James Mitchell has a history of helping others.
For years, he worked at a women’s shelter and was a dedicated volunteer in his church’s kitchen. His motivation for serving others comes from his drive to share Christ’s love with others. Unfortunately, after years of helping others, Mr. Mitchell found himself in a situation where he was unable to help himself.
Mr. Mitchell bought his house with the full expectation of making the repairs needed to live in the home. Unfortunately, prior to making any repairs, Mr. Mitchell was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer. Due to stress from health and finances, Mr. Mitchell found himself unable to repair the home on his own. Knowing the Lord provides, Mr. Mitchell was able to do what so many others struggle to do – ask for help.
Through referrals from church, Mr. Mitchell was connected with Piedmont Salkehatchie. Rebuild Upstate serves as a project provider and manager for the popular youth service program. Mr. Mitchell waited for two years before learning he qualified for Senior Solutions funding and would be put on the list of homes to be repaired in the summer of 2017.
After so much time waiting, Mr. Mitchell said seeing the youth arrive and start working was truly his best memory in the home. It wasn’t until watching volunteer after volunteer hop off the bus on the first day until Mr. Mitchell was able to see the house as a home.
Throughout the weeks Salkehatchie and YouthWorks volunteers spent at the house, Mr. Mitchell shared his faith journey with volunteers. His ability to share Christ’s love with all he meets has touched everyone who has come to the home. In fact, volunteers were so touched by Mr. Mitchell’s testimony, they found ways to make simple, yet meaningful, personalizations to the home.
If you take time to look around the home, you’ll see the names of volunteers written on a stained cross displayed on the front porch, written in concrete near the back door, or on a door-frame inside the home. One group added crosses to the gables of the home as an outward display of the faith Mr. Mitchell shows. Two rocking chairs, purchased and assembled by youth volunteers, sit on the front porch where Mr. Mitchell greets the groups who come to his home. One group even planted flowers off the porch and added a welcome mat so that Mr. Mitchell’s house could finally feel like home.
Clearly, Mr. Mitchell has touched many lives with his story. Each person who helped him work on his home is gracious to him. Mr. Mitchell, however, maintains he has gained more than he could ever give. “They changed my life completely. I had to work for everything. This is the first time I’ve been given anything and it’s because of God. Each of those volunteers is God’s angel.”
Mr. Mitchell would like to express his gratitude to volunteers by expressing how much he loves each and every person who has helped repair his home. He is most touch by the servant hearts shown among the volunteers. “They don’t have to be here,” he says, “They choose to be here. This is a great thing and it’s coming through the Lord.”
Amidst the home repairs, chairs, personalized gables, and flowers, Mr. Mitchell sees something else as the greatest thing he has gained throughout this process. He said, “This is one of the best organizations I know. They gave me something no one can take away – hope.”