Dedicating the Next Chapter to the Glory of God
On July 1, 2017, Byron Garmo became the fourth President of the Mission to Children.
Since I graduated from Biola University, I remain convinced that any Christian testimony must lead and end with Christlike character. Others must see that our lives are growing to reflect the message of the Gospel we claim to believe.
My first immersion into ministry was through my local church. Our team spent several nights at a local church in the middle of skid row, in downtown Los Angeles. My heart went out to the children and youth who came to our outreach events. Those kids had no hope—they had no vision for their lives. It gave me great joy to shared God’s love with them.
Biola University soon fanned that ministry flame. The student life, the chapels, the professors, the essence of a higher Christian education founded on Scripture would become a vision for what the rest of my life would look like. God began teaching me how to live in community as a Christian. We had many different vocational paths to consider as students, but with one purpose: To glorify God while carrying out His mission. We were learning to apply truth in the everyday world, for the rest of our lives.
It was a foundational time in my life to say the least.
I began those years in the business department, fascinated with the concept of emerging global markets. Even with that interest, God began kindling in me a refined desire—one that was intercultural, one that focused on fueling missions.
By the end of Biola, I graduated with a degree in Intercultural Studies, a discipline geared toward cross-cultural ministry, team building, and contextualizing the unchanging Gospel message to culture. I gained a small vision for world missions.
Through Biola, I joined a three-month internship with Greater Europe Mission. They had a strategic program called Eurocorps that groomed small teams for missions work. That summer we team-taught English as a second language on-site at a church in Sibiu, Romania. Though I felt God was calling me to Romania full-time as a missionary, it was actually to Holland that He sent me the following summer. In Holland, I led an evangelism team for a three-month dive into Dutch culture, hosting events for youth to hear the Gospel and spend a lot of time with our team so we could share how our lives had changed for the better in Christ.
God’s call on my life continued when I return to the States. My conviction to be a Christian of character embedded further in my understanding of life and faith while volunteering at a residential tutoring center for Latino children and youth in Escondido, CA. During those years, I learned valuable lessons about life coaching and mentoring through one of my best friends. It was a time of incredibly growth, spiritual service, and pain as we journeyed alongside precious children who were fighting to see a higher purpose for their lives than just street-life. In such an incarnational ministry, there is the constant reminder that our character testifies to what we really believe. A transformed life is the power of the Gospel. One cannot separate word from action—both complete a testimony. If our own lives do not reflect Christ’s example, how do we expect the next generation to follow Him?
It was during this season that Mission to Children caught my attention when I was in the media publishing industry. Thought I loved working on a development team building out web-based curriculum, I could not pass up the opportunity to invest my talents and experience into a ministry that encapsulates the Christian walk: Loving God and loving others in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
On July 1, 2017, I moved out of my role as Vice President to become the fourth President of the Mission to Children (in the USA and in Canada). I have wonderful examples set before me through the prior leadership of this ministry. Most recently, this included my father whom I served for over seventeen years!
Each season of ministry calls us to humbly come before God and seek His counsel. Today, we share the meaningful and unchanging message of hope through Jesus Christ with an ever-changing world. Yet this is why I know that another special season is ahead for this ministry: God loves us all too much to leave us where we are. And He loves others too much—to leave them without a witness.