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Tyler Morning Telegraph - Galdámez brings church planting, education experience to Grace Español

Here are two articles written by Emily Guevara ( Twitter: @TMTEmily)  on our background and on  Grace Español .   Tyler Morning Telegraph...

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Monday, May 13, 2013

Letter From My Son and What Really Matters

Today I received this letter hand written by 20 year old son who just graduated from University. Yes, I am very proud, but as a parent I know that I have many short comings. But this letter shows me grace. God's grace. He has taken my shortcomings and turn them into what my son is now, a young man full of grace, kindness towards others and love for God. Yes, he has many of my strengths. He also has many of my weaknesses but God will also use them to shape him and make him the man He wants him to be. But I am still amazed as to how a tiny little being that I held and laid on my chest (he tried today and said, "I don't fit like Leah..." And I said, "You forgot you grew up.") is now a man. I marvel at this!

In the end, what really matters is the legacy we passed on to them. Mom's letter is forthcoming.

Dear Daddy,

I have been meaning to write this letter to you for a while but it seemed it always to pass me by. I wanted to thank you for all that you have taught me and provided me with, and recognize how you have shaped the man that I am today since it is so easy for me to be critical. Often things go unsaid between us and on the occasion of my graduation, I wanted to honor you and revere you as my Father, as God has commanded me to (Deut. 5:16). Most Dads teach their sons to play catch or to throw a football. You didn’t teach me either. But I don’t think I missed out on anything because what I have gained from you is far more valuable. I know that you didn’t have a father growing up and to be honest, I can’t blame all of your faults on you. It wasn’t fair that he wasn’t around – in fact, it was cowardly of him. But I praise God that he predestined you to be different, to be conformed to the image of his son, a Godly man (Eph. 1:5). As a kid, you were always my hero. I wanted to be like you in absolutely everything - that was the reason why I always wanted to be a teacher! I still look up to you for everything. From a young age, you taught me to think. I was reading before kindergarten and you taught me to love learning. I powered through all kinds of books and I excelled at all subjects. Even more, you always challenged me to think carefully and deeply.You gave me difficult tasks and expected me to figure them out.We debated and discussed politics and the church. I can’t tell you how much this has set me apart from my peers - I am able to be critical and analytical, work efficiently and quickly, to be quick on my feet. None of this is my own doing, but a result of the work you have poured into me.I could never forget where my parents came from. As the son of two immigrants, I could never forsake the values that you taught me. You came from nothing, from wandering in the field in hand-me-downs and thrift tees to working your way through learning English. And even when you knew English, you suffered through poverty and worked your way through college to provide all I could ever need. You’ve taught me the value of hard work, through your blood, sweat, and tears. You pour yourself completely into everything you do, whether teaching, studying, running, or even yard work. I have learned this from you – all the work I do, whether cleaning the house or writing a paper, I cannot give anything other than my best. You taught me to be content with less. I’ve never needed more than what you provided for me. I’m passionate like my father, sometimes even hotheaded (or “intense” as Alex likes to say). I learned to love to sing from you, even when I’m off-key. I tuck in my shirt when I go to church because you always told me to when I was younger. And though I sometimes have difficultly speaking it, I am forever grateful that you taught me Spanish. More importantly, you taught me the value of family. Week in and week out, it was a point to visit my Abuelitas. I spent weekends in with my parents instead of at the movies or at the beach with my friends. Although at the time it seemed unfair and oftentimes boring, I couldn’t be more thankful. I don’t know anyone who is as close to their family as we are. And I know it seems funny, being that I chose to go to school 2600 miles from you, but I can’t imagine being anywhere but close to you when I raise my family (Lord-willing). My kids will also know that family is most important because God has declared it so (Exodus 20:12). In you, I have my father, but I also have my most dependable friend. Although I could never treat you as such, you were the brother I never had growing up. But knowing how to think, to honor family, to work hard, it would all be for naught without the Gospel. But praise be to God that you raised me in the instruction and discipline of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4)! I learned to fear God and keep his commandments from an early age. My fear of your punishment and rebuke (and maybe the belt) extended to a fear of God. The Father has used you to teach me right from wrong, to teach me both of my sin and imperfection, but his steadfast love and faithfulness, demonstrated most fully at the cross. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses,made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved!” (Eph. 2:4-5) And although I was not disciplined in prayer and scripture reading, you were. You have always been disciplined. But I think this was God’s plan, to teach me his discipline in the way his hand would be most evident. Had I learned it while at home, the power of his sanctifying Spirit would not have been made so evident. I love God’s discipline because you were quick to discipline me. I love his Word, and I love the way he reveals himself. I love that God does not change and in fact, his steadfast love is for me. My desire is to be holy before him, and to grow more and more like him each day (2 Cor. 4:16). You have never been a perfect dad, but I don’t expect you to be.That is sin at work in our world. But you have been my father from my birth. You spoke to me in my mother’s womb and held me from my first days. You are an honorable man and a beautiful example of a loving husband. You are the father your dad never was, and I am proud to call you my daddy. I could keep writing on and on, but there will always be a chance to tell you more. I am sure that Aaron will grow to be a man of integrity and of character, just like our father. Proverbs rings true – The righteous who walks in integrity, blessed are his children after him (Proverbs 20:7)! I have been thoroughly blessed because of you. My prayer is that I may be a wise son, that I may make a glad father, and bring blessing to you. (Proverbs 10:1). I look forward to the day when our relationship is made perfect in the new kingdom, and we see the Lord our God face to face. Until then, you will always be my dad.





