James grew up way too fast. He quit school and started working at 15 to support himself. By the time he was 17, James considered himself an adult who could do whatever he wanted. That meant running with the wrong crowd and taking drugs.
Over the next few years, James managed to keep a job and start raising a family of five children. But he could not control his drug use and he lost everything. Finding himself on his own, he worked temporary jobs, making just enough money to get high every day. Eventually, he was living on the streets.
Things only got worse. After 20 years of living rough, James was sleeping on the expressway in 96-degree heat. At that point, he knew he’d had enough. “I had been smoking dope for two days, fighting the mosquitoes all night,” he recalls. “I decided then and there that I was tired of this.” James knew Memphis Union Mission was just two blocks away. He got up, walked over and joined the program.
“At the Mission, they gave me food and a place to sleep and everything,” James says. “But the most import thing was, they preached the Gospel every day. I had tried everything else to get sober, and now, I was going to try the Lord.”
That was back in 2008. James gave his life to the Lord and has been sober ever since. He even stopped smoking. “I haven’t had the desire to smoke, drink or do drugs. God delivered me and set me free from all that. He gave me back everything I had lost and then some.” Today, by the grace of God, James has finally, truly, grown up! A forklift operator since 2010, he is married and reconciled with his children. “I’m doing what I’m supposed to do now. I will continue walking with the Lord because I know that He is real and He is right there, waiting on us,” he says.
“If it weren’t for Memphis Union Mission, I wouldn’t be where I am today. They showed Christ to me, and I have a beautiful life now!”