Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A Tribute to my son


1978 - 2001

"He Lived God's Way"

James "Jim" Henry Martin Jr., 22, of 102
Alice St., died Thursday, Aug. 23, 2001, at St. Francis
Hospital following complications from surgery.

Thus began the public record of the passing of my firstborn son into the presense of our Lord. Though the official date wasThursday, we believe that Jim left us on Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2001, to a home much greater than any we can provide for him. Born Sept. 17, 1978, James Henry Martin Jr. took my name --and the names of his great-grandfathers on my side -- into the annals of history. Now this name has become one that I, his father, must honor throughout the course of the rest of my life.Overcoming a period of petit mal seizures when he was a toddler, our son's development was slowed just enough for us to make the decision to "hold him back" so that he began first grade just before his seventh birthday (Sept 17, 1985). Far from "slow," Jim tested in the 90th percentile in all standardized tests in elementary school. He saw very few "B's" until Junior High School.

The oldest of four children, Jim learned early that he lovedchildren, especially the pre-schoolers. As he grew into his teenyears, his attention continued to be with the children. The nursery that had practically begun with him and his brother Tim in late 1980 grew as Second Presbyterian Church (PCA) became a popular place for young Christians in Greenville, SC. As an "early" resident of that nursery, Jim was drawn to the hundreds of new tenants as they occupied what went from a two-crib "hole in the wall" to a "wing" of the educational building.

Be it a "volunteer" in the nursery or a "summer missionary" to the Appalachian Mountains, Jim was a "kid magnet." Whatever the call, Jim was there for the little ones. He grew to over six-foot-three with size thirteen sneakers, but was always ready to give a piggy-back ride to the tiniest toddler who reached up to "Mr. Jim."

In his teen years, Jim went three times to Whitetop, Virginia, to help with Vacation Bible School . Laughter, songs, and thedoctrines of the church filled the small country church, spilling out into the community in the surrounding hills. Eleven months later many of these children would recognise their beloved "Mr. Jimmy," come to show the love of Christ in word and deed.

As a student at Bob Jones University, Jim made use of the opportunities to serve in many ways. His work at WBJU, the campus radio station, introduced hundreds of "captive" dorm students to his wit and humor. When he had time, Jim loaned his voice to a "Barbershop Choir" composed of men of all ages. In fact, Jim shared the stage with men in their eighties. Weekends were available for evangelism among apartment complexes and especially Camp Spearhead, a camp for Special-Needs children His sister Becca, at the time a freshmen at BJU, shared his last year in this ministry. Summer ministerial assignments were filled with gusto as Jim fulfilled the requirements for his Camp Ministries major at Bob Jones University. He had attended the BJ school system for sixteen years, fitting in well with a Christian community that varied somewhat from his Presbyterian heritage. In 1999, between his sophmore and junior years, Jim served as a camp counsellor in Pennsylvania. In 2000, he traveled half-way around the world to Guam to serve with Harvest Baptist Church and School. In his "down time" he was even able to record some radio devotional readings -- reaching out to thousands in Micronesia and beyond!

[The last summer], Jim's "summer job" was at BJU Linc, a "distantlearning" outreach of Bob Jones University. There he touchedthe lives of staff and crew doing whatever task that lay before him. Outside of "work" his spare time was filled with activity for Second Presbyterian Church. In addition to his regular nursery duties, he helped in numerous ministries, including Vacation Bible School and Summer's Best Two Weeks,a "sports" camp. Behind the scenes with pastors Rod Clay and Robert Spears -- and Ministerial interns Steve Murphy and Dave Osborn -- Jim learned the ins and outs of everything from deacons' meetings to hospital visitation.

The highlight of his summer, however, was the mission trip to Haiti. Staying in what is "luxury" to most Haitians, even their hotel turned off the electricity at seven in the morning. Soon after breakfast, however, they piled into a well-used school bus and rode to the construction site where they put in a concrete ceiling/floor as a second floor begins, providing much needed space for the young, growing church. There are no "super highways" in Haiti.

The Lord has called Jim home after twenty-three short butfruitful years. Only future generations will be able to tell the extent of his influence. . . .

With everlasting love,

James Henry Martin, Sr.

Deborah C. Martin (Mom)

Timothy "Tim" S. Martin

Rebecca "Becca" E. Martin

Samuel "Sam" A. Martin


hondo said...

God bless you and your family, Henry. Jim most assuredly is in Paradise.

Henry Martin said...

Thank you, Hondo. I visit his grave on or near the 22nd of every month. I just made my 60th visit a few days ago.

I know he isn't "there," but it gives me a point of contact to his memory. He had been living at school for the past year, and had been away part of the summer, so his "going away" that final time was not as hard as it could have been.

Please feel free to visit the website at http://jim-martin.faithweb.com.

I haven't updated it since 2002, but the partial record of his life that I put there is a work of love.