Caught Before It's Too Late
By Shannon Woodland
The 700 Club
CBN.com -“So we got in front of the house, called the cab, and the cab came. I put a mask on,” recalled Travis. “And I hopped in the back seat. And the first thing I did, I pulled the gun out. The guy froze.”
Travis Holloman was only sixteen years old when he committed armed robbery. His tendency for violence began at home.
Travis shared, “My mother and my stepfather would argue a lot. It sometimes got physical. They would fight each other. And then it spilled over into me and my brother.”
Travis’s stepfather began to physically abuse him and his brother.
“I remember one instance he was drinking a lot and he called me and my brother upstairs. And he laid back on the bed and picked his foot up and he kicked my brother into the wall. And I remember what that did to me. Made me – made me angry, but uh you can't do nothing that – you can't do really anything at that age.”
One day, Travis discovered a new way to deal with his increasing anger.
Travis remembers, “I was walking home with some friends and uh this guy was just doing nothing to us, he was doing absolutely nothing. He was out playing football. And uh we just walking past him and he said something, I think it was ‘hi.’ We beat this guy so badly for no apparent reason. That kind of sparked something. I like what it did for me and it was a release. It made me feel better. I got validation from my friends.”
As Travis grew older, his anger intensified, as did the violence.
“We were getting in fights with people and they had guns. So quite naturally we would get guns. And having a gun put a ‘S’ on your chest; it sorta made you feel like you were invincible. At this particular time when I was 16 years old, I had possession of a sawed-off shotgun.”
A friend suggested they put his weapon to use.
“So he asked me would I be interested in, you know, in us committing a robbery, armed robbery. And I was like ‘yeah!’”
Their target was a taxi driver.
Travis recalled, “The guy froze. And he was like, ‘whatever you want, you know, just take it.’ And I felt some anger that I didn't know I had on the inside. I cursed at him. I was so hateful to this guy, I was like, ‘if you move, I’m going to blow your head off.’ and I know I would have done it.”
The only thing that stopped him was that the gun was empty.
“Right before we did the crime. I was like, ‘man, I’m taking the ammunition out.’ Something in me that day told me, ‘take the bullet out.’”
The two fled with the money but were soon arrested. His friend was sent to jail and Travis was taken to juvenile detention. While there, he had to face the hard truth.
Travis remembered, “I was surrounded by kids who were angry, kids who had committed murders, I was like, ‘man, am I really like that?’ You know, like you know, ‘do I really deserve to be here.’ And the truth of the matter was ‘yes.’ So I really wasn't angry at anybody else no more, I became angry at myself. And I was like, ‘God, if you can do anything, now would be the time to do it.’”
Soon after, a minister visited the detention center and spoke about Jesus.
“He was talking about a transformed life, ‘He can really transform your life, He can give you a new heart.’ He was just preaching the purest and simple I had ever heard it. ‘Jesus loves you and He'll forgive you. Just ask Him to forgive you.’ And I did that. And when I did that, I felt no anger. The self-condemnation and guilt I felt for myself, I didn't feel that anymore.”
Travis was charged as an adult and sentenced to eight years in a maximum-security prison. He says it was there that Jesus completely changed his life.
“I liked what was going on in me, the way I was feeling. I had a love for life inside of that prison, I had a love for life that I hadn't had on the outside. I was just overjoyed by the fact that uh Jesus had pretty much transformed my life. And He was just getting started.”
Today, Travis works at a local barbershop and is expecting a child with his wife Tiffany. He’s also reconciled with his parents and currently being licensed to lead a prison ministry.
Travis said, “Jesus has been true to everything He said He would ever do for me. He's recreated me. And I look at myself and I weep as I worship and I just love the Lord. I love him so much because – mainly because He presents Himself as this God who came down. We don't have to reach up. He comes down.”
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