A letter from Andres and Gloria Garcia in Equatorial Guinea
June 25, 2009
Dear Friends and Family in Christ,
We send greetings in the glorious name of the Lord Jesus Christ. To Him we lift our hearts in prayer that the overwhelming grace of God may overflow in tenderness and care upon you all. The aim in this letter — besides sharing personal and family news — is to share some of our deepest concerns about the difficult challenges that God’s mission faces in Equatorial Guinea. We’re scared to death to talk about this, but wise prayer and contextualized mission require us to tell this hard and possibly unexpected story.
First, we would like to express our gratitude for your faithful support for us through your prayers and gifts, which keep the world mission endeavors of the PC(USA) going. It is unthinkable that our service to God abroad would survive without the tasks of mission that you take on at home. Thank you so much for what you do.
Our family has been blessed with the good news that our son Ofir and his wife Karina were granted permanent resident status in the United States last month. We have no words to express how blessed we feel to see our children’s plans successfully achieved.
No doubt our daily prayers are answered and through many ways your prayers on behalf of us are answered too. Access to medical care and clean food are crucial for survival in this country, but these things are available only for highly placed government bureaucrats and people who can afford to travel to France or Spain. Many people here die without knowing the cause. Their lives end in the hands of witch doctors and quacks. To enjoy health here is truly a blessing from heaven.
Our work continues to progress in small though perceptible increments. These days we are pushing hard to put in place a process for assessment and to place put the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Equatorial Guinea on track to make a work plan. The process is feasible even though its implications are complex.
We think that to do mission in Christ’s way in Equatorial Guinea requires that African imagination and creativity be let loose to overcome a church culture based on permanent improvisation, crisis management and the sense of worthlessness and inconsistency of pastoral actions. It seems to be a problem of institutional organization and the inability to envision a better future for the church. People here — including the church — are confronting the challenges of globalization without a clear idea of what role they should play. They seem to have no vision of how Christians can influence society to fulfill the expectations and hopes of the people.
People here simply must free themselves of their sense of insignificance and worthlessness. They don’t seem to realize that, being free persons in Christ, they are called to act for the salvation of all humankind. Well-informed African scholars have called the attention of Christians, politicians and governments to the need for radical change. There is no future for the vast majority of African people unless the phenomenon of massive dehumanization is addressed. Everyone involved in God’s mission here must fight the socioeconomic and political mechanisms that keep the collective imagination in a cage. To combat this evil we need to relieve the distress, helplessness and suffering of people trapped by belief in sorcery and witchcraft. The sterile institutions and social structures offer no help.
We think that the task of evangelization here means organizing and teaching the people of God to face the crucial problems that plague their lives every day. Christ cannot be presented apart from a strategy to exorcise the damaging effects of the evil system on individuals and the entire society.
We ask your prayers for the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Equatorial Guinea, its mission today and its mission in the years to come.
Andres and Gloria
The 2009 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 31