Happy Birthday, Jim!
This Wednesday would have been my father’s 80th birthday (he passed away almost six years ago). However, another man who was born six days before my dad recently celebrated eight decades on earth. It’s someone who’s also been a blessing in my life.
In July 2007, I took a bus from Fargo, North Dakota, to attend part of Calvary Campground’s Summer Campmeeting in Ashland, Virginia. On the day I prepared to leave for Toronto, a man asked to join me for breakfast in the dining hall. When I discovered Jim was from Northern Virginia and would return home that night, I asked for a ride to Washington, DC, to reduce the bus fare. Jim later took me out for dinner and offered to let me stay at his house. At the time, I had all my belongings with me. It was nice to lighten my travel load by leaving some stuff with Jim.
After spending almost a month north of the border, I took a bus back to DC. During the next few months, I resided at Jim’s house in Fairfax. His wife passed away a few months before, plus he retired from his job with the federal government. Therefore, Jim desired to travel more. Not long after my return from Canada, I rode with Jim to see his hospitalized mother in Fairfield, Illinois. I led a few people to the Lord during this trip, including Jim’s mother.
Jim often drove to the nation’s capital for various events. When he went to a private luncheon, I often rode along and evangelized on the streets of DC. We also attended monthly meetings at The Order of St. Luke, a Christian organization that ministers divine healing. At the time, Jim was president of their DC chapter. I got to minister at a couple of those meetings.
Although he attended a more traditional church, Jim had a hunger for the things of God. One night I led him to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. We also attended numerous conferences together. One featured Randy Clark, the minister that sparked the Toronto Blessing. Jim soon went on missionary trips with Randy’s ministry called Global Awakening. He’s often thanked me for telling him about Randy. Since moving out of Jim’s house in June 2008, I’ve returned for many visits. He often hosts other ministers and homeless people needing a roof over their heads.
Jim and I still go on occasional road trips. In May 2020, I flew from Minneapolis to Denver. His son Houston was stationed at an Air Force Base in Colorado Springs but would be transferred to Italy and could not bring the family dog. Jim decided to adopt Elsa. During the long drive back to Fairfax using a rental car, he bought us food and covered lodging expenses. After picking up a stimulus check sent to my PO Box in Ashland, I mentioned my desire to purchase a new MacBook Pro to replace one with tech issues. Jim offered to pay for half of that. Many other times, Jim gave me money and clothes. He has taken me out to eat at various restaurants, but his favorite is Waffle House. Jim usually plays “Waffle House March” on their jukebox and likes to share a video I made during one of our meals there.
A friend of ours is having a party for Jim today in Fairfax. Although I won’t be present, I’ve wished him a Happy Birthday over the phone, through Facebook, and this video. Through this article, I want to thank Jim again for his continued hospitality and generosity.
“Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and for strangers, who have borne witness of your love before the church. If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well, because they went forth for His name’s sake, taking nothing from the Gentiles. We therefore ought to receive such, that we may become fellow workers for the truth.” - 3 John 5-8