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My name is Donny Souza, and I have been married to my beautiful wife, Heather, for 13 years. We have two wonderful children, Donovan and Alyssa. We are a part of Modesto Foursquare Church in Modesto, Calif., pastored by Ken and Wanda Swett. From the first time we visited, we knew the Lord was calling us here. His love and Spirit flow freely from the front door all the way through the building.

We have been through some tough times, which really made us put our faith in Jesus. In summer 2007, Heather was diagnosed with a rare condition. We had a choice to either be consumed by fear, or to give it to God. We chose to leave it in God’s hands. Now, following several rounds of radiation, her condition is in remission, and she is doing well.

That same summer, my beloved grandma passed away. Then, in December, right before Christmas, my employer laid me off. If you have not experienced having to drive home and explain to your family that you no longer have a job, well, let’s just say that the feelings of worthlessness, embarrassment and panic want to set in.

I kept asking God why all these things were happening. After all, we were attending church and reading the Word all the time! The answers I needed came from the book of Job. As I began to read, I realized that no matter what the world throws at us, the Lord will always be there for us and lift us back to our feet.

My wife found her strength in the book of James, where we’re told to “count it all joy when you fall into various trials” (James 1:2, NKJV). God has a purpose for our lives. We have gone through many trials so that we may learn to put our trust in the Lord. We can now help others through our experience. 

The Lord has provided for my family even through the time of my unemployment. He always made sure we had money to pay bills, eat, and, most important, He gave us joy and hope.

The door opened for Heather to move into a full-time position at her job, which included good medical insurance. She also earned a promotion to a management position. In July 2008, God opened another door for me to gain employment with the company I work for presently.

Our testimony and advice to others is to always put God first, and whether things are going good or bad, give God the glory and read His Word! We also learned the importance of tithing, which we started doing faithfully in 2008. God has always provided for our family—we’ve been able to pay all of the bills, even though the checkbook stated we couldn’t.

We may not have reached financial prosperity, but I believe God has honored our tithe by bringing my brother and his family back to church. This could be considered the best return we have ever received. The best gifts are those of spiritual value.

a part of Modesto Foursquare Church in Modesto, Calif., pastored by Ken and Wanda Swett.