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Parenting: Teens and BeyondPodcast

A Prodigal Teen Repents: An Interview with Travis Rymer

If you are the parent of a prodigal, it can be easy to feel shame, guilt, and regret. We can say to ourselves, “If I had done everything right, he would not have rebelled.” Join me in this episode as I have a conversation with a man who deliberately rebelled in his teen years. Travis does not blame his parents. No, he praises his parents their walk with the Lord. Listen to the heartache they had to go through. And then be dazzled by how God miraculously saved him. This conversation should give hope to parents everywhere.

 

Episode Transcript

Do you have a teen who is turning his or her back on the Lord? Have you blamed yourself and asked, “What did I do wrong?”

Hi, I’m Chap Bettis, author of The Disciple-Making Parent and host of the podcast by the same name. C. H. Spurgeon said, “No cross is so heavy as a living cross.” He was referring to prodigals that break our hearts. And too often, the church sends the message that if you do everything right, your child will walk with the Lord. And if they aren’t walking with the Lord, then we think to ourselves, “I must have done something wrong.”  And as a result, as parents of prodigals, we can be filled with shame and guilt and regret.

In this episode, I invite you to listen in on a conversation with a man I admire a lot. His name is Travis Rymer. He’s a pastor at my church here in Providence, Rhode Island. And when I heard his story, I knew I had to share it with you. Because in it, he relays how he actively rebelled in junior high and high school.  It had nothing to do with what his parents did or did not do. In fact, he commends them as exemplary Christian parents. In other words, it was his own sinful choice.

You’re going to hear what his parents did well during that rebellion. And finally, you’ll also hear of how God graciously intervened. So if you’re the parent of a prodigal, I hope that you will leave this episode encouraged.

Chap: So Travis, talking with you and hearing your story about your background, I just thought it would be really helpful for parents to hear and maybe even young people as well. So that’s why I invited you to have a conversation with me. So thanks a lot.

Travis Rymer: Yeah. Glad to do it.

Chap: So why don’t you start just by telling us a little bit about your Christian background, your background. Let people get to know you.

Travis: So I grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and grew up in a Christian home. My mother and father were married, and are still married to this day. I had grandparents who knew the Lord and went to church regularly on both sides. Most of my family are Christians, including my brother who is a missionary today.

Chap: Do you remember professing Christ as a young child? So you grew up in a Baptist church in Tennessee?

Travis: Yeah, so I grew up in a Baptist church. Different people have different ideas of traditional, but I would say very traditional Southern Baptist church. It was small when I was growing up. Maybe 150 people. A lot of things changed over the years. It’s much larger today and a very different church today, but the church I grew up in was full of godly people who loved the Lord and loved each other.

And I remember seeing my dad every Friday or Saturday night preparing for Sunday school. He taught Sunday school as long as I can remember. He was a deacon, he’s a deacon today in his church. They sang in the choir. My mother is the pastor’s secretary to this day and has been for 25 years. So in that environment, I had every reason to follow the Lord and walk with him. And at an early age, about six years old, I made some sort of profession. I remember a little bit about it. My dad remembers more of it than I do, and I’ll share some of that in a minute. He would say, “I think that you were saved at six years old.” I say I don’t know, but that’ll be clear in a minute. But at around six, I made some sort of profession and was baptized in that church shortly thereafter.

Chap: Okay. And then, would you say, a traditional middle class, junior high, high school,  involved in the church programs as they had them?

Travis: Yeah. So I always said, because my dad was a deacon, my mom worked at the church, we had keys. So you could go to church.

The church met three times a week, but we were there seven days a week because we could get in when no one else was there. And that’s true- we were involved in vacation Bible school. At that time we had RAs and GAs, and my dad also taught that and I was involved in that. I remember learning scripture and learning about missionaries and stuff.  What was your first question?

Chap: So you were just a church kid. So in terms of your grade school or junior high years?

Travis: Schooling-wise, we just did the public school in our area. I pretty much just went through the system as it laid out all the way through high school in our community, played sports in the baseball league that’s close by our house with kids that I went to school with in the neighborhood.  Some went to church with us, most were probably in other churches because it is the Bible Belt, but I think the next town over from Chattanooga, Cleveland, is the most Christian, I forget the exact title.

Chap: And now you’re here in Providence, which is at the complete other end of the spectrum

Travis. Yeah.

