Four years ago, among heart felt goodbyes and tears, Anza Valley Christian students and staff said farewell to a very favorite couple, Matt and Julie Nevills. Both attended Anza Baptist Church; Julie Nevills had been the first higher learning teacher at AVC and Matt Nevills volunteering there as well. Both had poured their hearts and lives into their work and students while at night they attended classes at California Baptist University in Riverside looking toward the future. The couple graduated from Cal Baptist in 2012.
Matt moved into the area in 1986 when he was only 5-years-old with his family. He attended Hamilton schools all the way through K-12, graduating from Hamilton High School in 2000. Matt’s mother, Deborah Nevills, was the Attendance Secretary at Hamilton High School (she recently retired). Matt, at 22, made a commitment to Jesus Christ. At that time, he felt compelled to become a pastor. Matt thought perhaps all young men feel this way after making such a commitment and he kept it a secret.
Julie grew up in Wildomar. Her parents owned property in Anza where they often camped on the weekends. Her mother, Tina Canchola, also worked at Hamilton High School as the ABS Secretary. Julie moved to the area in 2004 and began to work at the Anza Valley Christian School in 2005. Julie had made her commitment to Jesus Christ as a child of 5. In her 20s Julie remembers a time when she sat looking out the window at the beautiful Anza valley below. That familiar still small voice said to her, “This is your Mission Field.” Julie hid that thought in her heart, questioning how this would be possible.
Through their mothers and mutual acquaintances, Matt and Julie found each other, fell in love and got married July 19, 2008. Matt’s and Julie’s moms knew each other from work and when the couple were older purposely introduced them and that cinched the beginning of their courtship toward marriage. For both, now as a couple they continued to grow together in their walk with Christ and in their calling to serve Him. Their paths have merged and they are becoming clearer and clearer; it is exciting, they both said, to see how God is working things out.
After graduation from California Baptist, the couple had moved to Kentucky so Matt could attend the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Pastor wife classes were offered to wives of students who were married so Julie attended them while there.
Now, four years later, the Nevills have returned home to Anza; the place they love and call home. Coming home with them June 1 of last year was their 4-month-old daughter, Eliana.
Matt is now in an intern program through Southern Baptist, serving as an intern pastor at Anza Baptist Church. Julie is a stay at home mom and involved with AVC. Last year she directed the Annual Christmas Play and helps wherever she is needed.
With his retirement in sight for, Pastor Bob Reece, Anza Baptist’s senior pastor of 31 years, through much prayer, chose the couple to fill his and his wife’s shoes after Matt’s one year internship ends in June. The end goal is for Matt is to become senior pastor which will be put to a vote of the church membership after the end of Matt’s internship.
The couple are a good match, Matt has a servant’s heart, he is observant, sensitive and open to personal growth and change. Julie also has a servant’s heart, loves a challenge, has that can do take charge spirit, and yet she knows how to follow. Both have prepared themselves for the roles as pastor and pastor’s wife, both deeply love the Lord Jesus Christ and continually turn to Him for wisdom involving their service for Him.
For now, the couple are following their hearts, listening to the Lord, learning, growing, taking their peace and moving forward. Both feel very blessed to be here in Anza, back home.