Pastor Marti Souza cover for Showbiz
Pastor Marti Souza cover for Showbiz | Foto: Pastor Marti Souza cover for Showbiz

Pastor Marti Souza: God’s Ambassador

Por: Karen Limón

1, December, 2021 en Showbiz

A devout woman of God matched with a noble heart offering an act of service reflects Marti Souza who emanates the gift of humanity.

As a child, Marti who was the eldest of three girls and born and raised in Nicaragua dreamed of entertaining people by performing on stage as an actress, singer, or dancer. Her mother worked as an accountant while her father was a Regional Sales Manager for a large tech company. Marti was raised with lots of love and a Catholic upbringing. She spent most of her childhood in the water where she got to visit beaches, lakes, and rivers with her family and relatives. “Life was much simpler back then and people trusted one another,” she shares.

Marti attended a private Catholic school where she learned to speak English. Between the ages of five and seven years old, she encountered many visions and could hear God’s audible voice inside the school chapel. “During a talent show at school, my teacher requested that I read the Holy Bible in front of hundreds of parents. I can vividly picture that fateful day where I stood tall with conviction and that was the moment where I felt a strong connection with God,” she describes.

Due to the communist situation in Nicaragua, Marti and her family left their country in haste then migrated to America and settled in Fremont, CA. “We made it in the nick of time, fleeing the war. My father was being sought out to be killed and he could not return to the country because of his strong relationships with his political clients. We legally became residents and then citizens,” she confides.

Adjusting to a new culture and environment entailed some challenges for Marti, but her family foundation, good values, and discipline enabled her to conquer her battles knowing that great things happen to those who work hard. “I remember being racially bullied as a child while still learning English due to my Spanish accent. That’s when my parents decided to enroll me in karate school, drama, jazz, and ballet which kept me from being bullied and protected from my classmates. I achieved many gold medals in karate championships, loved school, and danced before a wide audience in recitals. I always knew that being on stage made me comfortable and I’m grateful to God and my parents who have taught me so much,” she relays.

Pastor Marti Souza photo for Showbiz
Pastor Marti Souza photo for Showbiz

Marti attended Impact School of Ministry in San Jose, CA, and graduated in 1999. While being trained in ministry, Marti also worked as a Clinical Research Associate in pharmaceutical companies throughout the years. Since then, Marti has served under many different pastors who cultivated her in public speaking and preaching the gospel. She has also undergone training in various schools which has granted her to provide counsel on a personal level and travel to different countries to help the poor. “I never knew I would be doing what I am doing now. I’ve always been that person where people would share their intimate problems and also took a couple of Psychology courses in college. Yet, I realized that I love helping people figure out their setbacks and comforting them so they can feel better. I have been involved in ministry for twenty-five years and my role as a pastor for twenty years,” she communicates.

When Marti was twenty-five years old, she experienced a spiritual awakening which served to be her turning point into the ministry. “I had a spiritual dream visitation from God in the middle of the night. Prior to this, I had stopped attending church altogether and had begun living my life without God. I married young, had two beautiful children, but my life was crumbling due to a divorce. I felt angry with God for allowing my marriage to dissolve. Therefore, I walked away from God and after a year of not walking spiritually, God decided to visit me in a powerful way that would prove to change my life,” she reveals.

“In this night dream visitation, He came and spoke audibly, requesting me to come back to Him, my first love, and encourage people from all walks of life and love them the way He does. He said, ‘I have given you a mighty voice that will influence many. Go and help restore the voices of those who have been broken by life. You will give them back their voice.’ My journey started that evening and I have been blessed by God to find the amazing spiritual leaders that trained, mentored, and believed in me to become a woman in ministry. I have mentored people who are heartbroken, undergoing depression, or feeling a sense of despair and helped them restore the joy in their lives, ” she adds.

God’s presence, unconditional love, and commitment have built a strong foundation for Marti who has witnessed first-hand God’s miracles in her life. “Life is never always fair, but God reminds me that He is a God that loves to bring change to those who want a transformation. He showed me his constant kindness, especially when I was a single mom with two kids and barely making ends meet. God would work behind the scenes to promote me in many ways which confirmed he always had my back. Even though I was alone, I never felt lonesome, since God surrounded me with great communities of people that cared for me and my children. There were always wonderful friends that supported me during my difficult times. He restored my life with a new marriage and a beautiful father to my children. We’ve been joyfully married for twenty years now. God’s love never fails!” She affirms.

