Joel Martinez – Youth Pastor
Hello, I’m Dr. Luauna, and what an honor to introduce Joel Martinez, as A Touch From Above’s Youth Pastor. He and his wife, Brizeida, 5 years ago, walked into a church service at our Prayer Mountain and gave their hearts to Jesus. Joel and Brizeida at the time had very little knowledge about Jesus, the Bible or salvation. They answered an altar call one Sunday morning, both Joel and Brizeida surrendered to Jesus. They were living together and didn’t know God’s Word is very clear, “That living together outside of marriage was wrong.” After a few services and sharing God’s Word with them, they made a right decision, and got married.
What a blessing watching them grow in the love and grace of God. Both of them are on fire for Jesus. The Holy Spirit has placed a burning desire and a hunger in Joel’s heart to learn the Word of God. Faithful to every service, growing strong in Prayer, Reading and studying God’s Word.
Today Joel is our Youth Pastor and a great leader at A Touch From Above. With a heart of gold to reach the youth throughout San Diego, California. Joel also leads the worship team, and is such a gifted song writer. Joel wrote his first song the first year, “Fired UP!” Joel is also a powerful Rap Artist. God has great plans for Joel and Brizeida, and I’m honored to have them as part of our team at A Touch From Above.
My name is Joel Martinez; I was born and raised in San Diego, CA. I attended Mira Mesa High School and graduated with a 3.35 grade point average. I tried so hard to get good grades but I didn’t want to seem like a nerd so I would goof around during my classes and they started to slip a little. I guess I just wanted to fit in with the cool kids. After high school I ended up attending San Diego State University.
When I got in SDSU, boy, was it different. I was trying to redefine who I was in college because during high school I didn’t really know who I was. I started to hang out with some fraternity guys and boy, it got crazy. I would go out and party a lot. I would drink, get high and chase after women. I guess you could say I was living the “college life,” but in reality I was empty. I started missing classes and my grades were dropping like crazy. I ended up on academic probation and having to leave the school.
I didn’t really know what I was going to do at that point, I was back again trying to figure out who I was and where was I going. I took a few classes at San Diego City Community College, meanwhile I tried to figure out where to go from there. I ended up deciding I wanted to pursue a new major in Music Engineering. I found a school in Hollywood that specialized in Music Engineering and would help its students land a job. I thought that would be perfect because at the time I was dating a girl who had to move back to Los Angeles. I decided to ask her if her parents would let me stay at their house while I went to school. They said yes as long as I worked and went to school. Then I got a job and started attending my classes.
I was really enjoying my classes but my relationship with my girlfriend was not going so good anymore. Like the saying goes you don’t really know someone until you move in with him or her. We started to drift apart and I started to hangout more with my co-workers than with my girlfriend. I ended up getting mad one time, I took another girl from work out for ice cream and just to hang out. My girlfriend found out about it and kicked me out of her mom’s house; again I had to figure where I was going and who I was.
I moved back to San Diego, I didn’t know where to go from there. I was mad that my relationship didn’t work, I was mad that I couldn’t go to school anymore and I was mad mostly at myself for being so dumb, but that didn’t stop my craving of lust for women. See I wasn’t really chasing after a girlfriend I was chasing after her body and having sex. I got back on the internet and Facebook and started looking for a new woman to mess around with.
I ended up coming across my wife, but at that the time. I really didn’t want a relationship with her just someone I could have on the side, but God had a different plan. We started hanging out more and more and one day while at my parents’ house they asked my wife a question she could not answer about going to heaven. See I started hearing this stuff at 17 years old but it never really stuck to me until my wife, who was my girlfriend at the time, decided we should check out this church. I gave my life to Jesus and ever since that day I have never been the same.
My name is Brizeida Martinez, and I’m a sinner saved by God’s grace.
Religion never got me any closer to Jesus. I grew up with hate, bitterness, heart brokenness. I never felt true peace or happiness. My friends always saw “happiness” in me that I could demonstrate with some acting. Like many, I was raised by a single, hardworking mother. She never left my side, but was only doing her best to raise 2 little girls at the age of 16, she doesn’t know what it means to be saved nor understands why God died on the cross. So I grew up believing it was okay to live the way I was living (drinking, partying, etc.). Until one night, my in laws witnessed to me about Jesus Christ.
I was intrigued by what they told me and said to me, “If I wasn’t right with God I would stay behind.” Honestly, I was SCARED. They asked if I would come to church with them. That following Sunday I stood in church, I felt everyone’s warm hugs and welcomed as if God was joyful. While I was in service, I was fighting the truth in my head. But then Pastor Luauna asked if we wanted to accept Jesus into our hearts, in my mind I was thinking, I never wanted to become a Christian. But it wasn’t up to me really… I felt God’s presence surrounding me and He helped me lift up my hand as He whispered in my ear, “It’s time.” At the same time, I felt my heart open and this bright light shine right through it. It was the most amazing feeling I ever felt. I cried and cried, God worked on me that day and I never plan on going back where I used to be.
Now I look back to all the people who spoke to me about God and I would blow them off, or tell them off. Or I think about the person who gave me a Bible on the streets, I never read it, it meant nothing to me. But now, I feel full, I feel happy, I feel like never before. God has made me new and for that I am thankful. Thank you Jesus for saving my soul!