As a community outreach, The Center is catalyzing powerful shifts in the lives of people in Stockton, California. Evidence of God’s transforming power is touching many individuals and slowly replacing the brokenness of the multigenerational gang lifestyle. Recently, The Center held a special event that showcased God’s influence: the wedding of Ernesto “Daniel” and Becca De LaRosa, two community members who met at The Center as children.
Daniel and Becca met in 1997 as elementary students. Bob Margaron, director of The Center, fondly remembers Becca running up to him one day with tears streaming down her cheeks, saying, “Daniel won’t quit picking on me.” Knowing this to be uncharacteristic for Daniel, who was generally quiet and gentle-spirited, Bob asked, “Do you think he likes you?” Becca ran away, yelling, “Eww!” Little could anyone predict how Bob’s comment would foreshadow future events.
Both Daniel and Becca came from broken households, and each family knew hardship and heartache well. Daniel grew up in a single-parent home, and Becca’s father was incarcerated for much of her childhood. Becca married a man in the Marine Corps and become a mother of two but left her husband and returned to Stockton after he became abusive. Daniel had remained unmarried and was working steadily. When Becca returned, they reconnected and moved in together. He embraced her two children as his own, and together they had a baby.
As He grew their household, God also moved in Daniel and Becca’s hearts, burdening them with the desire to honor Him by being married. They sought Bob out. He agreed to officiate the wedding and walked with them through premarital counseling for three months. The couple also agreed to abstain from sex until they were married legally.
Becca dreamed of marrying Daniel in the place where they’d met, so the Margarons joyfully opened The Center’s facilities for the wedding. The De LaRosas have been a testimony in Stockton. Together, they stood in front of the kids at The Center and spoke about their experience. At the wedding, friends and family witnessed their passion for glorifying God as they stepped away from sin and into His design for their lives. Bob hopes that those who see the De LaRosas will see “that God will be with them through any of their situations and that He carries them through.”
PRAY: Pray for the missionary and volunteer staff who give selflessly to provide the children of this community stability and safety. Pray that Jesus will be lifted up and glorified in all the ongoing activities—Bible club, special events, tutoring, etc.—at The Center.