John 5:24, “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.
In Dr. David Jeremiah’s short devotional book Dusty Shoes and Other Signs of life, he wrote about clear and unmistakable signs that represented life. He stated in the introduction, “When an emergency room doctor gives orders of a CBC, we know he wants a complete blood count. Or when he asks for a patient’s BP, we know he is looking for a blood pressure reading. These are vital signs determining the health of a patient.”
After God expanded our ministry across the Louisiana border into Jackson, Ms., we too wanted to examine the signs of life in the city. Is there movement? Is there a heartbeat? Is there an unabated blood flow? Is there a reproduction of life occurring? I can remember my first visit to Smith Park in downtown Jackson. Being from New Orleans, I was more in tune with a vibrant, populated, colorful, busy, and noisy downtown area. And, downtown Jackson is not that by any stretch of the imagination. I remember my first reaction, “This downtown is dead!”
However, at 6:00 I noticed some signs of life. There was movement, a movement of God’s Spirit through the preaching of Jim Williamson. There was a heartbeat, God’s heartbeat in the hands of service through JD and Angel Walker. There was an unabated blood flow, a blood flow of Christ’s sacrifice through the worship songs of John. Ultimately, that display of life led to a reproduction of life, a reproduction of life through the life in Okie Johnson (pictured above crossing over from death to life).
Okie Johnson was a homeless addict that lost every meaningful relationship in his life. Years of bad choices alienated him from life itself. Before his encounter with CWOW Jackson, he described his life in terms equated with death, such as dark, lost, lonely, and hopeless. As he slept in the elements of nature, he wondered would his fate ever change. He never thought that the place where his bad choices brought him would be the same place that would host his opportunity for change.
Strapped with grace, love, holiness, and a mission for Christ, Jim Williamson and company made the twenty minute drive from Crystal Springs to downtown Jackson. They encountered Okie Johnson in the depth of his turmoil. The CWOW Jackson team created a Christ-centered presentation of the Gospel, the presentation that includes words and actions. Okie was drawn by the opportunity of hope in Christ.
After two weeks of fellowshipping with the CWOW team, he surrendered his life to Christ, received baptism, and admitted himself into a faith-based rehab in New Orleans. After completing a six month program, we got to witness his graduation August 23, 2014 on his birthday. Okie is now living in a graduate house.
God has reestablished his relationships with his parents, wife, and kids. In the words of Okie, “Pastor Troy ain’t God good! I heard something that I thought I would never hear again. My daddy told me he love me, and he is proud of me.” Okie Johnson now describes his life in terms equated with life, such as alive, healthy, loved and moving forward. There are far too many homeless in Jackson, but Okie Johnson is no longer one of them.
We rejoice at stories like Okie Johnson and others, however, there is still a lot of work to be done in the lives of many more. We cannot do it without your help. We would greatly appreciate volunteers and donations to this ministry. Visit www.cwownola.org and click on contribute or contact Jim Williamson (director/pastor) (225)244-0630, JD and Angel Walker (outreach coordinators) (601)941-0986, (601)624-7234