The danger in a post like this one is that I will leave someone out that I shouldn’t. Please know that I wish that I could mention everyone of you.

I am so grateful for all that God has done in my life. He has been so very good to me. Today I wanted to just give some special thanks.

I thank him first for my family. God has wonderfully blessed me with a great wife, 4 wonderful children and spouses, and 11 grandchildren with two more on the way.

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God has given Betty and me over 36 years of marriage and many wonderful years of ministry. Betty has been the most wonderful wife, friend, co-laborer, etc that any man could ever want or dream of. I have been extremely blessed and I am grateful to God for her.

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Chris, Andria, Jacob, Hannah, and Andrew are all serving God in Arequipa, Peru. The moment that I learned that Betty was pregnant with our first child I begged him for a son that would bear the name of Christ around the world. God has given me my dreams.
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David, Stephanie, Philip, Dave, Ronnie, Andrew, Matthew, Jonathan, and one more to come have been a great blessing to me. I am very grateful to God for my daughter and her family. She is a great mother, maybe the best ever. They serve God in Antioch Baptist Church and Antioch Printing Ministry. I wasn’t certain I could love a daughter because all I knew was my son but then along came Steph. She changed my life. She made me learn  more and more about love. I am so thankful to God for her.
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Joy, Benjamin, and Lelia Soncco live and work in Arequipa, Peru. Joy has lived up to her name. I remember telling Betty that pain may endure for the night but that Joy would come in the morning. This girl has been a great joy for me. She has the most wonderful personality. She is super smart, hard working, enterprising young lady I have ever known. There is literally nothing she can’t do. I am thankful to God for her.
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David and Katie Gardner serve God in Arequipa, Peru. They are a tremendous blessing to me. I suppose that David has caused me to laugh more than anyone else on the planet. He has the greatest personality. He is our youngest. I think that maybe I had matured enough not to be so hard in the discipline area. Maybe I wasn’t trying to impress people so much with my perfect kids so I was able to enjoy him as a child. David is super talented. He is a great blessing to his dad.

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Trent, Stephanie, Thatcher, and a little girl yet to be born, Cornwell are our full time staff at Vision. Trent is a super man of God. He loves God. He loves people. It is my great honor and privilege to work with him. I do not know of any young man with a greater desire to get the gospel to the world anywhere. God blessed me the day He gave me Trent to work with. I am grateful. Along with a thousand other things Trent serves on the World Evangelism Committee.

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Chris and Kathy Fies are volunteer staff at Vision. Chris left his job to take the next step towards whatever it is that God wants him to do. He is super hard working, self sacrificing, dedicated and in love with the Lord Jesus. I appreciate him and all he does. I am honored to serve with men that are so in love with the Lord Jesus Christ. Chris also serves as one of our deacons in training. Chris has been licensed to preach by our church.

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Micah Rastelli is a student at the Our Generation Training and works as volunteer staff at the church. He is also a deacon in training. I am grateful for the many long hours he is willing to give so that our church can continue to progress and honor God. Micah has been licensed to preach by our church.
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David, Stephanie, and Sean Velke also serve on the volunteer pastoral staff of Vision. David is also a deacon in training. He is always there asking what he can do and being a blessing to me in the ministry that God has given me. Again I am grateful. David has been licensed to preach by our church.

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Philip and Lori Bassham also serve on the volunteer pastoral staff of Vision. Philip has been at my right hand for all these years. He has been a super blessing in our music ministry. Philip also serves on the World Evangelism Committee. Philip has been licensed to preach by our church.

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Scott, Melissa, and Elena Newton also serve on our volunteer pastoral staff. Scott is also a deacon in training. I am very grateful for the way they carry so much of a load in our church, in music, the training center, Friday night Bible study, etc. Scott has been licensed to preach by our church.

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Wayne, Lina, Alex, Jordan and Abigail also serve as volunteer pastoral staff. He leads the ministry that we currently have at Cabbagetown. He has been a true friend and has a great heart to be used of God. Maybe God will leave him with me for many years. Wayne has also begun to serve on the World Evangelism Committee.

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Mike and Cindi Shane also serve as deacons in training at Vision. They have been a major encouragement to me as pastor and help to carry much of the load at our church.
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Ben and Crystal Johnson also serve as deacons in training. Ben has a heart for the world and super hunger for the glory of God. It is my privilege to serve with him.

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Chuck, Leisa, Hannah, Luke, and Lidia Littlefield are fairly new to our church but already and integral part. Chuck is serving as one of our deacons in training right now.

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I know this picture doesn’t do Vision justice but it will have to do. We do not really have a large total church picture and I would really like to have one someday. But I have been privileged to work with the greatest church in the world. The heart for God, the passion to get the gospel to the world, the desire to be used is unequal. I love being the pastor of Vision Baptist Church. I love the ministry God has allowed me to have.

