NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (BNC) by Mike Hughes — The church’s loss is Heaven’s gain. That’s the only way I can look at it and have it make any sense at all.

Photo, above: Mike and Mary Hughes with Janet and Jim Akins.

Jim Akins was as good a man as ever was. He served the Lord’s church faithfully for nearly five decades. First as a member, then as a deacon, then as an elder. He served as both deacon and elder at the Somers Avenue congregation in North Little Rock for over 30 years.

Jim was a champion of outreach, Bible classes, and mission work, either organized or on an individual basis. He worked the local mission field at the Arkansas State Fair, manning the church booth, passing out brochures on Bible study lessons. He championed missionaries in Asia and South America, and Mexico, and had plans to see one set up in Germany one day.

He also gave of himself, the way the Bible gives an example of, in secret. He did not boast of his works, he just went about it in a manner that was fulfilling to those who reaped what he sowed. He never asked for recognition in that respect. He did what he could for those that had need.

On a personal level, I know of several times he bought medication for a child that otherwise would not have had it. He supplied equipment for a pediatric nursing facility to ensure the children could receive the treatment they needed. He personally organized a children’s charity to provide money, medicine, and equipment as it was needed for those that he became aware of. To my knowledge, “Arkansas Child Fund” is still an active charity today because of Jim Akins.

He never wore the uniform of any military, but he was as much a soldier as anyone that ever did. He reached the rank of General in the Lord’s army many years ago. He would deny this if he were still here. His humility would prevent him from accepting such praise without an argument.

He married his life partner in January, 1974, Janet (Robinson) Akins. She was by his side the night he took his final breath, just as she had been for over 42 years. They raised two children, a son and daughter, Jeff and Julie. He loved his family very much. He loved the church very much as well.

His vapor passed from this world way too soon. The work he did will be remembered for a lifetime by those he touched. Jim Akins was a Christian. He was my friend.

Mike served as an elder with the Somers Avenue congregation, which oversees the GoSpeak ministry. Jim passed away Oct. 24.