Gary Gardeen - Elder


My wife Mary and I returned to Quito, to serve as working visitors with Reach Beyond and Hospital Vozandes (HVQ), in January of 2017, after a sixteen and half year absence.  Currently, we both mentor “Corrientes” residents. “Corrientes” is a multi-faceted three month mentoring program for future Latin American missionaries, who will be sent out from their home church and perhaps a mission organization with whom they are affiliated.  We both also have the privilege of working with the chaplaincy staff at HVQ, in different roles.  Additionally, I have been working with the Family Practice Clinics, now specifically in Carapungo, in administrative support and oversight, as well as other administrative assignments with both Reach Beyond in the United States and here in Ecuador. 

During our longer than anticipated absence from Ecuador, I was privileged to serve as the Executive Director of Covenant Village of Golden Valley, one of sixteen continuing care communities across the United States, that make up Covenant Retirement Communities, Inc.  CRC, Inc., is a housing and healthcare ministry to seniors, under the umbrella of the Evangelical Covenant Church of America, known as “La Iglesia del Pacto Evangélico del Ecuador”here in this country.  Concurrent with our previous twenty-three years of service with HCJB\Reach Beyond and Hospital Vozandes - Quito, Mary and I raised four sons, Andrew, Jonathan, David and Stephen.  That nuclear family of six has now grown to eighteen with the addition of three wonderful daughters Natasha, Lisa and Linsey and nine very special grandchildren Isaiah, Elijah, Samuel, Anna; Jonah, Ethan, Luke; Elias and Amos.

Having had the advantage of growing up in a family with strong Christian heritage, on both my mother and father’s side, I recognized my sinfulness and need for Jesus, as my savior from the penalty of sin, early in life, age seven or so.  What took me longer to realize and is still a daily challenge, is to live out, even moment by moment, the practice / decision to allow Jesus to be the Lord of my life.  To readily and consistently bend my will to His and respond to His leading is my desire. It has been a slow and difficult process, in spite of great models and living examples all around me, including members of my family, my wife, members of her family and many, many others over the years.  To see and experience Jesus, as the Good Shepherd is something truly extra-ordinary, especially in the reality of my continuing failure to do what I want to do in allowing Him to be King of All.  I am eternally grateful for His grace and amazed by His holiness, faithfulness and mercy in addition to all his other characteristics.  I want to know Him better. I want to be more like Him. I want to be active in making Him known to others, and I thank Him for His Word which is so essential for understanding life and what it is all about.  Praise be to His name!