deeply faithful person takes off the competitive edge. He is still smarting from the two championship losses to Jenks High School.

“Those losses won’t go away, but it’s just fuel for the field, even though I’ll be on a different team,” Farquhar said. “I’m looking forward to being there, stepping up to be a leader and to win a championship.”

On signing day, he wore a purple SBU Bearcats sweatshirt - complete with purple Nike shoes embossed with his last name - as his family watched from the Union Gym stands. His family wore shades of plum, lavender and violet. With four younger siblings, he has a big cheering section.

“It’s an emotional day, but I love it,” said his mother Kim Farquhar. “I love that he wants to tell the world about Jesus.”


Information from: Tulsa World, https://www.tulsaworld.com

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