The Wedding under the bridge...
They got married at the place where they met… Under the Jefferson street bridge.
I have know James and Marti for over a year…
They were on the streets - in a couple of homeless camps we work with…
Trying best they could to get out of the dirt.
It has been a struggle… but they have made it.
On Valentines day 2015 they got married.
Joined by friends and homeless workers.
The wedding was beautiful.
Over a hundred people came on on this cold day.
The catering was better than most weddings I have attended -
The volunteer videographers and still photographers captured the event …
The service was beautiful.
James and his new bride are off the streets and soon to move into their permanent housing.
Much thanks to Steve and Lisa of Open Table Nashville who have helped this couple for a long time.
We need more like Steve and Lisa to help people like James and Marti who want out of chains of homelessness.
Would you join us and support the efforts of The Project Nashville by praying - volunteering and helping us supply the immediate needs of the people on the streets of Nashville?
He didn't have to die!
HE FIRST CAME TO A BIBLE STUDY I ATTEND AT ONE OF THE STATE PRISONS IN NASHVILLE.
HE WAS QUIET AND A “SHORT TIMER”… GETTING OUT IN JUST A FEW MONTHS, FLATTENING HIS SENTENCE.
HE HAS SPENT HIS WHOLE LIFE IN PRISON AND NOW AT 58, TOLD ME THAT HE KNEW WHAT ALWAYS BROUGHT HIM BACK TO PRISON… DRUGS.
HE WAS GETTING TO OLD AND WOULD NEVER DO DRUGS AGAIN. IT ALWAYS TOOK HIM BACK TO PRISON.
I REALLY DIDN’T KNOW HIM WELL BECAUSE HE WAS TRANSFERRED TO THIS PRISON ONLY MONTHS BEFORE, BUT WE CONNECTED… HE WAS A MUSICIAN AND THE MEN IN THE GROUP SAID HE WAS THE BEST GUITAR PLAYER THEY HAD MET.
HE SPENT MANY YEARS IN ARKANSAS PRISON SYSTEM WHILE CLINTON WAS GOVERNOR – AND HENCE PLAYED WITH BILL CLINTON AS THE GOVERNOR USED THE PRISON BAND TO BACK HIS SAX PLAYING AT THE GOVERNOR’S HIGHBROW PARTIES.
HE WAS RELEASED FROM THE CHARLES BASS CORRECTIONAL COMPLEX ABOUT 4 YEARS AGO.
A GLADIATOR IN PRISON WORK, BOBBY MCELHINEY, PAID FOR HIS FIRST HALF WAY HOUSE. (HALF WAY HOUSES USUALLY ASK FOR DOWN PAYMENT – FIRST AND LAST WEEK’S RENT IN ADVANCE - $450 WHICH ADDS A GREAT FINANCIAL BURDEN ON THE MAN GETTING OUT)
HIS RELEASE WAS ON FRIDAY AND I WAS PRODUCING A MUSIC VIDEO ON MONDAY AND HIRED HIM TO WORK AS A GRIP ON THE CREW. AS IT TURNED OUT WE PUT HIM IN THE VIDEO AS A GUITAR PLAYER BEHIND THE ARTIST JULIE INGRAM…
CHECK IT OUT AT –
You may have to go to Youtube and put in
Julie Ingram Thank God video
or copy the link to your browser.
HE WAS THRILLED to be included in the project AND and an even bigger thrill for me to include him.
THE FIRST MORNING IN HIS HALF WAY HOUSE JEFF GOT UP AND WALKED DOWN THE STREET TO A HOUSE THAT WAS BEING RENOVATED AND ASKED THE CONTRACTOR IF HE NEEDED HELP.
“NO” WAS THE RESPONSE AND JEFF PROCEEDED TO OFFER TO WORK FOR FREE AND IF THE CONTRACTOR LIKE HIS WORK – THEY COULD TALK ABOUT FULL TIME WORK. THE CONTRACTOR HIRED HIM.
JEFF REPEATED THAT “I’LL WORK FOR FREE BIT” WITH TWO MORE CONTRACTORS AND FINALLY LANDED HIM A JOB AS THE MAINTENANCE MAN FOR A MAJOR RESTAURANT GROUP IN DOWNTOWN NASHVILLE.
HE WORKED FOR for the chain for THREE YEARS.
I OFTEN WOULD BRING ADDICTS I WORKED WITH TO HAVE LUNCH WITH HIM AND LISTENED TO HIM COUNSEL THE MEN AND ADVISE THEM ON HOW TO GET OUT OF THE GRIP OF THEIR DRUG OF CHOICE.
HE WAS A STRAIGHT SHOOTER AND SAW THROUGH THE EXCUSES ADDICTS HAVE… HE WAS A GREAT COUNSELOR.
