Patrick D. Garlock – United States of America
My name is Patrick Garlock. I was born in southern California, USA, the youngest of an integrated family of 10 boys. I remained in SoCal until my mother passed away from cancer when I was 11. I moved to the Midwest state of Kansas to live with my father and step-mom. I adapted to the different lifestyle and environment pretty quickly. Soon after, however, I lost my father as a 12-year-old. Sadly, I would lose my closest brother, Dennis, right after my 13th birthday. My Step mother legally adopted me and I finished my primary schooling in a rough and tumble neighborhood, and a very challenging home life until I would graduate high school.
When I was 16 years of age, my friend invited my girlfriend Stacy and I to his church. I would go reluctantly, but then I heard the message of salvation through Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for me. That, was the biggest decision of my life! I embraced it immediately and fell in love with my savior.
After high school I would forego college, jump right into the workforce and start a family. Stacy and I got married and had two children, a son and then a daughter. We found a home church and soon I would begin a ministry in volunteer radio. I began a youth-oriented radio program on Saturday nights in the northeast Kansas area and ran the helm for seven years. It was a wonderful outreach. We blended edgy Christian music with conversation and interviews. It was a phenomenal time of my life and it really held me accountable as a young believer.
As our kids were reaching the end of high school and the start of college, Stacy fell ill. Soon discovering that she had the blood cancer disease called Leukemia. It was a very rare form and the prognosis was fairly bleak. She would have a bone marrow transplant and live another year after that, eventually succumbing to the disease. I would be left a widower and for a period of time, I felt very lost. I had lost my high school sweetheart and wife of 22 years.
I wanted to keep her memory alive so I began to do speaking engagements for the American Cancer Society. Little did I know that I had a gift in public speaking. I continued to do engagements, once to twice per month for a while, all over the region. Each time with a great deal of positive feedback. But it was something I was doing for others. I needed to find my walk again. At this point my faith was strong, but my walk was weak.
I had stopped going to church a few years before this point, ironically. So upon an invitation, I would wander into this small bible church. The only way that I can describe it is that it felt like home. I had never felt so drawn to a place. Nothing flashy, just fellow believers who were solid in their faith and an extremely smart, veteran Pastor.
Soon I would rededicate my life to Jesus Christ. I was baptized for the first time in my life and not long after I was on the worship team. Then I would restart a youth program that was defunct at our church! In April of 2015, however, would come THE calling. I woke up at 2am and was told it was time. Something I felt twenty years earlier, was about to be realized. I was to a be a Pastor. I knew it like I’ve never known anything as intently before in my life. I did what was the only decision… I answered the call.
I was street smart, but now was the time to get some formal training and I had no idea where to go. On a single income I couldn’t afford to take on any more debt (I was still paying bills from Stacy’s long, expensive care). I would stumble upon Christian Leader’s Institute and enrolled immediately. Time would only tell if this was quality education, but from the reviews I read, how could it not be?
Fast forward to 18 months later and here I am. I have a Commissioned Pastoral Degree and I’m almost complete with my Ordination to be a Pastor!
CLI has been more than I could ever imagined. I could not fathom the quality of education I was going to receive when I began. The intelligence and experience of the Professor/Pastors is one thing that makes this incredible. They teach COMPLETELY from the Word of God. Their own life experience is obvious because when they communicate it’s from the heart of experience. The classes are intense, accurate, informative and thought-provoking.
All that I had when I began my formal training was life experience. I wasn’t Bible smart. Sure I could quote a handful of scriptures but I could not exegete the Living Word. But now I can. With this training, coupled with the support of my church, it has enabled me to grow in God more exponentially than I could have pictured 18 months ago. My Pastor is my mentor and has taken me under his wing. With 40 years of ministry experience, he is a wealth of knowledge.
Since beginning the classes at CLI, a lot has changed for me. I met a single, wonderful woman of God at my church. We recently married and combined families ourselves. I now have love for the second time in my life and a wonderful step son (who is part of our Youth Tribe)! We serve an amazing God that already knows what we are going to do before we realize it ourselves. And that’s such a crazy, awesome thought!
Please pray for my future with this church as they are considering adding me onto staff, for the Youth of our church and of the world and also for my family. My children lost their mother to a horrible form of cancer and it will take some time for them to heal. Thank you!