I currently attend Santa Rosa Bible Church but my home base church is in Bakersfield, Laurelglen Bible Church. It is affiliated with the U.S. Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches.
TESTIMONY ABOUT JESUS CHRIST
by Luis B. Vega
'The purpose of all prophecy and of all I have shown you is to tell about Jesus.' - Revelation 19:10
I was born into a very poor family in the 3rd World; dirt floors, outdoor plumbing, mass immigration. The nation's Revolution did nothing for us as we were at the very bottom of the bottom with nothing to gain but for my parents to leave the country in search for work in other countries. Growing up there, our prime concern was food, clothing and shelter on a daily basis. We would often worry about going hungry and I would see the effects of alcohol and drug abuse and immorality in an unbreakable cycle it seemed to be passed on from one generation to the next. I often would think why the rich people appeared to have everything go right for them and everything go wrong for the poor, like me, like us. There was so much injustice and inequality in that society where money bought power and manipulation of the people, especially poor people. I became resentful at the rich in society in general for their exploits of the poor in one sense. I aspired to become and became more moral and just than rich people. This is not to say that all who are rich are such.
Growing up, I was in a very religious culture but the personal commitments and convictions were not real for the most part concerning my parents nor for my society in general. Religion had no meaning for me as it was all about mindless rituals with no concrete benefit tangible to the plight of one’s spiritual or economic condition or that of the society’s. I would observe people go to religious services, and the next day see them sin just as much as the non-religious people in how they spoke, thought and acted. Great, a religion of no difference; not for me. Moreover as a youth, I was forbidden to read the Sacred Texts by the Priestly Class and much less read it and 'Heaven' forbid if one dared to interpret it without needing a Prophet for example.
There was such hypocrisy and I had anger against those that were supposed to educate and lead from a higher moral authority. Such hypocrisy turned me far from wanting to be involved with such a ‘GOD’ that only sought to discipline you for just trying to be 'perfect'. I did not want to be involved or associated with any religious system that did not give me the answers of the longing in heart and soul of inner peace and purpose. I became resentful of religion in general that I saw was just to control the masses, an 'opiate of the people'. Religion had no power to change people, only control them. I aspired to not be a hypocrite as I became more religious than those religious people without having a religion. This is not to say that all religious people are misguided as in all facets of a ‘religion’ there are a myriad of levels of discernment but I have come to believe that the major world religious institutions, at the core is a false and usurper of the True Gospel of Jesus Christ as are all others such as Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism (philosophy) and the like.
Our family had to immigrant to the USA to survive. We aspired to the 'American Dream' through hard work and determination. We were very grateful for the opportunity and refused any government assistance. I had difficulty adjusting to the new ways of life; a different nation, language and culture and we ended up in a desert of California's Central Valley. My family were immigrant farm workers and growing up, we worked in the fields every opportunity we had. We lived in a trailer or mobile home and it was hard work; working long hours from before sun-up and after sun-down during weekends and vacation times since the age of 12. We would often miss portions of school as education was not valued because it was not understood nor its potential. We often began the school year late or ended early from a school year as working for minimum wage and returning to our country was more important to the family. Our growing-up years consisted of a split personality of going back and forth between 2 nations, 2 languages, 2 cultures 2 societies and neither fitting in either nor being accepted by any completely. It was not fair; but I had no power to change my situation. I became resentful of my parents for uprooting us and transplanting us as if without concern. I vowed not to become like my parents but became fair and better than they in discernment and that the pursuit of riches was not what was going to fill my inner most longings of my soul.
We lived in a very remote and isolated farm in the dusty hot San Joaquin Valley of California. We had few friends or things to do as any ‘civilization’ was at least 40 miles away, as was the schools we were bused to every day. It was at this time that in school we were studying ancient civilizations and world dictators and it enthralled me. I sensed that such people like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, these Christ figures had real power to change the circumstances of life and their society, for the better I idealistically believed. There was a magnetism that attracted me to such. That is what I wanted and longed for, a cause and an ideal that transcended a nation, a religion, a society and a family. Such personalities were the answer, an Anti or an instead of Christ figure because at that point there was no Jesus Christ to speak of although He was there all along.
For a country research project in the 7th grade, I chose the Soviet Union and wrote to their embassy in Washington DC to obtain material to read and maps to pinup in our room. Long story short, I would receive boxes of books and material and I became a believer and advocate of Soviet Communism, in the middle school mind you at the early age of 12. It was enough to draw attention and have a visit by CIA agents to our school because of all this mail going out of the Soviet Embassy that no doubt they were tracking as it was still the Cold War era. They were shocked to find this 13 year staunched Communist living out there in the middle of nowhere reading Lenin and Marx and telling others fellow classmates about the New Soviet Man, the Utopia that can be obtained on Earth for the New Worker's Paradise, etc.
