By David Cuff


I first met Jim right after I moved in next door to him ten years ago. He had told me he was an alcoholic for over forty years and was sober for the last two months. He seemed serious about his sobriety and I congratulated him for it.

A few weeks later I was taking out my trash early in the morning and noticed many undercover law enforcement vehicles in front of my house. They all got out of their vehicles at once and before I knew what was happening they had my neighbor Jim in handcuffs on his front lawn. It turns out they were serving a warrant for one of Jim’s prior roommates. But when they asked me what I knew about Jim I remember saying he was a nice neighbor and a sober alcoholic.

Over the years we have had a rather friendly and casual relationship.

Over the next ten years Alcoholics Anonymous became his life. Our church reached out to him by helping with his house projects and I would mow and edge his lawns often. I shared the Gospel with him many times and he was always respectively positive but never had time to pray with me or come to church.

Well over a year ago he developed liver cancer. I remember the first day he told me about it because he said it was his own fault for drinking for over 40 years and did not blame anyone. We prayed….and after his surgery it seemed he was going to make it. He came over more often and our relationship took a more personal and sensitive turn.

Then his liver cancer came back and the doctor gave him two months to live. I remember making a point to spend more time with him when he told me. We invited Jim and his girlfriend of twenty years over for dinner and a swim. My family really made a special time for them. We went swimming and had dinner and desert. Also Jim loved to go to the movies so two weeks I took him to see The Avengers. We had a really great time. I remember the feeling I had before taking him to the movies was one of pressure to share the Gospel again but also just wanting to show him a great time. My wife said that he would probably bring it up and before my car left the driveway he did. We had a great time and Jim said he was ready to meet Jesus….Two weeks later he did. My only regret is that I did not spend more time with him over the last ten years.

Pastor David Cuff (Mid-Valley Calvary Chapel)

See Dave Cuff’s video testimony of this story.

Listen to Bruce Zachary's experience with Neighborhood Initiative.

Listen to Dallas Willard's word to pastors and leaders about Neighborhood Initiative.

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