Travis Joines ’94 lived his life with a mission to spread the gospel. He and his wife, Carissa, served as missionaries in the Middle East for several years. Upon returning to the United States, they continued their work in North Carolina with the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.
But in 2018, Joines passed away after a brief illness. Seeking to honor his life and legacy, his family established the Travis Joines Endowed Scholarship at Samford University in 2020.
Joines’ father-in-law, Al Gilbert, spoke in his memory at a Global Voices event hosted by Samford’s Beeson Divinity School in September 2022. He encouraged the crowd to have a love for Christ and for the nations as much as Joines did.
“He often kept one or two things in his pocket—a New Testament and a pocket-sized atlas full of maps,” Gilbert said. “And I would notice sometimes he would be looking at the maps. I’d say, ‘Travis what are you doing?’ And he’d say, ‘Well I’m just reminding myself which country borders with [that] country. I’m reminding myself about the history of [that] country and how the unreached people groups are there and what they believe.’ He had command on his maps better than anyone I’d ever known.”
In 2021, the scholarship was awarded to its first recipient, Ashton Holt, who was a student in the Christian Ministry department at the time.
“This scholarship was very meaningful to me,” she said. “It’s a blessing to go somewhere like Samford where people who don’t even know you want to fund your education for the purpose of gospel ministry.”
Holt is also Samford’s first student to take advantage of the accelerated bachelor’s to Master of Divinity (M.Div.) program, which was established through a partnership between several Samford undergraduate degree programs and Beeson Divinity. The program gives select students the opportunity to complete requirements for both Samford degrees in a minimum of six years rather than the typical seven. The unique pathway is available to Howard College of Arts and Sciences students majoring in biblical studies or Christian and religious studies (including the concentration in ministry leadership), School of the Arts students majoring in Christian ministry, and Orlean Beeson School of Education students majoring in human development and family science. Holt discovered the program at the beginning of her junior year, and her advisers encouraged her to pursue this degree path.
“It was like God opened the door and shoved me through it in the best way possible,” she said.
“My dad was at a conference and saw this opportunity at the Beeson booth. It ended up being the best option financially, since I’ve always wanted to go to seminary. But there is also solid Bible teaching and a close-knit community in both the undergrad Christian Ministry program and in the graduate level at Beeson.”
Holt expressed gratitude for the impact of Joines’s life and ministry and encouraged others to continue his legacy by living out the gospel message and being missionally focused in every aspect of life.