Wilma, the daughter of a pastor who was involved in missions when she and her siblings were growing up, didn’t want her children to grow up the way she did, so she prayed for a husband who loved God but wasn’t a minister or missionary. Her prayer was answered, but not exactly how she expected.
In 1982, she married Paul Garcia, who like Wilma, is a devout Christian. They had two children, Jaton and Nathan, and, just like Wilma had planned, were not missionaries – that is, until the 1990s, when they went on their first mission trip as a family to Puerto, Escondido, in Oaxaca, Mexico. The trip was a wakeup call to the Garcias, whose children were about 11 and 17 at the time.
“We felt like, ‘Gosh, people really live like this,’” Wilma recalled. “When we got back, Paul said, ‘I’d like to go back,’ but it was an expensive trip. He asked the missionaries, ‘Is there any place else we can work closer?’ They turned us to this pastor in Acuna, and we worked with him for many years.”
The pastor took the Garcias to his home in Acuna, where he held very small church services in the front part of the house. “He had a house made of pallets painted to keep it water-resistant and vinyl tarps as the roof,” Wilma said. “They hotwired the electricity from the highway, and it was all taped together with electrical cords on the ground. They had dirt floors. One time we were all sitting there eating, and fleas were biting us, and you could see mice running across the floor. I cried on the way home. I said, ‘They’re a family; they serve God. There’s no way we can let them live that way.’”
“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” Acts 20:35
Blessed 2 Bless Ministries
A church building, not a new home was the pastor’s priority, Paul said, but he told the pastor, “‘We’re going to take care of you. God’s going to give you a church.’”
“When we did the house, we never knew we’d be a ministry,” Paul said. “God just called us to help, and here we are.”
Once the Garcias’ children were grown, they began visiting Mexico every month for mission work. They have also gone to the Amazon, Peru and Nicaragua. Eventually, they founded Blessed2Bless Ministries through their church, Bethel Assembly of God, in San Angelo.
The name was conceived during a church service they attended in Peru, a region where people live off $1 a day, when the pastor took up the congregation’s monetary offering and reminded them that they must bless others with that with which they are blessed. “God blesses us, but He doesn’t bless us to keep it; He blesses us to give,” Wilma explained.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 28:19
Operation Christmas Child
One year, Wilma said, she and Paul decided they wanted to collect 400 boxes but didn’t tell anyone their goal. “Somebody at church came up to me and said, ‘God says you think too small of him. He says you’re asking him for 400. He can do more than that,’” Wilma said.
Their work and gifts vary. Sometimes the missionaries buy groceries and distribute them to needy families; before the 2019-20 school year, they brought 900 backpacks stuffed with school supplies and Bibles for the children. After Halloween, they ask for unwanted, unopened candy, so they can pass it out during their next mission trip.
Going Deeper into Mexico“Sometimes we do construction and we’re digging and picking up trash or cleaning snotty noses,” Wilma said. “There’s always something to do. People will say, ‘I don’t preach.’ You don’t have to. Can you make a child laugh? Can you give a hug?”
“We first started this because we wanted to take our church into the mission field to see the needs and what God put in their hearts,” Paul added. “I was happy with our team, but God kept telling me, ‘Go further. Go where nobody else is going.’”
So the Garcias drove for hours beyond the border, deeper into Mexico. In San Luis Potosi, they found indigenous people who were not familiar with the Gospel. “We did Bible stories, kind of like Vacation Bible School, with the children,” Wilma said. “Women worked with the women, the men pastored to men. We fell in love with this region because of the people, the simplicity, and their eagerness to hear the Gospel.”
They spoke of an elderly woman there who travels by foot for hours to attend church for the week. Others will walk three hours each way. “We got to witness that,” Wilma said.
“We’re not just impacting people there, we’re impacting people here as well,” Paul said. “We’ve had people go with us on mission trips and then give their lives to the church.”
“One guy had stopped believing in God altogether,” Wilma agreed, adding that the man came with them on a mission trip. “He said, ‘Man, y’all don’t even preach.’ I said, ‘We show people love.’ He came back, and he’s now going to church again.”
The Garcias don’t worry much about their safety or the logistics of their work. They simply do what God asks, and He works out the details.
“Paul’s always said, ‘God’s will, God’s bill. And God will take care of it,’” Wilma said. †
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” - Galatians 6:10
Blessed2Bless works through Bethel Assembly of God Church in San Angelo. Mission work is also done in San Angelo when needed. Monetary donations can be made online at:
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