One of the things that I am most proud of and grateful to God for is the missionaries that are members and staff of Vision Baptist Church. We call them staff because we believe that everyone is worthy of being on our church staff as pastors yet God has called them to another part of the world to serve. Here they are with a small amount of information about them.

Chile

Jason and Lori Holt and their children, Katie, Josh, and Andrew serve God in Santiago, Chile. They started and are pastoring the Iglesia Bautista Fe or Faith Baptist Church. They have been on the field more than 7 years now. They are missionaries with Macedonia World Baptist Missions.

China


Mark and Natasha Tolson with their daughter Ava are raising support to go to China this next year. God has tremendously blessed their deputation. They are missionaries with Vision Baptist Missions a ministry of Vision Baptist Church. Mark has been licensed to preach by our church.

Hispanics in the USA

Ronald and Asunta Tubillas with their daughters Shurama and Tabatha are from Peru. God is using them in the USA to pastor two Spanish churches. They are wonderful servants of God. They are missionaries with Macedonia World Baptist Missions.

Northern Africa


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Tyler and Gretchen Masters with Norah and Judson are raising support to get to North Africa in early 2010. They have already served for two years in Peru. They are an exciting family with a brand new baby. They are missionaries with Macedonia World Baptist Missions.


Northern Ireland

Travis and Teri Snode with their children Grant, Darci, and Cali serve in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. They are pastoring two churches in two different towns. They are missionaries with Macedonia World Baptist Missions.

Peru

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Mark and Amy Coffey and their children Emilee and Luke represent the Peru Bible College and Vision Baptist Missions. They are missionaries with Vision Baptist Missions a ministry of Vision Baptist Church. Mark has served with me more than anyone outside of my immediate family. We have worked together for more than 15 years now. He has been my blessing from God.

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David and Katie Gardner serve in Arequipa, Peru. Katie is still in language school and doing great with the language. They are missionaries with Macedonia World Baptist Missions.

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Chris and Andria Gardner with Jacob, Hannah, and Andrew serve in Arequipa, Peru. He is the pastor of Omega Baptist Church that they just started. Chris also serves as the Spanish Speaking South American Director for Macedonia World Baptist Missions.

They are all obviously members of Vision Baptist Church and we are so blessed of God to have them.

God has also given us the privilege to have two families serving on the mission field of Peru right now as short term missionaries. I am so grateful to God for that blessing.
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Robert and Kelli and one to be born are in Arequipa, Peru right now. They will be coming home in just a few weeks. Robert was like my right hand man when he left and I have missed him very much. Robert is also a deacon in training. They are serving a 6 month short term mission service right now. Robert and Kelli are expecting their first baby.
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Andrew and Holly Pearson are short term missionaries in Arequipa, Peru right now. They are serving there for 3 months. God has blessed our church with such fine young people that are willing to leave it all to try and find what He would have them to do with their lives.

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John and Sandy Pearson serve on the World Evangelism committee. John also serves as the church treasurer. He has been a super blessing to me in all of my ministry and especially now here at Vision. The World Evangelism Committee is the main committee that helps in the direction of Vision Baptist church.

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David, Anne, Kathleen, and Allison Lundy also serve on the World Evangelism Committee. David has been a blessing and a help from the very start of Vision Baptist Church.

Now this has got to be the longest post you have ever seen me write but I have yet to tell you about so many people that make a difference in our church on a daily basis. Time fails to talk of all the work that goes into the music ministry, Sunday School, discipleship, cleaning, visitation, and a thousand other things.

Vision is a very unique church. First, we currently have 36 of our people serving actively in missions. That might not sound like much until you realize that we only have 130 members. Granted, four will be coming home in less than a month but that still leaves 32 on the field. By the way, 4 are planning to leave in March to go to Peru.

I dare say that I have been blessed more as a pastor than any man ever deserved. What a great church and what a great people serving the great God of Heaven. I am blessed!

I wish that I could mention all the new families in our church and how God is working in their lives. But just know this, I am very grateful to God on this Thanksgiving weekend.

2 Comments
  • Posted November 25, 2009 4:49 pm
    by Mark Coffey

    We definitely have a reason to be thankful to God for all the wonderful people in our church. We truly do have a great number of people who love the Lord and are serving Him with their lives.

    I know there are many others that are more behind the scenes that you would like to mention but I believe it would turn into a book if you did that.

    Thank You Pastor for all you do for us.

    Thank You Lord for giving us a great church!

  • Posted November 26, 2009 3:18 am
    by Travis Snode

    I am so grateful for you, Pastor Gardner, and for your heart for the world and to train men. Thank you so much for all of the hours you have invested in my life. I am thankful for Vision Baptist Church and for all that God is using it to do around the world.

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