Summer Update #2!

Hey Friends & Family! Here’s another quick Summer update along with some prayer requests for those of you who are following our ministry. Thank you all so much for your prayer and for faithfully partnering with us!

Last week, I (Joel) got to go on my first youth retreat in a couple of years. It took some mental preparation to get back into “Youth Leader Mode,” as it’s been over 2 years now since I stepped away from being the church’s Jr. High Leader to being our Young Adults Leader. I was honored to lead worship for the majority of the trip and give a couple of teachings, one on God’s holiness and one on God’s mercy. What a blessing to see these students worshiping God with their whole hearts! One of my biggest takeaways was the effect that past retreats have had on these students. Youth retreats like this produce lasting fruit that many of them will look back on as spiritually defining moments in their lives, and that was what I was hearing from them on this retreat.


Of course, all of this awesome ministry I got to partake in comes along with other youth ministry shenanigans, like having them drench you with (thankfully, waterproof) paint! But I have to say that at the end of the day, I kind of miss that sort of thing, messy and exhausting as the games and running and chaos can be.

As I write this, tonight will be my first night of teaching via Skype in South Asia for nine straight weeks through the book of Joshua. I am really excited to jump back into this ministry! This is, however, a busy season for me since I also teach our Young Adults weekly (currently through the book of James), as well as leading a Life Group (our church’s home groups) and helping facilitate our September New Believers’ Class, on top of worship ministry. My plate is full, but I can always ask the Lord for a bigger one, and he’s faithful to do so 🙂

I am also planning on going to Israel in the Spring of next year with our church to further my education as a Bible teacher, as well as to scope out some potential ministry in an adjacent middle-eastern country. I’m glad my travel schedule is finally starting to shape up for 2019 after some previous plans fell through, and I’m planning to help lead a Peru trip for our youth and young adults next Summer as well!

On the home front, the family is doing great. Jude is happy as a clam as always (though we’re still working on getting the kid to walk!), Harrison just turned three and is doing great learning how to be more responsible in helping around the house (he loves the working vacuum cleaner we got him for his birthday!), and we are in the process of getting Maggie enrolled in a charter program to begin her “TK” schooling. Amy, as always, is an amazing mom, and somehow squeezes in the time to meet with some of our young adult girls to disciple them on occasion. I’m certainly a blessed man to have such a wonderful family!

Here are some prayer needs of ours:

  1. Please pray for our finances. Even with young kids, food for a family of five has been a big expense and we have been stretched. We are trusting God, and praying that He will somehow, even though it seems impossible to us, provide us with a house to rent so both our kids and our young adults group, who meet at our place, have some more wiggle room.
  2. Please pray for wisdom and strength for us as parents, especially for Amy who takes the brunt of things while I am working during the days and often have other ministry at nights. She is a fantastic mother and can use prayer to continue to be so!
  3. Please pray for the additional finances we will need for me to go on the Israel/Jordan trip (over $4,000) in Spring.
  4. Please pray for wisdom in managing my busy schedule, as I am teaching and leading groups quite a bit, and this also requires lots of study time for me on top of other responsibilities.

Thank you so much for your continued support and prayers, and please let us know if there is any way we can pray for you!

All the Best for His Glory!
Joel, Amy, Maggie, Harrison, and Jude

If you’d like to become a financial partner with us as Joel continues to work as a missionary with SGWM’s home office, please click the button below, OR you can mail a check written out to Saving Grace World Missions with “Joel Garcia support” in the memo section to Saving Grace World Missions, 17451 Bastanchury Rd., Suite 203, Yorba Linda, CA 92886-1873. Thank you all for your support and prayers!

Missionary Spotlight Article for the Record Family: Defending the Faith in a Foreign Land

One of my favorite aspects of my job is interviewing missionaries and writing up articles describing their ministries to get the word out about what SGWM’s missionaries are up to. I’ll post some of those here on my own blog from time to time to give an example of what I’m doing to help promote the work of SGWM and our missionaries. Here’s an article I wrote awhile back about the Record Family, who have the unique role of doing Christian Apologetics ministry in Cambodia. If you’d like to become a supporter of our ministry, please see below this article for some instruction on that.


