A Sad Goodbye: Leaving a Legacy of Great Faith

Every now and again God sends people into your life who just make an instant impact. Sometimes these people are for the good and other times it’s for the bad.

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When God brought AJ Imbach and his wife, Jayne, to Hagerstown from Oregon, we had no idea how quickly we would love having them around. These two made such an incredible impact on so many, from staff, to guests, to customers, AJ & Jayne were a welcomed pair to The Hope Center family.

AJ was hired to be the manager of our Thrift Stores in Hagerstown & Chambersburg. He brought with him not only experience, but a passion to serve the Lord and a kindness very rarely seen in this world.

AJ Imbach

As soon as AJ started his ministry, he fit right in. And his wife, Jayne, became a fixture at The Hope Center too. She was always volunteering and helping in various ways around the ministry. Her smile and love of people was infectious.

But it wasn’t easy for them to just move across the country. They were leaving family, friends, and a good job in Portland, Oregon. It was very hard for Jayne but she believed, as AJ did, that this was God’s calling and she obeyed.

AJ was a wonderful addition to The Hope Center family. His leadership in our stores was well received by all the staff.  He lead by example and his goal as manager was to create a working environment where the staff could excel in their jobs. He quickly jumped in, coming up with new ideas and creative ways to get shoppers into our stores.

Hag Thrift Store Staff Jan 2014

Approximately a month after he began managing the stores AJ experienced some physical symptoms that he had never felt before and he found a primary care physician who referred him to a neurologist.

After many tests, the neurologist made an initial diagnosis of ALS but referred AJ to Johns Hopkins for a second opinion.

In early January AJ received confirmation from Johns Hopkins that it was ALS. All his doctors agreed that AJ and Jayne should return to their home in Portland, OR where they would have a large support system of family and friends to help Jayne provide the care AJ will need as the disease progresses.

AJ and Jayne felt the call from God to come to Hagerstown, and they struggled with having to make a decision to stay or return to Portland.  AJ called his job here at The Hope Center “my dream job.”  He loved what he was doing and he was loved by our Hope Center family.

Throughout this entire ordeal AJ and Jayne did not waver in their faith and trust in God.  They have returned to Portland and AJ is receiving care from a doctor who specializes in ALS.  AJ believes that God is trustworthy, and he stands on God’s Word that says, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:13

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We are grateful that God allowed our paths to cross and although AJ and Jayne were only here for a short time they touched many lives and their faith and trust in God made a huge impact on everyone they came in contact with.

This situation reminds us that our lives on earth are fleeting, like a vapor in the wind, but the impact of our service to God and the kindness, compassion and joy of following Christ is what will live on.

AJ & Jayne definitely have left a legacy here. Even though they are all the way across the country, their joy & faithfulness is still here as an example to all of us how to trust God through the good times and the bad.

Please join us in praying for both of these amazing people. We, along with every person who has come in contact with AJ & Jayne, don’t understand why this is happening. But God knows. And He cares. And we know that through all of these trials, AJ & Jayne will continue to praise God and impact lives for Him.

AJ & Jayne, thank you so much for your service, but more importantly, your friendship. You both will always be a part of The Hope Center family!

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