Daniel and Mako Gilchrist live in northwest Georgia with their three children, Naoki, Tomoya, and Manami, where Daniel has served as pastor of Chattanooga Valley PCA for the last 15 years.
Dan grew up in the Chattanooga area in a Christian home where he heard the stories and language of the gospel regularly, was actively participating in the life of the local church, and was hearing and praying for the work of missionaries from around the world.
As Dan headed into college, he was quite self-confident in his personal faith and theological knowledge. In terms of career plans, he was convinced that he would faithfully serve the Kingdom of God in any capacity other than full-time, vocational ministry, certainly not as a missionary (too weird), and certainly not in Japan (too different). Upon graduation with his BA in English Education, the Lord promptly took him to Japan as a missionary teaching conversational English as an evangelistic outreach.
This entirely unexpected development in his plans continues to be a source of laughter, joy, and thanksgiving for two major reasons. First, the Lord systematically dismantled Dan’s self-confident faith and re-assembled it in and upon “nothing…except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” Secondly, Dan met Mako who would become his wife.
Mako was raised in the home of a mom who had become a Christian when Mako was just three years old. Mako and her younger sister grew up going to church with their mother. Mako’s father became a Christian when Mako was about 16 years old.
Dan and Mako married in 1995 and moved to the States in 1997 to attend seminary in St. Louis. While in seminary, Dan and Mako grew together in their vision, understanding, and experience of the grace of our Father’s amazing love in Jesus Christ. The plan was to study for two years, work for one year and return to continue work in the church in Japan. Two years turned into four; and one year of work has turned into 15 years of pastoral ministry as pastor of Chattanooga Valley PCA. Again, God’s unexpected guidance and redirection of our best-laid plans has been an occasion for much growth, joy, and celebration of the steadfast love of the Lord which is unchanging from day to day, from place to place.
Dan and Mako come to ELI excited to see how the Lord will use Dan’s passion for the worldwide body of Christ to grow in the knowledge of Christ’s love and his experience in 15 years of pastoral ministry to participate with the Spirit and the Spirit’s appointed leaders from around the world in Christ’s continuing mission. In addition to being a part of His work around the world, they are excited to see how the Spirit will use Dan’s work with ELI to grow the local life and ministry of Chattanooga Valley PCA.