Fifteen-year-old Junior remembers the construction sites where his father worked.
“As a little boy, my dad took me to work with him when he was building houses,” Junior says. “He would give me a hammer and I would nail boards. It was nothing major, but it felt like a big deal.”
Junior and his younger brother have lived at Broyhill Home in Clyde for two years. It is a refuge while their father is incarcerated. “It’s been hard, but we have been able to visit him.”
Junior says his dad is very proud of all that he is accomplishing since living at Broyhill Home. He has excelled in sports, and last year Junior earned a 3.5 grade point average his first year of high school. He played junior varsity football and basketball and was on the track and field team competing in the discus throw. During the track and field regionals, he was the only freshman in a group of 20 competing in the discus event. All the other competitors were juniors and seniors. Junior placed third. Later, he was named the 2017 Tuscola High School Mountaineers track and field team’s “Most Valuable Field Player.”
Life before Broyhill had been very different. Drugs prevented the boys’ mother from being involved in their lives. As toddlers, they were removed from her care and lived in multiple foster homes before their birth father moved to North Carolina to become their custodian. After the father’s run in with the law, the brothers lived with their father’s mother – their grandmother. Junior says he was angry and started to “act out” and get into trouble. He was heading down a dangerous path.
“It’s hard to look back and see the person I used to be,” Junior confesses. “I’ve changed so much in the past couple of years. I’m working to put my childhood in my past.”
Last football season, Junior played right guard and defensive tackle. This year he is working out with the varsity during summer practices. He dreams of starting.
“Being at Broyhill has made the difference,” he says. “I have a focus. I want to be a better person, so I work to be a good student and athlete.”
This past June, Junior attended a week at Fort Caswell’s Summer Youth Camp with his youth group from Dellwood Baptist Church in Waynesville. He says that for a few weeks prior to the camp, the Lord had been “touching” his heart.
“I started thinking about things,” he recalls. “I would share my testimony at churches about the good things happening to me at Broyhill. I told everyone that my life had changed. But my heart hadn’t.”
As the week of youth camp was coming to a close, Junior recounts what happened: “On Thursday during our group’s evening devotion, we were instructed to write on a piece of paper the one question we would ask God. I wrote my question, took a nail and hammered the paper to a cross in the middle of the room. I had asked God to save me.”
He says on that night, June 29, his life truly changed.
“It was one of the best things to tell everyone that I was saved,” he says. “My cottage parents told me my relationship with Jesus needed to be personal – now it is. They are showing me how to live for Christ.”
Junior says everything he does now – especially sports – he does for the Lord. In the mornings when he looks at himself in the mirror, he feels good about the person looking back.
You can support Junior and other children by making an online gift to Baptist Children's Homes of North Carolina today at www.bchfamily.org/givenow