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A lifetime of serving others

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People are born, they grow up, get older, and pass away all the time. It’s the human condition. But every now and then someone comes along who does more and gives more than the average person. Maybe one person in a thousand has the ability to inspire, to lead, and to challenge others on such a grand scale. James Evans was one of those precious few. We only get a small handful of souls in our lives who can lead by example like this and make such an everlasting impact on everyone around them, but he did it – and he did it so remarkably well.

James was a humble servant, a devout Christian and if you didn’t know him as a friend, it’s because you never met him. Besides being a model parent, grandparent, and great-grandparent, he was also a long-time Texas A&M alumni, class of 1959, and he followed the Aggie sports teams very closely. After graduating with a degree in accounting, he served as an accountant for over 60 years and owned a western store for 12 years during that same time. But his “claim to fame,” if you will – was his mission work through his church.

What started out as a single project in Mexico turned out to be a mighty endeavor in the mission field. When one project was completed, another was planned. This went on for a number of years and the work teams grew each time they assembled. Everyone’s lives were changed forever after having the opportunity to serve the most needy and provide them with a house of their own. The absolute squalor of the poorest of the poor was overwhelming, but the joy that they felt when their house was complete was beyond words. James was the construction supervisor on dozens of these projects, completing over 1000 homes and he was recognized by the Mexican government for his years of dedication and work. But if you asked him, he would tell you that the real reward was in the faces of the people.

The impact of those projects stretches out literally across the globe. One couple in particular, after hearing about the mission projects from James, decided to join in and were so moved by the experience they literally sold all they had and became missionaries overseas and they are still serving today. The impact of James’ dedication to serve others in need is exemplary and is a shining example of what one person can do when they are the hands and feet of Jesus. He planted the seeds of service in the hearts of so many and the bounty of their harvest should last forever.

In addition to his mission work in Mexico, James was also a charter member of the support staff for the Nehemiah Center of Nava sota. What started out as a fledgling effort on a shoestring budget 13 years ago has continued to grow and to build children’s’ lives, minds, hearts, and spirits by working with the entire family. James and his wife, Ruby, were also named as Ambassadors of the year from the Grimes County Chamber of Commerce for their extensive acts of selfless service to the community.

A lifetime of serving others, a game-changer, a force multiplier - James Evans had all of these qualities and more. What more could be said except what is written in the Book of Matthew 25:21, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

The column represents the thoughts and opinions of Alan Shoalmire. Opinion columns are NOT the opinion of the Navasota Examiner.

Alan Shoalmire is a resident in Grimes County and the owner of Grill Sergeant Hotdogs and submits a column to the Navasota Examiner every other week.