Ernest and Shannon Garza are an unstoppable couple. They are hungry for the Lord and serve him tirelessly along with their two kids, but that hasn’t always been the case. I had an opportunity to chat with the Garza’s to hear their story. I was moved to tears at the transformative work God has done in their lives and their passion for serving Him through CUP.
What’s your primary motivation for serving at CUP?
“We have a passion for people that are going through a pit in their life. It’s a reminder for how blessed we are. It can happen to anybody.
A lot of people don’t know our story, but we were right there 7 years ago. Work, stuff and wealth was our identity. But then, we lost everything, our home all our material goods, and our marriage was in trouble. I (Ernest) became depressed and started drinking. After my DUI Shannon told me that was it. I had to stay in the basement of a friend’s house for 30 days. One night, I fell on my knees and prayed to God for help. We got saved when we were in that pit.
Look what God has done in our lives now. There’s nothing impossible for God, we now put our focus on God. We’re going to make it. It’s because of that our heart goes out to people going through troubled times.
People need a little bit of hope and help. Look what’s transformed in my heart from this experience. It’s not the big house on the hill he’s given us, it’s the transformation of the heart.”
You bring your two kids, Austin and Faith. Tell me what kind of change you’ve seen in them since serving at CUP.
“They LOVE going to CUP. After a couple of times going and seeing the people, they love it. It shows them there are a lot of people who need help. They feel blessed. It’s a humbling thing for them. Anger issues have disappeared; they don’t get upset when they are told no. Austin doesn’t get upset at a strike-out or a bad game. They’ve become more compassionate toward children, handicapped people and all people in general.”
How has serving at CUP transformed you as parents?
“We make a whole family day of it. We serve together as a family at the Hope Center, then we go eat and share our experience. The people that we meet, the experiences we’ve had and we talk about it. It’s helping us grow as a family and individually.”
Are there any final thoughts you’d like to share?
“It could be you, one of your friends, or family. There will always be someone in need of something and being more compassionate helps us focus on other people, keeps our eyes off ourselves. God gives us peace because we aren’t thinking about ourselves, or tomorrow. Service helps us grow spiritually. That’s what God would want us to do.
We give all the glory to God!”