Upcoming prayer requests

Thank you for praying for us through the family health challenges of January!  Our extended family seems to have returned to healthy, and we are greatly encouraged to know that so many of you were and are praying!

Please continue to pray for us.  We’ve put together a prayer calendar of upcoming requests for the month of February – it includes a little of everything (from Chester having surgery on Monday, February 10th, to a little bit of travel and a project at Glad Tidings Bible Camp).  Please join us in prayer though the month!

One additional request (not yet on the calendar) is for wisdom in our summer/fall plans.  We’re applying to volunteer at a camp in France! 

Thank you so much for serving with us through your prayers and support!

Download a printable prayer calendar here, or view and subscribe online here.

Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are posting this information here so that those who might not have heard can be informed or join the team. We are in need of prayer warriors, food makers and people to join. This is the email we just sent out to the people who have expressed interest in the project.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for expressing an interest in being involved in the Glad Tidings Bible Camp kitchen/washroom upgrade project.

This project started with many conversations about staff training, efficiency, standardizing equipment, dealing with bugs and other things. One day I was trolling auctions and found some great deals on commercial kitchen equipment. God allowed me to pick up some new dishwasher trays, desert plates and some stainless steel kitchen counters exceptionally low cost with many things donated. This kicked off a campaign to perform a much needed updating to the kitchen at Glad Tidings Bible Camp. We worked with the camp director (Gil) and other professionals including the fire marshal and health inspector to come up with a small list of improvements which will really have a significant impact on the kitchen and washroom operation. We are confident these changes will have a positive effect on the camps ability to function with excellence and both the staff and the rental groups are going to appreciate a noticeable change.
With the approval of the Glad Tidings Camp executive board we have begun this project. A couple weeks ago our volunteer team dove right in by doing the clean out, moving a door, some cabinets and re-routing some plumbing.

On the weekend of October 25-27, we are going to host the first ever work party weekend retreat. We will dive into the work but combine this with worship and instruction from God’s word. Please prayerfully consider joining the team, we are going to have a great time together.

When: October 25, 26 and 27 (Friday – Sunday)
We’ll get set up Friday morning, and plan a Kick-off supper Friday, October 25th at 6:00pm, we will continuing major work through Saturday evening. On Sunday we’ll wrap up details and clean up. You are welcome to join for any portion as your schedule allows.

SIGN UP HERE to help us plan food and lodging: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60B0449A5A628A2F58-gtbc

Who: Everyone, regardless of age, experience or skill
We will train you if needed and place you where you can contribute positively toward the project goals. Even if you are not able to be present we can find a way for you to be involved through prayer and meals support. Kids under 12 should bring along their family or an adult.

The plan for work will involve a good amount of general maintenance such as drywall patching, deep cleaning, painting. For the weekend builder we have shelving to build and install. For light construction we have some plumbing adjustments and electrical. Lord willing we can work with the various crews to work on coating the floor. One awesome thing is that a local establishment donated a used $11k double oven/range but it is super greasy and needs a few people who will take charge of a serious deep cleaning.
The plan for schedule and programming is to have a time of worship and instruction around meal times and some campfires and fellowship in the evenings.

The Cost:
While there is obviously a cost to Glad Tidings Bible Camp to have people in for a weekend, this is a free-will offering working retreat. Please consider a contribution to cover the operational costs, and help make this project a reality.
Some non-monetary ways to contribute:

  • Bring a food for a meal, snacks or drinks
  • Provide childcare or activities for young kids while their parents work in other ways.
  • Lead a time of worship
  • Give a short lesson or devotional after a meal
  • PRAY
    We look forward to seeing you this weekend, and seeing God do some great things!

Fun at Glad Tidings Bible Camp

One of the ministries that we love is Glad Tidings Bible Camp.  You’ve seen updates from there over the summer if you follow us on social media.  God has blessed us with many opportunities to share the gospel.  It was very encouraging to see a few of Moriah’s campers respond in faith to Jesus offer of eternal life, and to share with several others that hearing and obeying Jesus’ teaching results in stability as you go through life (see Matthew 7:24).

Volunteering at Glad Tidings seems to frequently find Chester in the kitchen.  He was lead cook for one week, and lead maintenance man (with a side of cooking) for another.  In total, he made about 600 donuts for the campers and staff, as well as many yummy meals.  The campers were definitely well fed.

