Monthly Archives: September 2016

Happy Summer! July 15, 2016

Summer Greetings!

A month has now passed since our District Assembly in Pasadena.  Some of you have been enjoying your VBS programs, summer camps and retreats… others of you are getting ready for these same ministries in a week or so.  I trust that you will enjoy great days as you work together to win more and more people to Christ.  All of these programs and ministries are great ways to build bridges in the SoCal area.

Wednesday I was up at Granite Ridge for the Camp Board meeting as we had the opportunity to see many of our children from the district involved in camp.  As you can see by the photos… the kids are having a great time.


ENCOURAGEMENTDo not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.  (Ephesians 4:29)  Remember the children’s rhyme spoken around playgrounds, school yards, and other places kids gather?  “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”  Who in the world ever came up with that?  As best I can find… this adage was first written in 1872.  And some even believe that it has its origin in Psalm 42:10 where the psalmist says, “My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, “where is your God?” 

Words DO hurt!  No one likes to be criticized or gossiped about.  Who likes to be made fun of?  I don’t.   How many times do you remember hearing the words of wise counsel, “Bite your tongue.” 

When I was a young boy living in the jungle, there was this older boy who lived in the village of Chipe.  His name was Patope (Paw-toe-peh).  He was nearly blind… deaf and he could not speak.  Of course, many people living in this 4th world culture did not understand individuals like him, having these kinds of handicaps.  Some thought Patope was crazy.  Others thought that he was mentally handicapped.  There were some that even thought he had an evil spirit.  The reason being… when he would look at you, he’d turn his head and squint (for his vision was greatly impaired). 

One day many children were gathered around him… and even making fun of him.  He said not a thing… of course, he couldn’t.  But, he walked around grabbing small little sticks.  Squinting to see just how many small boys were there mocking him, he placed a stick in the ground and then pointed at one boy… and then to the stick.  As he grabbed a second stick, he then pointed to the second boy.  By the time he had planted the same number of sticks in the ground for the exact number of boys standing around him, they all understood that those sticks were representing each one of them.  Last of all, he placed another stick… separate from the group of boys… and pointed to himself. 

What he did next was outstanding… He didn’t say a word, but he pointed to the heavens… and then pointed to the ground where the sticks representing each boy had been placed… and he blew with his breath those sticks all down to the ground, while his stood alone… upright and tall.  The message was heard loud and clear.  The mocking stopped… he was made fun of no longer. 

My folks were able to find help for Patope, and sent him for many years to Lima where he learned to communicate with his hands… he received glasses to aid him with his sight.  And as he studied in the deaf mute institute… he learned, and God was with him.  Today, when I visit the village of Chipe, I look for Patope… he’s an older man now, nearly blind, but when his family writes on his hands that “Dr. Garman’s son is here… Gregorio” he looks at me with those squinting eyes, and always embraces me. 

Patope is well regarded in his village today.  He has done a great job building bridges in his village.  Today, my prayer is to speak words of encouragement to others.  May Jesus be pleased with all that comes out of my mouth.

DISTRICT MINISTRIES It seems like July 4th was so long ago.  So much continues to happen… yet, I am so thrilled to see how the Lord is working in all the places I go. 

·         Burbank Faith:  The Sunday prior to our Independence Day I was with our church in Burbank.  Pastor Joe and Ana Torosian along with their team of leaders are doing a fabulous job in ministry.  May the Lord continue His watchful eye on you! 


 ·         Lancaster Valley View:  This past Sunday Leslie and I had the privilege of installing Pastor Mike Whitten as the Lead Pastor of Valley View.  Pastor Mike and Kami have four children, Isaiah, Kansas, Georgia and Ellie… and they come to us from Lindsay on the Central California District.  We are so glad that they are with us here on the L.A. District.  May the Lord use you for His kingdom as we work together on this great district!


AMAZON WORK & WITNESS Just a very quick and brief reminder… If you were planning on being a part of the L.A. District Work & Witness Team to Peru in October… your $1000 deposit is due NOW.  Please let me know if you are planning to take part in this great adventure.  There are only a few spots left, and once the tickets are purchased… the door is closed.  I will be ordering the tickets this week. 

PASTORS AND SPOUSES’ RETREATThe dates are set… September 12-14… in Pismo Beach (same place as last year).  Our special speaker is Dr. Carla Sunberg, President of NTS.  The costs is only $400 per couple.  Please register today!

Pending Legislation:  You have heard a few comments at District Assembly about the effects of legislation on higher education.  I encourage you to take part in responding.  We, together, can make a difference.

Senate Bill 1146 (SB 1146), introduced by State Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), passed the State Senate and moved to the Assembly for consideration. Azusa Pacific University stands opposed unless amended to this bill.

Nearly 50 faith-based institutions of higher education in California will be impacted by the proposed restriction on religious freedom. These include Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, and Evangelical colleges and universities.

The bill is moving quickly through the Assembly.




Higher Education

June 21, 2016



June 30, 2016



August 2016


Full Assembly

August 2016



We share the senator’s concerns for student safety, transparency, and recourse, particularly for LGBT students. We want those same protections for all students.

However, as currently written, SB 1146 presents serious First Amendment rights issues. The bill:

  • Violates the rights of religious freedom, petition, and association, and conflicts with federal law.
  • Narrows religious freedoms, a core principle upon which the United States and California Constitutions rest.
  • Attempts to exercise secular control over religious practice, thereby targeting institutions for those very practices.
  • Threatens access to state financial aid, potentially eliminating faith-based institutions as a choice for California’s most disadvantaged students.
  • Exposes schools to court challenges about their ability to live out their religious mission and tenets.
  • Overlooks that our Christian identity weaves through every aspect of the higher education experience from residential life and cocurricular events to the classroom. Our faith does not rest only in seminary-related programs and activities.
  • Breaks with the long tradition of respecting the religious missions and liberties of California’s citizens.

Your Support

Join us in this effort to protect faith-based higher education and the right of California’s students to select the college of their choice. In collaboration with other faith-based schools, we remain committed to working with Senator Lara to see amendments made that restore full religious liberties and access to state funding to the pending legislation.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Pray for all those who hold elected offices and for students on all California campuses.
  • Write your assembly member (find your representative) to express your concerns about the scope of this proposed bill and express:

– your support for religious freedom
– your interest in protecting financial aid for California’s most economically disadvantaged students
– your commitment to the respect and safety of all students

Ask your representative to oppose the bill unless amended.  SB 1146 Position Sample Letter (MS Word)

Thanks for all you do.  May the Lord bless you today and through the remainder of the summer!

Building Bridges,
Greg Garman