Northview Stories Carrie Shrock's Story: My Vision to Serve

June 29, 2021

Carrie Shrock's Story: My Vision to Serve
By Angela Borden

When Carrie Schrock and her family walked into Northview’s Kokomo location in August of 2017, she immediately felt at home. “It was like a breath of fresh air, so calming and so peaceful. I knew right away this is where we were supposed to be.”

It was a long road for Carrie to find this kind of peace after facing a devastating medical diagnosis in February of 2013. After a few weeks of blurred vision, bouts of nausea, and headaches, she lost her sight completely one day while driving to work. Petrified, she sat in her car and cried, not knowing what to do next. Gradually, her eyesight returned after several minutes, although still very blurry, and she contacted her eye doctor who referred her to a specialist. An MRI that same day confirmed she had a brain tumor resting on her optic nerve.

Without much time to process what was happening, Carrie underwent surgery a few days later to remove the tumor. When she woke up from the surgery, she was crushed to discover she was completely blind. After 21 days in the hospital, Carrie was discharged home with little improvement in her sight, and her doctors told her she would never be able to return to work, drive a car, or walk without a walker due to her vision.

Over the next eight to ten months, Carrie’s eyesight in her left eye improved. Today, she is totally blind in her right eye and has 20% vision in her left eye, which is blurry but correctable with glasses. Carrie can read, but it’s very difficult for her. Needless to say, this experience was life-changing, and Carrie fell into a deep depression. She and her family continued going to the church they had attended for many years, but Carrie wasn’t able to connect with the sermons, despite her pastor visiting her frequently to check on her. Loud noises and large gatherings of people were overwhelming, and she had a nagging feeling her family wasn’t supposed to stay at this church.

Several years later, a friend from church, Nicole Downing, shared on Facebook that Northview had opened a location in Kokomo. Carrie was surprised Nicole had changed churches and was intrigued to learn more, partly because she was hoping to find a youth ministry that would be a good fit for her daughter who was going into seventh grade.

Northview opened the Kokomo location on Easter Sunday in 2017, and Carrie, her husband Mark and daughter Eliza visited for the first time in August after Nicole’s continued invitations. Carrie was afraid Northview would be overwhelming to her, and Nicole warned her the music was loud, but she encouraged her to give it a chance. Thankfully, Carrie and her family did just that.

The rest is history. They all immediately felt that Northview was where they were supposed to be. On top of that, the youth minister, Scott Zurcher, invited Eliza to a gathering for the youth later that same night.

As time passed, Carrie and her husband were thrilled to see Northview pouring into their daughter, and they wanted to volunteer and give back in some way. Nicole, who was a guest services volunteer, encouraged Carrie to consider being an usher. At first Carrie was concerned she wouldn’t be able to do it, but Nicole encouraged her, asking, “Can you smile? Can you say hi? Then you can usher!” Four years later, Carrie and her husband usher and pass out communion and the offering on a regular basis. Carrie also serves with various outreach programs, including Christmas Compassion, which is one of her favorites. She also volunteers by preparing gifts and writing encouraging notes for a local women’s shelter. And she was a site leader at a horse ranch this year for Good Neighbor Week!

In addition to volunteering, Carrie’s faith has grown much deeper in the past four years at Northview as well. She and her family feel a part of the Northview community, and they love the welcoming atmosphere. Interestingly, as involved as Carrie is at church, many folks still have no idea she is legally blind.

Life isn’t without difficulties. Carrie still has headaches related to the tumor, and she has tried a couple of volunteer opportunities that weren’t a good fit, but she’s never stopped trying additional options.

She loves Northview’s mission of connecting people with people and people with God. And she encourages everyone to volunteer. “Find something you love doing and do it. If I can volunteer, anyone can!”

Nicole shared how inspiring it has been to witness the impact Carrie makes in the lives of others. “After the brain tumor, nearly everything in Carrie’s world changed permanently, but it didn’t change who Carrie is. She still desired to serve, to help. And she just keeps finding new opportunities to serve others through Northview. I love seeing God show her new ways to serve and watching my friend try them out.”

Have you been meaning to volunteer at church but just can’t seem to figure out what you can do? Register for the Next Experience to learn how to get connected at your Northview location.


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