Jim was born in Akron, Ohio in January of 1947 and was the third child out of four in his family. His home was not a Christian home although both parents had been exposed to some Bible teaching. Jim’s mom would sometimes take the children to church or send them to one in the neighborhood.
At the age of 14, Jim went to visit his aunt, uncle and two cousins in Greenville, South Carolina. They were living there so his uncle could attend Bob Jones University. One Sunday evening, they took Jim to a large Baptist Church where he heard the Gospel. It was there he understood that he had been responsible for Christ’s death on the cross realizing his sins had helped nail Him there.
As the family prepared for bed, Jim sat at the kitchen table thinking about what he’d heard. He prayed saying, “I believe my sins killed your Son. I am a sinner and I need your help. If Jesus died for my sins, then that means that He has already taken the payment for them. I can’t see you God, but I believe what I heard tonight was true. Please take away my sins and make me your child.” There were no bright lights or exhilarating feelings, but Jim knew something had happened in him. He slowly started growing in the Lord until he headed back to his family in Ohio.
He didn’t attend a church, nor were his friends Christians, so for the next couple of years Jim feels he wasted his life. However, God was at work to bring Jim back to Himself. When Jim’s mother died very suddenly when he was 15, he looked eternity in the face and was deeply moved by her death. Jim did not have a close relationship with his father and felt that life was pretty miserable. Things changed when his aunt and uncle in South Carolina invited him to come and stay with them for a couple of weeks. Jim struggled with leaving his paper route, his friends and all the things that were familiar. He was also struggling within, knowing that if he went down there, he would need to get right with God.
On the bus on the way to South Carolina, Jim remembers telling the Lord how he had wasted his life and needed His help to be obedient and to grow in Him. The two-week stay ended up being two years. Jim never went back home to live and finished his junior and senior years of high school there. He got involved with a good church and youth group and really enjoyed being in a Christian home. His aunt and uncle became his spiritual parents and nurtured Jim both physically and spiritually. He saw their faith and love in action and thanks God for His faithfulness to him.