There is an old African proverb that states, "If you want to travel quickly, go alone. But if you want to travel far, go together." In the past 12 months, I have discovered the absolute truth to this proverb.
Sharon and I lost our 34-year-old son, Joseph Brian, in March 2007. He left behind four children. It was a sudden, tragic death from diabetes that took him so quickly.
I was in Jamaica at the City of Refuge Children's Home working with a team from two Lodi churches, Century Assembly and Vinewood Community Church. My wife was home alone when she was notified by the authorities. I received an e-mail from her saying, "Bub, I need you to call home." Only a parent who has lost a child can really understand the emotions that followed.
You might ask, "How does that relate to the proverb mentioned above?" Well you see, family and the Body of Christ gathered around us in a way we had never experienced. Despite the pain and grief, our family and faith are stronger than it has ever been. In Hebrews 11:10, it says that Abraham "looked for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God."
That is the journey we are on. We want to go far, so we will go on this journey together. Heaven has become more real to us than ever before, and we look forward to being with Brian again.
My life's mission is to travel this journey and gather my family, friends and you to go along with me. If you do no know Jesus as your Savior, I invite you to ask him to be yours today.
When we were in Jamaica last March, we began working on a three-story building. It is now well under construction. The block on the first floor is almost complete.
A construction team from Century Assembly left March 14 to continue work on the project. Once it is complete, 50 additional children will be able to live in the new apartments and attend class in the new schoolrooms.
Hurricane Dean hit Jamaica in September 2007. The City of Refuge was hit hard again. Teams from across the nation went to assist them in putting things back together. I took a team from Lodi in October, and we were able to accomplish much despite the continued rain.
Many churches, individuals, and construction suppliers assisted in filling a 40-foot container recently that was shipped to Jamaica. It had windows, doors, tools, clothes, toys, baby cribs, pampers and many more items to bless those who are in great need. It is amazing how the Body of Christ ministers to those in need. I thank you for your generosity.
If you are interested in learning more about this wonderful ministry, please visit its Web page at http://www.thecityofrefugechildrenshome.org">www.thecityofrefugechildrenshome.org. If you are interested in joining a team please let me know. Vinewood Community Church is planning another trip this summer.
One thing Sharon and I have learned this year is that God is BIG, really, really big! He sees the big picture and will never leave us stranded. Because of that, we have a responsibility to reach out to others, those in desperate need. My journey began here in Lodi. I want to challenge you to look around and bless someone in need today.
Rick Souza, a longtime Lodi-area resident, is president of Aerie, Inc. and a missionary with the Assemblies of God. His ministry has taken him to many countries around the world, where he has built churches, Bible schools, orphanages and Teen Challenges. He can be reached at isa4031@aerieInc.com.