Punk-turned-pastor Steven Ferandez took over my church in Guatemala


Diane, Steve, with Stetson and Faith

By Hanna Jones, LCA sophomore

SANTA MONICA – Actually, it was a moment of great personal pride when police officers handcuffed and arrested Steven Fernandez out of his University High School classroom. All his classmates would fear him even more. At 15 years of age, he was a full-fledged thug.

Pastor George Neos who made such an impact in Pastor Steven’s life. He’s with his wife, Bethany, and son.

After getting out of juvenile hall on counts of armed robbery and vandalism, he had a hard time finding a school to enroll. His grandfather, a born-again Christian, was given responsibility for Steven by the court and enrolled him at Lighthouse Christian Academy, a ministry of the Lighthouse Church.

He hated it.

Bristling at just about any authority, Steven hated then-principal George Neos. Seething with street rage but lacking street smarts, he threatened the principal. A hulking 280-pound behemoth from Dartmouth University’s national winning football team, Neos just chuckled.

Once, Fernandez jumped on Neos’ back and grappled his neck in a chokehold. But Neos just whisked him off his back and slammed his body against the wall. (Such non-standard academic occurrences have not been seen since at LCA.)

Eventually, Neos’s tough love broke through. At the same time as being a principal, Neos was a pioneer pastor and invited Steven to his church. He even let the repentant street hoodlum stay overnight in his house. Steven became a Christian and began to turn his life around.

Diane and Steve were announced in June at the Tucson Door Christian Center Bible conference

Out of high school, he married a Bible study leader and headed up the Lighthouse Church’s Thrift Store, an evangelism disguised as retail. He learned to smile.

Now, with two children – Faith and Stetson, he has taken the plunge into ministry. Ordained a pastor in June 2012, Steven is now assisting in the Guatemalan church pioneered for 16 years by Lighthouse son, Mike Ashcraft, who now teaches at LCA. Guatemalan Pastor Ludving Navarro needed some help since his wife is due for a hernia operation in coming weeks.

“The challenges just keep getting bigger,” Steven said. “But I never forget where I came from and how I very likely would have died, had not God intervened. Moving forward is easier when you remember where you came from.”

_________

This article first appeared on LCA’s website: http://www.thelighthousechristianacademy.com

 

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12 responses to “Punk-turned-pastor Steven Ferandez took over my church in Guatemala

  1. God is, and always has been, in the business of redemption.

  2. Absolutely awe inspiring story of God’s redemptive love. These kinds of stories bring tears to my eyes. Uh-hum, manly tears of course.

  3. There is nothing like getting to watch God transform a life! Praise the Lord!!

  4. I like the story about Pastor Steve. What a total 360 degree turn from being bad to working wonders for Christ! May the good Lord continue blessing him and his family…I am positive that his testimony would continue blessing other youngsters…

  5. Best wishes and blessings for your ministries!

  6. What a blessing to read the good news about this young man and his beautiful family!

  7. Truly a sign of God at work. We know from Scripture that miracles will continue, and this is proof. May the King of Kings continue to bless the ministry of this couple and those with whom they work.
    Serving Him through Serving Others,
    Jim Dakis
    Living Sacrifice Ministries

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