Chap: So why don’t you talk a little bit about what you remember in terms of things starting to go sour. How old you were, what was going on in your mind? What happened?

Travis: So around fourth grade is when I consciously remember rebellion being something that I was aware of and doing it on purpose. So around fourth grade.

Chap: Wow. Okay.

Travis: Yeah. So that’s where it begins for me. The pastor I grew up with retired and a new pastor came and I remember I had started picking up swearing from friends that I thought it was cool and that’s how you be cool. And I remember feeling guilty about that, but my new pastor was coming. I don’t know why I remember this, but I remember thinking, “I’m going to stop doing that because I don’t want him to know me as that kind of a person.” But as you can imagine, when you try to self-reform, I found it very difficult to just change myself.

And so rather than reforming, what I found myself doing was hiding and going deeper into that. So, you know, fourth grade is when I started thinking about girls, and would probably lie more consciously and those kinds of things. Obviously at fourth grade, you don’t have a great deal of opportunity to sin widely. So I was doing my thing, going to church and playing baseball and a regular kid.

But then in middle school, things picked up, I would say, for me and people that I knew. That’s when people started having sex with each other- not most people, but some did.  Because some did, that intrigued everyone’s interest, across the board. People started kind of playing with drugs. You know, you always have druggies in high school and so forth. This was when, for me anyway, the people I knew, that’s when those kinds of kids started gravitating in that direction. This is junior high and middle school. So we had an intermediate fourth and fifth grade and then we had middle- six, seventh, eighth, and then high- ninth through 12th grade.

I eventually got suspended for buying some- what were called white crosses, some speed or whatnot. I think it was over-the-counter, but I did that because everyone was trying it and I wanted to see what the big deal was. No one asked me to do it. No one pressured me to do it. I was interested.  But the kid that sold them to me got caught and told on me, told on everybody that he sold to, and so I got suspended for two weeks in eighth grade.

And that was the first time my parents became aware that any of this was a thing. I’m sure they had heard me use a swear word or something, but my dad thought that I had been using drugs for a long time, and I kept telling him, “No, I haven’t tried anything, this was going to be my first go at it.”  But since I got suspended, I was at home all day. And so I ended up trying marijuana, during that suspension for the first time. So this was the eighties, nineties era. And I remember the commercial, you know, this is your brain, this is your brain on drugs and the egg frying in the pan.  And for me, this is the way my mind works, but I tried marijuana. And when I tried it, my brain didn’t fry. And I thought they’ve lied to me. And if that’s the case, then what else have they lied to me about? And so in my heart, I just wanted to pursue any and everything I could. And so I set out to do that.

So I entered high school in the ninth grade.

Chap:  But it’s a conscious heart decision.

Travis: Yeah. And I wouldn’t say hardened, I would say it was more just interest in pursuing sin. So when I share my testimony, I’ll say to people, at a young age I made a profession and didn’t pursue sin. I didn’t know what was out there. And then as soon as I did find out what’s out there, I ran for it and I pursued it.  So when I went into high school, I immediately found the guys that are older than me that have cars and they can go get stuff. And so I would hang out with those guys. They were on my football team and on the baseball team, and that’s what I did. I was just more so just looking for a good time, trying to have fun. I realized that I could get drugs for people my age that didn’t have cars because I knew these other guys. And so that sort of introduced me to selling and being a middleman for people. And then I realized, Hey, I can make a couple of bucks at this and they could pay for my drugs. And so that began to grow.

But what pushed me sort of over the edge was I had a good friend that I had actually prayed for. I had prayed that God would give me a close friend and he did. And in my mind, consciously, God had answered my prayer.  But then the spring of freshman year, my friend died in a car wreck and I was devastated and very, very angry instantly. It was in a period late in the day when I found out, I found it in a very kind of crude way. But then I went to the office, called my mother and told her “You’ve got to come get me,” and she did. And as I got in the car, I remember just beating the dashboard as hard as I could, just angry, hurt, grieving.

But I immediately remembered that verse in Job where it says, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.” And I thought, God gave me this and then he took this away from me. He did this.  And so I knew enough theology to blame him.  I literally consciously said this in my heart and mind, I said, “Well, if this is how you are, God, I’m going to show you what I can do.” And so, I consciously thought, “Well, if the Ten Commandments are the things we’re not supposed to do, I’m going to try and do as many of them as I can, as often as I can, just to show God I can return the favor.”  So things got really dark, and I spiraled from there, trying all kinds of other drugs.