To me Communism gave me an identity and an aspiration that youth at that age crave for and seek, in most cases nowadays in the wrong places that produces much heardache and even the death of the innocent. It was also a defense mechanism as all that missing school really hurt my development of language. As we are not schooled in our country and often missed school in the States, learning a language became problematic. I lagged in language proficiency skills and had a mild case of dyslexia on top of that. In those days, prior to ESL, English as a Second Language program, one would be put in what was called the 'retarded class' for special education students. Thus some students would make fun of me for being ‘stupid’ and developmentally slower than usual. By this time, I was in secondary school. A teacher who was Christian took note of me and wanted to know why I had all this resentment and anger at the world, religion, society and parents and why I was a Communist. I knew he was a Christian because he took his Bible to school and had it on his desk that he would read before the school day started. It was novel and something I had not observed in the other teachers.
This was in those days that one could have a Bible in class and not be banned; how sad. I told him that I was different, that I was more moral, just, good and better that what the world and society or hypocritical religions had to offer and I wanted no part in that. In turn I was going to change the world, by force if necessary because of such philosophies as Communism that 'worked' in the Soviet Union where there was no poor, no need and everyone belonged, was accepted and everyone was equal! :). Challenging him, I asked if his Christianity could do better than that and if the Bible had anything to say about such inequalities, false religion and racism in the US for example or how migrant farm workers could not get restroom breaks during their work day? (As it was the case back then). Although it is not in all cases with all Americans and circumstances, we would often encounter racism going back and forth from our nation of origin as we would be denied hotels rooms and had to sleep in the car or truck as I would remember a man telling my dad at the hotel counter, …’We don’t have rooms available for Mexican or dogs.’ I felt ashamed and belittled and bad for my Dad as well.
I not only had to content with being less than in the USA with racism but it was no different with our own people who were just as racist as we were also treated as 2nd class citizens in our own nation of origin. So I couldn’t wait for the Soviets to march in and take over the USA and the world. I asked the Christian teacher if the Bible had any solutions to the world’s problems. He asked me if I would like to find out and study or look into what the Bible had to say about why the society, religion, the family and countries have these problems. I believed it would have been futile as I had a background in religion, so I thought at the age of 12. Taking his challenge, we met in the woodshop class during lunch starting sometime in the Fall Semester of my 8th grade year, 1980. After several weeks of studying the Bible with the teacher, he made me understand very important truths; that I was no better than the rich, a bad family, a bad religion or a bad nation. He did speak from the Bible and I was curious because since growing up in my country of origin, I had not seen one so to have him read it and without a Priest or Prophet prohibiting him, it was amazing to me. So I opened up as I was curious to see what the Bible was all about anyway.
But I asked, what is so special about Jesus Christ? Why not Buddha, or Mohammed?... The Teacher replied, think about this Luis.... YHVH, the Creator of all the Heavens, Earth and Humanity, the most powerful and richest One known, became a man, that is Jesus Christ, was born into a poor family, was rejected by the religious Jews of his day, was rejected by his own family and nation in the end.. but He overcame the circumstances. Jesus was poor and worked hard and was not a hypocrite. The secret to His triumph in His life was that He was enabled by the power of the Holy Spirit, humility and obedience by submitting to the will of YHVH’s for His life. Moreover, Christ Jesus promised not only to re-light our spirits and save our soul because of Original Sin but to give a new heart, body and a clean slate and inner peace because He now has all Power and Authority due to His resurrection. He is able to transform and transmit that power to those that surrender to Him, no matter now sinful and despite how good, moral or a religious level one has achieved. Moreover, unlike the Hitlers and Stalins, the AntiChrists and False Prophets that Lucifer offers Humanity, Jesus promises to share His power, authority as a privilege to co-rule the Universe with Him one day… So yes, Christianity topped Communism. Ok, I was interested. But I did not want a religion; I saw what religion does to people. What I came to find out that Jesus does not what religious people either but it is a personal relationship with the Living GOD, Creator YHVH.
