JOHN AND JANE DAVIS HAVE A SPECIAL WAY OF
HONORING THE BIBLE
Madison couple helps build churches around the world
Saturday, November 17, 2012 4:00 AM
There was no resting for a Madison couple who spent their vacation helping build a church in the Philippines in 10 days.
John and Jane Davis of Madison spent nearly two weeks last month in the Philippines with the World Mission Builders organization helping area residents build a church in Diffun.
This isn't the first time the couple has helped build a church in a foreign land.
The Davises have made trips to Third World countries an annual tradition and a way for them to honor a command in the Bible - The Great Commission - to make disciples throughout the world.
In October, the Davises traveled more than 8,000 miles to help build a permanent meeting place for a congregation.
The couple worked from about 6 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day with several area residents to construct a building of concrete and steel 70 feet long and 34 feet wide.
Even though the building will serve as a permanent home for the congregation, members will travel several miles just to be a part of the services.
"They'll have to walk a long way to get there," John Davis said.
But that's normal to a nation of more than 7,000 islands. Cars aren't common on the island nation, and roads aren't maintained. Still, members of the congregation of about 60 members were excited that the building would be their new center of fellowship.
"The people, for the most part, are very simple," John Davis said of residents near Diffun. "They're very resourceful."
Thinking to the future, construction workers built the church to withstand bad weather. Termites, which plague much of the country, shouldn't be able to destroy the concrete and steel building either.
And, the new church already attracts many residents of the community because of a new source of water.
"Water's a very big issue," John Davis said. "Most of the water is bad."
During the construction process, the builders dug a well near the church to mix the concrete. Now the church and community will be able to use the well as a daily resource.
"We leave it in a better place," Jane Davis said of the countries the couple visits.
John Davis, a welder at Indiana-Kentucky Electric Corporation in Madison, began his mission trips to foreign countries 17 years ago. As a graduate of Louisville Bible College and a preacher, he looked for ways to spread the gospel and help others throughout the world at the same time.
After a few mission trips to Mexico, he found a group - World Mission Builders - that erects churches in 10 days.
"When you leave, you see closure," he said of the projects.
In other missions, a missionary might work two weeks on a project that had no firm completion date, he said. But, with World Mission Builders, the Davises are a part of the project from beginning to a dedication day.
Ed Thomas, director of World Mission Builders, began mission work in several countries including Vietnam, Honduras, Haiti and parts of Africa during the 1970s. Thomas expanded his work to the Philippines about 20 years ago. What began as teaching and preaching in different cities throughout the country turned into nearly 500 church groups that gather on a regular basis for fellowship - mostly in private homes.
"The people are very receptive to hearing the gospel," John Davis said.
Seeing the need for a central gathering place, Thomas began building churches for congregations that could purchase a piece of land for their building.
World Mission Builder volunteers have built over 300 churches since 1975, and the organization has no plans of slowing down with their builds.
Even though the Davises traveled to the Philippines before and helped to build churches for years, this trip allowed them to learn new things about themselves, the people of the country and the continued growth of Christianity. Each trip, they said, allows a new appreciation for the way of life - and religious freedoms - in the United States.
"If you go on a mission trip, it'll change you the rest of your life," John said. "I feel like I'm the one really blessed (to go)."
For more information on World Mission Builders or upcoming mission trips, visit www.worldmissionbuilders.com.