Basically, I would describe my attitude towards people as I just used people. I didn’t really care about anybody or love anyone. I was angry. I was angry at God. And I just didn’t like people and I just wanted to use them for whatever I could get from them.  And so I did that in whatever ways that I could. And so that continued until God intervened.

Chap: So how did you look during that time period, did you look clean cut? Or is this anger coming out in your dress?

Travis: Well, I certainly wasn’t dressing in dark clothes and that sort of thing, but people could see it in my face, they could see it in my eyes, I was always that way. Certainly my engagement with other things. I mean, when we would go to church, I would smoke weed in the parking lot and then go into the youth Bible study. And everyone there would know I’m high and I didn’t care. And when they would ask me, I’d say, “Yeah, of course I am.” So it came out in all of those ways. I have a driver’s license picture from like a year after I think God saved me. And I still look kind of, gruff, I’d say, in that picture. And I’ve shown that to people and they can’t believe it’s me. So it showed up in that way, I’d say.

And then later after the Lord had changed me, I remember a lady who had been in the church the whole time and praying real hard with my parents and the support from my mom. She said to me something like, “I can see in your eyes that God has changed you.”  So the reverse of that was true, you know?

Chap: So, what’s going on in your parents’ hearts and minds during this time, and how are they handling it? How’s the church handling it?

Travis: Well, the youth group knew about it. The youth pastor, I think he was in some ways not sure what to do. People would try to talk to me, some of the guys that were a little older than me in the youth group would try to make sure I was included in stuff, and invite me to things- “Hey, come with us on this youth trip,” or this and that. They really reached out in that regard. Sometimes I would go, sometimes I wouldn’t. The pastor himself was a little bit. . . I wouldn’t say disengaged. He was letting my parents take the lead, and there were times where they asked him to meet with me, and I remember a couple of times where he and I met to discuss these things, and I can tell you about that, but we met there. So that’s the church.

My parents were always engaging it. My mother, as you can imagine, was often weeping.  Our home was not peaceful. We were fighting all the time. Mainly it was me. I was the cause of that. My dad would confront me. So like if I came in at, say, 10 o’clock. That’s not that late, but say I came in at 10 o’clock on a Friday night. My mom would come and hug me. And I remember one time I distinctly felt like she was hugging me to smell me to see if I smelled like pot.

Chap: My wife’s father had done the same thing. He would say, ”Come in and give me a kiss goodnight,” you know? So yes, is a common parenting trick. We’ll include that one for free in the podcast.

Travis: I kind of knew what she was doing, so I would- and this was very typical of me- but I would lash out.  “Why do you want to hug me? You just want to do this to smell me and I can just tell you I just put out a joint. Is that what you want to know?” And she’s say, “Well, I do want to know that, but I also want to hug you. I’m just glad you’re home.” And all the moms can relate to that.

But it was far worse than that. My dad would engage me, you know, “Hey, we found these scales in your room. And we found this, these bags. You’re clearly selling marijuana.” One time they found a pound of weed in my closet, and I flipped out because that was a thousand dollars that I had spent. And I tore their room apart to get it back and found it. I could tell you lots of stories about that kind of stuff. But in other words, they were engaging. They weren’t passive. When I wasn’t home, they were going through my room. They were looking at what music I was listening to. And that’s the stuff that would infuriate me.

One, I was a typical teen, I want privacy. But, additionally, my dad was engaging me on the topics of the music I was listening to. “Well, this song talks about this. Do you think that glorifies God?”  And that would just really infuriate me as well because he was listening to the music while I was gone and then thinking about it. He would give me a conversation. “So you’re going to sell marijuana.” My father is a pharmacist, so at one point he had done a lot of word studies to figure out if what he’s doing is biblically okay or no. And he raised the point that “in the New Testament when they’re talking about sorcery, that’s the same word for pharmakaia. So don’t you think what you’re doing is the same kind of thing that scripture is against?” I would scream and I would yell, I would argue with him, but I knew he was right.  I’d grown up in the church.

If you had asked me at any point if I believed in Jesus and if I had died, what would happen to me, I would have told you I go to heaven and that I do believe. That’s another story, but my point is that I believed that the Bible was God’s Word. That was in my mind somewhere. I didn’t want to talk about it, and I didn’t want to concede that to him. But I did believe that and that’s part of what made me so angry, because he was hitting me with stuff that I didn’t really have a good argument for and my main argument was “Yeah, I don’t care.” But related to all that was, I was still just angry at God. I didn’t care because I was still mad at God for what he did to me.

I would say the worst it ever got was one particular night. My brother was a good student and he was a good kid. My parents and I would often end up fighting in the hallway, and he’d be in his room trying to do his homework.  One day he just slung open the door and he just said, “Why don’t you just leave? You’re making all of our lives miserable.  You don’t want to be here. You hate us. We hate you. Why don’t you just leave?”  And so I was happy to have that engagement because I wanted to fight. And so I tried to fight him. My dad stepped in and wouldn’t let it happen.

And so then I thought to myself, again consciously, “I’m going to try to provoke my dad to make him hit me. And then I’ll call Child Protective Services and the cops on my dad.”  And I sort of verbally backed him up against the wall and I was forcefully speaking, trying to get spit to come out of my mouth and hit him in the face. And he never hit me. He was completely restrained the whole time. And when we ended, I was even more angry, and I went in my room and I started hitting holes in the wall and throwing stuff. And that was it for him. He came in and he said, “You’re not going to do that. You’re not going to destroy our home. You need to leave.” And so he kicked me out that night. And so I left, and I was gone for two weeks.

One more thing I’d say is that my mom was praying the whole time. She’s got it in her Bible to this day. She’s got all these verses where she believes that God gave her a verse as they say,  where she’s reading the Bible and she’s praying and asking God to do something, intervene and save me, et cetera, and where she believed that God was saying, I’m making this promise to you about your son. And she put a date next to that verse in her Bible. I could say more, that’s what they were.

Chap: As you’re talking, I hear a couple of things. First of all, the externally you’re saying, “I don’t care.” But somewhere in your conscience, there’s not belief, but there’s conviction somewhere that has lodged. And so even as your dad is talking, somewhere that’s resonating with your conscience.

Travis: Mm hmm.

Chap: So I take the lesson, we’re not always knowing what’s going on in our teen’s mind just because they’re spitting back, “I don’t care.” Looking back on that, do you think if you were in a similar situation, or someone else, [What would you recommend?] So your mom actively loved you and prayed. And your dad engaged you in some ways, but he wasn’t vengeful or angry. But then he also had to practice self-discipline and he was able to restrain himself.

Travis: Part of the active engagement, like I was saying, was that they would go through my room. I didn’t like that as a teenager. I would definitely tell parents to do that today, no matter what your kids are saying. They were also faithful. So I say this when I share my testimony: “I didn’t have a reason to rebel against God, necessarily.” My reason is my friend died, but my parents didn’t give a reason.  They were not hypocrites. They loved each other: my dad wasn’t abusive to my mom. He was steady teaching Sunday school every week for years, including other things. He did a prison ministry. He was in a singing group and they would go to churches.

What I saw was faithful Christian witness. There was nothing in their practice that I could point to and use it against them.

Chap: Well, that’s why I wanted to record this and have this conversation because I think to me that’s so compelling. Because I do think as parents, we want to do all that we can. But to me, some of the gist of some of the sociological studies or whatever, always puts it on the parents. You didn’t do this, or we’re having a hypocritical church, and all those things. We want to correct those. We never want those to happen. And I know even in my own heart, those are factors. But what I think is so compelling about your story is here you are saying, “These were totally multiple choices that I made.”

Travis: Yeah, I, I was in rebellion. I was consciously in rebellion. I was angry at God. Ultimately, I think it came out in anger towards my parents. Looking back, I don’t know how angry I was at them necessarily. I didn’t like what they were doing. I didn’t like the way they were engaging me.  But my anger was really at God.  That’s who I had a beef with.

Chap: Well, let’s turn the corner and bring the plane in for a landing and enjoy the rest of the story.

Travis: Yeah, so another thing my parents did right is, my dad’s view was, This is my home, and if you’re going to live in my home, and you’re going to eat my food, then you must go to church. So that’s how I could end up smoking a joint in the parking lot and going into youth group.  Because I thought, well, on their end, they’re like, “Well, he’s here.” On my end, I’m like, “Well, if I’m here, this is what I’m going to do.”  But, the result of that was that I was under the Word more than once a week, because we had Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night.  And I would go to a few things that the youth would do that I thought would be fun. The short of it is that I was under the preaching of God’s Word.

