My father always said: “Jesus was born in a manger and I was born in a henhouse”. Born to Ramon Manriquez and Sarah Lujan Manriquez, they were the pioneers of a church when it was ready to give birth. A church member who didn’t have much donated an old chicken coop on his property and Grandpa was able to convert it into a space they would call home.
Soon after, the family moved to Santa Pala, California and then finally to Los Angeles where Grandma made many sacrifices to ensure that Pop and his 5 siblings had a good education and opportunities for a good life. It was in Los Angeles that he met our mother and they married in 1961. From that moment, they were known as “Sweet and Sweetheart”. Soon after, three sons: Raymond, David and Anthony. In 1967, my father moved us to San Bernardino, California, where my grandfather was pastor at Temple Siloe and Pop became his co-pastor. My father then attended the Latin American Bible Institute, Assemblies of God, where he received his ministerial license. Years later, he was asked to be an instructor for the extended courses offered in Banning, Calif., Through LABI.
My father had a deep love for the Word of God and recognized that he had a call to share the Love of Jesus Christ and how God can change their lives. He jumped at every opportunity to preach. He was 8 when he first preached on a children’s radio show in downtown Los Angles with LIFE Ministries. After graduating from Columbia Radio Broadcasting in 1971, he started his first radio program in Redlands, Calif., On public radio on Sunday mornings. It was then that her long-awaited princess was born and we received our little sister, Eileen.
Over the years, Pop would have many opportunities to preach the Word of God. Some were in places most of us wouldn’t like to go, but my dad went anyway. He said, “If God will allow me to go, I will go.” He was invited to preach in the harshest prison and small towns in Mexico alongside his father. In 1972, Pop was a pastor in San Bernardino, California. In 1976, my grandfather returned home to be with the Lord. Soon after, Pop was offered the post of pastor in San Jacinto, Calif. (New Life Chapel). Together, my parents were pastors there for over 7 years.
In 1985, Pop completed his AA as a valedictorian with an interest in phycology at Mt. San Jacinto Community College and subsequently obtained his Masters of Divinity from Bethel Bible College. With a love for education, Pop was excepted at the University of San Diego where he continued his studies. While in San Diego, he bonded with Pastor Vicente Montano and became his co-pastor at Zion Christian Center and co-host of the Diles TV show. This program has been performed throughout Central and North America, opening many doors for him to minister around the world. To name a few, Pop has preached in the Philippines, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Canada, El Salvador and many states in the United States. While on vacation in Israel, he was asked to lead communion with his tour group in the upper room, the same place where the Lord had his last supper. In San Diego, Pop had the privilege of meeting world-renowned evangelist George Otis, who owned a short-distance radio station in Los Angeles. Otis once again invited Pop to preach on the radio every week around the world.
In 1995, my parents moved to Palm Springs, California, where they were planning to retire. Pop was never able to sit still, so he agreed to help a local Salvation Army friend who was looking for help building their new community center. Soon after, Pop was drafted into the Salvation Army where he served as a responsible envoy for 10 years, with our mother still by his side. He worked hard to help raise over $ 5,000,000.00 to build a brand new church, and when its construction was completed, he felt ready to retire in Goodyear, Arizona. But…. Pop never learned to retire. He always found old friends and made new friends. When people realized that he was anointed to preach, he was always asked to help the pastor, teach and / or preach. He never missed an opportunity to share the pure gospel.
In 2019, Pop fell ill and ended up in hospital for the very first time. As a result, he ended up with only 20% of his heart function and his doctor told him he had to stop being a pastor. It was devastating for him because he had always said, “When I die, I want to die preaching and doing the Lord’s work or die in my sleep. Pop was determined to keep preaching, so he made FaceBook his platform and used social media to spread the gospel daily to people around the world he would never meet. Everyone who heard him loved him. And thousands of souls have been won into the Kingdom of Heaven because Pop made it his mission to never stop sharing the Gospel with anyone who would listen to it.
After he recovered, the Lord took him to the Tolleson Christion Center where he said to my mother: “It feels like home”. Pastor Fernando Jimenez and the church welcomed my parents with open arms. Understanding his limitations, the pastor included them in the church and watched them closely. As time went on and my dad got stronger, Pastor Fernando gave him a place of honor and involved him as much as Pop wanted.
We think that’s what kept my dad going for the past 2 years. It was here that Pop was able to fulfill his long desire to live and preach his last sermon on the last Sunday before his death. My family and I would like to thank Pastor Jimenez and the Tolleson Christian Center church family for welcoming our parents into your family and looking after them as a member of your family. Pop was incredibly blessed and returned to the Lord on his terms peacefully in his sleep on Saturday morning May 29, 2021.
Posted by Thompson Funeral Chapel June 5-6, 2021.