THEN ONE DAY A NEW EMPLOYEE STARTED A THE RESTAURANT. AND HE OFFERED JEFF SOME HEROIN… SLOWLY JEFF’S WORLD STARTED TO FALL TO PIECES. HE STARTED TAKING OFF WORK… SOLD HIS NEW TRUCK HE WAS SO PROUD OF… GOT KICKED OUT OF HIS HOUSE HE WAS RENTING… AND FINALLY… HE LOST HIS JOB…
I TOOK HIM TO DETOX 6 TIMES AND REHAB TWO TIMES. BUT H WOULD NOT LET UP ON ITS NASTY GRIP ON HIM.
HE WAS HOMELESS – AND WE continued to find HIM SHELTER BUT THERE WAS ALWAYS CONFLICT AND HE WOULD GET KICKED OUT.
HE WAS HUNGRY AND WE FED HIM BEST WE COULD…
HE NEEDED TO WORK AND WE FOUND HIM JOBS… BUT HE WOULD ALWAYS HAVE A CONFLICT WITH THE BOSS…
H HAD BECOME HIS MASTER…
IN THE MIDST OF ALL OF THIS HE STARTED COMING TO CHURCH WHERE I ATTEND…
PASTOR TOM ASKED HIM TO READ SCRIPTURE ONE SUNDAY… AND HE DID IT MASTERFULLY.
A WEEK LATER HE READ SCRIPTURE AT THE ROOM IN THE INN. HIS STRUGGLE WAS ENORMOUS…
HE CONTINUED TO STEAL – AND CON AND PANHANDLE… TO FEED HIS ADDICTION.
WHEN RELEASED FROM PRISON A CLOSE FRIEND TERRANCE COHAN GAVE HIM A GUITAR TO HELP HIM GET SOME GIGS – HE WAS HIRED BY A COUPLE BANDS TO PLAY AT THEIR SHOWCASES.
THE LURE OF being HIGH OVERCAME HIM AND HE SOLD THE GUITAR FOR DRUGS. WHEN TERRANCE ASKED HIM IF HE WAS STILL PLAYING THE GUITAR –
JEFF ADMITTED HE HAD SOLD IT… AND APOLOGIZED.
TERRANCE, ONE OF THE KINDEST INDIVIDUALS I KNOW, ACCEPTED HIS APOLOGY AND TOLD HIM HE WOULD GET HIM ANOTHER…
I DELIVERED THE NEW GUITAR TO HIM JUST TWO WEEKS AGO…
HE SOLD IT ALSO…
WED NIGHT JEFF LOCKED HIMSELF IN A BATHROOM AND SHOT UP HIS DRUG OF CHOICE.
911 WERE CALLED AND THEY KICKED THE DOOR OPEN AND FOUND HIM WITH THE NEEDLE STILL IN HIS ARM… DEAD.
MY HEART HURTS AS DOES THE HEARTS OF FRIENDS THAT HELPED HIM - FROM OUR PASTOR – OUR CHURCH – TERRANCE – BOBBY – CRAIG – JORDAN – JOHNATHAN – KATHY – BILL R – BILL C – FATHER STROBEL – JEFF AND RACHAEL – STEVE – KATHY M – SUSAN – JIMMY – THE MEN IN OUR PRISON GROUP AT RIVER BEND MAX SECURITY PRISON – CHAPLIN HASKINS – JULIE – AND MANY MANY MORE PEOPLE WHOSE LIVES WERE IMPACTED BY JEFF’S LIFE.
HE DIDN’T HAVE TO DIE… But he did.
Inspite of all the people who encouraged him and gave him clothes and warm boots...
SO… THE QUESTION IS WHY?
WE MAY NEVER KNOW.
BUT MY FRIEND Craig a PROJECT NASHVILLE SUPPORTER - SAID IT BEST…
“JEFF DID CONFESS WITH HIS MOUTH THE LORD JESUS AND BELIEVED IN HIS HEART… THAT HE WOULD SEE THE FACE OF GOD AND REST WITH HIM FOR ETERNITY” …
AND THAT HELPED ME.
THANK ALL OF YOU WHO SUPPORT OUR CAUSE.
PS. THE DAY JEFF DIED, BUT BEFORE WE KNEW OF HIS PASSING – CRAIG AND I TOOK A MAN TO LUNCH THAT JUST GOT OUT OF JAIL. HIS LIFE AND PERSONALITY SIMILAR TO JEFF’S… “WE HAVE A NEW JEFF FORGI”…I TOLD CRAIG… SO – WE WILL CONTINUE TO FIGHT THE FIGHT!
Activists for homeless - inmates and the poor of this world.