LaReeca Rucker has been a journalist for more than 20 years, and her work has appeared in newspapers across the nation. She spent a decade as a features writer and multimedia journalist with The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi, where she was also a USA TODAY contributor. She is a freelance journalist and support journalism instructor in the University of Mississippi's Meek School of Journalism and New Media in Oxford, Mississippi.

'Marriage is a Love Worth Fighting For' coming to Brandon: Former teen star Kirk Cameron to speak at church

LaReeca Rucker
The Clarion-Ledger

I have always believed that science fiction writers are prophets and sometimes wonder if the same can be true of anyone who pens a fictional story.

If you're marriage is experiencing "Growing Pains," a former teen heartthrob turned Christian actor and evangelist has a message: Marriage is a "Love Worth Fighting For."

Kirk Cameron, who first gained fame as a 1980s sitcom star, will appear Aug. 18 at Crossgates Baptist Church in Brandon.

"The Love Worth Fighting For marriage event is a very special event that came out of the movie 'Fireproof,'' Cameron said by phone. "That was a movie that so many people saw and loved that we decided to turn it into a live event and bring it to the community."

The event combines music, humor and personal stories about marriage with biblical insights, said Cameron, a father of six who has been married to fellow "Growing Pains" star Chelsea Noble for 21 years.

"It's a time for your husband or wife to be together with you for three or four hours without the kids to laugh, sing, love and pray," he said. "Our hope is that people leave knowing their marriage is worth fighting for."

Taken to more than 50 cities in three years, the program is also for people who are getting married or hope to one day, Cameron said.

"We have couples who come who are separated and couples who have been divorced," he said. "They know they don't want to fail when it comes to family. They really want it to work. They want some hope and help...

"It's not a bunch of lecturing and preaching. It's me and Warren Barfield sharing a little of our life and the things we've learned."

North Carolina-born singer/songwriter Barfield and wife Megan have been married for 11 years. They have one son.

Faith and family, Barfield said in a news release, "are the things I would die for; things I will wake up every morning and spend my day fighting for."

Paul Hand, Crossgates marriage and family pastor, said Cameron's success in the film industry and his commitment to marriage "is simply the evidence of the impact that Jesus Christ has made" in his life.

Cameron, who also starred in the Christian film "Left Behind," recently produced the documentary Monumental ( Just released on DVD, it follows Cameron across Europe and the U.S. as he seeks to discover America's true "national treasure" - its people, places and principles.

The documentary, he said, helps viewers "understand what made this the strongest, freest nation on earth, so we can get back to our original principles before America falls apart."

Actor Kirk Cameron speaks about the 'Growing Pains' of marriage
Former sitcom star speaks offers tips for success

As long as we got each other, we got the world spinning right in our hands.
Baby, you and me, we gotta be
The luckiest dreamers who never quit dreamin'.
As long as we keep on givin',
We can take anything that comes our way.
Baby, rain or shine, all the time,
We got each other, sharin' the laughter and love.

LaReeca Rucker
The Clarion-Ledger

Former teen heartthrob turned Christian actor/evangelist Kirk Cameron opened his presentation at Crossgates Baptist Church Saturday by leading the audience in the "Growing Pains" theme song, fitting lyrics for Cameron's "Love Worth Fighting For" marriage event.

"If you are a woman 30 to 40 years old, you may have had a crush on Mike Seaver," he said referencing his sitcom character and getting the fact that he was once a teen idol out of the way. "You loved mullet hair styles, parachute pants and probably listened to a little Duran Duran. There's a name for that. It's called 'Seaver Fever' ... Guys, she should have YOUR poster on her bedroom wall now."

More than 450 people contracted 'Seaver Fever' for the noon presentation, added after the Saturday night presentation sold out with 1,147 tickets.

They entered the doors two by two. Couple after couple filtered past the tables of merchandise in the lobby and T-shirts that read "I love my husband" and "My wife rocks."

Soon Cameron got to the point.

"I cannot afford to fail at family," said the star of the popular Christian film "Fireproof" and the "Left Behind" movie series. Cameron has been married to actress and fellow "Growing Pains" star Chelsea Noble for the past 21 years. They have six children, four of whom were adopted.

"When I'm old and sick and getting ready to die, I want those people around me," he said. "I don't want to fail those people ... I want to give you some principles that will help fireproof your marriage."

When Cameron asked, audience members shouted out some of their marriage challenges that included money, intimacy, spending time together, communication and the death of a child.

"All these things can make a marriage challenging and difficult," Cameron said. "Do you know what the mother of all challenges is in marriage and life? Selfishness and sin...

"If you are into porn, gossip about your spouse behind his or her back - you are showing very good evidence that you may not be saved."

Cameron said couples should also remember that "there's only one person on the planet you can change, and it's not your spouse."

Jackson residents Nicole and Antonio Slaughter attended the event.

"We thought it might help strengthen our marriage and see what direction God wants us to go in," Nicole said.

Florence residents Hillary and Matt Homan also attended.

"Yesterday was our anniversary, and I heard they were having a marriage convention, so I thought it would be a good idea," Hillary said. "We've been married six years."

Paul Hand, marriage and family pastor at Crossgates Baptist Church, said Cameron's reputation as an actor may have drawn audiences, but they also came for the message.

"Half the ladies in the room had posters of him on their walls growing up," Hand said "Lately, I think it's been his message through movies like 'Fireproof.'"

Hand said he hopes the event touched those who attended.

"Right now, the divorce rate in our country is over 50 percent," he said "That is no different inside and outside the church. The rates are the same.

"Our culture says the grass is always greener. Our culture says there's always something better out there. But it's God's will for marriage to last for a lifetime."


The Journalism Portfolio of LaReeca Rucker