What can I say? God is great!

“My family and I have served at the Jimmie Hale Mission for about 4 years or so. We serve Thanksgiving day and Christmas night.

We look forward to our time at the Jimmie Hale Mission each year.  Last Christmas, we arrived during a tornado warning, so we never made it out of the office.  We were in the office about an hour or so, and we learned all about the ins and outs of the Jimmie Hale Mission as well as the history of it, which made the Mission all the more special to us.  It has always been special because growing up, I had a great uncle who was an alcoholic and spent many nights at the Mission in the 1980’s.

James (left) and Rocco (right) at one of                                            Rocco’s basketball games.

I always write the day in my planner that I need to call and reserve our spot for serving, because spots fill up fast. Well, this year, I was a day late calling, and Christmas day and night were full. Christmas Eve breakfast still had some spots though! I am not an early morning person and my husband wouldn’t be able to join us, but we really wanted to serve, so I signed my son and myself up to serve Christmas breakfast. I was bummed we wouldn’t be able to serve Christmas night, because that was MY plan. I should have known God had a better plan!!!

A Holiday to Remember
We enjoyed serving Christmas Eve breakfast on 12.24.16, and it will always be a special day for us as it marks the day God decided our path should cross with James’ path.

As we finished serving breakfast, there were some extra pancakes. My son, Rocco, is 9 and has a list of about 10 foods he eats, and pancakes are high on the list. When he was offered some, he was excited to indulge. After preparing a plate, we scanned the room for a place to sit. James spotted us and motioned us in his direction. He made room for us at his table. The rest is HIStory.

Rocco was and is in awe of James’ amazing basketball skills. We visited him one Sunday at the Mission, and he played basketball with Rocco for at least two hours. After that, James attended one of Rocco’s basketball games. When Rocco realized James was there, his face lit up, and he played like a rock star. He wanted to impress his buddy, James.

Truly An Inspiration
James has attended a couple of Rocco’s basketball games and one of his baseball tournaments. Although we don’t see him as often as we would like, we communicate with him often via phone, text, and Facebook. He has become part of our family. I have connected with his daughters on Facebook as well and I am enjoying getting to know them.

We love James and are so grateful God chose for our paths to cross. We are so proud of James’ progress in the program. We had planned to attend his graduation after we first met. Later, my son who plays travel baseball, had a scrimmage game scheduled on the same day as graduation. When I asked him if he wanted to play in the scrimmage game or attend James’ graduation, he expressed that he wanted to attend the graduation. James is just THAT special!! Graduation was just awesome!! I treasure the memories of that day as well as the pictures and videos I took that day!

James is truly a light shining for Jesus! The enemy may have had his way with James in the past, but, in the name of Jesus, those days are no more! I can’t wait to see all God has in store for James. He was made for great things, and I am so grateful to be able to call him my friend. James is truly an inspiration!”

*Story as told by Gina Valentini