Jim Omi believes that being a custodian at Charis Bible College includes more than just cleaning floors and straightening chairs. He cares for the people he serves and connects them to one another and to their community. Jim credits this influence, which he calls a kind of vision, to his mother:
“She was an American, but because she was of Japanese heritage, during World War II, she was split up from her family in an internment camp. Her family’s property was taken from them, and they temporarily lived in horse stables. She was never bitter; neither was my father. My mom’s faith in the Lord was strong. I received patience from her and a love for people.”
Jim’s job description doesn’t limit him from reaching beyond the physical walls he cleans. It was almost from the start of his employment at Charis in 2014 that Jim approached his supervisor, Facilities manager Tom King, to propose an outreach to Woodland Park High School. Jim asked if he could bring physically and mentally disabled students to Charis to train them in janitorial work. So, Tom and his supervisor worked with Bob Piercefield of the Woodland Park School District to make it all happen. During the school year, Jim brings these students in for one hour, three days a week. He says he just keeps it simple:
“I teach them with a towel and cleaning solution. I teach them how to straighten chairs. They get exposure to people here. They love the music and the students…. Let me tell you about Octavius. When he started coming, he was slumped over in his wheelchair. Now he has been sitting up over time. That may not look like much. Although it’s quiet, it’s huge.”
It’s not just Woodland Park High School students who are being connected to Charis. Jim found out about two first-year Charis students who were talented at baseball, so Jim contacted the Woodland Park baseball coach, Mayor Neil Levy, and asked the coach if he could use a couple of “great guys from Charis” to help with their baseball team. Coach Levy was happy to have the help.
Then there is Adam Stone, coordinator of the Charis Creative Arts School, whom Jim was able to give a helpful connection to during the Christmas season. As Charis was preparing for The Heart of Christmas, Jim connected Adam with Sara Lee in the drama department at the high school. Adam explains,
“We went to see their props department. They supplied us with so many props and costumes. The best was a wooden wheelchair for [the character of] President Roosevelt. We thought there was no chance they’d have one of those. But sure enough, they had the exact [prop]—amazing!”
Jim is a man who benefits people wherever he goes. Though he’s not a graduate of or even a student at Charis, he has internalized what the school is all about, and it shows in the way that he fulfills Ephesians 4:16:
“He [Jesus] makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”New Living Translation, brackets added
“Jim exudes Charis,” says Tom King. “His heart is for students and for his job. It really shows in how he does his job and leads his team.” Jim is a great example of how no matter what your job title is, you can play an important role in God’s kingdom. One way you can discover your role is through seeking God at Charis! Click here to learn more.
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