By Chuck Hall
David Garcia is no ordinary man. Actually, he is ordinary, but his tenacity and perseverance make him extraordinary. I have seen him confront and overcome much adversity in the course of his ministry. I first met David in 1983 at King’s Way Missionary Institute in McAllen, Texas. He was already ministering in Mexico but didn’t join WIM until 1984. Since then, David and I have worked together on numerous occasions in evangelism, church planting and leadership training among the indigenous peoples of Mexico.
A few years into David Garcia’s career in missions, he and four fellow missionaries were en route to share the gospel in a village in south-central Mexico. Despite the ominous bank of dark clouds, they hoped they could complete their work before the evening downpour. After ministering in the village, they began their trek home. It had been raining for a while; and by the time they arrived at the narrow river, it had already flooded its banks and was flowing about a foot over the bridge. The swift current showed no sign of slowing. The missionaries had crossed bridges under similar conditions in the past and thought little about it. When they were halfway across, the fast moving current caused the truck to slide to the side of the bridge. The engine lost power and would not restart. The truck began to float but caught on the curb of the concrete bridge. Fearing what might happen if they stayed in the cab, the formerly confident men decided to take their chances on the roof of the truck. Hoping the raised lip of the bridge would hold the truck, they waited. The river continued to rise and the current quickened, causing the truck to begin to totter. Into the angry river the men jumped and were quickly carried downstream. David’s companions grabbed the low lying branches that extended into the river, but David’s short arms were unable to get a hold. As he was being washed past his companions, one reached out and grabbed him by the arm, pulling him to the safety of the tree. Almost immediately the truck tumbled past, being carried by the powerful current. The men were able to get to the bank safely, but the truck was nowhere in sight. They found it the next morning, battered beyond recognition by the boulders in the river. At the cost of a vehicle, the valuable lesson was learned about the danger of flash floods and the power of God’s miraculous intervention.
Fasting & Prayer
A few years after the incident on the bridge, a wiser David began to scout out Mayan villages in the mountains of Mexico near Palanque. A villager asked him to pray for his sick wife. David prayed for her and she was healed. Others began to ask for prayer, and David decided to go to a secluded area higher in the mountains to fast and pray in preparation for ministry to the people. He would fast and pray all day and then come down to the village at night to pray for people. He began to see many healings and miracles.
For the next fifteen years, David made it his habit to return to the mountain — which he named “Mount Sinai” — to fast and pray before ministering to the people in the villages. David’s brother-in-law went with him to Mount Sinai. Just as he reached the mountaintop, he was filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues. Since then many others have gone to Mount Sinai to pray and have testified of a strong presence of the Holy Spirit.
On one occasion, the parents of an eleven-year-old boy brought their son to David. They told David that the boy was tormented by the devil. They said he would run away from home and hide in the mountains. David prayed for the boy, and God set him free. The village people had never seen anything like this. Some accused David of being the Antichrist. Still others believed, returning to their villages telling of the great things God was doing.
When news of the miracles spread, many began to come from other villages to receive prayer. So many people were coming for ministry that David could not physically keep up the pace. He began to identify and train indigenous leaders. He spent many hours teaching them the scriptures and showing them how to seek the Lord in prayer and fasting. These disciples began to help David by praying for the sick and preaching the gospel in other villages. As a result, this good news of the gospel in power kindled a fire that birthed the establishment of many churches.
David has ministered in Mexico for thirty-five years, planted scores of churches and trained many leaders. He believes that his success is based on three principles: prayer and fasting, being led by the Holy Spirit and making disciples. He has tried to emulate the Apostle Paul’s instructions to Timothy, “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” I fully believe that David will someday hear his Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”