Garan and Anneliese Patrick
It all started with Randy’s Donuts! I saw a pretty college girl at my Pastor’s apartment one day who had decided to come help our church that semester. My natural response was to seek a quick conversation starter. My eyes searched the room, and happily lighted upon the box of donuts on the dining table. I proceeded to explain how, upon her mouth’s introduction to one of the world’s finest fried consumable delicacies, her life would never be the same. After reluctantly agreeing to try one, her “It’s okay” was a little underwhelming to say the least, but it led to further persuasion and conversation. Despite our slight differences, we soon hit it off and discovered our donut preference differential to be one of the few things we did not have in common. The biggest common denominator that we discovered was our heart for missions.
Anneliese and I both come from broken homes, and we share the desire to be vessels that God can use to mend the broken lives of the fatherless, poverty-stricken, and spiritually deceived people of Nigeria. I was saved at the age of six as a bus child at Lancaster Baptist Church, where I later would serve as a youth ministry intern. Throughout my teen years, I dedicated my life to academics, and graduated Valedictorian from my public high school. I received a 50% scholarship to the University of California, Berkeley, where I started to attend. After a year, God told me He had bigger plans for me, and I withdrew so that I could pursue ministry.
My wife was saved as a child at Calvary Baptist Church in Temecula, CA. She struggled through a very rough childhood, and has accumulated scars from her experiences that she yearns to use as tools to minister to precious children and young people in Nigeria that have been treated in similar ways that she has been.
We both graduated with our Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from West Coast Baptist College. Anneliese studied missions throughout college, having surrendered to be a missionary in high school. I went through Bible College thinking I was going to be a church planter in America. It was not until after I graduated that, through six months of prayer, God turned my burden for missions into a confirmed calling that I could not shake, nor wanted to shake.
Long before we were even in a serious relationship, the Lord put Nigeria in both of our hearts without the other knowing about it. Anneliese was writing her thesis on starting a children's home on the mission field for her Master's degree, and trying to avoid writing about an African country. The Lord persisted, and led her specifically to write it about Nigeria. I was looking for a country in Africa to which I could go on a missions trip, and a door opened for me to travel to Nigeria, so I planned accordingly. As she wrote, and as I planned, our burden started to develop. The door for my missions trip ended up closing, and I thought God was closing the door for Nigeria altogether.
Two years later, in the beginning of 2019, we had the privilege of being sponsored to take a survey trip to Africa. The problem was that we did not know exactly where we were called to go, so we prayed and fasted for God's direction. He brought our minds back to Nigeria. It turns out that God had not closed the door, but rather He was delaying my trip until the right time, when we could go together as a married couple. On our trip, the Lord made it clear that Nigeria is the place that we are called to spend the rest of our lives. We are being sent out by Lancaster Baptist Church.