The last Thanksgiving James had before he came to the Mission was in a jail cell.
“That’s really depressing, being in a cell on a holiday,” he says.
Even though it was depressing, he was also used to it. Having started using drugs and running with gangs before he was even a teenager, James spent most of his adult life in and out of jail, in recovery programs or on the streets:
• He had no job – and being a four-time felon, doubted anyone would ever hire him.
• He had no relationship with Jesus – and didn’t even know what a relationship with Jesus would look like.
• He lost custody of his daughter—he wasn’t even allowed to speak to her.
• His family wouldn’t even speak to him – they’d hang up the moment they heard his voice on the phone.
• He’d been homeless and gone days without eating much more than a candy bar.
The Seed of Faith
In short, his life was sad. Really sad. About as fruitless as you can imagine. But then, James came to the Mission and everything – yes, everything – began to change.
“When I learned the love of God and felt that, it changed something in me,” James says.
The Harvest Continues
Six years after graduating, James’ life is about as different as it could be:
•He is still clean and sober.
•He sees the daughter he wasn’t allowed to speak to twice a week.
•He’s married to a lovely woman, and together they are raising his daughter and her son.
•He loves Jesus and has built his life around Him.
•He spends holidays with his family and they even trust him to housesit.
•He’s become a productive member of society, not only working hard as the Director of Industrial Ministries here at the Mission, but also volunteering and mentoring men who are currently in our recovery program.
And James knows that he wouldn’t be where he is today if it weren’t for the generosity of people like you and the support of the body of Christ.
“When I look back at how far I’ve come, I’m still amazed that I’m alive,” he says. “It wasn’t something that happened overnight. All those things had been a harvest that I’ve been waiting for.”