Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | May 25, 2012

Road Trip Reflections

Pecos, Texas en route to McAllen, Texas

Today was the toughest day for me since starting my sabbatical and my road trip with my Dad, not because of the long distance that we drove, but because it is our final day together before I return home on Saturday. Dad and I have spent every minute of the last twelve days together and made new memories across more than 3,300 miles of travel across Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado. To say that I have been refreshed by our time together would be an understatement. These past days have done more than refresh me, they have nourished me to my very core. I have learned more about the Dad I have loved, respected, and admired my entire life. And I have learned more about myself and developed a deeper sense of gratitude to God for the ways in which He used my Dad to shape so much of my life.

When my plans for my sabbatical finally came together, I thought it interesting that my top three objectives all revolved around fatherhood. First, I determined that I want to spend time with my heavenly Father and to seek His face as well as His wisdom concerning several aspects of my life and ministry. Second, I also made plans to spend time with my earthly father and to enjoy fellowship with him. Finally, I reserved the latter days of my sabbatical to do Dad-stuff with my own son and family, specifically the Texas Water Safari marathon canoe race. When I considered my plans I could not help but reflect on the fact that the first mention of the word love in the Bible is in the context of a father’s love for his son, specifically Abraham’s love for Isaac (Gen. 22:2). And, the first mention of love in the New Testament is also in the context of a Father’s love for His Son (Matt. 3:17). Matthew used the word “beloved” which means “greatly loved.” I like that very much.

I am extremely blessed to be among those who can say with all certainty, “I am loved by my father and I have never doubted his love.” From the time I was a kid my Dad has called me “mijo” — a combination of the Spanish words for “my” and “son.” However, to those of us who speak Spanish, this is an affectionate term, a contraction that conveys more than the idea of “my son.” It more accurately conveys the idea of “my beloved son.” Mijo is a tender term of endearment. I still love it when my Dad calls me “mijo.” It is a very comforting and reassuring thing to me, even at 56-years of age.

I can also say with all certainly that I love my son (and my daughters). My love for my son became all the more real to me through a dark, prodigal period in my son’s life. I felt absolutely helpless, so I prayed and fasted for forty-two days for my son. The few people who know what that time was like for our family can tell you that I not only prayed, I also talked to the Devil a lot during those days. I told him that he had chosen to mess with the wrong Dad and that there was no way that I was going to let go of my son. My wife and I kept Jonathan tethered to life through our prayers and fasting. Some day Jonathan and I will share our story together to encourage those who are struggling and grieving over a prodigal child.

Finally, regardless of what kind of relationship you had or have with your father, you can be certain of this, God loves you. I can certainly confess that as an earthly Dad I have missed the mark in so many ways and still do. However, it is comforting to know that our Heavenly Father always gets things right. We can live with the assurance that He loves and cares for us in ways we will never fully understand on this side of heaven.

As I move on to the next phase of my sabbatical adventure, I look forward to the time I will get to spend with my son Jonathan and with my daughter Niki during the Texas Water Safari. My youngest daughter Gina will be our prayer support from Malaysia and my wife Cheryl will assist Niki. Jonathan and I both understand that the time we will spend together in a canoe on 260 miles of Texas rivers is possible only because of the logistical work of our team captain, Niki. She did an amazing job in her role last year and we are thrilled that she will serve as our captain on this year’s race. Stay tuned for more as we make our final preparations for the race over the coming days.


  1. Omar,
    We are so happy that you are enjoying your sabbatical. You deserve the rest and restoration! Every day we have prayed over you, Cheryl, and your family. Your blog posts have been a huge blessing as you continue to bless others through your words and sharing of your life. We have learned much from you and thank God that we are blessed to have you as our missions pastor. I believe you model best how important all people God has created as our relationships are to the Lord. The story of your life that you share teaches us the richness and importance of each of God’s beautiful creations! Thank you; Aaron and I truly appreciate and admire you. We pray for God’s blessing on you and yours for the remainder of your sabbatical and BEYOND!!! We can’t wait to journey through the canoe race by keeping up with your blogs! Thanks for sharing!!!!

    In Christ,
    Psalm 46:10
    Aaron and Kelly Pichon

    • Aaron and Kelly,

      Thank you for your kind, gracious, and encouraging words. And thanks also for your prayers. It means so much to know that you have been lifting me and my family up in prayer.


  2. I feel as if I’ve been on your road trip 🙂
    I love how your blog is always encouraging us to “Go Beyond” also. I look forward to it daily and I’m excited for you and your next journey with your son.

    • Thanks, Kim. I’ve had such a great time with Dad. Now it’s time for the final training runs in preparation for the Texas Water Safari. Yikes! 😉

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