Nothing thrills us more than to be able to make a difference in people's lives, helping them step forward into the fulfillment of their God-given destinies. David Rocha was first introduced to our curriculum while in prison. Now he is a CLU graduate, ordained by our ministry, and powerfully serving the Lord. Be inspired by his amazing story!
Testimony from Pastor David Rocha
Hello, God bless everyone who is reading this. My name is David Rocha and I pastor a new church in downtown Modesto, CA. I was recently filmed by CBN 700 Club and a segment was produced on my testimony and shown thoughout the country. A link to the CBN interview is included on my website which is www.houseofrest.com. In the testimony segment there is a mention that I enrolled into a Bible college during my incarceration and was also licensed as a minister. Well, the Bible college I enrolled in was CLU. So I wanted to elaborate more on this part of my testimony.
I was incarcerated on Feb 25th 2004, arrested by F.B.I., DEA and the local gang task force of Tracy, CA. It was on this day that I surrendered my life to the Lord Jesus Christ. For two years I lived in a cell and not allowed to be on a prison yard. I had not felt the sun or felt raindrops in two years. I had not breathed in fresh outdoor air in two years. I used this time to dive into the Bible as I read it over and over and over. Each time the Word of God became more clear to me. I was afraid of Bible colleges. I did not want to become a 'theologian' and fill my head with God. I wanted my heart to be filled with God.
Finally after two years, in 2006 I was taken to a prison in Southern California where I was living in a dorm and allowed to be in a prison yard. More freedom to be out in the open air, exercise, play sports, go to a chow hall instead of eating in my cell. It was here that I began to preach to other inmates once a week in the yard on Thursday evening and I would attend church every Sunday in the chapel as the chaplain would preach. I was at this prison for 18 months.
Then I was finally able to be transferred to a prison camp closer to my home in Northern California. This was a blessing for many reasons. First was that I was closer to family, so that I was having visits almost every weekend. Second, it was a camp, so the tension of violence was pretty much at zero. And because it was a prison camp, there were only 110 inmates, instead of a prison with hundreds of inmates. So by this time I had been preaching, reading the word of God, giving individual and group Bible studies. I did not receive my biblical foundation from any denomination, any church doctrine but straight from reading the Word of God. It was during my transfer to this camp that I began thinking about a Bible college. On my last day before leaving to the camp, a fellow brother in Christ handed me a packet for Christian Leadership University. I had been looking and searching for a Bible college that would have some kind of inmate program, and also was 'Spirit led' and not 'led by the mind'.
Upon arriving at the camp I began to read the CLU packet and liked what it said. What really grabbed me was the first required course, 'How to Hear God's Voice'. So I thought I would give this first course a shot to see if this was what I was looking for. I remember the day my package arrived and I was really excited. Once I began lesson one I could not stop. So many things were simply confirmation of what the Lord had already been showing me, but there was so much more clarity to things I did not understand. I was completely positive at this point that the Lord guided me to CLU. Within 17 months I was holding an Associate's in Biblical Studies. I learned so much from the courses that have shaped who I am today. I thank God that I was able to first build a strong foundation in the Bible for my first three and a half years in Christ, yet that foundation quickly grew to be a strong building once I began soaking in the courses I was taking.
Once I received my degree in biblical studies I inquired about licensing. I had no idea how one became ordained or licensed. I asked the chaplain, I asked my brother who was licensed, I asked my uncle and I wrote a letter to CLU and directly asked Cheryl Rinn about licensing. She directed me to CRFI (Christian Restoration Fellowship International). She mailed me the booklet that explained how the fellowship worked and I began working toward this license.
I thank God for Dr. Mark Virkler in reaching out to the men and women in prison. I do agree that some in prison do the 'church thing' until they are released, then leave their Bible and Christian walk in prison. But there are also many strong, dedicated men and women of God that are truly called to serve the LORD with all of their hearts. CLU gave me the opportunity to learn and was a vehicle in licensing and ordaining me so that I was able to be fully equipped to face the enemy once I was released.
I still remember that on my application of being licensed I wrote that if I would be given the opportunity to be licensed (even though I was an inmate and not trusted by the standards of the world) that I would make so much noise for the gospel that even though I live in California, that the noise would be heard on the East Coast in the ears of Dr. Virkler. I praise God because I accomplished this. CBN aired my testimony throughout the country, even into the home of Dr. Mark Virkler. All because a man of God listened to the Lord and began a prison ministry. Thank you so much CLU, Cheryl Rinn and Dr. Mark Virkler.
I now pastor a new church in Modesto, CA. It began in my basement and recently we have acquired enough members to lease a building that seats 160 people. It is hard financially, but I believe God sees the obedience and is truly blessing us. There are so many things we still need, I don't even have a pulpit. But I believe those things do not matter. What matters is that God is there. He will provide those things in His time. God bless you.
Pastor David Rocha
Related Blogs:How to Hear God’s Voice