Saturday, May 11, 2013

Growing Up Content And Without the Gadgets

I don't remember much of my childhood. I have faint memories. From these memories I know I was content. I have shared my experience growing up in El Salvador up to the age of 10 with my children and students. Yes, times are different, I get it, but children today have much much more than what I grew up and they are still not satisfied. Some complain of being bored, something I never said, and some are just openly ungrateful.

Am content with my art

I grew up in a rural part of El Salvador, in a one room house made of wooden planks, dirt floor,with no running water, no bathroom (an outhouse) and no modern commodities. I didn't wear fancy clothes or shoes, I wore many hand-me downs, sandals (and my feet got really dirty) and only got new clothes once a year during Christmas or New Year. I don't remember owning any modern toys besides marbles, tops and trading cards. I got to see plastic soldiers that my brother brought from his home (he lived with grandma) but I never owned any. I loved exploring nature, herding cows, showering in the rivers, climbing mangoes trees, planting corn and going coffee reaping. I experienced getting lost while returning from the river, thank God my mom went to look for me and found me. I almost drowned in the river (I didn't know how to swim) and broke my arm while exploring nature (thanks to my mom who ran with me to the city to the doctor) and ended with a cast. When I came to the United States I experienced a bit of modernity. Yet, I still did not have any modern toys or electronics. I never had my own room (and often competed for the restroom with my sisters and had to go outside instead), didn't have new clothing or shoes except once a year (Payless shoes for $20 lasted a year or more), walked to school for more than 30 minutes every day (didn't have a bicycle or a car- had a car till I married, it was my wife's), my mom never went to any school event or meeting nor celebrated any birthdays and never had a dad.

Enough said. I was still content. I am content now. Complaints were not part of my vocabulary as far as what I had or didn't have. Material things were not priority. We were alive and enjoyed life. My wife had a similar upbringing in Mexico. Both of us instilled contentment and gratefulness to our kids and for the most part, they have learned this (we are teaching this to our two new ones as well). I am blessed beyond what I really deserve (I don't deserve anything).

So why are kids and adults so discontent if they have it all? Contentment is an attitude, a condition of the heart not a store of things, money and gadgets.

Jesus said, "Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions." (Luke 12:15)


Our Son's Graduation, a reprise.

I wrote a poem in April 2010 before he was out of High School, and our son started school August 23. Tomorrow he graduates. But here some thoughts I wrote in August as well. They are still true today.


