Jimmy’s journey is a testimony of God’s power over sin and death. Since the doors of Jacob’s Well were opened on the corner of Summer and Highland in 2010, Jimmy was there. At first he came to worship inebriated, yet seeking God and community. Jimmy’s journey led him to a series of bottoms and a number of God’s people who would show him God’s love such as Emily, Marlon, Linda, Chad, Michelle, which led him to detox and rehab a number of times but then back to the streets and the Med with life-threatening surgeries, and even an open wound which he struggled with while living unsheltered for several months. For over 20 years Jimmy lived on the streets and drank from morning until night. He cannot count on both hands the number of good friends who are no longer with us. Yet by God’s grace Jimmy was graced to live his final three years on earth with peace, love, joy, largely free from the bonds of his addiction. Thanks to Highland Heights UMC, he enjoyed meaningful work, a nice simple place that he called home, a church to worship and serve, and friends who loved him and checked in on him.
Recently Jimmy went out with us on CPR, a homeless outreach of Jacob’s Well, and met with several friends from the “old days” out on the streets. One man mentioned, “If Jimmy can do it, then so can I.” Another was convinced that he was sick and tired of being sick and tired from the heroin addiction and homelessness and gratefully invited Jesus into his life as Jimmy and Jamey prayed with him and gave contact info for a local rehab. Jimmy was asked how he did it, and his response was two-fold. “People wouldn’t give up on me,” pointing to those who had shown the unconditional love of God without any signs of fruit from their efforts. And Jimmy quoted Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Only through the one who rose from the grave could this miracle be shared. So as you reach out to our homeless neighbors, do so with hope in the One who can do the impossible. And as you face trials and struggles of your own, remember what God did in Jimmy’s life to find strength for your journey.