By Malley Scarborough
Lost and Found
This is the story of one French Camp Academy graduate, Armando Virruet. He spent the first four years of his life in New York City. Soon after he was born, his father left his family. His mom was left to raise Armando and his brother all on her own.
When Armando was young, a man at his mother’s church named Louis told her about French Camp, and she decided to send him there. Armando’s mother believed French Camp would give him a chance for a more stable life away from his troublesome neighborhood and stressful home life. So, at the age of four, Armando moved to French Camp.
At French Camp, Armando was placed in a home with Bruce and Kim Hosket. Bruce and Kim had only been married about a month when they moved into a home with ten boys, Armando being one of them. Since he was the youngest in the house, the older boys became like big brother figures to him.
At French Camp, students today get placed on work crews starting around the seventh grade. Armando started out on the grounds crew. He mowed a lot of grass. He learned how to weed, trim, and landscape all while learning a great work ethic.
Even though French Camp had become his home, he still wondered about his family back in New York. When others would leave to go see their families during different school breaks, Armando battled with why he wasn’t with his mom and brother. He would see many come and go, and it really made him wonder where he fit in.
During his time at French Camp, Bruce and Kim showed Armando what it looked like to be a Christian. They instilled their values in Armando and shared the Gospel with him. When he moved into community college and was on his own for the first time, he admits he did step away from some of the foundations on which he was raised. He joined the wrong crowd and partied a lot. However, the Lord quickly brought him back to Him.
Armando says, “I kept thinking, ‘Train up a child in the way he should grow and he will not depart from it.’” He reflected back and realized what he was doing was empty, and he was led back to the Gospel and the values he learned at French Camp.
He reached out to John Bolding, the son of a former French Camp staff member. At first, Armando just asked John to go for a run, but he soon realized he wanted to break into John’s group of friends. John was living a Christ-centered life, and that’s what Armando wanted.
After his time at school in Oxford, Armando had a chance at a full-time job in Jackson, Mississippi, working in the military. He realized God had called him to Jackson with this job opportunity.
One weekend in Jackson, he went to a birthday dinner with some friends. At that birthday dinner, he met a girl and decided he wanted to get to know her better. Had he not stayed in Jackson that weekend and listened to what God had planned for him, Armando might not have met that girl, who ended up becoming his wife. Through that experience he was able to see God’s provision. He and his wife were married March 5, 2016.
Even with difficult times, Armando has had what Kim calls a “sweet journey.” She says, “He has turned into a mature, faithful, and diligent young man. It has been a blessing to share in his journey.”
Even though Armando would occasionally wonder about where he came from and why his father left, he quickly remembered God’s provision for his life. God provided him with French Camp, and he’s still connected.
Through the Gospel, God also provided understanding that he has a heavenly Father and an earthly father. What more could he ask for?
Malley Scarbrough is the social media/production manager and Liquid Creative in Jackson, MS. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 601.982.9194.