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Waiting for the Gun

Rich Davis on August 7, 2017

IMG_0479_edited Rich and Jo Ann at the start of a 10 K that Rich ran in May 2017

Start Well

 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. (1 Corinthians 9:24)

In sports as in all of life, there are rules. The Jamaican world champion runner, Usain Bolt, among other things holds the world's record (9.58) for running the 100-meter dash. One of the hardest aspects of this run for him was getting a good start off the blocks. It's quite a challenge for a man who is 6 feet 5 inches to straighten up off the starting line from a crouch. Also, as an article in the New York Times mentioned, "He also may have grown somewhat cautious after that false start at the 2011 world championships. Once, one false start was permitted. Now, an early lean or even a reaction to the gun in under a tenth of a second, brings automatic disqualification." Usain Bolt, as the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 9 mentions, needed to guard against disqualification. 

On the other hand, it is vital to have a fast reaction time the instant the gun sounds. Jo Ann and I find ourselves feeling much like runners in the "set" position at the starting line waiting for the gun to sound so that we can fly to Europe to begin our new ministry. We completed our "Thankful Through the Years" tour reporting to our supporting churches from coast to coast and border to border. What a blessing these last three months have been for us as we reported to churches and renewed long standing friendships and relationships. The loving reception shown to us were beyond our highest hopes. Our desire was to be an encouragement as we recounted all that God has done in and through us over the years, but it turns out that we were encouraged by so many expressions of love. We are truly grateful for these blessings. 

15TRACK-3171-superJumbo-v2 Bolt running well

Run Well

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Bolt is a sprinter, but not every runner is a sprinter. Among the first things, a runner must do as he or she begins to prepare for the race is decide what course or race to run. How long is the race? Ultimate Marathons are races where runners to go through desert and mountains over hundreds or even thousands of miles taking several days to complete. True “runners” love running so much that it becomes a lifestyle. It’s like they caught the “bug.” 

Jo Ann and I caught the "bug" of cross-cultural missions. It is indeed a lifestyle for us. By God's grace, we have grown in knowledge and experience over the years and still have the health and desire necessary to continue serving cross-culturally. Some of the best coaches are runners who love their sport and do it well. Consider the idea that pastors and missionaries are like coaches. They love Jesus Christ and they love the Christian life. They caught the “bug” and want to see many others not only “sign up” and “line up”, but they also want to see the select few called to become Ultimate Marathon runners just like them. This is what we have been called to do in Moldova among the younger students at the Christian University in the capital city of Chisinau along with leaders from the local churches who are committed to planting more churches in that country. 

race_3416_photo_53256134 (1)_edited Rich at the finish line - May 2017

Finish Well

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (2 Timothy 4:6)

Although Bolt was not the fastest man on the track in his final 100-meter run in London a few days ago, he finished well. His world records and his legacy still stand. The inevitable effects of age and the strain of the years of competition will indicate when a person should transition to something like coaching rather than racing. You are still in the game but in a different capacity.

After 44 years serving the Lord in church planting, mentoring church planters, starting a Christian school, serving as President of a Christian College, and taking advanced degrees in Christian Education, Jo Ann and I are now being called by the Lord to coach younger believers in one of the most strategic locations in Europe with benefits to not only Eastern Europe but Central Asia as well. Our prayer is to arrive in Moldova before the end of this month - August 2017. 

We are ready to run another few laps in the home stretch of our cross-cultural ministries. Our primary care doctor signed off today on our projected 4-year term of service in Eastern Europe giving us a clean bill of health and we do not anticipate any other medical concerns. Praise the Lord for that! 

So, what is keeping the gun from moving us off the starting blocks? Surely it couldn't be the attainable amount of about $1,000 needed in monthly support, could it? It wouldn't be the lack of the modest sum of about $15,000 - 19,000 needed to purchase a used van to transport church planting teams in Moldova, would it? We are rejoicing that one supporting church has voted to increase their monthly support and two dear families have also committed $100 each monthly. 

Every race has a starting time and so do we. The reason for our desired soon arrival in Moldova is that classes start in the language school that we hope to attend at the beginning of September. If we fail to make the opening sessions of that language school, we would not be able to study the Romanian language there until the following year. What a blessing it would be to see the Lord answer our prayers to be on the field by the end of this month in His will with the small financial requirements needed in hand. There are many ways to verbalize this concept, but we love this statement:

The Great Commission is too big for anyone to accomplish alone and

too important not to try to do together. (Missio Nexus)

Please join us in fervent prayer that within the next 2 weeks or so, the ABWE finance department receives word that the above financial needs have been committed by faith. Please join us in asking the Lord to provide in His perfect time and in His will. We are praying for those who would increase or begin monthly support and also for one time gifts toward the purchase of a used van in Europe

If you or someone you know would like to give in any of those manners, please click on "Give Here" and designate gifts to Rich and Jo Ann Davis - account # 0114183 for monthly support or sub account (003) for one-time gifts to help purchase the used van. Of course, it is also possible to communicate with the ABWE finance department in the following ways:

Office Address:
522 Lewisberry Road
New Cumberland, PA 17070-2313
(Attention: Missionary Finance Department)

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 8585
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8585
(Attention: Missionary Finance Department)


(717) 774-7000


(717) 774-1919

It has been so encouraging to receive notes and letters expressing your interest in our lives and ministries. We are grateful for over 44 years of cross-cultural ministry in several locations and for your partnership in the Gospel. Thank you so much!