French bread for 85 campers and staff at Glad Tidings Bible Camp.

We’ve thought for years that it sure would be fun to upgrade the kitchen at Glad Tidings Bible Camp.  (Really – combining kitchens with building projects – what’s not to love?!)  This summer as we volunteered, we talked through ideas for re-arranging their dish washing room to improve traffic flow and dreamed of replacing some of the cupboards and counter-tops in their kitchen.

Last week, Chester found an auction for commercial kitchen equipment and bid on a number of items with Glad Tidings Bible Camp in mind.  He had been particularly praying to find dish carts and stainless steel counter-top for them.   As is often the case, God provided over and above what we asked.  This time it was two full trailer loads and two car loads, including seven dish carts and twenty-four linear feet of stainless steel counter-top and many other useful items – plates, chairs, serving line, griddles, and so much more.  At the end of the auction, the organization even donated dozens of items to the camp!

Now that our back yard and garage are full of commercial kitchen equipment bought for and donated to camp, we think that yes, a kitchen renovation is a good plan for this coming fall or winter.  We plan to invite several families and individuals to join us over a weekend at Glad Tidings Bible Camp for a working party retreat to help with the clean out and efforts of a kitchen and dish room refurbishment.

Such a retreat would include good work, teaching, worship and fun. If you are interested in joining on such a work party retreat, contact us (there’s contact info next to our snazzy new picture below, or you can reply to this email).  Please pray for this project and consider donating time, materials, or funds toward this cause. (You can donate using the link at the top, which now includes better instructions too).

Answers to Specific Prayers

Our first few trips of the summer have left us encouraged and grateful!  You heard about our whirlwind month of trips to Colorado, Texas and a bit about Wyoming in the last update.  This time we want to share a little more about the project at Haven on the Rock in Wyoming, some special praises, and what’s coming up.

Local crew installing trusses at Haven on the Rock.  The siding is painted to look rustic western.

Last fall we left Haven on the Rock after their camping season, and we were discouraged.  The work on the bath house had been fraught with burnout and many other challenges.  This year is starting on an encouraging note – before we even arrived in the spring, work crews had come to help.  Over the few weeks of work before starting their summer camp programs, walls were erected, sheathed and sided, a top plate put on the walls and roof rafters lifted into place, fastened and sheathed.  There’s still lots of work to do, but we’re very thankful to see God’s provision through local work crews and churches stepping up their involvement.   Work there is currently on hold for safety during their camping season, but they have a standing structure that is partially sided. (An additional praise was that the internet service was better than usual!)

God sent encouragement in many forms: local help with the work on the bath house, gifts to cover the expenses of ministry, and even the desert blooming!

Thank you for your gifts!  Through your special gifts these past few months, we made two trips to Haven on the Rock this spring.  Your gifts primarily provide our travel expenses, which allows us to serve this project at Haven on the Rock, and through this work, further their ministry.  

Additionally, we’re grateful for the several regular supporters of our ministry.  Through your regular monthly gifts, we can maintain tools and replace the small consumables used on projects.  As you saw last time, we replaced the trailer that broke on our last trip with one that we expect to serve us very well.  We’re currently replacing headlights on our vehicle after a fender-bender on this trip, as well as a handful of smaller tools that break under this sort of use.  Your gifts allow us not only to travel to serve, but also to keep the tools necessary to serve well.  Thank you!

Micah and Moriah have spent an effective few weeks serving with Glad Tidings Bible Camp.  Three little girls in Moriah’s cabin accepted Jesus’ gift of Eternal Life a few weeks ago!  This week, we’re looking forward to our whole family serving together at Glad Tidings Bible Camp.  (Chester is cooking for the Middle School camp, Micah, Eva will be on staff, the other kids campers or “helpers”, and Amy will be working from a town nearby with an internet connection).  

Ongoing work at the building in France we visited and helped with early in 2018.

We are now beginning to consider this coming fall.  Would you pray with us for God to direct our steps?  If God chooses to provide for it, we’d like to return to France to help more with the Van der Veers renovation project (the same building we worked on last time)  as well as help another missionary family as they work to make their newly-purchased house safe and serviceable.

We also hope to continue to be involved with the bath house project at Haven on the Rock as God provides for those trips.

God is at Work

Our first trip to the bath house project in Wyoming has begun!

