At the Idaho Falls Rescue Mission, we hear hundreds of stories every year. We have the privilege of being involved in these life stories and doing our best to provide help, hope, and a future. Every once in a while, we get to share with you, the people who support the mission and make it possible, a story that inspires us, humbles us and challenges us to try a little harder and to be a little more grateful. This is one of those stories.

James was born in Woodbury New Jersey, where his family made their living selling vegetables at a local farm stand. James was never a stranger to hard work and was an avid athlete.  He enjoyed playing soccer year round.  James lost his mother at the age of 11 and that trial affected him for some time.

James grew up and graduated from high school and decided to go to college. James realized that college wasn’t for him and he dropped out and found employment in the mortgage field.

For the next seven years, James worked his way up the ladder and traveled all over the United States selling mortgages. After seven years of living a very successful life, James decided that he was going to join the navy. He was in the Navy for about a year and ended up getting kicked out for fighting, which proved to be another hard trial for James. After he left the Navy nothing seemed to go well. Though he had seen better days he is a hard worker and did not give up easily. Like all of us, James just wanted a place to call home. So, he decided to go home to Woodbury New Jersey. James quickly found employment as an orderly at the same hospital he was born in. James stayed in Woodbury for five years.

Although drinking was always a part of his life, his drinking started to increase. It seemed like no matter what he did, Woodbury just did not feel like home anymore. Things got bad enough that James decided to quit his job at the hospital and go to Kentucky. Here, James would start a new life hopefully a home. This is where James’ life took a turn that he could have never anticipated. Every opportunity closed and before long he was living in a park catching fish and eating dandelions to

survive. James ended up at a local rescue mission in Kentucky. He was grateful for a warm meal and a warm bed, but he wanted to get on with his life. James joined a carnival that was passing through town and spent 4 years in that line of work.  James’ drinking increased even more as he was working and traveling, and he was stuck with no real hope.

He landed in Billings Montana and it was there that, with only seven dollars in his pocket, He lost his job with the carnival.  He now had no job and no place to live.  James quickly found himself living next to a river.  After two weeks on the river banks, James decided that with nothing left and no home he was going to start walking the highways. He had never been in such a bad place.

That is when our gracious Savior guided him to the Idaho Falls Rescue Mission. James came for help and was welcomed with open arms. This is when James was given his next big trial in life. James was having some health problems and after some issues that were not getting better, went to the Doctor. After several tests and visits, the Doctors diagnosed James with stage four liver disease.

With no family to return to and no home to go to the Idaho Falls Rescue Mission decided to do the only thing that made sense. We decided to adopt James and invite him to be a part of our family.

Doctors have given James six months to two years to live.

Since then James has accepted that invitation and surrendered his life to Jesus. James has decided to not just give up, but to fight for a better life and to work hard at living a life worth living. A life that does not come with any guarantees. James has successfully given up drinking and smoking and is on the road to spiritual recovery and restoration.

 He is continually growing in Jesus with a new lease on life. He is currently working the graveyard shift for the City of Refuge and is also volunteering for several Mission operations. James is one of the go-to guys here at the Mission and others can always count on him for comfort.

Always smiling and upbeat he is truly an inspiration. Someone might just say that regardless of what the future has…

James is finally home.