Jim Gash was doing just fine.
Six years ago, he was a successful California lawyer and law professor with a beautiful family. The legal issues plaguing Uganda were nowhere on his radar. But his friend and colleague kept nudging him to get involved with Pepperdine University’s Global Justice Program in its outreach in the African nation.
When a talk by author and fellow lawyer Bob Goff inspired him to change his perspective, Jim agreed to head to Africa in an effort to provide volunteer legal help to those in need. There, in a crowded juvenile prison, he met a young man named Henry. Jim discovered that Henry was serving time for crimes he didn’t commit, but that he had neither the resources nor the opportunity to disprove the charges against him.
Jim make the decision to invest in Henry’s life – to not simply hear his story, but to give Henry his cell number and begin the journey of caring deeply about this young man and the injustice he was suffering. He remembers how it happened.
“I would say initially – transparently – quite reluctantly. It was one of those – ‘Really Lord? Is that what you have for me? Everything is great in Malibu!'”
“But I believed in his innocence. I believed in his future so much that I did. He called me, and I called him back, and then started looking into his case.”
And that began an unlikely legal journey that would see Jim and his family crossing the Atlantic on multiple occasions.
“The Ugandan judiciary said ‘we want to make these changes we’ve been studying about. But we would like you to consider moving here to help us.’ So I said to them what I say to anybody who asks me to something I don’t want to do, ‘I’ll pray about it!'”
Yet, God has a way of answering prayers.
“My wife and I and our three children ultimately felt like this was where God was leading us, and so we moved to to Uganda in January 2012. We helped them create and implement a structure for moving cases from arrest to trial much more quickly.”
After a legal journey of years, Jim and Henry received tremendous news.
“He was exonerated on June 19th, 2015. We got a ruling from the Court of Appeals letting us know that he had been convicted in violation of the Constitution and all charges were dropped. We have full exoneration. So he is now on his way to becoming a cardiologist!”
“We’ve been all over sharing the story of how God’s faithfulness in his life and in mine led to transformation for us and transformation for the judicial system of Uganda as well.”