Book Foreword

Foreword

Jackie Pullinger of St Stephen's Society Hong Kong where Jim was working.

This is the foreword I had hoped never to write. Remembering dear Jim and the terrible way his life ended is something I had no wish to think of or remember. Yet it is a story that must be told. The Bible would never have been written if we had not sinned, but God had planned salvation from the beginning of time and caused His heart to be written down, so that by believing that Jesus is the Christ we may have life.

I feel privileged that Jim's parents have invited me to share this introduction, and privileged to have known Jim and to have walked a while with him and his family.

When I first knew Jesus my faith was simple but also simplistic. The problem was - I had the wrong version of the Bible! Mine read, "When anyone is in Christ, he is a new man" (2 Corinthians 5v17). Therefore when, wonderfully, the first drug addict I prayed for accepted Jesus, sang with awe and then prayed in tongues for half an hour I thought the job was done. He was a new man, could go to work the next day and glorify Christ. He would not need or want drugs again. He had Jesus.

Many believers in Christ think similarly, and so find it hard to understand the 'new man' when he stumbles. Some of us think that more Bible, more prayer, more counselling or more hard work would prevent failure, but we have misunderstood the problem. 'When anyone is in Christ he is a new creation' is a better understanding of the text. This 'new creation' may be quite old in years (and will certainly have old habits and old clothes) but he really needs a safe place to grow up at his own pace; to grow up emotionally, spiritually, to put off the old self and then to grow in hope for the future.

At St Stephen's Society we have seen hundreds of men and women from their teens to their seventies who have lived with us and changed dramatically. My husband John was a heroin addict who, once he met Jesus, never took drugs again or wanted them. He fell in love with Christ and worshipped his way to wholeness. However, it took many more years for him to grow into maturity and deal with who he was, what God thought about him and what he believed about himself.

Yes, we have seen hundreds delivered physically from drugs by the power of the Holy Spirit, but now know that is the easy part. The next is longer and different for every person. One person may deal quickly with their past while others need time, but we love them just the same, and if they leave us before the knots are sorted out, we worry. Some will die. The knots have become a noose. Then we cry, we howl, we grieve and go through many of the same emotions and experiences which Philippa so graphically describes in this book.

Years ago, a friend helped me to understand the problem. I felt I couldn't share the amazing stories of some of the addicts from the Walled City because they had fallen later. 'Why not?' he asked. 'What Jesus did for them is just as wonderful - isn't it?' And so I learned that in the gospel stories we rarely know how those that Jesus healed went on afterwards. The gospels just record what Jesus did and how the sick, demonized and outcast responded.

Jim always responded to Jesus in his spirit. He loved Him and was incredibly brave in allowing himself to be forgiven and to hope again. In this heartbreaking story you will meet a young man whom everyone thought to be their own special friend and who brought joy and fun to many.

This book is written to bring healing and resolution to those who, like Philippa and Graeme, may ask 'Why?' It is an account written with courage and honesty, reflecting the awful pain of loss and untimely death. Yet with conviction that Jim's life was not in vain and that his story would bring healing to many, they have shared their journey of healing.

I have dealt with my own guilt as have Jim's parents. We would all like to blame someone, but the fact is that the enemy felled Jim in battle. A glorious young warrior in training became a prime target. But I believe that his life (and death) will bring life to many. Through the cross there is redemption. The enemy will not have victory (1 Corinthians 15v26). The last enemy to be destroyed is death. Through this story I know there will be many who will sing 'Thank God for Jesus and for Jim' (1 Corinthians 15v54). Death has been swallowed up in victory.

Jackie Pullinger