About Pastor Ruben

 

 

Pastor Ruben’s Story

 

This will not be a complete bio, but just a little something to give you an idea into who I am.

 

When was I born? September 5, 1962 (that means that at this writing I'm 54!)

 

Where did I grow up? In the south side of Pomona

 

What schools did you go to? Lets see when it comes to elementary schools, it was Lexington, Philadelphia, Madison, and Hamilton. Jr High School, Fremont Jr. High (Go Bulldogs!) I actually drew the cover for the year in 1976, believe it or not, I was amazed because there others so much better than me. High School, Gary High School (Go Vikings!) unfortunately I didn't graduate, I dropped out in the 12th grade, because I was going to be a daddy and I needed a Job! 

 

How many brothers and sisters do you have? No sisters (Praise the Lord!), four brothers, three brothers Valentino, or just Tino, Andrew and Christopher, and I have a brother from another mother his name is Rudy and I haven't seen him since he was two years old.

 

Who were your parents? My fathers name was Ruben Vasquez (yes I'm a Junior!) he was from Chino CA, and my mom is Virginia she was from Pomona, unfortunately my parents would divorce while my mom was pregnant with my little brother Chris. So yes I come from a broken home, my Dad physically abused my mom and just couldn't get over his paranoia and suspicions about her, of course my Dad came from a broken home as well and neither of my parents were saved even though they had claimed to be Catholic. My Mom would later meet and marry my step-father Louie Rodriguez, he also came from a broken home, fortunately my Mom didn't come from a broken home.

 

What was your home life like? Well it was normal in my eyes because I didn't have any other examples to look to, when my Mom was single we moved around a lot, and we still managed to go to the boys club on Gary Ave. when she settled down married, I went to school played little league baseball @ Ralph Welch park in Pomona, we played army with my neighbor Chris Duran, I thought his parents were rich because he had an actual plastic army rifle that made life like sounds, and all we had were our Mexican rifles, sticks and our imagination! We played baseball with my step cousins Anthony and Johnny Lopez and our friends around the block @ Hamilton elementary. I would go to Sacred Heart on Easter and maybe Christmas, I would actually make my first communion @ Sacred Heart. My mom and my step-dad had jobs and were trying to improve their lives so they bought a house together on 11th street just a walk away from Washington park and the plunge (it was only a quarter to swim all day long in the summer!) unfortunately for my step-dad, his past caught up to him quick, my mom had no clue but Louie was involved with a prison gang that he had been trying to get away from, but they found out where he lived and insisted that he pick up where he left off, so he did, pretty soon I was hanging out with killers, drug dealers, pimps and prostitutes, but I didn't see them as that, in my eyes they were just normal kind of people, they taught me how to draw, how to build model cars, play cards, chess and dominoes, they taught me how to stay on the down low and "maintain." Some might think, where was God in all this? As I look back on my life I can see Jesus there in every part, even the ugly parts, He was looking out for me, and during some of the heaviest times of my life, Jesus would arrange it so that I could go on vacation with my Grandparents to Fresno to visit my Tia's (Aunt's) and my Tio's (Uncles), or we would go Texas to visit other family members, or He would have me go to my Grandparents on my fathers side to spend some time in Chino, with my cousins and my aunts and uncles there. During some of my high school years, God sent my neighbors Henry and Margie Vaca to live next door to us. They and their family became my second family, and because of them I would spend a lot of time in El Modena, or in Hawaiian Gardens CA, where I would hang out with, Henry's brother Art, and with Margie's brother Tony Arroyo, one of my best friends, and his sister Rosie. looking back I believe the Lord used them to keep me from entering the typical drug and gang lifestyle, that was so readily available to me. I’m not saying I didn’t do my share of sinning, I’m just saying that it could have and should have been a lot worse.

 

How many kid's do have? 6 kids altogether, my son Michael, Daughters Crystal, Corina, Bridget, Eileen, and Delliah. Eileen was a special needs child and is now in the presence of the Lord, no more suffering, no more tears, she Loved Jesus. 

