Nestor B. de Vega was 24 when he came to America in 1983. It was around the middle of May when he left the Philippines with 15 other young recruits. They boarded a military plane in Subic Naval Base, Olongapo City and made their way through Treasure Island in San Francisco for check in. They finally landed in San Diego California for basic training. By the way, Nestor is his real name but we fondly call him Pastor Ernie.
33 years had gone by since Pastor Ernie arrived in the US, a country he swore to defend and protect. Well, how’s he been since then? Presently, he pastors a vibrant and exciting church we call our Spiritual Family. We feel at home here, a church he started in his living room 16 years ago. “LIFE CHURCH is the church with a big heart”. You’ll know more when you meet us. We belong to the Every Nation family of churches. http://www.everynation.org
Pastor Ernie retired in the US Navy as a Chief Petty Officer in May of 2003. Hampton Roads is proud to house the bravest men and women in the United States having all branches of the military living and retiring here. Life Church is 70% military. “Join the Navy, see the world” is the Navy’s slogan. As a young sailor, Pastor Ernie’s been to different nations sharing God’s love for free! While stationed in Oakland California, an Admiral was so impressed with his demeanor that he sent him to 3 Culinary Schools where he learned the fine art of cooking. He was selected to work for top Admirals manning the best kitchens serving fine dining with excellent cuisine for generals from different nations, mayors, senators and a few Presidents until he retired. He doesn’t cook that much anymore and often boasts more of his wife’s cooking. But I believe that many of us at Life Virginia Beach has somehow tasted some of his delicious recipes.
On October 28, 1984, he married his college sweetheart. His beautiful wife, Ade is his best friend and greatest supporter. They have three wonderful children Sharon, Joey and Angela. When you visit Pastor Ernie and Ade in their home, you might hear the voices of his grandsons running and playing. Sharon their eldest daughter married Kuaika, who she met while she was in the Air Force. They both were in the military and are now leaders in our church. Joey is also in the Air Force and is stationed in Hawaii. He’s actively involved in our Every Nation church in the island of Oahu. Their youngest daughter Angela is currently a school Counselor in Richmond Va. She was one of our youth leaders before she left for college. She’s been to the Philippines many times on our yearly missions. Pastor Ernie is a family man. He will often say to married couples, “Family first. It’s our first and most important ministry.”
Every so often you’ll hear other men and women preaching at our church, men, and woman who went through discipleship. Life Virginia Beach believes in discipleship. Discipleship is about building a lifelong relationship with Jesus and helping others do the same. So where is Pastor Ernie? Well, if he isn’t preaching, he’s in the Philippines with Ade. They’re there one month in a year discipling several Pastors and Campus Ministers who are ready to take on the world!
Our pastor loves to talk about God’s love and faithfulness more than anything else. Because for Him life is not about us, it’s about God. A few Sundays ago he began his preaching with this statement, “Life is not just about the destination, it’s about the journey. God will take us on a longer and more difficult path to accomplish His plan. Because for God it’s a journey of maturity and spiritual growth!” One thing I’ve learned listening to his stories in his messages is this, “Our God is faithful!”
Our mission statement is simple: LOVE GOD, LOVE OTHERS
We’re hoping that you’ll come and visit us one Sunday. We know that you’ll experience God’s love during your visit. We’ll be happy to meet you and shake your hand.
I leave you with this uplifting and powerful verse:
“Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.” Deuteronomy 7:9