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Where You From?…….Oxnard

June 5, 2009
Skyline of Oxnard 


Skyline of Oxnard


“Where You From?”  The famous words of every traveler to visitor from L.A. to the U.K.  These words have echoed in the streets from the mainstream media to the inner-city culture.  The thing about it is that it could be a good thing or a bad thing.  If you’re traveling across the world and make contact with someone that seems a little bit different from your surroundings, you get an inquisitive mind to ask, “So.  Where are you from?”  Nothing offensive or demanding about it.  Just a simple question.  But if you’re traveling through any ghetto or hood, (especially in America) you’ll get a stare-down from somebody making you think twice about your visit once they ask you, “Where you from, fool?”  A tingling goes down your back as you prepare for something that you weren’t intending to do before you made the visit – IT’S A FIGHT!!!


Chela Pineda, Mary Barajas, & Veronica Franco

Chela Pineda, Mary Barajas, & Veronica Franco

Just a simple phrase can say so much.  You’ll see what I mean even more in a little bit.

We had a great opportunity to visit the strawberry capital of America:  OXNARD, CA.  My late Father, Pastor Steve Pineda, grew up in Ventura County.  The Metropolis of Santa Paula to be exact…lol.  It’s no Metropolis.  I was just being facetious.  Anyways, he did a lot of “dirt” as they say in the city of Oxnard.  From robberies to shootings and even beyond that.  He even used to write for the Oxnard newspaper.  Oxnard wasn’t exactly known for it’s rolling, green hills or beautiful, ancient landmarks.  It was known for it’s gang violence and prideful ways.  But it has also been known for a few other things.  I’m going to give you a little “DID YOU KNOW” segment right here:


…according to the USDA, Oxnard is California’s largest strawberry producer, supplying about one-third of the State’s annual strawberry volume.

…the peak harvesting season in California runs from April through June, when up to 10 million pint baskets of strawberries are shipped daily.  

…the state of California supplies over 85 % of U.S. strawberries, with the U.S. supplying for a quarter of total world production of strawberries.


WOW!!!  That’s crazy.  Who would’ve thought such a small place could supply the world with such a large commodity?  I know I didn’t.  Until I did a little research.  I was able to spend a little time with the Senior Pastor of Victory Outreach Oxnard, Fernie Franco.  Pastor Fernie has such a heart and passion for the transformation of the city of Oxnard.  He even has an annual city-wide crusade called I LOVE MY CITY!  Wow!  Sounds passionate just typing it.  While so many people and politicians are looking at the negative, or even death, that the city brings, Pastor Fernie is loving his city to life.  I even spent some time with him at this BBQ spot called SMOKEY’S.  I felt like I was in heaven for about an hour or so.  Can’t wait til they bring one down this way.  It was the bombay!!!  Anyways, there’s also a few things I found that the city has produced over the years that have made an impact through home-grown Oxnardian’s (btw…I just made that up) all over the world.  Here are some people produced from Oxnard:

PSP & Fernando after VO service

PSP & Fernando after VO service

1.    Bobby Ayala: Former Major League Baseball Pitcher Graduated from Rio Mesa High School.

2.    Lorenzo Booker: Running back for the Philadelphia Eagles.

3.    Keary Colbert: Wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks; All time reception leader for USC Trojans; Graduated from Hueneme High School.

4.    Scott Fujita: NFL linebacker for the New Orleans Saints. Graduated from Rio Mesa High School

5.    Jim Hall: Race car driver; two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500.

6.   Corey Pavin: Professional golfer; successful career includes winning the 1995 U.S. Open. Graduated from Oxnard High School.

7.  Terry Pendleton 1991 MVP of Major League Baseball; graduated from Channel Islands High School.

8.   Fernando Vargas: 2-time light-middleweight boxing champion. Graduated from Channel Islands High School. (pictured on right)

9.  Dmitri Young of the Washington Nationals graduated from Rio Mesa High School.

10.  James Cameron: Three-time Academy Award-winning film director.  (Terminator, The Abyss, Titanic)


Chela Pineda & Martha Vargas (wife of Fernando Vargas)

Chela Pineda & Martha Vargas (wife of Fernando Vargas)


Now this is just a few of the names that have been able to make it from the city of Oxnard and make a difference in the world, respectively.  There have been many of men and women that have changed their lives around out of Oxnard for the honor and glory of God as well.  You see, when you travel the world and people ask you “Where are you from?”  You say your city and it speaks volumes with just one word.  God says in His Word that, “…He has chosen the foolish things of this world to confound the wise.”  This kind of reminds me of a scripture found in John 1:46 where it says, “Out of Nazareth? Can anything good come from there?”  Let me give you a little break down of the message I spoke at Victory Outreach Oxnard on Sunday, May 31 on a Sunday Morning:



I.   John 1:46

   a.    What good thing can come from Nazareth?

   b.    In the greek / GOOD THING – agathos – benefit

         1.    Something that promotes or enhances well-being; an advantage

         2.    Just like when you’re playing ball and then you call somebody on your team that’s not there.  Then the other team gets mad and wishes they had him.  AN ADVANTAGE.

