We’re Marching to Zion, Beautiful, Beautiful Zion...
The Christian Leaders Ministries Family mourns the loss of one of our revival leaders. Early on October 10th, Reynaldo Custodio Mendoza was taken to heaven. He completed his march to Zion.
Christian Leaders Ministries pays tribute to a wonderful son, husband, father, and minister. He was truly a revival leader!
Reynaldo Custodio Mendoza testimony
(Written three months before his death in July of 2019)
IN THE DARKEST SIDE OF THE WORLD, GOD CALLED ME!
by Renaldo Mendoza
My name is Reynaldo Custodio Mendoza, a resident of Valenzuela City, Philippines. I am the Head Pastor of Mt. Zion, the Assembly of the Faithful, a local community church situated in Valenzuela City. Currently, I have been pastoring for more than twenty-five years now and hope that this mandate to take care of God’s people will continue until such time when God will call me to be with Him forever. I married in 1997 to Mary Ann Mendoza and was blessed with a son who is twenty years old now. Both my wife and my son are my ministry’s helpers. My wife is one of the ministry’s singers while my son plays bass guitar in our church. I also received my ordination in 2006 from a group of pastors and teachers in Metro Manila.
My life before I became born again could be the most complicated part of my life. It is like an interwoven fabric that needs a Master who can and will fix all the uncertainties in my life. I am the second born child from five children of my parents. I was born on February 18, 1966, in the province of Oriental Mindoro. My mother was a protestant from childhood until she died seven years ago. While my father never accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. However, I am confident that through the prayers of those who care and love for his soul, perhaps, by the grace of God, he met Him somewhere before he died.
I grew up and spent my childhood years until the early years of adolescence going to Sunday School with my mother and my siblings every Sunday. However, it didn’t last because when my parents separated in 1979, we were forced to go with my mother and live on the island of Mindanao. I was with my mother from my sixth grade to second-year high school. But while growing up, a wave of anger built inside my heart. I couldn’t explain what it was.
After my second year, I felt like I can run my life apart from my mother. I decided to go back to Manila, where I spent my third and fourth year in High School. My enthusiasm for God and His word slowly dimmed down until I couldn’t even have realized that my life was no longer pleasing the Lord.
Right after I graduated from high school in 1983 and thought that I had full control over my life, I decided to get out of my father’s authority and started to live on my own with my friends. The course I chose was the beginning of the darkest hours of my life! From a church-goer to a lover of the world. I don’t know how I precisely express the experience I had, but for sure, my life was terrible, hopeless, and without direction anymore.
From the year 1983 until 1990, I lived as a backslider. Within these years, I never attended or visited a church anymore — seven years of darkness. If I am going to mention or name the activities I involved in my life with, I guess I can even make a small book. Nevertheless, I need to specify some not for anyone’s merit but to the glory of God.
At the age of 17, I learned to drink wine. I lost my morals and dignity. As far as I could remember every time I got drunk, I did embarrassing and disgraceful things. I also learned to smoke, not a regular smoker but a chain smoker. I even came to the point of taking drugs and using marijuana. Every time I used cannabis, I felt that I ruled the world. Gambling also became a part of my life. I became a rude and rebellious person with no respect to anyone even to the elderly.
I spent those seven years indulging and satisfying the lust of the flesh. I wasted my life by giving the devil a portal to take full control of it. Sometimes, when I was alone pondering what was happening to me, I blamed God by asking, “If He is a good God why did these things happen to me?” I know it was a question to cover up my iniquity and stubbornness.
Seven years of darkness and without God, living in the darkest side of the world is how I describe my life. Seven long years of obeying the master of darkness, Satan. I utterly wasted and destroyed my life because I thought that this is the best possible way to excuse my evil ways. But who can figure out or know the plans of God? He can even eliminate the darkness that covers the man and save him from the almost bottomless pit. Yes, our God is a good God, Redeemer, Savior, and the lover of my soul.
In the year 1990, a mighty move of God came to me. It was a unique encounter with the Lord, but it was also the most visible manifestation of His amazing grace. That meeting with the Lord brought a beginning and direction into my life. On July 16, 1990, our country was shocked by an earthquake that killed hundreds of individuals. As this killing quake required many lives to die, for me, this shock gave me a new life because it ushered me into the presence of God! It was the time when I found myself at the verge of destruction that eventually guided me onto the top of a mountain of victory.
