Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | April 30, 2012

When We Can’t Be There

Last July, just one month after her twentieth birthday, our youngest daughter embarked on a great adventure. Gina boarded a flight from Houston to Kuala Lumpur for a six-month assignment of making connections with university students. Within weeks of her arrival, her six-month assignment became a one-year assignment. Cheryl and I knew that Gina would face challenges that would help her to grow in so many ways — and we have seen that growth. We also understood that there might be occasions when we would want to be with her to offer coaching or comfort, something that we have been able to do through Skype. However, when we received a phone call from Malaysia a little after 2:00 AM today, we wanted to do more than Skype with our daughter, we wanted to be with her. One of Gina’s teammates called to tell us that she had been admitted to the hospital with severe abdominal pain. Tests indicated that she either had an inflamed appendix or a ruptured ovarian cyst.

This was the kind of moment that we had hoped we would not have to face when we waved good-bye to Gina months ago. Our first response was to pray for our daughter. Over the next couple of hours we exchanged several more phone calls until Gina called to tell us that she was about to go into surgery. We prayed with Gina over the phone and then hung up, knowing that the only thing we could do was to entrust her into God’s care — a reminder that Gina’s great adventure was also an opportunity for us to grow as parents. We knew that although we could not be with Gina, we could rest in the assurance that the distance that separates us from her is not a factor with our Heavenly Father. He is capable of being where we cannot be and doing what we cannot do in order to care for our loved ones. And, we are grateful that Gina experienced His comfort through the presence of fellow Christ-followers who were at her bedside.

No matter where I go in the world, I always feel at home when I am with other Christ-followers. Over the years that I have traveled around the globe, I have been the beneficiary of the hospitality, generosity, and kindness of so many members of the family of God. And now that my daughter is hospitalized half-way around the world, she too has experienced the kindness and concern of other Christ-followers who are at her side. Although we can’t be with Gina, we are comforted by the fact that God has led others to embrace her, watch over her, and to assist her. God has reminded us that when we can’t be there, He is always there doing what we cannot do through the presence and kindness of other members of the family of faith. For that we are deeply grateful. Gina is out of surgery now. The doctors removed her appendix (and showed it to her). Thanks to each of you who prayed for Gina and for those of you who were at her bedside. You have blessed our family.


  1. So sorry to hear about Gina but glad to know the surgery went well. You must be so proud of the brave young woman you’ve raised. My prayers are with you all.

    • Thanks, Kim. She came through surgery just fine. We are very grateful to the Lord and to the good folks who stood by her.

  2. I can’t believe that little Gina that was here with us in Irving is now on mission in Kuala Lumpur. God bless her. She definitley takes after her father who has a heart for the world. I have just now found out about your blog and will keep up with you and pray for you and your family. Pat Walker

    • Hey, Pat. Great to hear from you. Yes, Gina is grown up and on the other side of the world now. You can follow her blog at Please give my regards to the great folks at PPBC.

  3. Praise the Lord she came through the Operation without any problems.
    God Bless you & Gina

    • Thanks, Paul and Sarah. Always good to hear from you.

  4. So glad the surgery went well. I will prayer for Gina to have a swift recovery, and her parents to rest in His comfort.

    • Thanks, Stephanie. We spoke to Gina again this morning and she sounded really good.

  5. For he has said, ‘I will never leave you, nor forsake you,’ so that we may boldly say, ‘The Lord is my helper,…..Praying for Gina & your family.

    • Thanks so much, Veronica. We appreciate your prayers and those of our friends in Uganda.

  6. Praise the LORD! For she was able to go through the operation courageously knowing that she is always not alone !! For He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, ………….




  8. I am sure that Daddy’s girl, Gina, wishes she could get a hug from you. But, PRAISE God the provider for his great care for her. Praying for total recovery and return to ministry and helping hands all around Gina. Also, I’ll be praying your Sabbatical (don’t know how to spell that one!) is refreshing and restful for you and Cheryl. Have 40 wonderful days!

  9. thanks for your prayers mom and dad. i love y’all.

    • We love you, Gina. So glad you are on the road to recovery and that you have good friends to help you.

  10. I am Sue Ann’s mother and I am going through what you did at not being there for my daughter’s surgery soon to be. I am glad Gina is Ok and pray for my daughter who is having major surgery on the 14th. Thanks be to God for her Christian friends and the knowledge that our Heavenly Father will be with her all the way. Freddy Sue Ellis

    • We love your daughter and will lift her up in prayer as she prepares for her surgery. It’s wonderful to be a part of the family of God and to know that there are others who can be there to help our loved ones when it is not possible for us to do so.

  11. Now I know why you were so tired Wednesday night… it wasn’t just jet lag. I pray my faith will be like yours as I grow in my walk with my Father. May He bless you and your family no matter the distance.

  12. Hi Omar,

    I just came across this post in my backlog of emails. I know it’s a bit belated but I’m glad to hear your daughter is well now.

    God bless you and your family!

    • Thanks, Chad. She is on the road to recovery. We are grateful for all the folks who have cared for her in Kuala Lumpur.

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