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Contact: 3310 Bancroft Drive, Spring Valley, 91977; 619-587-8106

Membership: 150

Denomination: Evangelical Christian (Church of Nazarene)

Pastor: Mariota Sola

Age: 45

Born: Apia, Samoa

Formation: Lighthouse Bible College, American Samoa

Years Ordained: 21

San Diego Reader: How long do you spend writing your sermons?

Pastor Mariota Sola: I write all my sermons from the Bible, depending on how the spirit moves me. It takes anywhere from an hour to a day putting together a sermon for Sunday morning and Sunday-evening sermons. Each sermon is about 30 minutes to an hour or 45 minutes. I like to preach about salvation — about bringing people into the kingdom of God to be born again and seeing Christ’s saving grace in their lives.

SDR: What is your main concern as a member of the clergy?

PS: We’re living in such a difficult time right now. It’s tough, but the solution is all about the Word of God. So I am always trying to impress on people to stay faithful and holy so that the Lord will bless them instead of depending on other people. Of course, nothing is impossible with God, even though we are working through a lot of hard times. But anything is possible when put your trust in God.

SDR: Why did you become a minister in the first place?

PS: I became a minister when I was 19 years old — that’s when I was born again [into the Christian faith]. In my 21st year I went to Bible college at that time. I had a vision like a dream when I was younger which showed to me where to go with the Lord. I realized Jesus Christ was showing to me that I was being sent forth. I woke up and answered the question. That was the call of God in my life; that’s why I am here today.

SDR: What is the mission of your church?

PS: The mission of our church is holiness. You have to teach the people how to live holy for God — to show them how to be like Christ.

SDR: What is the greatest strength of your church in carrying out this mission?

PS: I think the guiding principle in the people’s life is love. If you show people love, they will love each other and they will love God, most importantly. So that’s the main thing I’m teaching on — teaching people how to love other people.

SDR: What is the greatest weakness preventing your church from carrying out this mission?

PS: There are not enough people to go out and witness. Of course, not everyone can go out to preach, but everyone can go out to witness [for] the Lord. Show everybody your life. You should be able not only to tell people about the salvation of Jesus Christ, but you should also be able to show Him in your own life how God is able to sanctify life.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PS: We go to heaven. Everyone goes to heaven. I don’t teach people to go to heaven, but I teach people how to get to heaven. I don’t teach people to go to hell; that’s their own decision. But I teach them to go to heaven. It’s the only way I can teach. But I tell them they shouldn’t go to hell because it’s not a good place.

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