In 1975, a Bible study group was started among Filipino members of Hillcrest Baptist Church. Julian Madriaga led the Bible study, which was held at the home of Gus and Ela Quezon at 114 Browning Way, Vallejo. As the Bible study group grew it began holding worship services on Sunday afternoons using the facilities of Hillcrest Baptist Church at Lighthouse Drive, Vallejo.
On January 25, 1981, the group organized as a church with “Vallejo International Baptist Church” as its official name. The congregation started meeting at the Veterans Building at Alabama Street, Vallejo. A month later, on February 15, 1981, the group formally called Julian Madriaga to be its first pastor. The church was incorporated as a religious non-profit organization on March 11, 1981.
For nine years the church met at different facilities until November 1990, when they were able to purchase the property at 123 Woodrow Avenue, Vallejo. The Lord blessed the ministry and the church grew to the point that a bigger place was needed for its worship services. This led to a return to the Hillcrest Baptist Church facilities in 2000, and the selling of the Woodrow property in 2002. Towards the end of 2003, growth in attendance was causing parking problems. Hence, the church was obliged to begin holding services in the afternoons. The church took this as a sign from God that it was time to move. In the first quarter of 2004, the church once again held morning worship services, this time, at the Bay Terrace Theater at 51 Daniels Avenue, Vallejo. Finally, in March of 2004, the Lord led the church to purchase its current facility. And on April 4, 2004, Vallejo International held its first worship service at 400 Admiral Callaghan Lane, Vallejo, its current location.
Vallejo International has known five pastors since its beginning up to the present: Julian Madriaga (1981-1989), Reymuel Betia (1989-1990), Sam Lazaro (1992), Noel Tiano (1993-1996), and Keith Jainga (1996 – present). The church has also formally called Associate Ministers like Raud De Silva (Christian Education Minister, 2002-2006) and Auden Dela Cruz (Youth Minister, 2003- present).
In 2001, the church began a two-year “refocusing” process that resulted in its current Corporate Calling Statement that defines its purpose and vision, with the words “Making Christ the central focus in people’s lives” as the summary statement of what the church is all about. This has helped the church to become more purposeful in fulfilling its mission.
Years went by and more indicators of purposefulness in fulfilling its mission were revealed. The church sent its first youth missionaries through World Changers to Vancouver, Canada, in 2004 and had been sending out short-term missionaries almost every year since then. In 2008 the church organized and sent out 13 volunteers on a short-term mission trip to Cambodia. That same year, increasing involvement in the Operation Christmas Child ministry of Samaritan’s Purse was seen. The church facility began serving as a regional drop-off center for Solano County, and the church has sent volunteers annually to one of the processing centers since then. Growth in giving even toward missions has also been remarkable. And currently, Vallejo International is seeing a surge in discipleship.
The journey of Vallejo International was not all smooth sailing. There were the occasional storms that blew across the path of the church. Twice in its history the church faced major crises that resulted in some members deciding to leave. No doubt these caused pain and heartache. Yet, such challenges also led Vallejo International to recognize and acknowledge its dependence upon the leadership, provision, and protection of the Lord. These challenges forced the church to consider deeply the things that really matter to God, and to make the choice to pursue the things of God.
Through all the years, one thing is certain. God was there. Just as the moments of triumph were real, so were the shadowed moments in the life of the church. There is no way Vallejo International could have survived or continued existing without God’s hand holding up the church.
Truly, God–our God–has been faithful!