On April 10, 2010, Marti and her husband, Jim founded Voice of Triumph Church and are Lead Pastors of their church located at Fremont, CA. They have an outreach ministry for the homeless called the V.O.T. Outreach where they reach out twice a month to provide necessities for people living on the streets. They also have an inner healing ministry called Heart-Sync which provides healing to those struggling with emotional stress or past traumas. Together they have adhered to their vision of witnessing everyone be encountered, transformed, and influenced by God. They have also emphasized their mission of living a transformed life since transformed people live for the transformation in others. “I believe my purpose is to champion, empower, and help people be the better version of themselves,” she voices out.

Pastor Marti Souza black and white photo for Showbiz
Pastor Marti Souza black and white photo for Showbiz

As a servant of God, Marti has utilized her voice to express His message in this fallen world. God has used her as an instrument to inspire, encourage, and motivate people. “If you want to be good at something in life and are being called for a specific mission, you will need to see how others have achieved a similar goal. Joyce Meyer, a preacher who is a bold and confident woman of God struck a chord in me and changed my life. Her global voice and influence have led people directly to God. Looking up to her as my hero, I found solace that I’m God’s messenger who motivates people. Like any good athlete, I’ve been praying, preparing, and equipping my voice to help others. God has given me the confidence, boldness as needed, and influence to be a blessing to people. My voice goes beyond the church as God has allowed me to speak spiritual direction to many different spheres of influence,” she conveys.

What makes Marti unique from other pastors is that she is a woman who doesn’t fit the stereotype churches. “I am different by the way He marked my call. As a female pastor, that alone challenges the traditional ministerial box. I have a gift from God that helps me unlock people’s gifts and calling, and can see, feel, and discern what people need in the moment or during their journey. With God’s help, I can call forth at times what’s been locked up in people’s life, unlock dormant abilities, heal the emotional and physical pain of individuals and families. I love speaking realness to this generation and don’t water down the words of God to keep people happy. There is a strong conviction in my heart to see God’s people enjoy life with Him by being free in who they are called to be. And take note, I preach in my high heels!” She smiles.

As a female pastor, Marti utilizes her platform to represent, protect, and heal women in many aspects. “Because of what I have been through as a woman in ministry, I don’t take for granted the platform God has given me to influence and guard His beautiful daughters. I use this position to remind women who they are, what they were created for, and why they were put on this Earth for. I empower women to have confidence, boldness, identity in Jesus and find their voice if it has been silenced. I celebrate women and give them what God has given me throughout my life journey. I consistently hold large national and international women gatherings for them to be blessed,” she states.

Marti is living a purpose-filled life equipped with love and blessings. Through her unique gift and leadership talent, Marti has been a channel of hope who cultivates and enriches people’s lives. “Since I was young, there has always been a natural leader inside of me and throughout the years, I have learned to sharpen this gift and use it to help others by leading them with wisdom, preciseness, patience, and mercy. My insight of providing God’s clarity into people’s situation is a gift of revelation from God to help speak wisdom and discernment for something that needs God’s direction, guidance, or counsel,” she expresses.

Marti’s favorite scripture that resonates in her heart, is found in Psalm 65:11 “You crown the year with Your goodness and your paths drip with abundance.” Marti believes if God crowns our whole year with goodness, then this sums up how God wants us to thrive through any situation and live in an abundance of goodness. “This doesn’t mean I don’t have bad days or hardship. I just live each year knowing that no matter what comes my way, God has crowned me with goodness,” she acknowledges.

Pastor Marti Souza photo by Gotti for Showbiz
Pastor Marti Souza photo by Gotti for Showbiz

With the current COVID-19 pandemic situation, many people are hurting and affected yet Marti always goes the extra mile to help people in need and enlighten them to never lose hope and have faith in God. “I have kept in much communications with our congregants through Zoom calls, personal counseling, and constant encouraging messages of hope that uplifts the human spirit through these dark days. I share messages that keep up with the latest current affairs to bring healing, hope, and understanding of God’s love through difficult times. Whether you are new or an existing congregant attending our church, you are going to feel blessed by our love, our welcoming atmosphere, and prayer for those needing encouragement,” she imparts.

