Carry Your Cross
Samuel Garduno Cruz once stood at six foot five inches tall. He was a strong man, a cocaine user and, a man who did not know the Lord and mocked his family for their faith. His mother, Tere, was overwhelmingly concerned for her son.
When Tere met Jonathan and Lupita Morton, One Mission Society missionaries in Mexico at the time who now serve at the OMS World Headquarters, at La Loma’s first church service, she asked the Mortons this, “Please pray for my children who do not know Jesus, especially Samuel.”
The Morton’s met Samuel’s wife, Claudia, and his daughter Karen, and they prayed for them. They prayed that Jesus would take control over their lives and that their family would be rooted in Christ.
It was not long until Jonathan met Samuel in a bar, where Tere said that Jonathan could find him. The conversation did not last long as Samuel continuously mocked his family for attending church. Yet, somehow the Lord intervened. A few weeks later there was Samuel, sitting in the back of the church.
The Mortons cannot remember the sermon that Sunday morning, but they will never forget when Samuel made his way to the front of the church, knelt on his knees before the Lord, wept and prayed as he laid his acts of violence and dealing drugs on the altar and gave his life to Jesus.
I am reminded of Mark 8:34-35, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it” (NIV).
When Samuel gave His life over to God the Lord blessed him abundantly. Samuel handed over his pride and God filled that void with compassion for others and a preacher’s heart. You could often times find Samuel telling others about the love and grace Jesus Christ poured out on him and how they too could have that promise fulfilled.
Sadly, 18 months ago, Samuel was diagnosed with a serious and inoperable form of cancer. This towering strong man quickly turned thin and weak as the treatments took their toll. Samuel still spoke boldly about Christ’s love and forgiveness.
Samuel Garduno Cruz passed on to eternal life in Christ. At his funeral, Jonathan spoke boldly of God’s grace, love and forgiveness. Samuel would not have wanted it any other way. Samuel knew what it meant to pick up your cross and carry it all the way to the finish line.
Acts 20:24 states this, “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace” (NIV).
We cannot conclude this entry without challenging you to pour yourself out as an offering to Christ. Are you ready to carry your cross? If you are ready and God is calling you to that next step then prayerfully consider being a part of or supporting One Mission Society.