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“…You only have one Father”

by on October 16, 2014

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Though you have many teachers, you only have one father… 1 Corinthians 4:15

Today marks 5 years that my father, Pastor Freddie García was glorified. It almost seems unreal that so many years have passed already, but the calendar doesn’t lie. As I think about him, I look back at so many great memories & experiences that I don’t have enough time, words, and gigabyte space to write about them all.

My father was a very wise and well accomplished man:

He graduated Bible school in 1970

In the same year, he founded Outcry in the Barrio beginning in a 2 room shack and becoming America’s most successful rehabilitation center for addicts that has expanded all over the world.

He served on the Governor’s task force for drug rehabilitation and education.

He was recognized by three United States presidents for his work. 

But by far, the one thing that stands out the most to me is: the amazing father he was. The awards, accolades and recognitions were great, but he was Papa to me. He wasn’t Freddie García, or Pastor Freddie. He was just…Papa.

I remember him:

Attending little league baseball games.

Teaching me to tie my shoes and ride a bike.

Walking out of business meetings to go play catch outside.

Taking me backstage to shake hands with Hulk Hogan who was my hero as an 8 year old boy.

Not once in my life telling me “hold on” or “not right now”.

I feel blessed and honored because I had something that many people have never had. A real father. A dad. My Papa. And that’s who I miss when I think of him. I miss how he loved Jesus! I miss him comforting me when as a teenager, a girlfriend broke up with me, I miss him correcting me when I talked back to my mother. (Which was a felony in his book) I miss coming to him with what at the time seemed like life ending problems as a young man, and him placing his hand on my shoulder, looking into my eyes and saying, “son, everything in life can be worked out, don’t worry.” I miss his hugs, his laughter, his smile, his sense of humor. I miss how he adored my mother, and how he was proud to be her husband. I miss hearing his stories and life experiences. I miss his view on life and family. I miss how he talked about Jesus and how much he loved people, especially the drug addict. I miss seeing him study his Bible, and calling me to his bedroom to show me a new revelation God had given him. I miss how he always saw the best in people. I miss hearing his house shoes up and down my hallway. I miss having dinner with him and I miss sitting at his feet to talk about our day. I miss drinking coffee with him and eating breakfast tacos with him. I miss him calling me to his bedroom, sending me to go get him butterfinger candy while saying, “and don’t tell your mom”. I miss going to spurs games with him and I miss laying in his bed as an adult and feeling 5 all over again for just a few minutes. I miss his counsel, and I miss how he never judged me for my wrong and my choices. I miss being able to tell him anything and I miss him teaching me about life. I even miss his correction and him getting after me. I miss him challenging me to get better and I miss hearing him say “I’m proud of you son!” I miss long drives and great conversations. I miss holding his hand and I miss seeing him watch old western movies.

….I just miss my papa.

And on this day, as with every day. I take time to reflect. Not to be sad or depressed about his passing. But to be thankful and grateful to God for letting me have him for 33 years. I have no regrets about my relationship with my Papa, we had a wonderful life. Out of all of my siblings, I was the closest one to him. Maybe because we had so many things in common, and probably because we were both called by God to do the very same work in ministry. And although I miss him everyday, I don’t wallow in sadness like many people. I rejoice because my father is no longer in a wheelchair or on dialysis anymore. I rejoice because one day he will receive his glorified body that will never be sick, hurt, grow old or die. I rejoice because I have the blessed hope that I will see him again, and we will never be apart.

However, he has finished his race and mine has just begun. I still have much life to live and a legacy to uphold. I don’t have time to wallow, because “the night cometh…” and there is so much to be done. I’m excited to carry the torch and run with this vision, and I will die like my father in the trenches of this battle to establish God’s kingdom.

But what excites me more than anything is the opportunity to be able to follow in his footsteps, not in ministry but in the blessing of being a godly husband, a godly father, and the spiritual leader of my home. I don’t need the stage, the crowds or the lights as many do…but more than anything, I look forward to:

Attending little league baseball games.

Teaching my children to tie their shoes and how to ride their bikes.

Walking out of business meetings to go play catch outside.

Taking my kids to shake hands with their childhood heroes.

Not telling my children “hold on” or “not right now”.

I guess I want to be just like him, and measure success not by how successful I am at work but how successful I am at home.

So I want to say, “thank you papa. Thank you for who you were and everything you taught me, not through your words but through your example. Thank you for the legacy of faith you left me, and for the roadmap to life that you imparted to me. You were my father, my best friend, my pastor and my hero, and I will forever love and miss you. My life long prayer is that when all is said and done, my wife will look at me the way mom always looked at you, and that my children will be proud of me as much as I am proud of you! I love you forever!”

Your baby boy, Jubal

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