 

How did you get saved? Fast forward to 1990: I find myself living in Ontario, CA, separated from my wife for about seven years, taking care of my daughter Corina and living with my girlfriend, Virginia, her son and daughter Michael and Crystal and having a child out of wedlock, my baby Bridget. Finally, the Lord sends Richard and Carol, Virginia’s sister and brother in-law, who were relentless in inviting us to church. Virginia finally gave in and went, and she wound up giving her life to the Lord and being baptized. Imagine that! After that, I felt like all three of them were after me, but I wouldn’t give up! (You'll never get me Coper!) The problem now was that we were arguing constantly. Finally, to keep from arguing (I thought!), I decided to go to the church they kept bugging me about, Calvary Chapel West Covina, to listen to some guy they said I just "had to hear." His name? Raul Ries.

Still, it wouldn’t be until September of 1990 that the Lord would break me. It wasn’t so much the message from guest speaker Dr. Baloian that we had that Sunday, but because of a culmination of messages and strong encouragement from Virginia, Richard and Carol, and then finally a worship song, that would be the breaking point for me, making me cry like a little baby! I don’t remember the exact date. I don’t remember if it was first or second service. I don’t even remember what the song was! What I remember is feeling like I was the only one going up (even though I wasn’t), and finally acknowledging that I was a sinner in need of a savior.

 

After receiving Jesus as my Lord and savior, I had no idea what that would mean for me in the future, and at the time Virginia and I didn’t understand the level of commitment that was required in our relationship with the Lord. I remember that we were making plans to separate in our own time, when we thought it was right for the kids, and then make things right, but then Raul! The Lord used him to convict us of our sinful living arrangements, and after one Sunday, when the message was over, we knew that we could no longer live together, and made immediate arrangements to live rightly before our God. I moved to my mom's house in Fontana, Ca, and she moved to her sister's house in Duarte, CA.

After a class with Dale Goddard, He said that I should find a little church to serve in. In hindsight, I think he meant a little Calvary Chapel, but in my quest to find a little church to help, we found ourselves attending Praise Chapel of Monrovia at the request of my sister in-law. It was there that Virginia and I were married by Pastor Ruben, (who’s wife’s name is Virginia! How weird is that?) He would actually end up baptizing me (in the most freezing of pools!) as well. After being at that church for a little bit, we found ourselves moving on and serving in a little church called Joy Christian Center in Duarte, CA, under Pastor Lee Wheatly. The weirdest thing happened with both of these churches: They actually had the nerve to tell me that I would become a pastor!

 

What did you do before you were a pastor? Well at the ripe old age of 18 after all I knew it all! My brother in-law at the time Joe Sanchez recommended that I go to DeFrank's heating and air conditioning and speak to the owner Ben Defrank, to see if he would hire me, so I did, dressed in my best Khakis, creased shirt buttoned at the top, and my best hat I went! Ben would actually take a chance on me and that would start a 25 year career in the HVAC industry I worked for Ben for 15 years! He would actually have me work in the shop, or on his yard or on his house, when business was slow, just so he could give me a pay check and I take care of my family. Later I would work for his brother in-law Terry Moncrief for another 10 years I think it was and then I would go into business for myself in 2000, but then the Lord was calling me to ministry.  

 

Becoming a pastor... Due to the lack of work, the Lord moved us out of Duarte to live with my mother in Fontana. After a bit of trying to drive back and forth to and from Joy Christian Center, we decided to look for a Calvary Chapel to attend nearby. God had plans for us and for my mom, through the process my mom would actually surrender her life to the Lord @ the age of 52 The Lord led us to Calvary Chapel Bloomington/Fontana/Rialto, now known as Calvary Chapel Rialto, it would be there that I would serve the Lord and receive my training for the pastorate under Pastor Terry Hlebo. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t formal schooling, but rather more of a "training through service." By the time it was all said and done, I would attend there for 17 years! 15 of those years would be in service of one sort or another, and 11 of those years would be as an assistant pastor to Pastor Terry.

 

When did I become the pastor? In May of 2003, I would be ordained as a Pastor. Little did I know that the Lord was moving in the background and training me so that I could serve as Senior Pastor at Calvary Chapel Landers, which has been my privilege since May of 2012.