Ever since his college years, God has placed in Gary’s heart a special concern for youth. Although he worked as a full-time computer professional for 25 years, throughout that time he was also working with youth, as a youth pastor, volunteer youth worker, and/or as a camp staff member. Back in 2006, after going on several short-term mission trips to Mexico, Gary felt a special burden to work with Hispanic youth in Louisville, KY where he was living and working. Gradually this drive changed into a desire to learn Spanish also. So, in 2007 he enrolled in a one-month intensive Spanish course in San Jose, Costa Rica. He then returned to the Hispanic youth ministry in Louisville. Nevertheless, after selling his house and quitting his full-time job, Gary moved to Costa Rica in 2008 where he has been living ever since. He spent his first six years in Costa Rica teaching secondary science and leading weekly chapel services in a local Christian school. After that, he has been spending time getting to know youth, families, and pastors in several impoverish communities around the San José, Costa Rica area.
Gary is currently developing a new youth ministry project called Operación Capullo (Operation Cocoon) that focuses on youth and young adults 13-27 years old. There are good ministries working with gang kids and people with addiction issues. However, he felt called to go into the high schools. He wanted to see youth have Christ-centered lifestyles rather than fall into drugs or gang activity. The name of the project comes from the idea that caterpillars are in a constant state of eating. Sometimes, eating indiscriminately and destroying vegetation in the process. The caterpillar eventually enters a cocoon and emerges a completely different creature. To Gary, this is what he sees with many youth (and adults) across the world. They are eating indiscriminately the “food” that the world is offering. They often destroy themselves, people, and things around them in the process. However, through God’s transforming power, youth can go through a radical transformation process and emerge “new creatures in Christ.” This is what he has committed his energies to do here in Costa Rica and possibly expand to other countries also.