Gary and Sandra. Weâ€™re missionaries with World Team, but now live in Canada. Our children are grown and married and live nearby. In a couple of months weâ€™ll be grandparents.
We began our ministry with World Team in September, 1986. It seems like a lifetime ago. Since then we have lived in Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Canada.
We came to World Team from a business background, but also a background in which we were deeply involved in growing a church, teaching and discipling people, leading and empowering others. Our business? Harley Davidson motorcycles.
Since the age of 13 I had known the Lord wanted me to be a missionary. When I proposed to Sandra I made sure she knew where I was headed, where we were going to be headed. I finished school studying business, economics, marketing and becoming at ease with accounting and computers. Then business for ten years, along with ten years of being mentored by a great pastor who helped me grow as a Christian. I taught, I discipled, I preached and I loved all of it. Then after a decade in a great church the Lord called. It was time. We had been missionaries to friends and neighbours, now it was time to find a mission agency.
Through a process of prayer the Lord led us rather pointedly to World Team. We joined a church planting apprenticeship led by Albert Ehmann, at that time Director of World Team Canada. We learned about church planting. We honed our skills in evangelism and discipleship. We took seminary courses. We learned how to lead and empower others. So many new things. Our mentor, a true man of God, also taught us the most important piece of the church planting puzzle. We had to be people of prayer who depend upon the Holy Spirit. Albert taught us to try just about anything as we planted a church, but the main thing he taught us was that prayer was the key to all of it, to all of church planting. We learned that nothing of lasting significance in the Kingdom of God occurs without prayer.
Our biggest challenge was our baby daughter, Christy. We were living in the Dominican Republic, she was a year and a half old and seriously ill, dying. A quick trip to Canada took us to a doctor on day one, a specialist on day two, a hospital on day three. Christy had cystic fibrosis. This changed everything. If she was to survive, she had to live in a developed country like Canada with a national health care system. All we had planned, all we had prepared for, everything changed in an instant.
Twenty-seven years after that diagnosis we are still with World Team. We planted a church among Latin Americans in Canada, we oversaw Cuba ministry from Canada, we became involved in administration and leadership of the Americas Area. God had a plan. He is using my education and experience in administration, business and strategic planning in my ministry in World Team. And we are still telling people about Jesus, still discipling and mentoring people. We are still active missionaries. God has us where He wants us. We prayed, God directed, He is glorified.
Christy? Married, sustained by the prayers of many, many people, and serving the Lord in her local church.
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