1132 N. Melrose Avenue, Vista
Co-pastor: Zane Johnson (with husband Stephen Johnson)
Born: Amman, Jordan
Formation: Bible Bethel College, Riverside
Years Ordained: 20
San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on which to preach?
Pastor Zane Johnson: The one thing that is my bread and butter and saved my life is my ability to have a relationship with God, and that is what got me through my tough times. The worst times of my life really showed me the value of my relationship with God, such as when I told my father [who was Muslim] I was becoming Christian. Even when I had become Christian and not told my parents yet, when I was younger, I would travel to the Middle East. There were so many times I felt alone there with no other Christians around…I became a Christian because I wanted a relationship with God. I saw in Christianity something new and that it needed a full investigation.
SDR: Why Christianity?
PJ: There are a lot of people who say there are multiple ways to get to heaven. I tried to be a good Muslim and it never worked. I never got anywhere with that one. But the second I became a Christian, I knew it was the real thing. I think a lot of American Christians are Christians because they were brought up in a church, and now that they have children, they say, “I’ve sown my wild oats; now, let’s go to church.” I had a different experience. It cost me everything to be a Christian. The day I got disowned, my father said, “You are no longer my daughter.” But then he asked me to come back a couple days later, and he gave me the option of denying my faith to be accepted by the family. Millions of dollars were at stake because my family was very wealthy, and he is the oldest male in the family, which means that he would get the lion’s share of the finances. I said to him, “Dad, God is real, and if you want me to deny my faith, it would be like my standing in front of you right now and denying you.” That would be ridiculous and I could never do it. So that’s one of the reasons I can say with confidence that I know.
SDR: Where do you go when you die?
PJ: I believe that the Bible says that God gives everyone a choice, like a testing ground here on Earth. There’s only one way to heaven, according to the Bible. You have option A, and that’s it…. And that’s why my husband and I are so passionate about sharing our faith in Christ. We want everyone to know about God — and not just for the afterlife, but for here on Earth. It’s a lonely life without God. We emphasize that God has a good life for you waiting. Jesus never came preaching hell. He came preaching good news. That’s our main emphasis. We believe there is a hell, and there are some people who are saying there is no hell. But even if you look at war and the other bad stuff on Earth, that’s a reflection of what hell is about. The evil thing that happened at Sandy Hook Elementary is a good example. I think that people who deny that evil is real are creating a danger for themselves and their children.