GUEST POST: 20 years on with David & Karen

9 Feb

Hi Garcia fans around the world! My name is J (yep, just one letter) Steele. I’m on the Garcias’ board and even better – I’ve been friends with David and Karen for over 20 years! Cheri and I, David and Karen all knew each other when we were single. I first met the Garcias when I brought our church college group down to a camp near Ensenada called Rancho Aqua Viva. David and Karen were both on staff there and we hit it off right away. After we were all married and started our families we lost touch for a few years but then, (thank God!) we reconnected and have REALLY enjoyed their friendship.

I vividly remember the day we reconnected in person. Our family had just returned from a great vacation in Kauai but there was a nagging void inside me that determined to have more meaning and ‘others’ in the next family trip. I contacted the Garcias and we drove down to spend a weekend with them. We wanted to just live alongside for a short time, not do anything ‘special’ or ‘touristy’ and so they already had plans that we tried to fit in the best we could with our not-so-good Spanish skills. For those of you that have spent anytime with David and Karen, you know what comfortable hosts they are. We really felt at home and so we joined them and their community cleaning the beach and then a carne asada get-together. If memory serves, David gave me a chopping lesson and we had a blast! In spite of our poor language skills we could see right away that they were deeply involved in the lives of their community.

Heading to the Beach for a clean-up… Cheri & I are on the left

Since then we have stayed in touch plenty. They finally talked us into going with them to a retreat at Mt. Hermon about 4 years ago. We had heard of this retreat but couldn’t really figure out what it was about…until we went. Then we knew and we also knew why it was hard to put into words. Intrigued? Come! We knew before then, that Karen was a great translator but atMt. Hermon when we saw her translating simultaneously, we realized that she has a tremendous gift that is so vital for connecting people.

with David…

The Garcias also introduced our church to some of their friends and the ministries they are involved with in and around Ensenada. We now have an ongoing relationship with a battered women’s shelter because of the Garcias connections.  When I think of the Garcias I think of relationships. They are investing in their community and have affected so many people inMexico and wherever they go.

Cheri helping out with beach clean-up

Cheri in action during the beach clean-up

I’d like to end with a challenge / encouragement: head to Ensenada, grab a coffee at Café Tomas with the Garcias, join them for a day or two and live in their world. I’m pretty sure you’ll come away with a greater sense and awe of what God is up to. I know I do. Every time!

J Steele
Treasurer
National Christian Fellowship
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