         3.    There was no advantage when Philip said, “…of NAZARETH…”

   c.    What was so bad about NAZARETH?   Let’s do a little history lesson:

         1.    For one, this city didn’t point to the POWERFUL setting of the Messiah.

         2.    Nazareth was a small and insignificant village during the period of Jesus. While the site was settled during the period 600-900  BC, it was too small to be included in the list of settlements of the tribe of Zebulon (Joshua 19:10-16), which mentions twelve towns and six villages. Nazareth is not included among the 45 cities of the Galilee that were mentioned by Josephus (Jewish Historian), and her name is missing from the 63 towns in Galilee mentioned in the Talmud (rabbis discussions and commentaries on the Mishna’s laws).

         3.    It is needless to say that the people of Judea had never heard of Nazareth. And from this we understand the reason that Pontius Pilate decorates the cross with the sign “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” (John 19:19) – meaning that the “King of the Jews” is from “nowhere.”

         I personally know what that feeling is like.  Jesus being born in Bethlehem…..oh, yes.  Everyone knows Bethlehem.  I was born in Los Angeles……oh, yes.  Everyone knows Los Angeles.  But when I say, “I’m from Hayward.”  People stop and ask again about where I’m from.  I have to say, “Hayward.  In the Bay Area.  Next to Oakland.  San Francisco.”   Then people say, “Okay.  I know where that is.”

         Nazareth was a seeming insignificant place.  Nothing was originated from there and nothing will come from there.  Why would you even mention that city?  It has no IMPORTANCE.  But the Saviour of all the earth was regarded “from there.”  Nobody took any notice from a worthless little town.  Maybe you’re from a similar town or city.  You may think of yourself as insignificant.  But even the greatest person to ever walk this planet was advertised from a city of nothing.

         Much like the city of Oxnard.  Seemingly irrelevant.  But brings forth some of the most powerful fruit in the world.  And I’m not just talking strawberries.  This is what I mean:  It’s not about what has been accomplished through the eyes of man but through the eyes of Christ.  Some of the greatest men to make an impact in the World came from Oxnard:


From Oxnard to Asia

From Oxnard to Asia

1.    Pastor Larry Arreola (Brooklyn)

2.    Pastor Eddie Ramirez (Spanish Brooklyn)

3.    Pastor Sal Robledo (Indio)

4.    Pastor Bobby Herrera (Original Pastor in Oxnard)

5.    Pastor Fernie Franco (Oxnard)

6.    Pastor Richard “Tatie” Franco (pioneer Pastor to Denver, CO)

7.    Pastor Steve Pineda (Hayward, CA) (pictured right)


II.         What did these men have?

          a.    BURDEN

          b.    COMPASSION

                 1.    Greek – SPLAXNA / in English means SPLEEN.

                2.    Used for most vital organs, basically means something like “guts.”

                3.    SPLAXNA is the shakiness we feel in our guts when moved by contact with suffering.

                4.    Compassion is the love that most fully exploits the union of body and soul.


         JOHN 11 – When Lazarus died, Jesus stayed away from the family for two days.  Then he led his fearful disciples to Bethany.  Then Martha scolded Jesus and told him if he would have been there earlier, her brother wouldn’t have died (John 11:21 – 22).  Jesus responded to Martha theologically:  “Your brother will rise again.”  When Mary heard Jesus had come, she ran to him fell at his feet, weeping, and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

         Jesus responded to her differently.  The bible says in John 11:33 that “he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved.”


         Philip wanted Nathaneal to come and see (John 1:46).  There is something about COMPASSION when you go and SEE what needs to be seen.  When Jesus healed the leper, he was moved when he SAW the leper.  Jesus was moved when he SAW they were like sheep without a shepherd.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 5, 2009 9:56 pm

    Impressive post. Keep it up. My church (VONorthbrooklyn) is planning to send a girl over there in the fall.

  2. September 13, 2011 8:27 pm

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