Mr. & Mrs. David Zuniga

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I speak very often and highly of my parents but many people do not know just how much they have truly shaped and changed my life. Anytime I talk about them, it's with tears in my eyes and a grateful heart for the truly undeserved, tremendous blessing they are and have been to me and my family. So without further adieu, here is the beautiful story of my mother and father. May this story be a testimony not of what they have done, but what Christ has done in and through them. My parents met in high school and were married at 17 & 19 years old. Pictures and stories of their wedding day still seem like one of the most magical days in history that I wish I could've seen. My dad paid for the entire wedding. He would work hard all week and on payday give my mom money to purchase things each week to prepare for the big day. She and my grandmother would slowly but surely purchase all necessities until they finally had enough and they were wed on December 3, 1983.

My parents were not Christians when they were married, but when my mom was pregnant with my older sister in 1985, she began to attend Genesis Church with some of my dads cousins. Through attending that church, the Lord pursued my mothers heart and she gave her life to Christ in that church. Shortly after, my dad also gave his life to the Lord and things were never the same.

Neither of my parents have college degrees, and growing up, we didn't have much, but there was always a LOT of love, laughs, grace, and patience. My daddy was a painter when we were young, and he was always working above and beyond his means to provide the best for us. My parents sent all three of us to Private Christian School. Tuition for the school was something our family could not afford, but The Lord always provided. My dad and little brother would paint the school every summer for free to cover the cost of our yearly tuition so that we could all learn in a Christian environment. They always told us anything was possible if we believed and they did what they could to give us the best.

When I was around 8 years old at church one day a man by the name of Garth Merrick, who was a successful entrepreneur in our town, came up to my dad and offered him a job. Garth owned and managed a dog food company that was starting up in our home town. Garth needed a manager to manage the production of the dog food, distribution, and inventory. On the spot that Sunday, I'll never forget it, Garth offered my Dad the job to Manage the plant. My dad has always had a lot of favor from the Lord and this was just one way the Lord showed him and my family grace and love. My dad went into this job, managing a lot of people. Most of whom were illegal citizens, re-entry, and people who were given a second chance in life. Not long after my dad took this job, I learned my very first spanish phrase. My sister and I would practice and I couldn't wait for someone to come to our door in our humble home to ask for my dad so I could say.

"I'm sorry but I don't speak spanish, if you will wait here I will go get someone that will"

I learned this phrase because my dads employees would almost daily come by our house to see my dad. At the time I didn't fully understand why. But my dad would go outside, talk to his employee's, and often pray with them. He would then come inside and 9 times out of 10 give them food, money, or anything we were able to give. I remember as a little girl peeking out the window and watching my dad give what little we had to complete strangers. I will never forget the day my dad came home and told my mom at dinner that he picked up a man who was walking to work. He would walk miles because he didn't have a car. My dad for the next few weeks would get up early and go pick this man up and take him to work so he didn't have to walk. After a few weeks of this, my dad came home one day with the man, came inside and got the pink slip to his truck and gave his truck to this man so his family would have a vehicle. As I sit and write this with tears in my eyes, I still can't believe my dad did that.

My mother was no different. I remember as a kid driving to the grocery store with my mom in the back seat passing a homeless person or stranger and my mom saying 'scoot over Monica, we are picking this person up and taking them where they are going.' I recall perfectly me saying 'Mom, not again these people always stink!.' My mom would always remind me that we were always going to help people any way we could. Beyond that every year we would buy school clothes my mom would make us go through our closets and pick out clothes we didn't wear and sometimes clothes we liked to give away. She would take us with her to give these clothes to other families in our community.

I know people always thought and some still think that my family had/has a lot of money. But let me tell you that we never have had a lot. But what we had, my parents always made sure we gave. We never had so much that we couldn't give, ever. Everytime I go home, we will be at the grocery store, walmart, or a restaurant and my parents are talking to strangers. I will ask them who it was, and 100% of the time they are people my parents have given to.

I told a successful Business man the story of my parents the other day and He said something that I had never thought about. He said:

'Monica, your parents are heros. They understand something that many people never get. They have been brave enough to live a life many are afraid to live.'

As he and I both cried, I realized that he was so right. They have impacted so many lives, and I'm sure there are hundreds of people who could thank them, but I am one life that is forever changed. I can't believe that I got them. I won the parent lottery, and my life, my future family gets that legacy. I am a life they saved and changed and I hope to one day impact as many lives and be a hero for someone.

I love you mom & dad! Thank you for giving and never doubting the Lords provision when you gave what we didn't have to give, and thank you for teaching me to not put value in things, but value in people.

I love you both so much.

MonicAmanda

JOURNALMonica Zuniga