Seven months ago, a 65-year-old man named Jim came to the Mission’s shower program for the first time. He was kind and unassuming, always carrying a small suitcase and keeping to himself.
Jim began to come daily, and staff began to connect with Him. He shared that he had lost his job as a tour guide due to COVID, which eventually led him to homelessness.
One day, Jim arrived to the showers without his usual suitcase and wearing a pair of sunglasses. Assistant Program Manager Hayden Roush, who was overseeing the showers that day, approached Jim to see what was going on. He learned that Jim had been attacked by two men while waiting for the train. His suitcase, which contained all of his belongings, was taken from him.
Jim’s eye was so badly injured that it would later require surgery. He was scared. Staff discussed Jim’s predicament, and since there was an open bed at Renewed Hope, they brought him in. “He wasn’t our usual program resident, but since we had the space, we just couldn’t let Jim suffer anymore,” Hayden said.
So Jim entered the program and thus began a life recovery journey that none involved expected. Program Manager Rick Chamness and Hayden, soon learned that Jim’s story was much more complex. Jim later admitted that, “God had to punch me in the face in order for me to finally stop running from my past and all the hurt I had caused.”
Jim was a successful business owner until his son’s drug use fractured his family so badly that Jim eventually couldn’t take it anymore and left. He left not only his wife and children, but also his own parents and siblings who didn’t agree or understand his decision at the time. Fifteen years later, Jim began working in Los Angeles and enjoyed the travel that came along with his job, seemingly completely moved on from his past. Until COVID caused him to lose everything.
Once in the program, Jim warmed up to everyone with his great sense of humor and strong faith in God. Over time, he worked with the staff to obtain all the documentation that had been stolen from him, documentation he’d need in order to find housing.
During this time Jim also began exploring the deep hurts from his past and finally came to the point of wanting to try and reunite with his family. His desire, at the very least, was to apologize for running away from them all. By the grace of God, and with the help of the staff, Jim was able to quickly locate his older sister and has spent time visiting with her. He and his son have been able to slowly rebuild a relationship over the phone as he lives out of state. Jim has even learned he’s a grandfather!
Just recently, Jim was able to finally obtain housing and moved into his new place, a new man, reconnected with his family. He is at peace, having finally stopped trying to run away from the past, and is excited about what God has in store for his future.