The studies with the Teacher made me see that the Bible declares that “we”/I was part of the problem. The problem is our “heart”; that we need a new heart. That it is impossible for us to change our heart no matter how sincere, religious or hard we try. This regeneration is something that the rich cannot buy, that religion cannot teach you, that a family cannot give you, or that a country cannot guarantee you. The Bible declares that Jesus said that it is only through Him that a New Creation, a new Mankind can be obtained. I learned that the Bible declares that we all have a sinful nature, meaning that we are born sinners…. Some are good and some are bad sinners but that all need Salvation because the eternal state of one’s soul for all eternity is in the balance. I knew this inherently within my spirit as I contemplated the meaning of life from an early age and sensed this eternal void in my soul. I knew of ‘Jesus’ but only from pictures and paintings but he was not ‘personal’. I was introduced to the Jesus Christ of the Bible that not only is able to change the heart condition in our lives by giving us a new heart as a gift; a clean slate, free to us but that it cost the life and blood of Christ to buy that for us…but beyond that, He bestows gifts, honor, and an inheritance, riches for all eternity that cannot be stolen or destroyed.
The studies made me understand that becoming a 'Christian' would be a life-long process of changing and growing because 'Salvation' was/is a process and we still reside with a fallen body of flesh that one day however will be transformed physically at the point of the Resurrection and Rapture. Presently only Christ Jesus has the power to change a society, a religion, a family or a nation; but that it needed to start with me. Moreover, that if I did not respond to the offer of Christ, I would suffer the consequence of Eternal Death, that is eternal separation from true life of the Creator, no matter how good I was or how much I changed myself even by being ‘religious’. The studies made me understand that to receive a new heart it did not depend on my efforts or how good or bad I was, but on the work of Christ on the Cross. All I had to do is see my real need for forgiveness of my sins and ask for this free gift of Eternal Life – the very life of Jesus Christ that could only transform my heart by that same indwelling power of the Holy Spirit that is available, free of charge. On the Passover season in the Spring of 1980, our studies in the woodshop class made me realize that in fact it was the Jewish Carpenter, Jesus of Nazareth that was working and fashioning me in his carpenter shop. The teacher invited me to pray and ask Christ Jesus to come into my heart and have Him be LORD and Savior of my life. I genuinely was wanting to. I had heard no better deal nor have come across any better one yet and it was an offer too good to refuse. I said yes and the teacher led me in an invitation prayer to Jesus to be my LORD and Savior in that woodshop room on April 9, 1980 around Noon I surrendered.
I decided and prayed to accept Christ into my heart and I knew that this personal relationship with Jesus Christ was effective and real because it changed my thoughts and perspectives almost immediately. I had a peace in my spirit and no more malice or anger toward the world, my family, or nations. This new commitment in life gave me meaning and purpose; it also put things in the world in perspective and it had answered many questions (I still have some). All the resentment for people in society, the religious, my family and nations was taken away and replaced with genuine love and compassion for those I would not naturally have love for. From that point on, I made a commitment to give my soul, spirit and body for the cause of Jesus; to continually learn, serve and live for Jesus Christ 1st and tell other about Him. It would be a journey of faith learning, living and teaching that only by knowing Jesus through the Bible and applying His prescriptions can one be transformed. The teacher gave me my first Bible and the first portion I read was how it was all going to end, thus Eschatology. I read Revelation and Daniel first. I realized that I too like a young Daniel was uprooted from this familiar surroundings and taken to a different nation where we had to speaker a different language and perhaps was made fun of as he was considered a 2nd class citizen, neither belonging to there nor here. The life of Daniel resonated with me as I aspired to be an Ambassador for a great King or President representing a nation and traveling the world. Yet YHVH revealed to Daniel when the timing of the Messiah was to occur. Daniel was made the Ambassador and Chief Astrologer of the Court. YHVH gave Daniel understanding of Eschatology of the prophetic timing to the world empires that affected YHVH’s People in Iraq and Iran at the time for example. Also, I realized that Daniel was going to be set-up; that he was going to be tested and tried even to the very end of his life. This would be and has been the blueprint of my life.
It was from the Book of Revelation that YHVH gave me my Life Promises, or marching orders and terms of condition for His service in my commissioning. I received 3 promises that are available to the Overcomers but they were specific to my calling in life. They were and are the blueprint of my life and the have defined my life ever since. The Teacher and I continued to meet afterward for discipleship and until the school year ended. I went off to high school still another 30 miles farther away and hardly ever saw him again after that. Within a year I found out that he had moved on and have lost contact with him ever since. He did forewarn me that from my own family and friends, there was going to be mocking and ridicule and opposition in the world because of the Testimony to Jesus. This came true. Throughout my Journey of Faith in Christ, there was going to be a lot of heartache and disappointment in people and from people loved the most. For example, when I told my parents that I became a Christian and later on started to make decisions to serve Jesus and not pursue what was expected of me, a job, a wife, fame, fortune...my family had a hard time understanding this and accepting my decisions... It got to the point later on when because of my service and decision for Christ that I was asked to leave the house. For a period of time I was estranged from my very own family because of my decisions in life for Christ.
