MORGANTOWN — In front of a jam-packed auditorium Feb. 3 at Chestnut Ridge Church in Cheat Lake, the lights dimmed and a video began playing toward the end of the 11 a.m. service.
Sixteen others had already been baptized that day, each accompanied with a story of how they came to this moment, but the video began with a story of sadness that turned into a story of triumph.
Quin Thompson shared his message and after Marc Phillips announced “Because of your faith in Jesus Christ, it is my honor and privilege to baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,” Thompson was dunked in the tank and came back up with a smile and arm in the air.
It was a new beginning for Thompson, one he felt he needed to take.
Thompson, a junior at Morgantown High, is on the Mohigans football team and may go out for the track team this spring. Last season in five games, he caught two passes for 47 yards. Defensively, he had seven tackles and two pass breakups.
Along with competing on the field, he is a key member of Athlete’s EDGE, a Christ-paced program that “helps athletes live differently through a relationship with Jesus Christ,” according to director Daniel Strosnider.
Athlete’s EDGE and Strosnider were mentioned in Thompson’s video prior to his baptism as a reason he’s grown stronger in his faith.
“Quin has always been a great kid to be around,” Strosnider said. “Early on, he was quiet and reserved, at least when I was around. A lot of kids in high school struggle with where they fit in and what their identity is. Quinn, in the last three months, has emerged as a leader — bold in what he says and courageous in what he stands for.”
It wasn’t always that way for Thompson growing up — not only was he outside of the church, his home life was a struggle for he and his younger brother, Isaiah.
“I didn’t grow up in a home that most kids want to grow up in,” Thompson said.
He never met his biological father because he want to jail before Thompson was born. His biological mother was addicted to drugs, and according to Thompson, still used while she was pregnant with both kids.
As a 6-year-old, he remembers the police coming to his house and after three hours, he and his brother were taken away and put into a foster home.
While there, Thompson’s mom was given an opportunity to get clean, which involved going through a two-year program in order to get her sons back.
When the two years were finished, she did not get clean and was still addicted and was forced to give up custody of both Quin and Isaiah.
After spending four years in a foster home, though, Thompson recalls a certain date when everything changed.
“When I was 10, my parents adopted us on Dec. 22, 2011,” he said. “It was weird at first, but then after while, I got used to it. I feel like my brother is the same way.”
Nicholas and Angela Thompson officially adopted Quin and Isaiah.
“They give us the love that a kid needs in their life.”
The Thompsons started attending Chestnut Ridge and while there, Quin started going to camp for high school students, and that’s when he decided to take the next step in his Christian life.
Speakers’ messages began to reach Thompson and when asked to raise hands if anyone wanted to accept Jesus into their lives, Thompson knew it was time, and raised his hand.
“Before I placed my faith in Christ, I wasn’t the best kid — I was always getting in trouble, never doing homework or anything,” he said. “But when I did, something clicked, I don’t know what it was, but I try to do what I can to help out.”
Whether it’s using his culinary skills in cooking competitions, using his athletic ability on the football field or just being a better person, Thompson wants to prove one thing to everyone, his adoptive parents, especially.
“I want to show them that I don’t want to follow in the footsteps that my parents did,” he said.