Pouring balm on those who have suffered

For family man July Rodriquez, his mission trip to South Africa was a chance to become a father figure to many.

Past pain helped him find his purpose.

July Rodriquez is a quintessential family man. He met his wife while they were still in school and they’ve been together for 24 years since. In that time, they’ve raised three beautiful children (two of whom are twins), worked hard (July runs his own business), and served at the Crossroads Church in in Douglasville, Georgia, July on the security team and his wife in guest services.

 

But his own childhood was not quite so rosy. His father passed away when he was just nine years old. His mother remarried not too long after, to an abusive man, and that characterized July ‘s life right through to high school.  But he now feels that the pain he suffered in his past has enabled him to help others who share similar struggles and have suffered like him. 


Finding life in Jesus and finding their own potential. 



So, when pastor Caleb called for people to minister at the Tlotso Youth Retreat in South Africa, he knew he had found his calling:

I felt that I could help, based on my past experiences – losing a father at a young age, not having a good role model, and then finding life in Jesus at a later age. I just wanted to share that with kids. That they are leaders and have potential to be something great, that they don’t even realise what they have inside them yet.”

– July Rodriquez

Shaped by a shared experience and ready to serve.

The trip to South Africa was July’s first trip outside the US. And while he didn’t have any definite expectations coming into the Retreat, his eyes were certainly opened when he was finally here. As much as he thought he would be helping to shape the self-awareness and self-worth of these youngsters, he in turn was shaped by the many conversations they shared:

We had been talking about purpose, and it was pretty moving hearing their stories. But it also opened my eyes to what my purpose is – helping these kids find their purpose in life.”

July was also taken aback by the openness of the kids.

Some of the kids are so raw and open and willing to participate, and they really want to learn. There were a lot of tears and a lot of smiles, and some of those conversations were really so moving.”

What really stayed with July, and what he will take back home with him, is a new understanding of different cultures. As half-Mexican, he is already sensitive to this, but he learned so much about South Africans and some of the struggles these kids have to face.

 

What really stayed with July, and what he will take back home with him, is a new understanding of different cultures. As half-Mexican, he is already sensitive to this, but he learned so much about South Africans and some of the struggles these kids have to face.

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