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Interview with David Gardner

Pastor Austin Gardner interviews, Missionary David Gardner, concerning his life as a young person being called into ministry after having been raised on the mission field as well as his life in ministry today.

  • David’s Introduction
    • Just spent a year on furlough
    • Leaving March 15, 2019 for our next full term
    • Hoping see more churches started and more work done
  • How did God confirm to you that you should be a missionary?
    • I was around 10 or 11 when I surrendered during a special service where the Lord really got a hold of my heart
    • When I was 18 or 19, I was living in America and working for a businessman and didn’t really have direction
    • It was when Pastor Gardner called me and said that he was moving back to the States that the opportunity came
    • There were three things that I saw that God used to call me back to Peru
      • Desire – I wanted to go back
      • Opportunity – there was a need for me in the ministry in Peru 
      • Ability – I already knew the culture, language, and was familiar with the ministry there in Peru
  • How many kids do you have
    • Three
    • Chloe
    • Allie
    • James
  • How did God lead your wife toward missions?
    • She went to one of the first camps that we held.
    • She had just been saved at 15
    • She told the Lord that she would do anything but be a missionary
    • She went to that camp, God called her to be a missionary, and she surrendered
  • What in your childhood prepared you to be a missionary
    • Growing up on the mission field
  • What prepared Katie?
    • She grew up in a godly home
    • She was involved in church and in ministry
    • When I met her she was involved in the Rock of Ages ministry
    • People used to say that she would never move farther than across the street from her parent’s house because she loved to be at home
    • But she married me and now lives over 3,000 miles away from home
  • How did her family react to her being a missionary?
    • I met her when I was 19, and she was 18
    • We got married less than a year later
    • They knew that I was going to be a missionary
    • They were very supportive of all of it
  • What has been the most encouraging book in your life?
    • A Tale of Three Kings
    • The Master Plan for World Evangelism
    • I try to read through both of these once a year or every now and then
    • Cat and Dog Theology really changed the way I viewed my relationship with God
  • If you could start over, what would you do differently?
    • I would try to read more
    • I would try to listen more
    • Most people further along in life wish that they had listened more when they were younger
    • But God was really good to me to let me grow up the way that I did which really prepared me
  • What misconceptions have you had to overcome as an adult missionary?
    • One is that you think that you’re always going to be successful
    • I thought that I could have learned from mistakes of others as a young person and that I wouldn’t make those same mistakes as an adult
    • When you go into ministry, you’re going to get hammered by Satan
    • Don’t think that it won’t happen to you!
  • What is something funny that’s happened to you in ministry?
    • In Peru, won a kid named Alex to the Lord
    • We were doing discipleship together one day and he was asking about what missionary work looked like
    • I told him that you have to learn to eat the food no matter what
    • His mom was making a cow leg salad, and he knew that I didn’t like it
    • He told his mom to give me a huge portion so that I’d be forced to eat it
  • What is the hardest thin that you’ve had to go through
    • Seeing your people fall into sin
    • Just recently, the guy that I left Omega (our church) to fell into adultery
    • Just three weeks before I found that out, I told a few people that there are three people who I would trust with my life, and he was one of them
    • We’ve got several marriages struggling in our church, and I think the failure in leadership has something to do with it
  • What part of being a missionary do you enjoy the most?
    • One, teaching the Bible 
      • Seeing people’s lives changed
      • Because you’re so great or good, but because the Bible changes them
    • Two, training men
      • You see guys whose parents said would never amount to anything, and you can see them do great things for God
      • It’s exciting to see people who never had much of a chance be really used by God
  • What is a funny cross-cultural mishap that you’ve made?
  • What advice would you give to someone who is headed to cross-cultural ministry?
    • You need to learn to be a servant
    • You need to read Cross Cultural Servanthood by Dwayne Elmer several times 
    • Not everyone is out to take advantage of you
    • Not everyone is out for your money!
    • Jesus served absolutely everyone regardless of the intention.
    • You need to learn to not act like the typical, egotistical, know-it-all American
  • Who is one of your missionary heroes from the past?
    • The story that most impacted me as a kid was John and Betty Stam in China
    • They were faced with the decision to deny Christ or be beheaded
    • They chose to be beheaded
  • What is your most treasured memory of while you’ve been in the ministry?
    • During that really hard time we were talking about early, I was just totally out of energy and didn’t even have the will to put one foot in front of the other
    • I remember praying and telling God that I couldn’t do it anymore and that I needed His help
    • It literally felt like He gave me the strength
    • That day and that week, every meeting that I had, I was totally exhausted, but every time the meeting would start, I would feel this burst of energy
    • The truth of the Lord being my strength has totally new meaning for me now
  • Any special people or groups in your field that have blessed you?
    • When all of this was going on, Jason Holt came to just be with me
    • He laughed when I laughed and cried when I cried
    • He wasn’t there to lead or guide me, though I sought that sometimes, but he really just wanted to be there for me
  • What do you do to stay encouraged through trials in your life?
    • I’ve learned to live in the Psalms
    • Spend time in the Psalms 
    • Katie and I will read Psalms together before we go to bed
    • Any trouble that you deal with in life you can find in the Psalms
  • What are some things that concern you about heading back to the field?
    • God has allowed us to take our nephew Wyatt into our family
    • His life is totally going to change, so I’m praying that God is really going to help him and be with him
    • I’m also really praying about starting another church with one of the young men from Omega
  • Aren’t you working on getting some property for Omega?
    • Yes
    • Omega is in one of the most central areas of the city, so land is very expensive
    • We would expect to spend anywhere from $250,000 to $300,000 for it
    • Just recently an opportunity came up for us to possibly purchase the land of another church
    • I’m praying that God would allow us to obtain a piece of property on this next term.
    • The size of the property is only about 3,000 sq. ft. 
  • Take a minute and say whatever you’d like to say
    • Pray for us as we return to Peru
    • Pray that more people would be called to go to the mission field
    • The opportunity to do a work in Latin America is just wide open
    • As a team, we are praying for a hundred people to surrender to be missionaries to Latin America
  • Closing Remarks 

Reasons a Church Becomes to Dependent on a Missionary

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