As you may recall, we are involved in helping facilitate the building of a large bath house at Haven on the Rock camp. As the building season ended last year we wrapped up pouring stub walls on the foundation in the snow. At the time we were pretty discouraged due to the work not going well and a decline in community support for the project. Both of these have been getting extra efforts in prayer. 

We are very pleased to report how God is at work. We are seeing God’s provision in some local people stepping up to serve on the project. It looks like we have an electrician and a plumber who are willing to act as local point men and possibly supervise volunteer work teams. We would really like to see some additional roles volunteering as well.  Lord willing we have at least two larger groups coming out for about a week each. All the specifics are still getting worked out so keep them in prayer. 

The goal of this trip is to assess the current state of the project, materials and grounds and prepare the next steps for construction.  A group is planning to come out to help on Saturday and we are praying that with a large enough group we could frame the remaining exterior walls and prepare for assembly. 

Camp director with a car-trailer to the rescue!

As so often happens when one steps out to serve God, we’ve encountered a bit of

At Home: Amy and one particular child spent part of a day in urgent care for the tip of an earbud lodged in an ear canal. We are thankful that we were able to get in quickly and it worked out alright. Pray that she and the kids stay sane homeschooling, working, and fending off a mild fever that seems to be making the rounds.

On the road: Chester made it out to Scottsbluff (1.5 hrs from camp) and during a quick break discovered a blown bearing on the trailer. We are incredibly thankful for God’s protection –  it could have gone very badly. Zach, the director at Haven on the Rock, drove out with a car trailer to pick up Chester’s trailer, and late that night they made it back to his house.  This morning, Chester continued (without the trailer) out to camp. He is hoping to inspect the damage on the trailer on Friday but initially it appears that the axle is beyond repair. We expect replacement to be at least $2K so are asking for God’s wisdom and provision. Pray that if it’s not reasonably repairable, that God would provide a replacement at the right time and price. 

At the Camp: Another little bit of opposition is Wyoming weather. Rain for the past several days have left the camp road almost impassable. Their type of soil makes a super slick, almost slimy mucky mud. It is about 10 miles of low maintenance country road to the camp and 2 miles from the road to the buildings. It took Chester more than an hour to drive it this morning.  Mudding is fun, but less so when you do not have cell phone access and it is miles to the next neighbor.   We are thankful he made it onsite.  We’re praying that it clears up and dries out enough for the work party planned for Saturday.

Thank you for joining us on this adventure.  We love seeing God provide and work through your prayers.  Thank you for praying for us and supporting us.  It makes a difference!

Snapshots of recent life

We have started the missions class that God provided for through you all!  It’s a fifteen week course, and we are nearly 1/4 of the way through. We’ve wanted to take the class for years, but were daunted by the prospect of having to do homework (with a textbook of about 800 pages, it promised lots of reading) in addition to keeping on top of normal life in our household.  And we were right – it’s a lot of homework.  So far, God has graciously given us pockets of time, and we have not yet fallen behind.  We are grateful that they offer the book in an electronic edition.  It’s particularly helpful to Chester to have his Kindle read the book to him at lightning speed while he runs the kids to and from various activities.

Chester inspects a cabin for evidence of mold at Glad Tidings Bible Camp.

We’ve made two trips up to Glad Tidings Bible camp recently.  The first was a week was a few days of vehicle repair to a Durango who had the brakes go out and rammed in to a cabin (eventually, there will probably be a project to repair the cabin…), and the second was a quick day trip for a camp board meeting with a side of cabin inspection (above), and getting various vehicles stuck and un-stuck in the mud (not pictured).  We’re grateful for the mission of this camp, and for the opportunity to serve with them.

Micah, Eva and Moriah say ‘MOOOOCHAS GRACIAS’ to God (and you) as they watch Him provide for their missions trip to Mexico in March.

God has begun to provide for the trip that Micah, Eva and Moriah would like to take to Tecate, Mexico with Sabre missions to build houses (more info here).  One generous donor has offered to match donations up to $500 for this trip.  If you’d like your donation to be doubled, make a check out to Sabre missions, and either get it to us (we’ll send in a pile all at once) or send it to them with a note (not a memo on the check!) that it’s for the Davis kids’ matching fund.  We are excited about this generous offer, and always love watching God provide for His work!  Thank you for being used by God!

A visualization of our family’s ministry activity in 2018.

