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TV star Kirk Cameron speaks at ARCC

April 26, 2002|BY LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

Television fame brought actor Kirk Cameron everything he could possibly want in life - fame, money and legions of friends.

All of it was his by the young age of 17.

Still, the "Growing Pains" sitcom start told an audience at Hagerstown Community College on Thursday that he still felt strangely empty.

"I started to feel and know something was wrong. I was a little confused and depressed," he said.

Then he found God.

With tears in his eyes, Cameron told the hushed crowed of about 500 people how he came to know God's love.

Cameron said he was sitting in his car one day, not long after a friend took him to church, when he realized that if he died that day he would not go to heaven.

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He asked God to forgive him for being self-centered and arrogant.

"I opened up my eyes and it wasn't like I saw angels or heard bells. I had this very real sense, deep inside, that God heard me," he said.

Cameron, 31, was the special guest of inspirational speaker Ron Hutchcraft at the college's Athletic, Recreation and Community Center.

Hutchcraft focused on Sept. 11 and how that changed the nation's priorities.

While we are powerless to personally stop terrorism, there are things we can do to make a difference in the world and in our own lives, he said.

"Focus on what you can control and you can have hope," he said.

As Hutchcraft and Cameron spoke, their images were flashed on two giant television screens and their voices were projected from two walls of loudspeakers on either side of the stage.

Noel Rodriguez of Carlisle brought a church youth group, which was organized by volunteers from Washington County Churches, as part of a weeklong Go M.A.D (Go Make a Difference) campaign.

"I found it to be very refreshing, an uplifting message to the community around here and how important it is to get right with God," Rodriguez said. "Kirk Cameron said it pretty well."

Cameron became a television star at the age of 14, when he was cast as Mike Seaver on "Growing Pains." He said the experience intensified the pressure of being a teenager.

"You feel awkward enough as a teenager. You feel like everyone in the country is watching you grow up," he said.

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