Gary and Lyn Hawkins
I (Gary) was born and raised in Alabama. I became a supporter of Heaven’s Family in 2008. Later in 2010, I began doing volunteer work distributing excess Heaven’s Family magazines at various churches in my hometown. In 2011, I went on my first mission trip to visit the Fitzpatrick’s in Mexico with plans of learning from them so I could eventually work my way into getting my own boots on the ground in the mission field. My heart and souls purpose became increasingly more focused on living for the Lord in meeting the needs of His children like the ones I had read so often about through Heaven’s Family. The tragic passing of my late American wife had left me a bit alone and empty in my purpose of the hectic American lifestyle even more than it had been before. The long time calling in my heart told me that the time had now come, to get out of the boat and go.
I felt strongly that I needed a partner, so I went on a free global Christian dating site prayerfully searching for a life long ministry partner. The Lord’s approval and confirmation didn’t take long. That’s where I met my current Filipina wife, Lyn.
I had a series of test questions prepared for my prospects on the site to see if they were genuine. I told Lyn that I was planning to quit my job and move to a third world country in serving Jesus. I told her that in the future, I would likely be a poor man and may possibly live in a place that is hard, with no electricity or running water. I asked her that if she had the opportunity to serve Jesus with the right person in a place like that, would she be willing to leave her home and family to serve Him. Her answer was, ” yes, that’s why I was born, to help others and to serve Jesus.” She passed the test.
Lyn has been everything and much more than I could possibly dream or hope for. Little did I know at the time she had been born and raised in a home with no electricity or running water (up until only about 5 years ago wasn’t even accessible by motor bike) in a community of many neighbors who had greater needs than her own family. In March, 2012, I went to the Philippines, met her for the first time and married her. I then came back to the U.S. to finish paying off years of debt, tied up lose ends, took a giant leap of faith, quit my job and made a permanent move to the Philippines in November of that year. We now live on a rice paddy down the 5 year old long muddy road where Lyn was born and raised. We have a small amount of electricity, but still only use manually pumped well water and don’t care for any different.
Two months after my move, we took a newborn baby boy (Jackson Allen) into our home to raise as our own son. Since then, have another son (Juan Allen) and a girl (Judy Marie).
Compared to the U.S. life has sometimes been hard, yes, but I have adapted well and am very happy here. The Lord has blessed us so richly and provided our every need, often comparable to manna in the desert.
When Lyn and I first met, she was the only Christian among her eight siblings. Since then, we’ve baptized all but one among many others. The Lord has used us in meeting countless needs around us, including helping many street children into Christian homes, working in the slums, human trafficking, ministering to orphans and widows, preaching and ministering in the jails, teaching them about Christ and baptizing them, emergency medical needs, typhoon, flood and fire disasters, sustainability projects and others including church planting and empowering church planters to continue advancing the kingdom of Christ. Lyn has just recently finished the editing of “The Disciple Making Minister” by David Servant, translated into the Philippine Cebuano language which should soon be made available for approximately 20 million Cebuano speaking Filipinos to read. We hope to be used in the future to bring awareness to this book for many teachers and ministers here.
Visions and goals for our future include establishing hubs/villages of working disciples who are self-sustained, learning to lay down their lives for Christ, sharing all things in common with one another, going out and making disciples of the least of these, caring and nurturing them into mature, healthy Christians who will serve the Lord with their whole being.
We are extremely humbled and grateful in becoming a part of Heaven’s Family. So many needs around us that we’ve just simply never been able to meet. All of the Lord’s children joining and working together can, and surely will change the world in the name and power of Christ.
“From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing and forceful men lay hold of it” (Matthew 11:12).