James is a success story. After years of addiction he had nowhere to call home and landed at the Union Rescue Mission. Today, after encountering God and several years of discipleship, James is a living example of God’s faithfulness.
James is an intelligent, well-educated man. He was raised in a good home. However, in his young adult life he fell into the trap of self-esteem, and acceptance meant using. As James will testify, using drugs leads the to drugs owning you. Drugs eventually eliminated all other competitors to his happiness including a good job, a promising life-mate relationship, and eventually even his family relationships.
James hit rock bottom and the only path left to him was on skid row at the Union Rescue Mission. So he swallowed what little was left of his pride for any opportunity at finding a way back to get his life back.
It wasn’t quick and it wasn’t easy but James threw himself into everything the mission asked of him. He became a model citizen. In his pursuit of freedom from drugs he began to realize that God was actually pursuing him.
A year later James graduated the mission Christian Life Discipleship Program and he applied for the Chaplain coordinator position as an Apprentice. He got the job and worked along side one of the mission Chaplain’s to help the other men in the program.
During this time James also became the mission representative for PCC’s Mentorship Ministry. He helped match men at the mission to men at PCC and helped keep those relationships thriving at the mission.
God then put a desire in his heart to pursue a career helping people with addictions. He went back to college, got his credentials for drug and alcohol counseling, and finished an internship.
The organization where he interned liked him so much they made arrangements to hire him, and today he is a drug and alcohol counselor. Every weekday James invests his time helping people who have experienced the struggles he has overcome. It is both rewarding and redeeming.
Last month James took the next step in his transformation. He transitioned out of the mission and into permanent housing. He moved in with Joe, another success story.
James and Joe not only have continued relationships with their mentors, but they are active at their local church, in the same small group, and give back to the mission.
Joe comes down to the mission every Wednesday to encourage the men in the program and James comes with me to visit churches to inspire people to volunteer by building lasting relationships. I see them mentoring men themselves now.
James is the first man to transition that Deed and Truth has committed to helping financially in their new life. We just instituted a new ministry to provide practical assistance in this important step of transitioning out of the mission.
Please pray for James continued success. Please pray for transportation for James. He has moved to a nice community in Pasadena but it’s a 90-minute bus ride to and from his office. That makes for some very long days. But he doesn’t complain. He’s happy God has delivered him and he is a different man today.
Pray also for his heart’s desire to reconcile with his family who lives in San Diego. This has proved to be a difficult process. He continues to take baby steps in that direction at the pace that his family dictates.
I am personally very proud to call James my friend. Our relationship has outlived his time at the mission and I expect it will last our lifetimes.
Check out an inspiring video about James amazing story: