Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | July 17, 2011

On Returning Home

As much as I enjoy leading teams to serve around the world, there is nothing quite as good as returning home. In a post entitled “Living with Risk,” I wrote: For years, I have lived with the sobering realization that the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20) says, “Go” — but says nothing about returning. While I am not comfortable with that thought, I have accepted it because I am committed to something bigger than myself — something worth living and dying for. For me, God’s purposes are worth the risk; even if that means that someday I don’t make it home. Perhaps that is one reason why I enjoy every homecoming. However, this most recent homecoming from Kolkata was different from the previous sixty homecomings from various locations around the globe for two reasons. First, because my youngest daughter Gina was not here to greet me and, second, because my son Jonathan is also away.

In the early years of travel, Cheryl and our three kids would accompany me and my teams to our departure gate at the airport to say goodbye. And, they would also be at the gate to meet us when we returned home. That was in pre-9/11 years. Today’s airport security protocol does not allow anyone without a ticket beyond the security area. So now we say our goodbyes and welcome homes at the curb in front of the terminal building. Through the years my kids have made all kinds of Welcome Home banners and prepared special meals and all kinds of fun stuff. Years ago Gina made a banner that I had framed and that hangs on the wall above my desk at home. It is a sweet little reminder of how blessed I am to have folks at home who are glad that I made it back safely. And now, Gina is away for the next five and a half months, living and serving in (undisclosed location) in Southeast Asia and my son Jonathan is serving with our team in Tanzania.

Niki, Jonathan, and Gina have all traveled with me in the past. But now, my kids are venturing out on their own and it’s my turn to meet them at the airport to welcome them home. Gina called me this morning before I stepped into the pulpit to preach to wish me well and to tell me about her worship experience in Asia. After church, Jonathan called me from Tanzania to tell me that he had been teaching in Tanzania at the same time that I was preaching at Kingsland. “Pretty cool,” he said. I agreed. It is indeed pretty cool to see God at work in the lives of my kids. We are just an imperfect family committed to each other and grateful for the opportunities God has given us to serve Him. Cheryl and I are really glad to see God using our kids to help advance His purposes.

So, returning home from Kolkata this past Friday was a little different. But that’s ok. I look forward to welcoming my kids home in the days and months to come. I have a Countdown App on my iPad that is marking the months, days, hours, and minutes to their return. That’s also pretty cool. It reminds me that while my kids are away I need to continue supporting them in prayer and with encouraging texts and emails and Skype calls until the day I meet them at the airport to welcome them home.


  1. Very cool indeed…

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