Relevents: Major Richard Lopez
Major Richard Lopez talks about serving in the US Navy, the importance of technology in ministries, and how God brought his wife Linda into his life.
My parents showed me the importance of hard work. My father was an engineer. Until the time of his death, he was always learning. Despite his problems with alcohol, he was an intelligent man. Even at his lowest point, he continued to provide for his family. But ultimately, he needed help. And my mother knew that she had to take charge. She found work and even though she started with little experience, she reached manager and supervisor positions. Both of my parents dealt with their obstacles and kept going. So whenever there are times in my life when I feel less than at 100 percent, I push through, because they did.
Computers have always been a part of my life. My dad and his four brothers were computer engineers. When they were together, they would tinker with a broken computer or a VCR, trying to get it to work. Today, I can put a computer tower together in about 8 minutes—up and running! Engineering probably would have been my path too, but I’ve been called to be an officer. I admire corps ministries that invest in technology. It attracts brilliant minds to the Army, and new hearts to Christ.
I’m proud of my children Richard, Marcos, and Christina. They are all involved in ministry. They know that their parents are called into officership, and they also have a calling to serve. They look for where their talents fit into the ministry. Christina, who is now a cadet in her second year, is amazing at video production. Richard is a great drummer and bandleader. And Marcos plays guitar and teaches younger soldiers.
In high school, I took a lot of extra credit courses and was able to graduate early. My father had served in the Navy. And so with my parents’ blessings, I also decided to join. I became an operation specialist, maintaining electronics on ships. I saw many parts of the world and went up in rank quite fast. By 19, I was in charge of an entire division. On my last day of service in the Navy, I cried. Serving my country was really the only thing I knew how to do.
When I was 16, I had prayed to the Lord that He would send someone for me. That person was actually this girl I had met when I was 8, and she was 6. Back then, she had thought I was serious and boring, and I had thought she was nosey and loud. Today, Linda is my wife and we’ve been married for 26 years. In our marriage, we have a saying, “At the end of the day, it’s you and me.” When our kids began their adult lives, we remained at home. And no matter how busy we are, we make time to just escape together—to a Philadelphia Eagles game or to just walk around the mall.
At one point, my DVD collection became a bit of an addiction. When I noticed I had run out of storage space, I sold most of them and gave the rest to my children. But I still love movies, and I’ve seen every Star Trek episode, old and new, several times. It’s a wonderful escape. I love sci–fi, especially when it touches on ethics and what it means to be human.
interview by Hugo Bravo