After the great quake, I suddenly realized that life is so short, and no one can ever make it long when God requires it. No one can stop the hands of God from moving them, He reaches the lost, gives life to the dying, restores the backsliders, and the most beautiful thing I found is His love is more significant than all my iniquities and sins!
After seven darkest years that clouded my life, for the first time, I sensed that God’s divine touch was on me. In September of the same year, I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. From then on, I fully surrendered my life to the One who saved me. It’s another adventure, a new chapter of my life because this time I call life as precious and salvation as the ultimate gift of God to humanity. Unspeakable joy is what I can recall, and nothing can ever compare with the satisfaction and comfort I received after accepting the Lord Jesus Christ.
My heart’s desire is to redeem the years I wasted. But, I don’t know how possible it is. In my heart, the only way to regain and buy back what is lost is to give my life to God and allow Him to use me as His servant.
Yes, it came to pass when I began to serve the Lord in small ways. I started serving God through cleaning a small garage where people gathered every Sunday for worship or I have no idea what serving the Lord means. That simple way of ministry or service, I considered myself as a full-fledged servant of God.
However, God knows the desires of my heart. One day, God raised me up by allowing me to be a part of the pastoral group. This time was quite complicated because it held a greater responsibility. It was in 1990, in the same year where I received Jesus Christ, when I was assigned to preach. I remember that my first message was about “The Lord and Zacchaeus.” It was a significant passage to me because Jesus received a man, and He never counted who Zacchaeus was, instead, He said, “Salvation has come to him.”
After a year, I was ordained to be the assistant Pastor. It was an excellent experience for me, but at the same time, the charges become too critical also. The plans of God are beyond my understanding. His ways are higher than my ideas, and His wisdom is unsearchable!
In January 1992, God revealed His new plans. It was the time when our head pastor left the church. The Board of Elders made a meeting and decided that they will pass the leadership to me. At first, I didn’t accept their decision nor the position given to me because I knew how hard it was to lead the people of God. Secondly, I have no formal education nor background from a Bible School on the ministry’s management.
Moreover, they insisted and finalized that the Board unanimously voted and their decision was final. A new page of my life began here. So, instead of seeing the small congregation scatter, I accepted the Lord’s mandate! I am now the Head Pastor. It sounds fulfilling, but I didn’t see myself ready for a new task. So I committed myself to prayer and fasting until God gave me a Bible School, where I studied for three years. In 1997, I finished my studies and received a diploma in “Ministry Training.”
Several years after I graduated, I slowly sensed that being the Pastor, I needed to continue to study. While personal studies are beneficial, I also consider that it is not enough. Since the ministry is growing and half of my members are professionals, I think I need to find a Bible School that can help me further my knowledge and education. In 2014, I started searching through the net which Bible School can cater to my desire to extend my learning.
But it was not until 2015 when I stumbled on a school that offers free online ministry studies. So without much inquiry, I tried to enroll myself in this Bible School. The school promised free tuition and high-quality Bible training. It is CHRISTIAN LEADERS INSTITUTE. In April 2015, I became an official student of CLI. The quality of education they have promised is more than I received. It is not just all about quality education, but they also helped me find my calling clearer and how to hit the target. I learned how to defend my faith to anyone who challenges or asks me with all confidence and sincerity.
The President of Christian Leaders Institute, Henry Reyenga, together with the people under his supervision, are great blessings to me. The professors and teachers at Christian Leaders Institute are superlatively great men of God. There was a time when someone asked me, “Is the quality of online education equal to an actual training school?” My response was rapid and straightforward, and I said, “You cannot understand and prove it real until you try it.” I am so confident that my theology is solidly biblical, and my calling as a pastor is precise.
As I progress with my studies, especially now that I am finishing my Bachelor of Divinity Degree, I can say that my journey to find a school that offers everything is here at Christian Leaders Institute. Like a merchant seeking precious pearls and when he finds, he will rejoice. So, those feelings and experiences are the same joy I feel right now!
To close this, I want to express my deepest gratitude and thanks to all the people behind the Christian Leaders Institute and Christian Leaders College, especially to the man, Rev. Henry Reyenga, who received the vision and sacrificially gave his time and resources to reach out to the four corners of the globe. His efforts are undoubtedly excellent, and his life is absolutely an example to the rest of humanity!