It wasn’t long after a celebratory anniversary trip with his wife to Hawaii that the struggles in Ron Torres’ life ramped up. The unknown season with COVID already played a significant role for Ron as a medical professional in the Rehab Physical Medicine department at a hospital in San Diego, California.
To add to the struggle, Ron’s sister was diagnosed with cancer, his wife was in the hospital with COVID and his mother-in-law had an infection due to her diabetic condition and in a hospital back east.
“Tim Chou, my friend and my first point of contact with The Navigators, stepped in immediately to lend me a hand with my family of four kids.” Ron shared. “I went to God and cried out to Him and I submitted myself to Him. I see how He carried me through that time.”
Ron wasn’t the only one who recognized how God cared for him through tough times. He also had the people in his workplace Bible study observe his faith and hope in Jesus and pray for him, too.
How a Bible Study Began in My Workplace
In early 2020, Ron and his co-workers in the medical community had stepped into an unknown season. They recognized the toll it took on them as the world around them changed with many losing their jobs due to lockdowns and failing businesses.
While this hospital community was used to seeing sick people, Ron describes the scene as eerie and empty, feeling like something more would happen.
“We experienced this pandemic season first-hand,” Ron shared. “My co-workers and I love music and we all play instruments in my department. So, we started bringing guitars and playing during break times. At first, we played secular music, like R&B and then we would move to gospel songs.”
Then this jam session grew.
“Next we decided to include other departments, but we needed a new spot.” Ron shared. “We started in this little pathway in the hospital and took our jam session up a notch by talking about life. We shared our struggles, disappointments, and challenges.”
The little pathway in the hospital didn’t last for long, so Ron and a few others approached the hospital chaplain about using the Meditation Room.
“It used to be called the Prayer Room, but living in a secular community they had to change the name,” Ron shared. “We were straightforward with the chaplain and shared that we were going to do Bible study and if he wanted to join us he could. And he did!”
The Meditation Room became the new home for this Bible study and worship/jam session during their lunch break. While typically there weren’t many people in there, during this COVID season it became a place to rest because so many at the hospital had to take on long shifts.
“So we just jammed and then we shared the Word. It unfolded into a Bible study and became routine. After discussing a verse we share our prayer needs and then pray for each other,” Ron shared.
Through God’s guidance and Tim’s influence, Ron had replicated the type of community and discipleship relationships he had longed for and found.
Where I Found Community
Prior to this, Ron had prayed that God would provide a Life-to-Life® Discipleship community for him and his family, while living in a different part of San Diego.
It was through his times playing basketball that he met Tim and eventually moved into the same neighborhood. His local church is across the street from where he lives.
“Tim has impacted my spiritual life and still does. We meet once a month for Bible study, but also meet weekly to play basketball and and often hang out together with our families,” Ron shared. “It is a blessing to have this community around. Not just for me, but for my family.”
Ron knew the blessing he had found in this Life-to-Life discipleship community needed to be shared.
Sharing My Faith with Co-workers
At first, Ron didn’t want to disclose to his already burdened co-workers all that was going on in his life with his wife and mother-in-law both in the hospital and sister battling cancer, but realized that God could use his struggles and faith-testing time as a testimony.
As this medical community watched, Ron’s wife made a full recovery and even finally got a job after waiting for such a long time without one. They also heard about how Ron’s sister didn’t have to go through extensive treatment because they had caught her cancer at a very early stage. Even his mother-law got the necessary treatment to fight the infection.
“My co-workers who met with me for Bible study were in awe of what God did,” Ron shared. “There are definitely people coming who have never heard the gospel. When we have these Bible studies we’re bold in worship and sharing the Word with whomever is there. We don’t pry into their belief systems, but show our relationship with Jesus.”
After weeks of these routine worship and Bible-study lunches, some medical professionals even came to the hospital on their days off just for Bible study and community. They use social media to encourage and challenge each other through sharing Scriptures and short devotions.
One of Ron’s co-workers recently shared how she liked the devotion he had posted. He had incorporated the topic of sports to share about difficulties in life. It was her interest in sports that grabbed her attention. Ron says he enjoys finding common ground with people he meets because that’s where conversations about God can start.
“Be truthful and let your life situation speak, while putting God first. Whatever it may be: good, bad, happy, sad, joy, trial, our lives are full of unknowns,” Ron shared. “But if you share your unknowns with people, then they become known, and could become your testimony.”