Several hours in the past month were spent writing an annual report to our mission of how things are going for us as new missionaries.  In order to be transparent with you, our support network, we have posted the report here.  Please enjoy this detailed look into our thoughts about our activities of the past year.

Reflections on Habakkuk (pt 2)

I’m continuing to mull over Habakkuk.

Habakkuk 1:5 says:
Look among the nations and watch – 
Be utterly astounded!
For I will work a work in your days
Which you would not believe though it were told you.

All of my life (I think – maybe just all of my adult life), I’ve avoided keeping up with the news.  It’s sensational, it’s skewed, it’s depressing.  I’d rather not know.   This verse convicted me of preferring to keep my head buried in the sand rather than opening my eyes to see what God is doing and be astounded.  Interestingly, Habakkuk complains in the first section about what he sees, and God continues with that theme – telling Habakkuk to look and see even more.  

God’s not pretending that what will astound Habakkuk is pleasant or beautiful.  He’s not glossing over the evilness of the Chaldean nation.  But He’s showing that He’s in control, and using even evil nations for His purposes. 

In my conviction to be willing to look and see what God is doing, I installed the BBC world news app on my phone.  I haven’t read it much yet – two or three times.  But I do look at the “breaking news” flashes they send.  I like the idea of being astounded by what God is doing, but not of seeing that types of things that Habakkuk got to see.  The nations today are just as evil as they were back then (nothing new under the sun).  But God is also just as good, and just as in control.  And I can be astounded both at his using evil nations as pawns and at His masterful plan.  I can allow myself to be burdened, then be astounded, and instead of wallowing in dismay at what I see, I can turn and look to God, like Habakkuk does.

Reflections on Habakkuk

A couple of weeks ago, a friend mentioned Habakkuk as one of her favorite books.  It piqued my interest.  Sure I’d read it, but I had no idea what it was actually about. I’d never really paid attention to it.  Then last week I was asked to consider leading a little study (just once – for about an hour), and one of the possible topics was Habakkuk.  So I took the chance to read it more closely. These are my notes.

Habakkuk 1:1-1:4  Habakkuk had a burden for Israel and the trouble they were in: violence, plundering, strife contention, bad judgements, wickedness was winning.  It seems to me this burden was from God.  Has God given me a burden?  Do I diligently pray and eagerly look for God’s response like Habakkuk did?  Why do I ignore the trouble around me and in my own nation, and try not to see?  Am I avoiding being burdened?

Habakuk 1:5-1:11  When we look, we will be astounded at God’s work.  Instead of avoiding looking at the trouble around me, I should look to notice what God is doing around me.  It’ll astound me.

The Chaldeans are described as bitter, hasty, greedily conquering nations, “Their judgement and their dignity proceed from themselves”, They have fast horses and are more fierce than wolves, they love violence and hate authority.  Their greed is what stands out to me – always wanting more and never satisfied.  Do I do this too?  Not content with what I have now, but wanting more even though it’s just for sport?  

Habakkuk 1:12-2:1 God is everlasting, Holy, and a Rock.  He’s appointed Israel for judgement, but by a country that God is too pure to behold (because they’re evil).  I’m inspired by this prayer to know and God’s attributes and pray them back to Him.

Habakkuk’s further comments on the Chaldeans also touches on their insatiable greed and their prosperity through harming others.  They take captives like a fisherman filling his nets with fish.  They praise their  nets as gods because they see them as the source of their prosperity.  What do I see as the source of my prosperity?

Habakkuk determines to watch for God’s answer, and expects to be corrected.  This is Habakkuk’s second prayer, and we already see a different attitude from the first prayer.  He went from “Why aren’t you hearing me?!” to “I’ll watch for an answer and expect to be corrected”.  Every section so far has commented on what Habakkuk is seeing.  In 1:1-4 he sees the violence around him.  In 1:5-11 God tells him to look and be astounded.  In 1:12-2:1 he purposes to watch.

Habakkuk 2:2-5 God answers Habakkuk a second time, this time telling him to write the vision he sees (another reference to what Habakkuk is looking at).  But the emphasis here, I think, is on time.  The vision is not for now, but it will still be true (because truth is timeless), and Habakkuk should wait for it.  God’s timing isn’t our timing.  He’s timeless too.

He contrasts the proud with the just who walks by faith.  I think this section is the whole point of the book.  God knows what he’s doing, and we can live by faith because of that, and wait for Him, because He know.