“What do you think you guys are doing here?” the gang leader asked Jim, surrounded by his gang - many of whom had knives and other weapons. In reality, Jim was in this impoverished town in Tanzania to bring the love of Jesus by working with a local pastor to educate, feed, and share the gospel with hundreds of orphaned and malnourished kids. However, the gang accused the Americans, “You’re just taking pictures of these kids. You’re selling them and taking the money.”
Jim looked at the leader and said, “Actually, I’m going to take your picture and sell it to all the women in the U.S. and sell it for tons of money because you’re so handsome!” The words just jumped out of his mouth!
Everyone waited nervously to see what would happen. Would the gang leader kill him for getting smart with him? Would a fight break out? Would Jim and his friends have to run for their lives?
Instead, a smile came across his face and he started to laugh. Jim and the gang leader hit it off and eventually the gang members even started helping the children too. As the two talked, Jim told the leader, “You’ve gotta come to church with me on Sunday!” Much to Jim’s surprise, he accepted his invitation.
On Sunday, Jim waited for his new friend to arrive at church, but by the time the 2 hour service was half over, he assumed his friend wasn’t coming. Just when he had given up hope, he looked back to see him walking into the church. The two sat together as this gang leader took in every word of the sermon. At the end of the service, Jim’s new friend, the leader of the local gang, walked up to the front to accept Christ.
Jim was in Tanzania that day because he was following God’s leading in his life, something he learned to do during his involvement with Cru. As a student, and then as a staff member in Spain for several years he learned and experienced communicating his faith, building people up in that faith and sending them out into the world to see it changed by the love of Christ.
While on staff in Spain, Jim read an article in a Spanish newspaper about 10-15 million AIDS orphans in Africa and how that number was projected to double. This broke his heart because of his deep love for children, and served as a catalyst for him to be part of the solution. As a result, Jim and his wife, Christy, were led to move from Spain back to the U.S. where Jim pursued a seminary degree. Soon after they found a place to integrate their love for the Lord and children by working with Vision Trust. This organization that seeks to win people to Christ, build them up in their faith, and send them out among the poorest 1% of the world’s population.
The Tanzanian gang leader and those in his town are just a few of the impoverished people Jim has had an opportunity to minister to through his ministry with Vision Trust.
Jim is a Sent One!
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