17 years ago and 9 months I saw you for the first time, it was the most beautiful thing I’ve witnessed. I held you in my arms then and seen you grow from a little boy whose hand I held, played with, laughed with, argued with, talked with, spent time with and taught to be a good christian gentleman. I’ve never let you out of my sight since then except for brief times, and I still remember your first day of Kinder. Today is the moment I never thought would come but it has. It is the time when I must leave so you may start a new journey on your own. Even though I will see you again, things will be different than it has been. You will have to make many decisions and remember what is right and wrong. You must take care of yourself without me watching you. Yes, in a sense you are free. Free to make decisions. Free to be anyone you want to. You are not free of responsibility nor of the results of your decisions. But I trust you will make wise choices and be a better man than I am. As I take the role of a coach, I will cheer you, give you tips, yell at you, and encourage you. I will be here anytime you need me. Yet you have the freedom to decide. It’s all up to you now. So go my boy, soar up high this time all on your own! As I watch remember I love you so much! You are always welcome to come back to our nest.

Fleeting Time

Time flees

I'd like to see

Stop for me

I look at you

What you do

You've grown so too

Hold it there!

My little boy is gone

I don't know where!

Please time, stop fleeting!

Let me enjoy

My boy is growing

Too fast, too fast

My heart is beating!


Friday, May 10, 2013

Graduation, The Acts of Releasing and God's Providence

Almost three years ago we made our first trip to Washington DC as our second born took wings to study as far away possible from us. We had encouraged him to stay local but all efforts failed. He opted for a private university in the hub of DC. I remember that weekend and how hesitant I was, how I couldn't believe this was already happening. Four years before when he had finished Jr. High and entered High School I prophetically said that four years would go fast. They did. We were now releasing our 17 year old to the world unknown to him and as much as we had sheltered him, it was now time for him to start being more independent. I had a plan to keep him in check. He had to report via text every time he would leave campus, Skype with us once a week and route all emails to my personal account. Of all, only the last two are still true. For the last one, I used the "As long as I am paying for your school you have let all your emails go through me," but this am afraid will end really soon.

Almost three years ago we landed in DC not knowing what to expect. We took the Metro to our stop at our hotel. I will never forget how I, as a commanding leader, took them walking the wrong way towards the hotel as we were pulling all of our luggage and how mad everyone was because of it. During orientation we got to see his school including the room where he would spend his first semester. It resembled cabins rented for camping trips. Mere white bricks with resemblance of jails made up the four walls. But he was content with his third of the room which he would share with two other inmates. I remember meeting a man who was also dropping off her daughter. By design he was from California living in a city very close to ours and so he nudged us to go and meet her. We all went. There for the first time we met the girl (and so did he) who would "secretly" become my son's girlfriend and become the love of his life.

Then there was the search to find him a church to attend. We had gotten a "referral" to Capitol Hill church in DC so on Sunday we marched to find the church. As novices to the DC area we had a hard time finding it, time passed and the rain came down on us. Wet and exasperated, my wife and son insisted on giving up since the time was now passing and we would miss most of the service. But as their leader, I could not falter in my quest so we kept going. We finally found it and were able to catch the sermon. It was here where we received directions to a brand new church closer to his place of study. It is in this church where he has remained for almost three years. Where his spiritual growth has taken off as two young pastors have mentored him in the faith.

As our 17 year old son became aclimated to the environment we prepared for our departure. For him, it was a new adventure. For us, especially for me, the hardest thing I would do. The night before his departure we gather together to pray and I could stop my tears. It was time to release my second born to a world unknown to him. As hard as it was, I did.

In these three years, he has gone back and forth, from his academic journey. He has traveled ten different countries (my count) as part of his education. God has been faithful in his financial provision for him. When he started his journey, I did not know where the funds would come to pay his loans, but God has provided (and I reminded of the last payment I have to make).

So here we are. We are en route to DC for a second time. This time it is to see him receive hisbaccalaureate. I can't believe we are at this point now.

I wish I could say he is coming back with us. He is not. I guess it is the official release as a young adult into the world of independance. He is on his own. Just like the first steps he took when he was starting to walk, but this time without anyone holding him. So we release him.