Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | July 2, 2011

Letting Gina Go

Gina, my youngest daughter, turned twenty last month. On Monday, she will board a flight to Asia where she will live and serve for the next six months. She loves people and she loves the nations, so it came as no surprise to our family when she asked about taking a semester off to travel and serve abroad. And honestly, we could not say no. We have to let Gina go. We know her heart and have seen God at work in her life, leading her to this decision for this time.

Gina’s journey started when she was a preschooler serving the poor with our family in Houston’s Fourth Ward. Over the past six years she has worked beside me on more than one hundred of our local Saturday service initiatives and has developed a great set of skills along the way. In addition to being comfortable around people of all ages and races, she can hang sheetrock, tape and float, texture walls, handle power tools, and more. She will make someone a great wife someday!

At the Great Wall.

Gina’s first international trip was to China and Mongolia where I had the opportunity to watch her interact with Mongolian orphans under the care of our friends Jerry and Susan Smith. She was definitely in her element and had a great time with the kids. More than that, Gina and I had lots of time to talk about the nations, about travel, and about the importance of being Jesus with skin on by compassionately and unconditionally loving and serving others. I sensed at that time that God was at work, quietly whispering to her heart about the beauty of serving Him among the nations.

Gina and I also traveled together to the African bush in southwestern Tanzania. Our team slept in tents, cooked over an open fire, and visited people in the surrounding villages. We shared Bible stories with those who had never heard the message about Jesus and had the opportunity to see many come to faith in Christ. Once again, it was evident to me that God was at work in Gina’s heart, speaking to her about the nations. And, in conditions that were a bit challenging, it was good to see Gina so comfortable and at home in an uncomfortable place.

In the African bush. | Tanzania

A couple of years ago Gina was seeking God about direction for her life. She came to me one day and announced that she was going to fast for forty days to seek God’s face. Because I have previously fasted for extended periods, Gina asked me for my advice. I talked to her about what to expect both physically and spiritually. To her credit, she followed through and completed her fast. I posted her reflections in a post entitled Gina’s Forty-Day Fast. Once again, this was yet one more unwitting step toward the decision to serve abroad for six months.

In retrospect, Gina’s journey to Asia started when she was a preschooler. That’s really when she took her first steps in that direction. Cheryl and I had no idea how God would use years of serving others to influence our kids. We have always hoped that, regardless of their vocation, our kids will love God and serve people in need. Our family is not perfect, but our kids do have compassionate hearts. Our oldest daughter Niki has my beautiful mother’s tender heart for serving the elderly and our son Jonathan (who leaves for Tanzania next Saturday) has no fear of embracing the least of these. As a family we are proud of Gina and look forward to how God will use this experience to draw her closer to Him as she lives far away from home for the next six months.

Note | Gina has started a blog entitled Domine Ivimus (Lord, We Went). Because of the nature of her assignment and security considerations, she will have to paint with broad strokes. I leave for India on Monday with a team of 40+ high school graduates and sponsors. We will serve at Mother Teresa’s homes, at a slum school we support, and at the aftercare home we fund for girls rescued from sex trafficking.


  1. Thank you daddy. I love you.

  2. Gina is such a beautiful young lady with such a heart and passion for Christ. She is such a blessing to all she comes in contact with. I will be praying for her while she is in Asia.
    I am also praying for you and your team as you are in India.

  3. Safari Njeema: Dada Gina!!!
    Christ is in you the hope of glory (Col. 1:27)

  4. Isaiah 6:8.

  5. Gina, we are excited that you are responding to the call to go to the nations and make disciples. We will be praying you have a great experience and that God gives you the patience and perseverance to walk in faith through all the things He allows to come your way. Can’t wait to hear all about it when you return. Keep in touch and we will be checking your blog!

  6. Go and be blessed. Spend yourself completely on these people….what a great investment! Proud of you!

  7. Gina – you are such a great example about following God even when He calls you to do something different from what “everyone else is doing”. I know that this will be an adventure of a lifetime for you and that people will be blessed because of the time that you will spend with them. The Potts family will be praying for you while you are gone and we are so excited to hear how God will use you! Way to be an example of the next generation “Going Beyond”!

