“Faith is the word that comes to mind as I put pen to paper, deciding what the spirit of Sweetwater Journey should be. Reading it should bring out the best in every reader as together we consider the ways in which each one of us rise every morning in faith that the sun will come up in the east and set in the west. Possibly for you too, it is in the early morning hours as the day begins that I am most aware of how much supernatural help (that is God, Jesus Christ and angels) I need to get through the day.
Sweetwater Journey is that walk of faith that happens one moment, one day, one mile at a time trusting that we are where we are supposed to be living out our purpose.
I have come to learn just how much we impact each other on this journey and that the help others are praying for may be “us”. It’s always an “ah ha” moment in my work as an advocate when people come to the realization based on the non-judgmental, unconditional help they are receiving from me that God did hear their prayers and he really loves them. This fact is one they may never have known before. It is only at the point of that realization that we begin to live in faith. Knowing we are loved and that someone truly cares about us especially our heavenly father, is the soul-satisfying sweetwater that deeply quenches and fills the emptiness that we experience without it.” (Taken from chapter one in volume one “The Well”)
Sweetwater Journey started out as weekly submissions for a possible column in my hometown paper. At present, it is being published weekly in the newspapers in two large Missouri counties – Texas and Wright. At the date of this writing, it has become three small chapter volumes that are produced in my home and distributed to the general public. Volume one is included in this website with the plan to add more volumes as this site evolves. It is my hope to raise awareness about the soul-destroying ravages of domestic violence and poverty that especially victimizes women and children in rural counties where illegal drugs are prolific and resources such as good jobs with a living wage and self-help programs are limited.
A colleague within the system of safety net providers in Wright County offered this assessment of Sweetwater Journey:
“Sweetwater Journey is a compelling and inspirational journey that leads readers from the depths of human depravity and despair to the feet of a loving Savior. As such, some of the stories are raw, and even brutal. Yet, they need to be told. The stark reality of the suffering of our fellow humans cannot be mitigated by simply remaining ignorant of it. The author reminds us, as Jesus himself graphically illustrated, that only by enduring the greatest pain, can we hope to find the “sweet water” of peace.”
-Jeremy Eden, MSHSV, Executive Director of the Wright County Children’s Home
It is important to me that you, the reader, discover that your positive daily response to others in whatever ways that open up to you, is absolutely necessary to raising the human value of the members of the community in which you live.
I welcome your feedback and comments. I ask you to please designate whether it is a private message to me, or one you would like to post publicly. Also state if you want your posted comment to carry your name or if you would like to remain anonymous if you are a survivor or still in a sensitive situation. Please understand that I also reserve the right to determine the appropriateness of the comment and edit for length. Thank you!
Rita Foster, the author of Sweetwater Journey, was born and raised in rural Nebraska. Rita comes from a background of advocacy which began in the Nebraska Farm Crisis Network in the 80’s. She was honored by country singer and Farm Aid organizer Willie Nelson and then Nebraska Governor Robert Kerrey for her service to farm families in crisis and the original music she composed about their plight. Rita presented “Songs of the Heartland” across the Midwest and Washington state as an ambassador for the Network. Her work was featured in an issue of U.S. News and World Report and on BBC Radio in London. Rita and her husband John came to the area in 1998 where, for the last ten years, she has been an outreach advocate in Texas and Wright counties for Christos House, Shelter and Outreach Program for Victims of Domestic Violence. Sweetwater Journey is Rita’s impressions on how God works in our lives to respond to others in a way that empowers, sustains and if needed restores their place in the community.