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Graduation, Graduation, Graduation

Rich and Jo Ann Davis on March 22, 2016

When asked what are the three most important things for starting a business or church, the sage answer is often “Location, location, and location.” How are graduation and location related? It may be a stretch, but graduation and location are connected as the graduates look to where the Lord desires for them to locate now! Let us begin at the completion!

DSC02737 Rachelle, Rich and Jo Ann

Retreading- Rich Graduated

As reported earlier, we traveled to Columbia, South Carolina where we met our youngest daughter, Rachelle, and other friends to witness the graduation ceremonies at Columbia International University (CIU). Rich is in the PhD program studying Leadership in Christian Higher Education. Having completed all the academic courses required for the program, he opted to take the degree of Educational Specialist (Ed. S) which recognizes that accomplishment. Little did we realize at the beginning of this post-graduate work that the Lord was retreading us for a broader ministry than we had ever experienced.

The question now remains as to whether or not Rich should design and do a research project and write the dissertation in order to receive the PhD. Please pray with us concerning this possibility as many factors influence this decision. The professors leading this program at CIU are all encouraging Rich to keep going and the door is wide open to continue. If we knew that this effort would benefit in serving the Lord somewhere on the mission field, it could be helpful in the decision making process.

 

 

DSC02659 50 Years serving together!

Reloading - Rich and Jo Ann Graduate . . . twice

First, we are not thinking of our graduation from high school in this context, but we were high school sweethearts in Palo Alto, CA when we first met. Five years later, we were married in Redwood City, CA. We always thought of ourselves as “Young Marrieds’,” but have now graduated to “Marvelous Marrieds’” as we celebrate 50 years together on March 26th!

We are so thankful to the Lord for allowing us to serve Him together in many places around the world over the years. The greatest part of our married lives was spent serving in Peru, where our 3 daughters were also raised, but India, Central America and the Caribbean have all been a part of God’s plan for us in these more recent years.

Second, we are graduating from our leadership ministry at Bluewater Bible College after having completed our 5 year total commitment! We were willing and able to continue serving the college, but we placed ourselves in the hands of the national board of trustees as we asked the Lord to have His will concerning who would lead the college in the foreseeable future. The Lord made it clear that we had accomplished our ministry at Bluewater Bible College.

For the last two months, the board has been seeking a new president and to date none has been confirmed. Please pray that the Lord would call a godly and qualified man to continue this vital ministry. The spiritual battle here is perhaps greater than we have experienced in 43 years of ministry. Our focus now is to finish with excellence our ministry on St. Thomas and leave the college in great shape for the next administration. 

For our part, we are rejoicing because the Lord has blessed us with valuable new experience and training and there is no doubt that He will put that to good use for His glory in the days to come. We did all that He asked of us here in St. Thomas and now we are anticipating further orders from Heaven. We are reloaded and ready to give it another shot. Please pray that the Lord will soon reveal our next assignment somewhere around the globe and stay tuned for the news of His answer!

BBC PICTURE DAY, FEBRUARY 25, 20084 (2) Graduation Together!

Renewing – The Class of 2016 Graduates from BBC

It is wonderful to consider that almost all of the students graduating this May entered Bluewater Bible College (BBC) at the same time we were officially appointed President and to administrate the college. It seems that the Lord sent us here for the express purpose of shepherding these young people as they prepared to serve the Lord. We entered BBC together and will be leaving together. None of us imagined 4 years ago that we would all be graduating together!

We have grown to love these students and think of them as our own children. The graduating class of 7 is small, which made it possible to feel this way about them. Just as we were a part of their formation in Christ, they were a part of ours. There is a sense of renewal as we consider the fact that the results of our years here at Bluewater Bible College has not been in vain. It has become so apparent during this senior year just how much these students have grown in Christ and in every way. We are renewed and rejuvenated seeing all that the Lord has begun to do in their lives. We are ready to do it again! Please join us in prayer that the Lord will use these young people in amazing ways. 

BBC PICTURE DAY, FEBRUARY 25, 20110

Refinancing - Life-Cycle Graduation

It has taken us longer than usual to develop this latest update, as we considered in prayer the place at which we have arrived personally and as career missionaries. One of the advantages of not being pressed to transition to a new ministry somewhere around the globe immediately is that we have the long desired opportunity to travel in the US and visit those of you who have prayed for and supported us throughout the years.

A couple of churches have already indicated a desire to have us visit and we would love to personally update every supporting church and the friends who have stood with us until now. Please pray about when we might report to you the great things God has done as we have been “laborers together with God.” Then please contact us so that we might arrange our travels from sea to shining sea.

For years we have been reporting to you significant deficits in our support accounts. We were able to supplement some of that shortage by accessing our social security benefits. We are now praying about the applying another healing balm to our financial picture by accessing our ABWE pension. Jo Ann and I refer to this as “Refinancing” in the sense that with some reduction in the monthly gifts of our supporting churches and individuals, along with the ABWE pension and SS, we would be able to keep right on going for the Lord until the Rapture or until health and related eventualities limit our abilities.  

The only term that our mission has for this arrangement is “retirement.” However, John Piper writes in a straight forward way that “resting, playing, traveling, etc. is the world’s substitute for heaven since the world does not believe that there will be a heaven beyond the grave. . . But what a strange reward for a Christian to set his sights on! Twenty years of leisure (!) while living in the midst of the Last Days of infinite consequence for millions of people who need Christ. What a tragic way to finish the last mile before entering the presence of the King who finished his last mile so differently!”

 We have been retreaded, reloaded, renewed and now simply need to refinance so that we may continue serving the Lord in the same active way that we have for more than 45 years. Piper quotes an article titled “The Retirement Booby Trap,” written by the well-known missiologist, Ralph Winters: “Where in the Bible do they see [retirement]? Did Moses retire? Did Paul retire? Peter? John? Do military officers retire in the middle of a war?”

Please pray with us us as we consult with our home church, ABWE, and all of our supporting churches and individuals as we consider this life-cycle graduation via “refinancing.” This decision must be bathed in prayer as without the continued faithful backing of our supporters, this strategy will not work. We close with a few words that have become our prayer from Psalm 71.

“O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: And hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works. Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; Until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, And thy power to every one that is to come.” (Psalm 71:17-18)

Mafolie - With Ricky & MaryBeth Streifert