And our church at the time was really growing. And I remember a lot of people being baptized during those years, and people coming to faith, and the church kind of exploded in some ways to the point where we actually built another building. It kind of went from like 150 to about 1,000. And then we built this other building, and we had this week of dedication, and our pastor had called in some friends to come in and- I don’t hear of anybody doing this anymore, but it was a revival week essentially: Sunday morning, Sunday night, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. And every night it was just a regular service. We’re praising God and we’re breaking in the new building, so to speak.  And one of the guys that was there came and preached. I don’t even know if people still do this either, but he was a traveling evangelist. That’s what he did full time. And he preached a sermon called The Regal Royal Return of Christ Jesus. And he preached it from [Revelation] 19.  And for me, my view of Jesus changed that night. I had always viewed Jesus as this soft sort of hippie type, lovey-dovey guy. And he’s there if you need him. And I thought, “Well, I don’t need him. And if I do, then I’ll let him know.”  But from Revelation 19, I saw that Jesus was a king. And I remember again, consciously thinking, “If that’s who Jesus is, well, he deserves my life. His demand on my life should be matched by me following him. He’s somebody to follow.” Hmm. And so Jesus became glorious to me in my eyes.

Now, I think that happened that night. For example, I was wrestling there in the pew as I was listening. And the one hand I thought, “Man, I want to follow Jesus.” And then on the other hand, I thought, “But I have a joint in the car that I plan on smoking when I leave here.” So I was kind of torn, and I remember a few months later, another little incident had happened. I got arrested and lost my license and I was on this trip with my brother and I was smoking a joint walking down the beach and I’m telling him, “Eric, I think I’m going to follow Jesus and maybe even go into full time ministry.” He was like, “Really?”

Chap: This is as you have a joint in your hand?

Travis: Yes. He was like, “Oh, yeah? When’s that gonna happen?” But what it was, I was under conviction and I was just sort of wrestling with it. And I was still doing my thing, but I was thinking a lot about it.  So it took a few months, but about three months later, I consciously submitted to the Lord. And the way I describe it is I put up a white flag and my prayer was, “God, I’m tired of fighting you. I don’t know how I will change, but if you change me, I will do whatever you want.“ I remember praying, “I’m going to need new friends.”  And then I prayed because, for some reason- it’s a different story- but I believe God was calling me to ministry all at the same time. And that prayer also included, “God, I’ll go wherever you want me to go. I’ll do whatever you want me to do.” And so I think God changed me right then. And so the comment from the lady that supported my mom through some of the stuff, she made that comment something like two weeks after that event, because I came back and I shared that with the church. And so a year or a year and a half later, I was the youth intern. I shouldn’t have been teaching anybody anything, but I was, that’s what I was doing. And, I was helping my youth pastor who I’d had all these years and serving. And he was affirming me along with our other two pastors to go into ministry or go to Criswell Bible college.

So that’s where I went. It was there that I really started reading the Bible.  And then, that’s when I came to believe that I think maybe God saved me at age 17. I’m not sure what happened at 6, maybe it was seed was sown, I don’t know.  But I came back and I was like, “Hey guys, there’s no way I was a Christian. You’ve got to baptize me,” and so I was baptized at that point. Some would say re-baptized, but there’s only one baptism.

Chap: Well, just praise the Lord and glory to God for the way he’s worked in your life. I think this is also revealing for parents perhaps who have prodigals. How would you counsel your parents or some parents in the same situation? Let’s say high school age up to 19 or 20.

Travis: So the caveat is I would want to give some specific advice to specific situations.

Chap: Right, right, right.

Travis: But in general, I would say that first and foremost, you shouldn’t blame yourself for any mistakes you’ve made. Maybe you hear this testimony and you say, “Well, our home wasn’t perfect, it was hypocritical in some ways, or we did fight,” or whatever. I’m just saying that as part of my story. That’s not the thing. You shouldn’t beat yourself up. God is greater than the sum of our sin, and where sin abounds, grace abounds much more. So that’s not a reason why God couldn’t or wouldn’t intervene with your child. And God’s sovereign. So God may be using that in your child’s story in ways that you can’t see. So first and foremost, you’ve got to just set that part aside.  I think going forward, if that’s you, then you want to be faithful. You yourself want to seek God and you yourself want to follow him.

