On Sunday, March 12, Candlewood Church will add three pastors to its pastoral team in Omaha. Get to know the three men who will help lead our church.
Steve grew up in Omaha and accepted Christ as his savior in junior high, but he drifted from his faith in college. He met Erika, at Don and Millie’s of all places, his freshman year at UNL. Fortunately, God became a part of their story. Erika came to know Jesus at 22, and Steve returned to the church and began to re-engage with knowing Christ and making Him known. Steve and Erika have been married for 15 years, and they have been, the often exhausted but mostly excited, parents of five children – Benjamin (11), Elliott (8), Titus (7), Timothy (7), and Dena (5).
After they both found jobs in Omaha, they moved from Lincoln and began looking for a church to call home. Upon visiting Candlewood for the first time, they felt instantly at home and began integrating into the church, primarily through Small Group. It was then that they really began to understand what being a disciple of Christ meant and how to live a life in service to Him. The example of those a few steps ahead of them has continually encouraged them and provided a path for their own walk to progress.
Steve and Erika have served as Small Group and Candlewood Kids leaders. They also help with the administrative responsibilities of the church. Currently, Steve and Erika serve as Home Group coaches and really enjoy the opportunity to build a community with all of the different life stages represented at Candlewood. While they still can’t believe they are the oldest couple in their Home Group, they do enjoy the chance to point others to Jesus, providing some of the wisdom learned along the way.
Xavier Rodriguez moved from Leon, Mexico to Omaha in the fall of 2007 to study at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO). Jessica, now his wife, was the first person he met on campus. She was involved in The Rock, a student ministry of Candlewood Church, which Xavier soon joined as well.
It was with The Rock that Xavier experienced the unconditional love of God. In the same way that he didn’t need to “prove his worth” before being loved by his new friends, Xavier came to understand that even though he didn’t deserve it, Jesus loved him and chose to die on the cross to pay for his sins. In thankfulness, Xavier decided to live for Jesus for the rest of his life.
After graduating from UNO and serving with Candlewood’s Young Professionals ministry, Xavier and Jessica married in February of 2012. Then in 2013, Xavier returned to school for an MBA and went on staff part-time with Candlewood, again helping with The Rock on campus. It was during this time that their two children, Ezekiel (2) and Wilder (1), were born. Upon graduation in 2015, Xavier transitioned out of staff with Candlewood and began working at First National Bank.
Xavier has been a servant leader at Candlewood over the years, including with Small Groups, Home Groups, the music ministry, and with the Setup and Media Ministry Teams.
Trevor Van Schooneveld
Trevor was raised in a Christian home and understood the gospel at an early age, but it took until sixth grade for his heart to grasp that God’s gift of salvation could just be accepted, and that one didn’t have to ask Jesus to come into your heart in just the right way. That realization brought peace to his heart and mind, but it took until mid-college and becoming involved with the Great Commission church in Fort Collins, Colorado for him to really understand what it meant to give his whole life to God.
In 1999, Trevor and Dynell moved to Omaha not planning to stay longer than they had to, but they decided they would commit to serving at Candlewood Church in any way possible until God chose to send them somewhere else.
Over the last 17 years, Trevor has had the opportunity to serve the church as a deacon, Small Group leader, Home Group leader, helping with setup and sound, and leading the Sunday School and nursery ministry team.
After medical school, Trevor completed his internal medicine residency at the University Of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), which was followed by infectious disease training at Creighton University. Trevor is currently an Associate Professor of Infectious Diseases at UNMC where he has worked for the last 7 years. His job involves a mix of caring for patients, training students and physicians, improving hospital care, and research. Trevor and Dynell have been blessed with 5 children: Kara (14), Bethany (12), Abigail (9), Seth (7), and Caleb (5).
Help us in welcoming Steve, Xavier, and Trevor as a part of your pastoral team.