All In. Just a few years ago, Ray and Kristi Farrow would’ve scoffed at such a notion. In fact, they were struggling just to get it all together. Both were reeling from divorces. Both were standing atop mountains of debt. And neither, they readily admit, was seeking God’s wisdom and guidance. But that all changed on November 9, 2013, a Saturday night when they met in a local “dive bar.” “A buddy invited me to come see a band. I really didn’t want to go but I’m glad I did,” said Ray, a former lead singer in a Metallica cover band. “I met the woman who I’m meant to spend the rest of my life with.”
Kristi smiled. “I know God brought us together that night. He can even use a bar to bring people to him.” Neither Ray, 46, nor Kristi, 50, had a relationship with Christ at the time. Kristi was Roman Catholic but attended Mass only out of obligation. Ray, meanwhile, hadn’t set foot in a church in more than 20 years. So the two followed the world’s direction after falling in love — they chose to live together. Soon after, however, they sensed a prompting to find a church and visited Pathway for a Saturday evening service. “I think I cried the first time we came,” Kristi remembered. “For the first time, I felt the presence of God in church.” They returned the next week. And then they began attending on a regular basis.
After talking with members of the staff at Pizza with the Pastors, they accepted an offer to join a small group. That, in itself, was a huge step of faith. “We had this horrible notion that it was going to be these uptight Christians with highlighters and charts,” Kristi said, laughing. “But once we went, it was a blast. We’ve grown a lot from our small group.” In the fall of 2015, both gave their lives to Christ — and soon realized it was time to get married. But before that could happen, the question came up during a dinner out with their small group leader, Pastor John Westurn, “So, why aren’t you two married?” Pastor John asked. “Because he hasn’t asked me yet,” Kristi responded. Little did they know Ray was planning to pop the question at Christmastime. “Pastor John nearly blew my cover,” Ray said, laughing. “But he was right. We really wanted to begin doing what was right in God’s eyes.”
So the two committed to a vow of sexual purity and a few months later — on April 9, 2016 — they were married at Pathway Church, with Pastor John conducting the ceremony. All the members of the small group were on hand to help the couple celebrate. Then the newlyweds took another big step in their spiritual lives as they began to serve in the church. Ray and Kristi are leading the current Financial Peace University class, and Kristi is active in the Dignity Ministry. They’re following Dave Ramsey’s advice to save money and pay down debt, so they wrestled with making a financial commitment to the All In initiative. “We struggled at first,” Kristi reflected. “We both had numbers in mind, but we just weren’t sure we could do it. It was pretty scary.” The two explored their options during a car ride to Erie and arrived at a final figure — double what they had originally intended. As they approached the city, they were overcome by a gorgeous sunset.
“It was, like, BOOM! Once we saw that sunset,” Kristi explained, “we knew we were going where God was leading us.” To a new life together. To a new church home at Pathway. And to go All In — far deeper than they could ever imagine. “The last couple of years have just been overwhelming,” Ray said. “It’s amazing to see where God has taken us.” Kristi grabbed his hand and gave him a gentle kiss. “This is no coincidence,” she added. “We believe God put us here at Pathway. And we’re excited to see where he will take all of us in the future.”