God always answers prayer, but sometimes not in the way we imagine.
Gilbert Garcia can attest to that, “I had tried to join the police force for 10 years but the door kept closing and I couldn’t understand why.” He enlisted in the service following in the footsteps of his uncles and grandfather who also served in branches of the military.
This 37-year-old Marine Corps veteran, served from 2000 to 2008, part of that time in the Iraq War. “I developed a lot more structure and discipline in my life, having that amount of responsibility molds and shapes you.”
He didn’t know that his military experience would come in handy one day.
What impacted him the most during his time in the service were the promotions and his ability to influence the lives of younger marines.
He didn’t know God would answer his prayers.
Although raised in a Christian home and knowing about God, he experienced many personal struggles, including a divorce. “Life was very different being out of the service, when you come out of military life can be hard, I made some bad choices over the years.”
But in 2014, he came back to Jesus and was baptized. “I remember listening to Greg Laurie online and taking notes without realizing who he was, but I was learning about the Lord.”
God was doing something wonderful in Gilbert’s life but he still did not know what.
In 2016, he was told about a chaplain opportunity but did nothing about it—still focusing on his dream of becoming a police officer. But on May 3, 2018, he was asked to pray at Downey City Hall for the National Day of Prayer. At the end of the prayer, the Mayor Pro Tem suggested he look into becoming a police chaplain. God answered his prayer but not in the way he imagined.
After completing the training with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team and doing 40 hours of schooling, he was ordained as a chaplain. And on May 9, 2019, Gilbert was sworn in as a Long Beach Police Department Chaplain.
God answers prayer!
He’s full of excitement as he talks about this new season in his life, “The Lord has opened so many doors I can’t even explain! When I take a step back and look at my life in the big picture, I am amazed and thankful for where God’s taken me.”
Now Gilbert spends time doing ride-alongs and considers his a ministry of being present. “I like knowing that if anything comes up, I’m right there with them, police, fire, and law enforcement . . . these are selfless jobs and they need someone to talk to.”
This was Gilbert’s third SoCal Harvest Crusade and it’s fitting that he’s serving with the Security Team.
Thank you for your service Gilbert, then and now.