“When I first heard about Christian Apologetics,” says Darryl Record, SGWM missionary in Cambodia, “my initial reaction was, ‘I’m not going to apologize for being a Christian!’ I had no idea what it meant.” I doubt that Darryl is alone in this experience, as we’ve been trained to view the word “apology” in a very specific light. But Darryl soon learned the true definition of apologetics, and he was hooked on the concept. Bruce Shelley, in his book Church History in Plain Language, says, “the word comes from Greek and means defense, such as a lawyer gives at a trial.” Darryl decided to commit the focus of his life to this defense of the faith, a journey that took him from not even knowing what the word meant to eventually receiving his MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola University.

The Record Family: Darryl and Kayo with their son Benjamin

But Darryl wasn’t content to remain in the states for his apologetics work, where information and resources already abound. Before receiving his degree from Biola, he had a breakthrough in his relationship with God in which he simply surrendered his all to Christ. He promised not to say “No” to whatever God may ask Him to do. So, God said, in effect, “Go to Cambodia.” After a short-term stint, Darryl returned home to finish his education, during which time he met his future wife Kayo, a first-generation Christian from Japan, who also felt a calling to missions. They married in 2004, went out back out on the field in 2007, and haven’t looked back since putting their hand to the plow.

Darryl noticed that while there were plenty of gospel resources in Cambodia, there was not much material regarding creationism or evidence for the truth of the Bible. But surely the Cambodian people struggled with the same existential questions that had plagued Darryl earlier in his own life, right? For Darryl personally, he says that at one point in his life there was a “gradual flow of evolution and Biblical criticism that was seeping into my worldview from my public school teachers and later university professors. Little by little my faith was eroded.” These problems are not exclusive to western culture. According to Darryl, the Theravada Buddhists of Cambodia “believe that everything came into existence by water, wind, earth, fire, time, and chance.” And evolution is pushed hard in schools there, just as it is in the U.S. So Darryl’s heart is to not only present the Gospel, but also to gently and respectfully help remove intellectual obstacles in the hearts of the unbelievers there.

Darryl with his Cambodia Bible Institute Apologetics Class

Typically when westerners think of apologetics, we conjure up images of men in suites with lots of letters attached to their names trying to win an argument. But Darryl knows that apologetics is not about winning debates. Especially in the Asian culture he lives in, the focus needs to be on relationship and community, so that is how he approaches his broad range of work in his field in Cambodia. Primarily, he teaches Christian apologetics at a Bible school there, but he has also authored and co-authored two bilingual Christian apologetics books, written scripts for Christian radio programs, and is currently working on an exciting project of producing short evangelistic/apologetics videos in Cambodian. In this wide array of activity, he has mastered how to defend the faith with the gentleness of Christ in the way the Cambodian culture receives it best.

Darryl talking apologetics on the radio

Darryl clearly has his hands full, but he also has a laser-like focus. When asked to sum up his ministry in one sentence, he simply quotes Ephesians 4:12 – “for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” Or, when put in his own terms, “We seek to equip local Christians to reach their own families and neighbors with confidence in the truth of God’s Word.” This is a vision that fits right in with SGWM’s: training nationals to reach their own people with the gospel in ways a westerner never could. And once he’s equipped nationals with the proper tools, they will be ready to, like Darryl, “give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have…. with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15)


If you’d like to become a financial partner with us, so that I can continue to work at promoting the work of SGWM and our missionaries through articles like this one and other means, please click the button below, OR you can mail a check written out to Saving Grace World Missions with “Joel Garcia support” in the memo section to Saving Grace World Missions, 17451 Bastanchury Rd., Suite 203, Yorba Linda, CA 92886-1873. Thank you all for your support and prayers!