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Former State Senator shares his faith at Runway for Success

Children who are learning to overcome obstacles in their lives witnessed a historic example of people who triumphed over numerous difficulties through perseverance and faith.

Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) residents from across the state visited the Waldensian Trail of Faith located in Valdese, NC on Tuesday, August 9. The site is a full-scale depiction, highlighting the history of the Waldensians, early Christian settlers who traveled from their homeland in the Alpine valleys of Italy to the foothills of North Carolina seeking religious freedom and a better future for their families.

The experience was the focus of this year’s Thomas H. Davis Runway for Success. Each year, Runway provides a hands-on educational experience for BCH’s older residents to inspire them as they consider their plans for the future. The day is made possible by the Tom Davis Fund established by Piedmont Airlines founder Thomas H. Davis.

“Every year we are grateful for what the Tom Davis Fund provides,” BCH president/CEO Michael C. Blackwell said. “Runway not only provides the highest quality experiences for our residents, but it always attracts exemplary hosts.”

This year’s host was former N.C. State Senator Jim Jacumin and staff members at Waldensian Trail of Faith. He served in the North Carolina State Senate, representing District 44, from 2005 to 2011.

“Senator Jacumin is an amazing man of faith,” Blackwell said. “Our residents were able to benefit from his wisdom that was shared from a Christ-centered perspective.”

A Waldensian by heritage, Jacumin established the Trail of Faith in Valdese to share this legacy and inspire others. He saw it as a perfect opportunity to connect with BCH’s residents.

“The Waldensian story is a powerful story,” Jacumin said. “It was my prayer that God would bless their visit and that it would inspire them as they learned about people who gave their lives for their beliefs.”

As the residents toured the replicas of the buildings and monuments, they learned about the persecution the Waldensians endured in Europe and how they found their freedom in America.

In addition, Jacumin spent time speaking to the children regarding his varied experiences including his time as the former owner of a manufacturing plant.

Most importantly, he spoke with them about the Biblical wisdom that shaped his own personal journey.

“I shared the things that helped keep me on the straight path,” he said. “First, you can’t go wrong doing right. Next, every action we take has two consequences – one on earth and one in heaven. And third, if God can’t bless it then He can’t be for it. I challenged them to put their decisions to this test before making a choice.”

As inspired as the children were by Jacumin and the historic journey of the Waldensians, the former senator was equally impressed with BCH’s boys and girls.

“You could tell that these young people realize the importance of the Lord in their lives and the people at BCH who care for them,” he explained. “A lot of great questions came from them. I’m confident we’ll have some pastors and missionaries come out of this group one day.”

Learn more about the services Baptist Children's Homes of North Carolina has to offer by going to

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