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  • Rich Davis


Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Mark 1:41

The will of God is a fascinating subject that affects all of us every moment of every day. The leper in Mark 1 believed that Jesus COULD heal him but the question in his heart was if Jesus WOULD heal him. True to the goodness of God, the Scripture tells us that Jesus was “moved with compassion” and healed the man while plainly telling him, I am willing.”

This summer, Jo Ann experienced a physical trial which might have affected our return to Moldova. Along with us, many of you prayed. We would love to share with you the questions in our recent prayers with the answers that came from the Lord. LORD, ARE YOU WILLING TO . . .

Send Us Back to Moldova?

Here’s the back story: We went for the last follow-up with the doctor who performed the surgery on Jo Ann’s ankle. The X-rays showed that her ankle was healing beautifully. Jo Ann was sitting in her wheelchair when he removed the splint that was protecting the ankle and replaced it with the brace which kept her dropped foot in place. The question now was, could Jo Ann fly back to Moldova on September 5th? The young and optimistic doctor assured us that she could fly on that date and would not need physical therapy. As he left the room, we were ecstatic . . . until Jo Ann tried to get out of the wheelchair and walk! The pain was unbearable for her, and we realized that it was going to take some time before she would be able to walk. The doctor was right. She could fly alright . . . if she could get on the plane and endure the long flight from Washington DC to Istanbul.

The September 5th date was still several weeks ahead, and we began to pray that the swelling in her leg and ankle would go down and that she might be able to walk in time to get on the plane.

Less than a week before we were due to fly, it was apparent that Jo Ann was far from being able to walk on the plane. In fact, flying for 11 hours in our economy seats was going to be agony for her while her feet could only remain on the floor. The swelling would have been unbearable, and we began to consider the options:

· Somehow get her on the plane and bear the pain and discomfort.

· Postpone the flight for the second time – but for how long?

That is when a still small voice from the Lord whispered, “Why don’t you fly business class where her seat can be made into a bed to keep her foot from hanging down to the floor all night long?” The big reason that many of us do not fly business class is the cost. But if the Lord dropped the thought in our minds, He must have a plan to make it happen. Would we be able to get an upgrade to business class so close to our flight date?

We shot off a couple of emails and our home church pastor, Robb Redlin, responded immediately. The leadership at Calvary Community Baptist Church in Northglenn, Colorado approved covering the cost of the upgrade so that we could stay on schedule and return to Moldova in time to start teaching at the Christian University (UDG). The Lord caused a flurry of events, the details of which we spare you, and two days before the flight we printed our business class tickets! The wheelchair assistant that rolled Jo Ann to the plane carried her to her seat in row one (closest to the bathroom) and we were on our way! Praise the Lord. I am willing!

Allow Us to Continue Teaching at the University?

Normally, the second-floor classrooms where Jo Ann teaches English are in a building without any handicap facilities or elevators. However, there is one new building on campus which does have a handicap ramp to the first floor and an elevator up to the classrooms. The administration at UDG was able to make arrangement for her classes to be held there and once again the Lord responded, I AM WILLING!

Jo Ann uses a walker to get around on campus and is teaching English to the more advanced students. I am once again teaching evangelism for the Islamic world as well as evangelism for non-Islamic countries. We are back into our normal teaching schedule at the University for which we praise the Lord. Please continue to pray for the Christian University (UDG) as they transition to new leadership and recruit new students.

Rich preaching with Dima translating at the Imago Dei Baptist Church.

Before we even got back into the classroom, our dear friend and co-worker, Mihai, asked me to preach on our first Sunday in Chisinau. The Lord graciously cleared the jet-lag out of my head in time to speak that day. It was a blessing to be back at the Imago Dei church after so many weeks away. We heard great reports of all the wonderful evangelistic events that took place over the summer months like VBS, camps, youth ministries, and the outreach to the Ukrainian refugees. Please continue to pray for the Imago Dei church as we experience the blessings and challenges of growth.

Resume and Expand the Institute of Church Planting (ICP)?

Our plan upon returning to Moldova was to begin Phase 2 in the Institute of Church Planting (ICP). Two groups of church planters were scheduled to gather for this next step, and we were excited to see how the new church plants faired over the summer months and then continue to build on the foundation already established in Phase 1.

The last two weeks have been encouraging as we settled back in our apartment, got our teaching materials ready, prepared our classes, started teaching at the university, and coordinating with our partners in the ICP to begin meeting again for further training. The church planters in the two locations where we were training last Spring, are ready to go again. In fact, along with our fellow ABWE missionary Bill Braun, we will resume the training this Friday, September 22 in a village about 20 miles outside of Chisinau. The following weekend Bill and I will travel 100 miles to another village for the training with our second group along with our partner Eduard.

The church planters we met with to plan the newest ICP training center. From the left: Rich, Eduard, Bill, George, Sergiu.

There is more good news, however. Eduard, Bill, and I drove about an hour out of Chisinau to a village where there are several church planters working to bring the gospel to unreached villages in the area and establish new churches. We offered to come to their village and help them with the same training and mentoring we used in India, Nicaragua, and here in Moldova. The pastors were very happy about the opportunity and agreed that we should begin training as soon as possible. In fact, we may hold the first session this weekend! There will be 7 men along with a few ladies too.

This new group constitutes our third training center for the ICP, but that’s not all. There is one more possibility that we will be considering in the next few days. A group of Russian speaking leaders may also be interested in our ICP training. Along with Bill and Eduard, we are planning to meet with them to determine the need and their commitment to preparing with us and planting new churches. Bill spent 17 years as a church planter in Russia and speaks the language. He would be the primary teacher for this group should it blossom, constituting our fourth training center.

We asked the Lord if He would allow us to resume and even expand the Institute of Church Planting and His answer was a resounding I AM WILLING! All these wonderful answers are a result of your faithful prayers and the Lord’s response. We can only say thank you for praying and for giving that we can be here for such a time as this.

As an additional note, we are adding a few more church planters to the list of men that we would like to help with transportation and fuel for their vehicles. We are trusting the Lord that we can now disburse $500 a month to help 8 church planters keep fuel in their cars and the cars running. If you believe that the Lord would have you be a part of making this project successful, please click on the following link and give as the Lord leads.

By God’s grace, many will say along with the Lord I AM WILLING!

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Elisa Zalinka
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Nov 13, 2023

Although I'm reading this a little bit late, thank God for all the amazing ways that prayer has been answered! I'll keep praying for the requests you mentioned as well as for these church planters!

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David Winget
David Winget
Sep 27, 2023

I'm a little late in reading this, but praise God for all the wonderful answers to prayer! I'll continue to pray for these church planters and the requests you mentioned!

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