Reaching Europeans through caring for the soul

Jess and Alex Garcia serve with the International Mission Board in Europe.

When Alex and Jess Garcia, IMB missionaries in London, experienced burnout five years ago, it shook them to the core. Although much of the information they read told them that anxiety and depression were things they would have to learn to live with, that didn’t sound right to them. They pleaded for God to make sense of the strange chapter in their lives and sought true healing in Him. What they learned was life changing and became the launching pad for much of their ministry today.

Isaiah 61 says, “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.”

Alex and Jess experienced the reality of these verses as they began to heal and were eager to share these truths with others—first with friends, then with team members and now with anyone they meet. Finding help and healing for burnout and anxiety became not only a personal passion but their primary tool in strategically sharing the gospel in the city of London.

“Depression is the modern-day leprosy. It’s the real pandemic,” Alex said. “We thought burnout was just our problem, but it is so common.”

“As we prayed, the Father showed us an overall sense of depression in Europe. A lot of people are struggling with it, and there is a spiritual element to it,” Alex said.

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That spiritual element has left Europeans searching for answers, and Alex and Jess are ready to introduce them to Jesus, the Healer. Though not professional mental health experts, they are able to facilitate discussion and help people seek Christ.

“Through Jesus, we can address body, soul and spiritual issues. People outside the church, especially millennials, are open to their need for spiritual guidance,” Alex said.

The first couple the Garcias worked with were believers and had ties in the corporate world. They asked if what they had been learning about seeking healing through Jesus could be reproduced, and Alex and Jess began a new phase of ministry. They started a website called minimalfaith.co.uk. They held their first training and began forming groups of three to five people called well groups, based on John 4 where Jesus met and brought spiritual healing to the Samaritan woman. These groups focus on mutual prayer, accountability and renewing the mind through learning stories of hope in Scripture.

“After the first training, we lost track of how many well groups there are,” Alex said.

Alex and Jess describe their ministry as a prayer ministry. They teach people about Jesus, and guide them to ask Jesus to come and bring healing.

“We help them to allow Jesus to visit areas of trauma and deal with wounds that were formed through life,” Jess said.

As a result, the Garcias are seeing people break free, walking in newness as they are letting go of their old identity and embracing their identity in Christ.

“Prayer is the key. Jesus taught disciples how to pray and we teach others. It’s beautiful really. It’s so prescriptive. As Paul reminds us, ‘Do not be anxious but pray,’” Alex said.

Pray for Alex and Jess as they continue to experience spiritual healing and to teach others how to seek their own healing in Christ. Pray for the millions of Europeans who struggle with depression and anxiety, an epidemic that has been exponentially multiplied with COVID-19.