We are the Davis Family. My name is Paul Davis, LCC ’01, and I am an alumnus of LCC. We have been here in Central America for almost 10 years now.
The events that brought us down here to the south, if you were to ask my wife, Jessica, and I separately, would be different. However, the one thing in common was that there was an obvious black hole of Jesus in these places down here. We are pretty broken people ourselves, however, we know enough to keep one foot after the other in the direction of Jesus. And life just kind of happens along the way. Our four daughters have served with us and lived in the midst of all of this for this entire time as well. Watching them grow up in this environment is a pretty radical vista.
Historically, for many years, Central America (CA) has been considered evangelized. However, it is just a mess of rotten, systemic corruption (at the political, business, and even church levels), dangerous, community dividing violence, as well crippling educational and economic poverty that continues to degrade what is left of foundations here. At the base of all of this is a really weird gospel of watered-down truth and situational justice sprinkled with a “Jesus cares only about me and my feelings” mentality. It has only been exacerbated by the pandemic and resulting quarantine over the last 14 months. As those plaguing elements have been intensified, it has exposed massive cracks in the foundations of many peoples’ lives.
So, it just kind of made sense for us to come down here. As mentioned, we aren’t these exceptional Christian people, but we do know where to find Jesus. So in our attempt to discover Him more and know Him more, we figured we would drag a few more people with us. We wanted to drop right into the middle of the community here, and there is no better way to do that than through education. We both work at a local bilingual school. My wife is an incredible educator, and has a wide vision for leading schools. She is the big boss lady of the school. She has done a fantastic job leading through this pandemic as the government refuses to open schools and continues to make life super complicated for families in our community. I am just a guy that likes connecting with people and walking through difficult situations with them. I teach biology, chemistry, psychology, sociology, and other science-type topics. And as the resident “biggest guy in town” I also do all things sports in the school (although COVID shut all this down). As a result of being a part of this school, we are able to be a part of the lives of several hundred families in our area that are just really having a hard time and looking for some kind, any kind of hope. We are always looking for different inroads with people here. It is not just classroom activity we do, but that is where it starts!
In the past year, in the midst of this pandemic, our country was also smacked with two different category 5 hurricanes – in one month’s time. You couldn’t make this stuff up. The highways in the high ground were lined with people living in tents, boxes, cars, under tarps – anything they could find – as many lost houses and everything. It has just been one of those years from hell for many of our neighbors down here. There are a lot of people at the bottom, looking in the only direction left…up. That is a pretty cool severe mercy that God has shown people here. In the midst of much pain and suffering, in his wisdom, he has left the ability to look in the right direction for salvation. That is a great truth of God.
We believe that education, the active formation of the mind and heart, is a great physical and tangible tool that God has given us. As believers, the opportunity to penetrate a community and work to shape it into something that honors God, is a worthwhile fight. To that end, we work down here. It is super ugly, not very rewarding, and more often than not, frustrating. But, what else are you gonna do with your life, right? In all seriousness, we know God is often found on the fringes between what is good and what appears lost. That is where He calls people to Him. So we know that, even though we may not feel as if what we do makes a difference, He speaks to people in ways that we can’t. Our response to his call is not to follow when we understand where it is leading us, but just to follow. So that is where we go, and what we do.