When Ministry Takes Him Away: An Interview with Katie Gardner

I recently had a chat with a sweet missionary friend of mine, Katie Gardner serving in Arequipa, Peru. (Isn’t her family precious?!?) Sometimes, being a missionary wife involves allowing your husband travel for ministry. Having recently held down things at home while my husband visited some pastors in a village, I could relate to the struggle I knew my friend was going through so many miles away. I asked her to share with us today how she deals with these times and the unique ways the Lord blesses her through them.

You can read about all the things God is doing in Peru on their website.

How do you handle your husband being away from your family?
I guess I handle it one day at a time. It’s always sad and hard for him to go but I try to focus on today, the tasks at hand and not think about how long he will be away.

What is the longest he has been away from you?
I think this trip takes the cake for the longest. Before going to the States for three weeks, he was in another city for a week teaching at a Bible college. He left on Sunday afternoon, got home Saturday night and left again on Monday for three weeks. It was pretty hard for me.

How do you keep a good attitude when you are manning the fort alone?
Not going to lie but sometimes keeping a good attitude is difficult. This past trip especially  I got discouraged and had a little bit of a victim mentality (told you I wasn’t going to lie). I spoke to him about it, and instead of playing into my pity party, he encouraged me to draw close to the Lord. I was a little upset that he refused to feel sorry for me, but then I took his advice and started reading my Bible more and writing down what the Lord was teaching me and showing me about himself. It was a beautiful time spiritually for me. I even shared my devotions, and it encouraged him as well.

What do you do to keep yourself busy?
My kids keep me pretty busy. I also have church and discipleship and try to keep my house in order. If anything I look for time to sit for a few minutes and be alone!

13178780_10154935234023065_6090498711474533542_nWhat special things you do and what things do you let slide a little?
I don’t always focus on keeping things as tidy. I like my house to be clean and orderly but if I’m tired and there is a pile of clothes in my bedroom floor I will leave it for later. And as far as special things, I like to take the kids out and eat at their favorite restaurant, let them sleep with me, etc. so that the time away from dad is not so sad.

Are you afforded any unique ministry opportunities in his absence?
Honestly, if I didn’t have a 5 year old, a three year old and a 5 month old I would probably take advantage more of ministry while David was away, but I see my kids as a huge ministry. I daily disciple and invest in them and they take a lot of time and energy from me. I love love love my kids and wouldn’t do a thing different, but they always come before other ministries I have. 

In what ways do you cultivate anticipation for his return?
For me I’m dying to see him again from the moment he walks out the door but this time with the girls we made a special present for daddy before he got home. We talk about what he is doing and how we are excited to see him again. I really try to encourage a good relationship and respect for their daddy and honestly the just adore him so I guess talking to them and even little things like making something for him gets them excited about his return. 

How do these times grow and stretch you?
These times stretch me in every way. He is my support and my stronger half in many ways so when he leaves I find myself feeling incomplete. However, it’s a great opportunity for spiritual growth for me.

Just getting the kids ready to go to church or school and the baby fed is an ordeal! I’m also forced to take care of things that I usually wouldn’t need to. This time we had some internet problems which is huge because that is the main way I communicate with my family, friends, and husband. I’m grateful for friends here who help me out, but I learn things while he is gone for sure.


In what ways do you see this paying off in your marriage and ministry, if at all? 
It’s very beneficial because we are able to raise personal support for the Bible college and even raise some money for a pastor on our team who is building a new building. It also gives us a chance to foster ministry relationships and update pastors and churches who support the ministry here. For our marriage, it’s tough but it’s always sweet to reunite. My spiritual growth betters my marriage and there is something that rings true in the saying, “absence make the heart grow fonder.”
Does his freedom to travel allow him to take on ministry opportunities and serve at a greater capacity?
Thanks to this trip funds were raised for the college which is a very important ministry. Pastors and missionaries are constantly being trained and serving in Peru and in other parts of the world thanks to those who have given and a church is being constructed. It also puts David in contact with people. You just never know when or where you might run into the next great missionary or key players in the adventure called missions.
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  • 4 thoughts on “When Ministry Takes Him Away: An Interview with Katie Gardner

    1. Great interview ladies! Love your honesty, Katie. So glad this trip was beneficial in so many ways! Praying God continues to bless you guys in your personal lives as well as the ministry.

      1. Thanks, Maria!
        It was fun to do. I’d like to make it seem like I’m all that but I think being honest is important. I’m a missionary, yes but I’m human and God has to work on me every single day. Thanks for all your encouragement and prayers!

    2. I totally get this Katie! (especially since all we’ve been through on the foreign field makes us depend on one another as a couple. It’s just weird when we’re apart but necessary for the ministry.)Thanks for sharing your heart honestly.

    3. Thank you for the insight Katie! It helps to see that wives all across the world deal with this and that it is possible the have joy during those times when your husband away. This encourages me as I prepare for my own new marriage 🙂

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