We all find ourselves on the journey of life with its twisting paths, steep mountains, and seemingly endless deserts. Paths that often intersect with the journeys of other people, but seldom if ever do our paths so intersect as to become one. Yet for Mentor Father Royce Hudspeth and Field Buddy Justin, this is exactly what happened. Their two seemingly unrelated journeys have become one exciting adventure, orchestrated by our Heavenly Father that these two might travel together through life.
Royce’s journey began in south Jackson, Mississippi. He was the oldest of four siblings who tragically lost their father to a heart attack when Royce was 16. Royce was caught up in grief and the turmoil that comes from losing your father, your hero. The family grieved the loss together and did their best to survive. While the family worked together, there was no man that stepped into Royce’s life to lead and guide him he was on his own.
The journeys of life lead him through college, marriage, raising a family and entering the corporate world. While he and his family attended church together regularly, there was something missing for Royce, some component that wasn’t working. It was as if the spiritual compass that was meant to guide Royce’s journey was broken. After retiring from the corporate world, Royce saw in the life of his youngest brother Bill a vibrant spiritual life and sense of peace that was missing from his own life. He determined that Bill’s spiritual compass was intact, and it was obvious that he was living for Christ. Royce knew then that God wanted him to step up and center his life on Christ.
As he turned his life over to Christ fully, he was introduced to Fathers in the Field by John Sumrall. When he heard how this ministry worked his heart longed to join the cause. For Royce, “Knowing what abandonment was about and knowing the spiritual fulfillment you can get from following Christ, I knew I had to do this.” It was here that Royce’s journey intersected with Justin’s.
Justin and his three siblings had been abandoned by their fathers. He was left to wonder what was wrong with him that caused his father to leave. Asking God to help him to understand why his father didn’t love him. For Justin it wasn’t just the abandonment by his biological father, but the complete instability of men in his life. In the midst of this turmoil was a grandfather who was constant in the lives of these boys, but he tragically passed away. At the point where Justin was most desperately in need of a man to step in and guide him down the path of life, he was introduced to Royce through Fathers in the Field.
The man who lost his father as a teenager and the boy who had been abandoned multiple times found themselves on the same path. Royce was able to see the hurts and fears that boys carry from being abandoned by their fathers; the tendency to be leery of the promises of men that they will take them places and spend time with them, which comes from so many broken promises. Yet at the same time he was able to see Justin’s desire to have a man change those hurts and fears into hope. Justin was ready for a Godly man to enter his life and show him the hope that can only be found in a life saving relationship with Jesus Christ.
In the first year of their journey together, Royce and Justin discovered just how similar their life journeys were. Though both had been abandoned they were able to see hope in the goodness of God. Additionally they share a love for the great outdoors, God’s greatest class room; they understand the value of honoring commitments to others and both know that it is God who rewards them, not people. For Royce it is important that Justin knows his Heavenly Father and the Gospel. As they began to meet regularly Justin came to understand the Gospel message of God’s love for him in Christ. This led him to place his faith in Christ alone for salvation and to his baptism in April of 2014. Royce had the honor of being present at Justin’s baptism with Pastor Dees.
Royce and Justin continue to meet on a regular basis. “We never miss a scheduled meeting time. We go to church, do our Journey Guide, and we talk about the future. How wonderful Justin’s life can be if he keeps God at the center.” The promise to Abram in Genesis 15:1 is true for us as well. When God is our shield and reward, then we find we have everything we need. The encouragement to Justin to keep God at the center of his life reflects this truth.
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