John

John Gray was born on July 4, 1965 in Portsmouth, Virginia. He has one brother and two half sisters. Family problems led their parents to place John and his brother, Jimmy, in Hope Haven Children’s Home in Virginia Beach, when John was only six years old. Through the ministry of Hope Haven, John came to accept Jesus as his Savior when he was seven and Hope Haven became his home. John Attended Kellam High School and in 1988, graduated from Old Dominion University with a Bachelors Degree in Finance.

In February 1988, John rededicated his life to the Lord and felt the Lord’s call on his life to full-time Christian service. Answering that call, he enrolled at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. During his school years John worked as a professional painter. While in college, he continued to paint and served at a church in Lynchburg, Virginia, spending summers as a Counselor at Camp Hope Haven. His time at the church and as a Camp Counselor, gave John a heart to serve inner-city children. It was after his second semester in seminary that God made it clear to John that he’d return to work at The Union Mission in some capacity.

In 1991, John joined the staff of The Union Mission, after the sudden passing of father figure and Associate Director, Leroy Vaughan. He continued working toward his degree and graduated from Liberty in 1992 with a Theology Degree. 1991 was another momentous time in his life, when John met Jill Adams, a teacher at a Christian elementary school. They dated for two years and were married on September 11, 1993. Jill joined John in the ministry where he served as the Associate Director where he oversaw the day-to-day operation of The Union Mission, until he was appointed as Executive Director in February 2016. His wife served as the Women and Children’s Shelter Administrator until her sudden passing in February 2018. John lives at Hope Haven with their two children Abigail and Joshua.

John’s life verse is 1 Timothy 1:12, “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry.”

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