The Disoriented Sojourner
What’s good everyone my name is Ricardo Reynoso, or how most people know me, Ricky, and I am from the beautiful city of Modesto, California. I am currently a sojourn intern for the 2019-2020 year. To further understand me and my story, we have to go to the beginning. I am not talking about B.C. Ricky, I’m talking about my first introduction to the Salvation Army.
In the summer of 2015 I moved to south side Modesto. As the new kid in the neighborhood, I started to feel bored and lonely, so I started going out and meeting my neighbors and I got into playing sports. Everyone around my block urged me to come with them to Salvation Army Modesto Red Shield or “tha shield” how everyone in the community calls it.
One ordinary day, I decided to go check it out, and immediately I fell in love with their basketball court. I’m just thinking - how does a neighborhood this ghetto have such a nice facility like this? This is a hidden gem for sure. Not only was the facility astounding, the staff were extremely hospitable and I knew something was different about this place- but I just couldn’t quite figure it out.
As I continued to visit the shield through the summer, I noticed that on Friday nights there would be youth events, but I never attended them. Then, an angel of the Lord came down to me in the form of Captain Dustin Rowe. It wasn’t as majestic as you would expect. This man literally shouted from one side of the pool to the red shield’s exit saying “HEY! Where are you going? I know you don’t have anything to do or going on, come by and swim for teen night.” Little did I know, this was the invitation to my sojourn life and I had just found my community that desired to be deeply rooted.
During my time at the shield, I was being mentored and poured into for the first time in my life. The Rowe's capitalized on my untapped potential and I found myself growing emotionally, spiritually, and sensibly. Once they got moved into the DYS’s position for Camp Redwood Glen, I knew I wanted to be apart of their ministry so I applied to work at camp.
Working at camp Redwood Glen has been one of the most pivotal moments in my life.
Throughout my summers as a staff member, I have been broken down and completely rebuilt to form my identity in Christ.
The community life at CRG is heavily emphasized, and it definitely made an impact on my morale as a staff member. Why? Because the people here are LIT! The relationships I have formed here will last a lifetime. Just imagine doing the things you love for the person whom you love with the people you love. PERIOD. What more can you ask for?
This past summer I wasn't at camp for the first time in two years and I knew something was missing. I knew I was longing to find my community again, so I applied for the internship program.
Becoming an intern has been one of the most productive and fulfilling experiences of my entire life. You see, following Jesus is a journey. He invites us to come closer to him. He wants to fully immerse us in his love. I’ve been able discover myself in a community that loves me and desires nothing more than to see me succeed and excel.
During my time here, I have learned to walk in faith day by day. I’m running a marathon and far to often I find myself too focused on the finish line, making the end goal seem unattainable. It requires great faith to take those first steps forward and start running. If I knew exactly what the marathon looked like in advance, the entirety of my journey would require zero faith and it would just become a history lesson. My time as a sojourn has not been history; it has been a living story of grit, grace, and love.
So thank you fellow interns and mentors for loving me and helping me grow throughout this journey. Thank you to the CRG leadership pipeline. Thank you Salvation Army Officers who have been apart of my life. Most of all, thank you to the Most High! We all have the opportunity to respond and fully immerse ourselves in the love that God offers to us all everyday. Always remember The marathon continues. Godspeed Sojourners.