Our story…

Stuart: Lead Pastor

During the early years of my life (ages 4 – 12), I was abused over three separate long periods, the last of which was by a “so-called” church family.  I did not know Jesus Christ as my Savior, and became a hateful, violent, bitter person.  My reaction to this period of my life was to keep people at a distance. My heart was hardened, and I did not know how to process or share my feelings with anyone. I thought that if this is how Christians behave, and they represent who God is, then I don’t want anything to do with any of them. This laid a foundation in my heart that made it easy to transition into the high school and college “party life.”

After some twenty years of rebellion and trouble, during which time I didn’t understand that God desires a personal and intimate relationship with humanity, God’s sovereign plan for deliverance was revealed to me. In January of 1998, I received a vision from the Lord—Jesus invited me into a relationship with Him, and I was born again.

I immediately found a church and got plugged into the fellowship of believers. I began teaching a home fellowship and serving in the church. About two years later, I attended Calvary Chapel Bible College and graduated with an Associates in Theology, followed by a Bachelor’s in Biblical Studies from Horizon College of San Diego, and I became part of the pastoral team at Horizon Christian Fellowship in San Diego. I continued my studies at Azusa Pacific University, where I graduated with a Master of Arts in Religion and Ethics. During this time, I served as an assistant pastor with Horizon Valley Center, as an adjunct professor for Horizon College of San Diego, and in three chaplaincy programs with the community. I continued my academic studies with Luther Rice University while a pastor in Polson, Montana, and obtained a Master of Divinity.  I finished my academic journey with a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership with Regent University while I pastored in Eastern Montana.

This mixture of experiences from my early years and subsequent later years provides me with a unique perspective “from the gutter most to the utter most,” to quote Billy Sunday, having experienced the despair, fear, and loneliness of the lost—as well as the unity, purpose, and fulfillment of the abundant life Jesus offers.

Rosie: Pastor’s Wife

During my early years of childhood, my parents were separated, then divorced. My father took custody of me and my brother, whereas my mother kept my sister. These events brought my father to Christ, and he raised our family in an Apostolic Church in hopes of a more stable environment. However, I became very legalistic in every way, both spiritually and physically. Growing up, I was constantly talking to Jesus, but going into my teenage years, I was anxious about my relationship with Christ. I was frightened and judged into baptism. So while I was baptized at age fifteen, I found myself in constant “works” mode. I started college at BIOLA University where my relationship with Jesus matured.

Relearning how to see the true heart of God and the concept of His grace was a process. Years later, I chose to be baptized again, but this time out of true love and commitment, not out of fear. I found a further understanding of grace when I met my husband. I expected and prayed for a husband who would have a similar “Christian” history, free of secular burden, but God’s plans are not the same as ours. God exposed to me how much of a Pharisee I had become, and throughout the years of knowing my husband, I have seen God’s unconditional love for humanity and the lost. I truly came to realize how a life under the burden of legalism can be far worse than that of the “heathen,” for the one “who is forgiven much, loves much.” 

Just this past year, I have come to understand how much more vital it is for the lost to be found. My youngest brother, David, died, and for the first time my heart was truly broken and burdened. He had finally given his life to follow Jesus, and knowing that I will see him again in God’s perfect image keeps my heart longing to see others find Christ as their central purpose as well.

David: Inspiration

David was twenty-six when he died of a drug overdose. He was found Sunday afternoon by his father and mother. He had a big heart for people and compassion for the broken. David grew up in Valley Center, California. When he was a teenager, his girlfriend had an abortion, and the guilt of losing his unborn baby drew him to drugs and he became involved in heroin. He had always believed in God; however, he was not ready to turn his life completely over to Christ.
David was convicted of theft and served a short time in jail. During his incarceration, there was a man ripping out words from papers. When he walked in, the man dropped the ripped up papers all over the floor. As David went to help pick up the papers that fell, the papers spelled out: “I’m waiting for you David.”
After his release, David went to U-Turn for Christ. In the beginning, he had decided to skip out and leave while they were out shopping. Just then, a small Indian man called out to him by name. He hugged David and called him by name saying, “David, this is where you’re suppose to be.” David began to cry, and the man walked way before anyone noticed. So, he stayed in the program. Later, David fully committed his life to Christ, and he was changed from the inside out. He started asking to go to church, and he attended Calvary Chapel Bible College where he wanted to study apologetics. He had hoped to teach or even become a pastor.
Then in January 2020 came the Covid-19 pandemic. David moved back home with family and worked in the Indian Health Center where he received Employee of the Month his first month there. Everyone who knew him saw a new life. However, the enemy always finds a way to kill and destroy. David began to use drugs again, and on May 24, 2020, he died from a fentanyl overdose. Having grown up in Valley Center he was well known, and his death has affected many, both those who know Christ and those who don’t.
The death and absence of David has brought great brokenness to his family and all the other people whose paths he crossed. Those who knew David both before and after he accepted Christ as savior saw a radical change in his life, a change which was all the more magnetizing to the people around him. Given his hope to become a pastor—we desire to plant CLC in honor of David.

Encourage | Engage | Equip