MEET OUR SPIRITUAL LEADERS
PASTOR ESDRAS T. CRUZ, SR.
Esdras T. Cruz was born in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico and moved to New York with his family at five years old. Upon graduating from high school, Esdras enlisted into the United States Army. It was during his military career that he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. In 1985, he met Linda Rogers in Giessen, Germany and on September 18, 1986, they were united in Holy Matrimony and to this union, they have three children; Montreal, Esdras Tito, Jr., and Charity Cruz.
In 1989, Esdras Cruz was ordained as a Deacon by Pastor Leroy Jones, House of Prayer, El Paso, Texas in the Arizona Jurisdiction, overseer Bishop Felton King. In 1992, Deacon Cruz was sent to White Sands, New Mexico where he served with Pastor Larry Green, in the establishment of New Life, Church of God in Christ. In 1998, Deacon Esdras T. Cruz completed two years of seminary school and was licensed as a minister by Pastor Tommy Williams at House of Prayer, Church of God in Christ, Ansbach, Germany Jurisdiction, overseer Bishop Carliss L. Moody. While in Germany, Minister Cruz attended, City College of Chicago and the University of Maryland, with an interest in criminal justice.
On December 30, 1999, Minister Cruz was sent back to El Paso, Texas to serve his last year in the military; the family moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, where they attended Sherman Memorial, Church of God in Christ, under Bishop C.E. Anderson, Sr. On July 15, 2000, after serving twenty-two years in the United States Army, Minister Cruz retired. In 2004, God launched Elder Cruz into pastoring and revealed to him the name of the church, New Heaven Ministry. On April 18, 2004, Esdras Cruz was officially installed as pastor under the auspices of the 2nd Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, Bishop Anderson.
During Pastor Cruz’s spiritual career he has assisted in establishing three churches from the ground up and is now currently the Pastor of New Honor and Praise. Heaven Community Church, COGIC in Charlotte, NC. God bless this awesome visionary and to God be the Glory.
FIRST LADY LINDA R. CRUZ
Dr. Linda R. Cruz an author and writer “A Journey through the Cave to the Palace” was born and destined to serve. As a child, she labored in the ministry with her parents and eight siblings. It was not until July 1986 that she truly experienced an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
She is married to Pastor Esdras T. Cruz, Sr. to this union they have four children Montrell, Esdras Jr, Charity and Madelynn. After attending seminary school and working in the vineyard, she was license in 1988 as a missionary and in 1990 she was licensed as an Evangelist. She ministered in foreign missions in orphanages and juvenile detention centers. Dr. Cruz has ministered as a motivational speaker across the world.
Dr. Cruz served with her husband in the United States Army. Dr. Cruz also served 3 years in the United States Army as a paralegal. In 1999 her husband retired from the military and God then led pastor to Charlotte, North Carolina where the family served under Bishop C.E. Anderson, Sr., for three years. In 2004 God called Pastor and Dr. Cruz into ministry. She continues to pastor alongside her husband Pastor Esdras T. Cruz, Sr., at New Heaven Community Church.
She earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Masters in Family and Consumer Science from New Mexico State University. She also earned a second Master’s of Science in Counseling and completed doctorate coursework in Educational Leadership at Grand Canyon University. She was also a North Carolina certified school teacher where she taught at Providence High School for over 10 years.
Dr. Cruz, is the founder of Learning for Living G.E.M.S. Academy (Growth, Emotional, Mental and Social). Through this nonprofit organization she established and implemented a “Life Career Development” program designed to serve adults ages 20 and over. Dr. Cruz also started an Adult Basic Education Outreach Program in partnership with CPCC where she implemented GED classes in four churches on the Westside of Charlotte, North Carolina. Many students received their GED through this program. She established a Christian Based Summer Camp Happy Haven FunFonics Learning Center an early reading program and a Tutorial and Mentoring Program “Helping Children to Succeed” in Partnership with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. Dr. Cruz was hired by the United States Army to do research, wrote a grant and built a teen center in Ansbach, Germany, designed to keep military children off the streets.
Finally, Dr. Cruz is the founder of Charlotte Choice Charter School where over 275 students k-5 was served in 2013-2014. She has written several curriculums for women and children and believes in “Developing People in Excellence”. She is dedicated to educating families and improving the quality of life through partnerships, collaboration and the gospel of Jesus Christ.