McCook man departing on global ministry tour

Friday, June 28, 2013
David Garretson, from left, Sarah Moore, Rachael Miller, Leigh Ann Howington, Hamilton Dilbeck and Athena Papadopoulos, also known as the team "Four the 10," participate in a training camp in Atlanta, Georgia, in preparation for The World Race. (Courtesy photo)

Sometimes, it's hard to know where you're supposed to be going; hard to know what you're supposed to be doing; hard to know who you are meant to be.

However, by the time David Garretson returns from his World Race tour, he should have a pretty good idea.

David, the son of Jim and Donna Garretson, grew up in McCook with his sister, Christy and brother, Mike. For a time he thought he'd stay here all the days of his life, content with his hometown. He graduated from McCook High School in 2006 and then attended McCook Community College where his dad is a professor. After earning his Associate of Science degree in 2008, he moved to Kearney where he earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Come the Fourth of July, he'll board a flight out of Denver to Atlanta, Georgia, where final preparations will be completed for his World Race, an 11-month journey during which he will visit and minister in 11 countries.

According to the website (, The World Race is a stretching journey into 11 countries in 11 months to serve "the least of these" while amongst real and raw community. This unique mission trip is a challenging adventure for young adults to abandon worldly possessions and a traditional lifestyle in exchange for an understanding that it's not about you; it's about the Kingdom.

The site further explains that The World Race is a program of the inter-denominational organization Adventures in Missions (Adventures). Adventures is an established missions organization that has been around since 1989, sending people from different churches and backgrounds all over the world on life-changing mission trips. For more about Adventures, visit

For David, it is a chance to dream God's dream. He writes on his blog, "I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. My goal was to graduate from there (McCook) and maybe open a store and sell motorcycles and scooters... This was a cool dream, but lame."

He also had a plan to move to Lincoln, work in the Kawasaki motorcycle plant and make motorcycles. And after attending an air show with his family, he dreamt of becoming a pilot, "I looked into schools but they were all across the country, and many hours from home. Plus they were extremely expensive and there was no way I wanted to get into that much debt! That dream slowly died."

"Instead" he writes, "I followed what everyone else in my family did. Go to the University of Nebraska at Kearney and get a bachelor's degree. I graduated, 'Yay.' Unlike the rest of my family, I didn't get a full-time job when I graduated. I left town and worked at a church camp in Laramie, Wyoming called Table in the Wilderness. AMAZING summer!" When summer was over, he returned to Kearney, got a job and settled in, or so he thought.

David has attended the Passion Conference ( for the last four years. Each year it proved to be a major highlight and each year he left with a strong desire to "get out there and do something now!" On the third day of the annual conference this year, he received the phone call notifying him that he had been accepted to go on The World Race.

And he couldn't be more excited about the prospect. His itinerary, subject to change, starts in Romania; in August, he'll be in Ukraine. He'll spend September in Ireland, October in India and November in Sri Lanka. Christmas and all of its traditions may seem light-years away as he spends December in Kenya, learning new traditions, January will be spent in Uganda and February in Rwanda. The final three months will be spent in Thailand, Cambodia and Malaysia.

He'll be part of the team "Four the 10," traveling with Hamilton Dilbeck of Cumming, Georgia, Leigh Ann Howington of Sachse, Texas, Rachael Miller of Richmond, Virginia, Sarah Moore of Lawn Texas, Texas, and Athena Papadopoulos of Port Richey, Florida. There are seven teams in the T-squad of 55 young people. They met for the first time in May for an intensive Training Camp.

David writes on his blog, "After just one week, I made 55 new friends that I can't wait to spend a year with serving around the world! Training camp was "in- tents" and I can only imagine how the next year will be. I do know however that I will be spending it with the most amazing people who are just as excited to serve as I am."

According to his blog, David will "serve in partnership with churches and ministries doing a variety of things that may include teaching English, leading sports camps, orphan care, community development, living with and encouraging local believers, ministering to women and children that have been involved in sex trafficking, and most of all sharing the gospel and love of Jesus. We really won't know what we will be doing specifically until we arrive in each country."

As for his future dreams? Well, he still isn't planning on winning the lottery, mostly because he doesn't play, but as he said in his Dream Blog, "God owns the lottery. He says you don't have to play to win. For I have won the lottery! I am getting in a plane and flying around the world. I am sharing God's love and helping others, without the stress of being the pilot. I don't need millions of dollars to achieve my dream anymore."

You can follow David's journey on his blog at

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