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Travis Finds Hope!

September 20, 2012

2012 Offering Video - "Travis' Story" - Click to view Travis' powerful story of hope.

By J. Blake Ragsdale

Thunder booms as the clouds swirl in the darkening sky above Cameron Boys Camp. The video production crew, with their camera and microphone trained on sixteen-year-old Travis, halt filming to let the reverberation fade. The crew is shooting footage for Baptist Children?s Homes? (BCH) annual offering video.

Another clap of thunder echoes through the trees, but Travis is calm and relaxed. He has dealt with many storms throughout his young life. Living outdoors at Cameron Boys Camp, BCH's wilderness camping program near Southern Pines, he and the other campers learn to navigate changing weather conditions.

The figurative storms in Travis' life have been daunting. As the weather at Camp subsides and the video camera rolls once more, Travis opens up about the turmoil he endured beginning when he was a young boy.

"My mother was a drug addict and my father was a drunk, and they didn't mix well," Travis recalls.

His parents eventually divorced and the young boy bounced back and forth between parents.

"My mom wasn't doing a good job of taking care of me and my dad knew he wasn't doing a good job either," Travis explains. "He called his sister- my aunt - and asked her if she and my uncle would take care of me."

At the age of seven, Travis moved in with his Aunt Karen, Uncle Dan and cousins - Benjamin and Victoria. Travis was devastated when he learned he would not return to be with his mother or father. The pain and rejection he felt was overwhelming.

"He said his parents didn't love him and he wanted to die," Karen remembers. The family knew they needed support and they found it at Cameron Boys Camp.

While Travis lived at Camp in order to focus on his personal pain, the staff worked with Dan, Karen and Travis together so that they could heal as a family.

Travis was already a Christian, but he needed Camp?s encouragement to nurture his relationship with God.

"When that relationship with Christ really strengthened, that's when things started getting better," says Travis.

Whether on camera for BCH's new video or in person, Travis consistently tells his story of hope and healing to others. The teen regularly shared his testimony with congregations as he traveled with campers and staff to be a part of worship services. The church visits not only impacted the people in the pews, but the care and support of Baptists profoundly moved Travis.

"After he'd been on a church visit, Travis said to me, 'Aunt Karen, they really love me; I'm worth being loved,'" says Karen. "Travis is just special and BCH and Cameron Boys Camp were able to pull that out; it had been stuffed down so deep inside of him."

Today, Travis once again lives at home with his aunt and uncle. After two and a half years living at Camp and the trio working hard on some big problems, the family has been lovingly restored and reunified.

"Everybody we know has been affected by the change in Travis because of what Baptists in North Carolina have done for us," Karen says tearfully. "They didn't know us, they just knew they loved God and they loved His children."

Participate in the 2012 Offering - Click to find out how your church can be a part of sharing hope with children like Travis. Downloadable materials and videos are available.