I realized that it become true that through much suffering and sorrow would one enter the Kingdom. I has been bitter-sweet. Even as with Christ, in the case of His very own Disciples, the ones you love the most end up leaving you because of wanting to live for Christ, it has come at a high cost. I went to a university without the support of my family, friends or counselors at my high school that would railroad minority student to vocational schools instead. I had to fight to get college preparatory classes needed to even be eligible to apply to universities. Once I did get to college, I got involved with the Navigators campus ministry as it is one of the greatest opportunities to minister for Christ on the campuses although it is hostile now. I have primarily been involved in campus ministries and church college and career ministries. I have worked in higher education for that very reason although it has cost me promotions. I have also been involved in outreach to the Spanish speaking communities. My commitment to live and serve Christ has given me opportunities to reach out to the rich and poor, I have talked to people of many religions, my family relationships have been improved and I have been to many nations telling them about Jesus Christ. Over the years, a small Bible Study has even started and continues to this day in the very place we came from as many now in my extended family have also made commitments for Jesus Christ.
I realized that serving Christ Jesus allowed me to be His Ambassador and travel to many nations thus far. I also actually got a chance to take the Foreign Service Exam at UCLA without studying and passed it. As I advanced through the interviews I realized that only Secret Society Ivy League candidates got the best positions and those in such Fraternities like Skull and Bones ruled the State Department and the CIA. Real Christians are made sure they are not or will not hold positions of power to forge policy. I found this to be true when I was a Political Science major and did internships in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. and when I would interview staff from the Organization of American States that I wanted to intern with. For example one of my roommates in college was French and whose mother was born in Madagasgar, a French colony. Her dad was a prominent leader in the French Resistance against the Nazis in France during World War 2. After the war, De Gaul of France promised the father of my college roommate's mother a Ministry position in his cabinet for being a key leader in the French Resistance. The only stipulation was that they had to attend Luciferian meetings and initiations; he declined. In college, I nonetheless interviewed with the CIA but did not want to be a spy as that was going to be my cover in Latin America so I ventured to be Jesus Christ's Ambassador and a 'spy' but with a 'Good Report' to the Nations instead. I did get a chance to do a missions trip to the Soviet Union in 1990 when it so happened that due to its philosophy of Communism, it collapsed as it will because it is essential anti-GOD and anti-human. I ventured into the heart of the Soviet Paradise and Utopian capital only to find a 'Gotham City', grey and full of people aimlessly walking around as empty shells, soul-less and for the most part drunk in public. I saw the effects first hand of what Communist Materialism does to the soul of a human and nation because it denies the spiritual attribute of Humanity that is the only creation that is make in the likeness of YHVH and in their image. Such psuedo-religions like communism thus neglects the spirit and soul of the human dynamic. There were only 2 lines in the former Soviet Union that people stood for to get commodities from the state, bread and vodka.
I was there when Soviet Communism collapsed and was able to share and relate to some the hope that one had from one former Communist to another of a better deal, the better plan in Jesus Christ. It is the Plan of Redemption found only in Jesus that not only He promises but is able to deliver the New Man in Christ, Eternal Life and immortality, dominion and power. No matter how rich or poor you are, no matter what religion you are, no matter what family you were born into, no matter what nation you are from one has to ultimately consider Jesus Christ as either a "Liar, a Lunatic or LORD." I invite you to consider Jesus Christ as LORD and ask to receive a new heart, a new life, a new destiny. Receive Christ as Savior to save your eternal soul and life today by realizing your deepest heart need is to be forgiven of sin and make a commitment to change from now on in the power of this new realization and commitment through the indwelling of GOD the Holy Spirit in you. It is an exchange, an Old Creation for the New Creation and thereafter to live in the services of the King of the Universe. It will be and can only be a life lived by Jesus’ power living in you learning, knowing and doing the will of YHVH alone, and not for any other 'gods' of religion that are false. Moreover, King Jesus, because of His victory over sin, Death and Lucifer, has been given ALL AUTHORITY AND POWER on Earth and Heaven. This authority and power is bestowed to His Servants now and available to you as 'Friends of YHVH', like Abraham. Jesus promises that to those that come to Him He will not reject; that 'a smoldering wick He will not snuff-out or a bruised reed He will not brake off'. He promised that He will return one day to resurrect and rapture His redeemed Bride into Glory to be with YHVH the Creator for all Eternity to rule and reign as the Bible declares and is true, this I testify of Jesus who is the Christ.