They grew up in San Antonio, TX. I asked them how they met. Nina responded, “they’ve known each other all their lives.” In the Catholic tradition, their parents were compadres (God parents), even before Roger and Nina were born. So, even though they lived about 12 blocks apart and went to different schools, they celebrated each other’s birthday parties. Roger said he often pulled her pony tail at these parties. He was 5 years old and she 7. She, of course, did not like that.
When Roger was 18 years old, he was stabbed in the stomach in a knife fight at a party. He was in a coma when Nina’s mom insisted she go see Roger, even though she had a boyfriend at the time. She visited him in the hospital, kissed his forehead, and he woke up. He saw her and went back to sleep. When he went home about a week later, she went with her mom, who made her go, and visited him regularly while he was recuperating. After he was on his feet again, he started visiting her at her house. They fell in love after many talks.
He joined the US. Navy when he was 19 ½ years old. When he came home on his first leave, he and Nina got engaged. On another leave they got married. However, even though in the Navy, he had to get his mom’s signature so he could get married, because he was only 20 years old. In Texas you had to get permission to be married before the age of 21. It was a rainy night in San Marcos, and on their way to their honeymoon, he had a flat tire. He said that was the fastest flat he has ever fixed.
Roger had 3 brothers and a sister: Nina, 3 sisters and a brother. They have 2 boys and 3 grandsons, all of which participate in our Royal Rangers program.
In 1964, he and Nina moved to Los Angeles for work. In 1971 they moved to Tustin before moving to their current home in Santa Ana in 1989.
Roger had become a heavy drinker by the time he was invited to go to church in 1966 at Immanuel Christian Assembly in Los Angeles. That night he became a follower of Jesus Christ. Nina followed 3 months later. They were part of the breaking ground ceremony for the building of Westminster Christian Assembly in 1967, sponsored by Immanuel.
Roger and Nina already had their two sons, when he became a heavy drinker. He declared he would never stop drinking. It was a difficult time for Nina. Her friend told her how her husband stopped drinking because of becoming a follower of Jesus. They invited them to their house to eat. To Nina’s surprise, he agreed. The way that Frank, Nina’s friend’s husband, prayed for the food got Roger. Roger said he wished he could pray like that. Frank invited them to go to church with them, and Roger agreed. Went to Sunday morning and evening services. In the evening he was halfway to the pulpit when he realized what he was doing. He gave his life to the Lord. Three months later he was Baptized in the Holy Spirit. The changed Nina saw in him pulled her into relationship with the Lord.
Sadly, Roger started drinking again and backslid for 3 years. And Nina was ready to give up, but Pastor Carlson visited with them, and Nina started attending WCA. Roger’s boys told him they wanted him to go with them to church on a Tuesday night. That night, in 1974, he rededicated his life to the Lord and they have served Him and WCA faithfully for 43 years.
And, of course, there is more to their story…