A letter from Andres and Gloria Garcia in Equatorial Guinea
October 22, 2009
Dear Family and Friends in Jesus Christ:
Let us start these words with our warm greetings to you, our beloved ones in Christ. This time our greeting goes to you overflowing with thankfulness for your faithful support for our ministry in Equatorial Guinea for the last six years. Come November 30, our feet will no longer walk the dusty and muggy paths in this part of Africa, but the gentle footprints of God’s Spirit will remain as indelible signs on the sands of the beach that we stepped on when arriving here in 2004.
One-hundred and fifty-two years ago, five brave mission pioneers planted the seed of the gospel here. God made it to grow, and years later it became what now is the Presbyterian Church in Equatorial Guinea. Gloria and I live every hour of our days with gratitude toward God for His faithfulness granted in hours of blessings and days of despair. Equatorial Guinea isn’t an exception to the human drama in tropical Africa: the daily lives of citizens and aliens alike are characterized by material poverty and debasement of their inner soul.
No doubt our time in Equatorial Guinea has been a kind of “trial by fire” in which we have had the value of our hope in Christ and the power of prayer tested. Our assignment here has been tough. At times we felt discouraged and defeated, overwhelmed by illness, opposition to our work, institutional obstacles, corruption at every level of social organization and (perhaps worst and most difficult), the tricky sense of “African nationalism,” which both insists on its independence but is dependent on what developed nations provide.
We have observed that the typical posture of totalitarian systems is to hide their lack of legitimacy, and their mediocrity and inconsistency behind universal moral principles. Church leaders with weighty and serious responsibilities in their pastorates have narrow minds and do not reflect on the Bible and the Christian faith with the understanding and mature mind of an adult believer. It seems to us that in the minds of these church leaders, the gospel is a magical response to the human drama of physical and spiritual poverty mentioned above, and that the salvation in Christ is a reward from a miracle worker. God’s mission cannot abide this kind of falsification of Christ when it is so crucial for African Christians to break their reliance on magical spirits.
We shall leave Equatorial Guinea soon, but we leave behind a real ministry of hope. Hope is necessary to carry out the plan of Jesus Christ as Savior and Redeemer of humankind. Mission work also requires us all to work closely together so that evangelism and education focus on concrete initiatives for human advancement and the humanization of society. Mission work in must take place in collaboration with the national churches of Africa. It must be a tool to construct parishes dedicated to be places where hope is built up and shared.
Andres and Gloria Garcia
Note: Our home address after November 30 will be:
Andres and Gloria Garcia
c/o Dr. Ofir and Karina Garcia
1605 Ethic Lane
College Station, TX 77845
Andres and Gloria
The 2009 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 31