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What most people probably saw was an unreliable, 26-year-old man who had a drinking problem. The reality was far worse. He was also using numerous drugs and selling drugs to maintain his habit. His problems might have seemed beyond correcting and some people thought, “What difference could I make in his life?” To others he probably appeared as someone who would never amount to much. They might have thought, “What difference will this person ever make?” It’s understandable if people had these thoughts – we make similar assessments regarding people in our lives who are stuck in destructive behaviors. What’s encouraging is that some people trusted that God had other plans, that God could make a difference.

People reached out in faith to help this young man. They saw someone who was trying to bury his pain with alcohol and drugs. They patiently came alongside Ray Rodriguez, sharing God’s truth and love. He gradually did the courageous work of repenting of his wayward ways and surrendering his life to God. He began the journey of recovery, discovering the good that God intended for his life. Twelve years ago, God led Ray and his wife, Susan to Renton.  Little did they know the difference God would make through their lives. They have blessed thousands of people by helping launch three Celebrate Recovery programs, encouraging numerous other CR ministries and being the servant leaders of the CR ministry here at Highlands. God has made quite a difference in the lives of Ray and Susan and He has also used them to make quite a difference in the lives of many other people.

God is now calling the Rodriguez family to make a difference in Rockford, Illinois. Ray has begun a job there with United Technologies. Susan and the kids will be joining him there this summer. I know that there are many people here at Highlands who like me have been blessed by Ray and Susan. I encourage you to take time to express your gratitude to them. I also encourage you to pray for them in this transition and the ministry God has in store for them in the years ahead. Finally, I know what they would desire most is to see you take the next steps of faith God desires for you. What difference does God want to make in and through your life?

No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him. – 1 Corinthians 2:9

Pastor Tom Dabasinskas