David will kill me for publishing this letter but it has been one of my most prized possessions since the day I got it. I think it is fitting to let him see what he wrote 6 years later. He was 18 then. I know that God is going to use you son. I love you and I am very proud of you. Thank you for one of the sweetest gifts that I have ever gotten. I give it back to you on your birthday.
My son David wrote this on September 14, 2003 late at night. No one has ever written or said anything that touched me more.
Growing up in the home of a missionary is a very different thing, but it is even stranger to grow up in the home of a missionary that is one of a kind, that only has missions on his mind, he worries not on anything else, he believes on nothing but what God can do through him.
As he wakes up in the morning he gets up and as he puts his clothes on he grabs a very precious object, it is a small marble, but to him it isn’t a marble. It is a challenge, it is his goal, on that marble is printed the world. As he feels it and looks at it he realizes that his Father’s task is not finished. As he walks down the first set of steps he sees another globe and again is reminded of his goal for the day. As he walks out the door he faces another hard day, one that very few people could imagine.
Every time he holds a conversation with someone, he has to mention his goal, or some plan to get his goal accomplished. Every time he comes home, you can tell that there is only one thing on his mind, the world. As he sits at the table to eat he really isn’t at the table, he is still at the office thinking of one more goal. Everyone that is around him, in some odd way, have caught his vision, have obtained his goals and have seen his heart, maybe not in the same proportion, but they have obtained a part.
Throughout all of my life I have never been an only child, nor have I been the last of four children, but I have been the last of many children. Our family has not been limited to the amount of children born into the Gardner family, but by the amount of young men and women that have the same passion as my father.
I will be honest and say that I have gotten tired of being in the background a lot of times and I have gotten tired of watching all of the action going on. But, as I look at it today, I realize that I am more privileged than all of his “children.” I have had the chance to live and be raised in the home of the greatest missionary of this day, I have been able to see his passion and I have been able to be there in the hardest and most difficult times of his life.
Believe it or not, I think I have obtained a small part of his vision, I have caught the fever of world evangelism and I have learned to dream. The times that were hard for me years ago have made me realize that they were training days, the times that my father was investing his life in others, I was being trained. I didn’t know it, but now I do.
I have finally seen what privilege God has given me, and I thank him for that. This will take a long time for me to prove myself, and actions speak louder than words. But I hope that someday, as Elisha said of Elijah, I will have double of his spirit. Someday, I hope to have double of his fruit, I hope to have double of his desires; I hope to have double of everything he has. I hope not to be average, because that only means to be the worst of the best and the best of the worst.
I hope to be a world class leader, I believe that I am headed that way with the training that I have received, but I do not want to stay where I am but be able to say that I am fulfilling my Father’s and my father’s wishes of evangelizing the world in this generation.
Yours to evangelize the world in our generation,
David Gardner 2nd generation missionary
P.S. Thank you for reading I know it is long, but it is just something that I thought of and wanted to share with you.