Things my parents did right that I would just come in to recommend is my mother prayed a lot. She prayed more than she engaged me. My dad engaged a lot. My mom prayed a lot.  I’m sure my dad prayed a lot as well, but my mom, that’s the main thing she did besides cry and take abuse from me.  Everyone call your mother and thank them.  My dad made me go to church. In a sermon recently, I said to our children in our church, if your parents make you go to church and you complain about it, just go, listen to them, honor what they say.  Put yourself at church and submit to your parents.  That made a difference in my life. I heard God’s Word. I heard Christ proclaimed because I was in the church. I was in the church because my parents made me go. And it’s probably the thing you just want to give up.

Another one is I’d say is don’t let your child’s threats affect what you would do. You can’t control the decisions. Those are their choices and their decisions. No one wants their child to run away. I probably threatened my parents I was going to run away over and over. And eventually my dad kicked me out. And I think times have changed now. I don’t know what they do. But I was 16, so I don’t know. Maybe you can kick your kids out at 16 as well. But he wanted me to feel that. And I think that that’s appropriate. Maybe I feel that way because that’s what happened to me. So you’re saying you threatened, but then I didn’t.  I threatened at times, “I’m going to run away.” But the whole point was to hurt you.  And that’s why you can’t let those threats guide your actions. With scripture as your guide and counsel from other godly people, you have to stay steady and keep pressing on what you know to be true and right, and do those things that you know are correct, in spite of what your child is doing, or the way they’re even rebelling against it at the time. Because, with my dad’s engagement, if he had given up a year in, or whatever it was, maybe I would. . . but his engagement is part of what stirred everything up all the time. So he actually created problems, but that actually worked on my conscience.

And so, if you’re a parent, you should engage them, and it may get bad. Because I think sometimes people are so worried about maintaining a relationship, the fear is, I won’t have a relationship.  Well, it’s possible that you won’t in the worst circumstances. Most of the time you probably still will. But if you don’t, I would say, I wouldn’t you rather lose it fighting for it than passively give up and say, “Well, God’s going to do what He’s going to do”? I think God’s honored in that, and that’s an act of faith versus a passive act. It sounds like faith- “God’s going to do what He’s going to do.”  But it’s actually lack of faith. So I would say engage them and press forward and cling to cling to God’s hope.

One more thing I’d say is that there’s a book on praying prodigals home and I think my mother’s prayers were answered by God. So I don’t discount that. Nothing against those authors. But sometimes I’ll say to people sort of to be provocative, “Just praying doesn’t bring your prodigal home. You should talk to them. You should engage them. You should confront their sin.” So it’s a both-and. So those are thoughts I have. What would you say?

Chap:  Oh, that’s the next resource to think about. Well, what I hear is valuing the relationship. But value on the relationship with the Lord, and so being willing to obey Him and then walk. You knew you were loved, I think as a parent of a prodigal, we didn’t talk about it, but you go through anger, you go through shame. But you said your church never asked your dad to resign as a deacon. And I would argue that he’s actually managing his household well by engaging you. So he has not disqualified himself. We are getting an example of a man who is engaging his son, showing how you deal with a rebel. And churches have that same problem and pastors can be faithful and deal with a rebel. I think that would be an interesting conversation to have with your parents as to what they were feeling, even though they didn’t seem to show it. The anger, shame, guilt that they felt and how they dealt with that and kept going back.

Travis: There was a coffee table thrown one time, I will say that.

Chap: Okay, so these are not perfect parents.

Travis: Yes, no.

Chap: Okay, okay, well that’s good to know.

Travis: And it probably needed to be thrown, but.

Chap: Well, I’m very happy that you’re one of my pastors and not one of the youth sitting in the youth group.

Travis: Not one of your rebellious sons?

Chap: You’re like, “Oh, Lord, what do we do?”

Travis:  Yeah, God’s been very kind. And the end today is that here I am now, I just finished eight years of doing pastoral ministry, church planning, campus ministry in Providence. God’s been kind to me, but the story’s much different than what it certainly could have been, by God’s grace.

Chap: Well thanks, and we’ll pass this on. I’m sure there will be a lot of parents of prodigals, and I, who are interested to listen to this, but also I think pastors. There’s that whole angle we haven’t even talked about, which the effect of watching that pastor, watching the church grow, that’s affecting you, you’re watching people be baptized. You’re here. You’re sitting under the Word. And so he’s looking out and seeing this druggie teen and week after week, nothing’s happening. Just the faithful preaching of the word.  Thanks. Thanks for having the conversation with me.

Travis: Yeah. Thanks for having me.