  8. Gina,

    I am so proud of you for answering Gods call to go to the nations and proclaim His name. You will be so awesome over there. I look forward to reading about all your great adventures on your blog. I will probably stop reading your father’s because yours will be so much better 🙂

    I will pray for you daily.

    Your favorite comedian

  9. Gina,
    We send you off with prayer and much love. We are confident God has some amazing days ahead for you. One thing for sure – He will meet you there. You were made for this.

  10. Gina, I cannot believe you are 20! My, my, where did time go? Well, I cannot tell you how proud I am of your decision to serve God in this way – a HUGE WAY. You are sacrificing so much to answer your call which indicates how much you love Jesus. It is apparent that you have prepared yourself for this, first seeking God’s will. Your 40 day fast is impressive by itself, but the reasons for this sacrifice, to truly want God to direct your steps, even at a calling that takes you to the other side of the world, tells us all that YOU ARE DOING EXACTLY WHAT YOU WERE CALLED BY GOD TO DO! Oh, how I can’t wait to see what He does in and through you. I can’t wait to see the “great and might things” He has planned for you AND for those who are the recipients of your ministry. How many lives will God change because of His sending you there? “Exceeding abundantly more than we can imagine.” We are so proud of you Girl. Way to go Gina! Jay Lowe

  11. Gina, after visiting with you last Thursday, I am so pleased to hear your positive godly attitude and look forward to hearing about your interaction with all those you come in contact. Also, we will want to pray for Mom and Dad. It is hard to let a child venture into the read world. Enjoy your six months.

  12. Gina,
    The Pullin’s are so proud of you and will be praying for you every day. God has already used you in great ways, but I am so looking forward to how He will use you to further His kingdom around the world. We will be praying that you have ears to hear God’s direction, eyes to see those who need His love, perservance to press on during times of weariness, and strength to withstand the enemies attacks. Most of all, we will pray for joy as you join God in His work. We will miss you! Your favorite comedian will save up all his jokes for you!
    Love, Leah, Lee, Hudson, and Grace

  13. Gina,
    Having worked beside you for 3 years on several initiatives, I have no doubt about
    your capabilities to serve others with abandon. I will miss you my sweet girl.

  14. Hey Geener McMeaner….

    I am so excited for you and for this amazing adventure you are about to go on. It has been so fun to watch you grow up over the years as you have transformed from a goofy kid to an incredible young woman. Your joy, sense of humor, and practical view of life will serve you well on this journey. It is a joy to call you friend, and I can’t wait to see what the Lord is going to do through you over the next six months. “May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be held blameless at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The One who has called you is faithful, and He will do it.” 1 Thes 5:23-24

    Have the time of your life!!!

  15. Gina,
    I am so excited for this adventure in your life. You will be missed here at Kingsland, but I know that God has good things in store for you in Asia.
    I pray that you will impact others greatly! (I know you will). May God show himself in a greater way to you. The Kennedy family loves you!!
    Alex and Christy

  16. Gina,
    We can’t wait to hear how God is using you to minister and share the gospel. We’ll stay updated, read your blogs and pray. May God bless you and show you favor, may He be your stregnth and may He sustain you. I pray you find much joy in your assignments!
    The Isenbergers

  17. Gina,

    It’s always been a blast to serve with you whether in the Third Ward or wherever. Thanks for helping Christine this summer with discipling teenage girls and pouring into them. I am so excited for you and I look forward to seeing how God will use you. As someone taught me when we were on the mission field remember to keep putting God first and spending time with Him. I’m looking forward to having our family keep you lifted up in prayer and seeing how God uses you. You are a true blessing!

  18. Gina,

    I’m not surprised by your decision to go to the nations. Having watched you interact with the people of Tanzania, especially the children, I was able to see the love that you expressed to everyone you came in contact with. We will pray for you knowing that you will truly be “Jesus with skin on” wherever God leads you. May God bless you and keep you!

  19. you are both so inspiring. we are blessed to have shared a piece of both of you and we love you both so much. thank you for serving and showing us all a picture of jesus love and what a father-daughter relationship can look like.

    • Thanks, Josh. Gina and I have so many special memories of serving with you and Amy at Alpha House. We love you and your family.

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