“Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His faithful servants.” Ps 116:15
On August 18th, a significant event took place, in which a man who had discipled and cared for so many people, including myself, went to be with the One he was leading everyone toward. My father, Merlin R Davis, came to the Lord when he was in his 20’s, and soon after met and married my mother. After deciding that 2 children was enough, they were soon lead by the Lord to trust Him in faith for all things required for life and godliness, and to allow Him to plan their family. Only slightly less controversial than today, their decision and faith were certainly tested over the years as more and more children were given to them, and paychecks were spread thinner and thinner. But God provided for all their needs, and today, as number 11 out of 13 children, I can say I am thankful for their decision to trust God despite the comments and looks of others. We had a sign in our house which is still there today, it reads, “We don’t believe in miracles, we rely on them.” And for my family, this was true. My father worked 2 jobs and continued to trust in the Lord to provide the remainder of what was required for us to live. Once a week he would take one of us by turn to go get gas station icecream or coffee (or to eat out, once there were fewer kids in the house), we would sit together somewhere as he read through the Chronicles of Narnia or the Lord of the Rings books, and I was even able to hear him read through a book he had written himself. He was faithful to one wife, and faithfully cared for and taught all of us to fear the Lord. He was a carpenter, a locksmith, a piano tuner, he played guitar, sang, and wrote songs. In many ways he was as Abraham, the father of Israel, who walked with the Lord, who pleaded with the Lord on behalf of others, who cared for strangers and those in need. Even as his Alzheimer’s progressed, his character stayed generally the same, though I would venture to say he got even sweeter and was more in love with my mom than ever. In early August his condition worsened and eventually he would not eat or drink, but only sleep. They called me to say my goodbye, and I was able to pour out my heart of thankfulness for what he had done for me, to repent for my rebellion in my youth, and ultimately to congratulate him on the new ministry God has for him in heaven! It was a very bittersweet time on the phone.
For many difficult reasons I was unable to go back to America to be with my family for the funeral, but God has given me peace that I cannot fully describe or comprehend. I will miss him, I know that I shall because I already have been, but when that man spent nearly 50 years pouring into me and my family, trying to point us to his Father, trying to lead us there, to take us there, my heart is proud and glad that he is finally WITH HIM. Pray for me and my family in America, as we continue to walk this path toward the same good Father that my dad portrayed.
In other news, we are so excited to announce that we have started construction on our new pastoral school campus! This is so important because the Ugandan government reserves the right to shut down any church that is pastored by someone without a theological diploma. Although we currently offer a certificate, it is not possible for us to give a diploma at our current location. However, the situation of our new campus will allow us to fulfill the requirements necessary to register with the Ugandan National Counsel for Higher Education, and offer our students the necessary credentials. It took months to do the tedious work of meeting with architects and builders to ensure that we are moving in the right direction, but we finally settled down with a good plan and a builder we can trust. We were also blessed to acquire three acres of land attached to our property so that the school will be far enough away from our milling operation to provide a good learning environment, but close enough that the students can still interact with the farm and grow in their agricultural knowledge. This past month we taught our current class of church leaders through the book of Daniel, their second to last book as they will complete Revelation in September. It was such a blessing to see the fruit that studying the entirety of God’s Holy Word had brought them, and it was amazing to see their increased ability to understand and interpret Scripture! God has truly been at work in our midst and I know that He still desires to do so much more!
Praise God with us:
- That Noelle’s father has received his long awaited inheritance in the city whose maker and builder is God.
- That we acquired suitable land to build our new campus on that is attached to our property.
- That construction has started on the classrooms, dorms and bathrooms.
Please join with us in prayer that:
- That God would comfort Noelle’s family as they mourn the passing of a wonderful husband and father.
- That God would provide the remaining funds to complete the new pastoral school.
- Apio would continue integrating into our family.
In the Love of Christ,
Matt, Noelle, Apio, Emma, Madeline, Noah & Charlotte