The pandemic also brought a huge challenge to the congregation and members of the church, but through Marti’s faith in God, she was able to exercise her resilience and adaptability to change. “From publicly meeting and speaking to people regularly to addressing a virtual crowd proved to be challenging for me as a pastor. The human touch is the call of the pastor. It requires the physical touch of a hug or a pat on the shoulder. You can only go do so much during a virtual session and this led me to feel stale in my job. I had to transition to many virtual communication platforms, but I did my best to stay active by encouraging many people through Zoom and social media platforms. I was working more hours than I have ever worked in my life to keep our church open. Our media production jumped to a new level. What used to be a building bursting with character filled with life now had an unwelcome silence and empty pews. Preaching on Sunday mornings without people became so dark for me. I had to constantly encourage myself through the Lord, have faith, and reach out to others that were feeling the same disappointments. I have overcome a lot of the uncertainty and am stronger in my faith, since I know, no matter what continues to happen, God has a plan for all of us. I’m grateful that we now have a hybrid model of virtual and in-person service and there is life all around us again. I cherish every moment I have with God’s people and appreciate life so much more,” she says.

As a leader who encourages and uplifts people, the rewards are priceless, yet there may be times when Marti can feel weary and exhausted. Through the help of God, she always finds ways to fill her cup so she can continue to be a blessing to others. “There are days where my body cannot keep up with my spirit—my spirit wants to accomplish more than my body can match. During a burnout season, I’ve had to retrieve, delegate, and travel to a location for a couple of days or weeks so I can reconnect with my passions and recharge my energy. Being in the ministry for quite some time has allowed me to recognize the signs. I evaluate what needs to change and reset goals. Each time I feel burned out, it’s always been a certain priority out of alignment that needs an adjustment and a reboot of self. Self-care and being alone with God is how I fill my cup. There are three areas where I have to keep intact for constant proper health to keep doing what I love doing. I pray daily for my spirit, take time to love myself, which are my emotional needs, and I take care of my body by exercising, eating healthy, getting good sleep, indulging in body massages, and hanging out with friends who love to encourage me. I surround myself with motivators and leaders that I trust to have them correct any area of my blind spots. My husband is my number one supporter who champions me to do what I do,” she narrates.

Marti and her husband are beach lovers who are fond of traveling around the world. “I love the ocean, pools, and discovering new places to eat. I am a fashionista who uncovers fashion in everything I do. I search for good deals at boutiques, stop once in a while at a garage sale, and purchase souvenirs from the places I visit,” she says. As a husband and wife team, they find ways to maintain a healthy work/life balance. “I would say it’s easier now since our three young adult children have moved out from our home and that makes us empty nesters. Jim and I go on weekly Friday date nights and have learned to turn off our cellphones. Throughout the years, we have developed practical boundaries that keep others from violating specific personal time with our children or each other. We also leave work at work. There may be occasions wherein an emergency arises, but we both know that comes with the call of being a leader of the church. To live a balanced life in ministry requires knowing your boundaries and duplicating a team that represents you,” she indicates.

Marti has received an Honorary Doctorate in Humanitarian. As she evolves in her journey, she hopes to spend more wonderful memories with her family and loved ones and leave a significant legacy to many generations to come. She encourages people to follow their dreams and never give up. Marti is currently writing a book about her personal life and how God has helped her overcome many obstacles. “I want to give the readers a piece of what God has given me, to carry a powerful voice of authority, and provide love for this generation. This book will influence readers to go deeper in their relationship with God, discover the profoundness in their identity, and become familiar with His voice. I hope someday they will be impacted by my book, the stories of my adventures, and the transparency of my human side,” she summarizes.

Marti concludes her story with nuggets of wisdom. “Keep chipping at the iceberg in front of you because God purposely put it there so you can keep build muscles in your character. The ceiling that I have worked hard to reach in this life will now be your floor to build upon. I am truly grateful for being able to do what I was created for. There are no regrets about being who I am and what I do. A life without regrets is your happy place on steroids!”

In her quest for meaning, God molded Marti’s life so she could fulfill her true calling to serve, love, and transform each and everyone she crosses paths with. Her insightful conviction, righteous heart, and benevolent spirit have touched the lives of many people. Marti Souza is God’s ambassador.

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Photographer: VINCENT GOTTI @vinniegotti