My friend Shawn Davis passed away this morning. I rejoice that he has left the confines of a diseased earthly body to be with Jesus. But I’m sad to lose a one-of-a-kind friend.
I met Shawn back in 2000 while I was living in New Orleans (I had moved to NOBTS to finish my studies). He didn’t exactly fit the mold of a seminary student—most of us don’t have tattoos and multiple piercings. But I found him to be one of the most genuine, Christ-centered people I had ever met. It taught me a much-needed lesson about judging by external appearances. I realized Shawn wasn’t trying to be “cool” or “relevant”—he was just being himself. I think the best word to describe him would be outrageous: Shawn’s personality was even more colorful than the ink embedded in his skin.
Shawn, Ryan (another seminary buddy), and I had some great times in New Orleans. Our conversations included everything from serious theological discussions to jokes of forming a pro wrestling tag-team. Thinking back on these memories brings a smile to my face.
I left New Orleans in 2001. I saw Shawn and Karen (his wife) a time or two after that and we kept in touch sporadically while I was in the Philippines. We reconnected on Facebook a couple of years ago.
Shawn and I talked for a few minutes a couple of weeks ago. His voice was weak, but he told me how honored he was to be my friend and how proud he was of me. He challenged me to continue preaching the gospel before saying goodbye.
The honor was mine, Shawn. See you on the other side.
Note: Shawn leaves behind a wife (Karen) and a young son (Kage). The Harvest Fellowship Community Church in San Antonio has created the Davis Fund project if you would like to help this family. Here are the instructions:
You can give online by clicking here and setting up an account. Enter your information and you will be taken to the giving screen. Follow the directions on the screen. At step 2 make sure you choose Davis Fund Project. Finish the steps adding your payment information. You can even setup scheduled recurring gifts if you want. 100% of the gifts designated to the Davis Fund go to that project. You will receive a year end tax statement automatically if you give in excess of $100.
You can also give by check/mail:
Davis Fund Project
c/o Harvest Fellowship Community Church
PO Box 700447
San Antonio, Texas 78270-0447
Be sure to write Davis Fund in the memo.
It’s been twenty-four months since I watched Mare Cris walked down the aisle. Her radiant beauty filled the room as she held back tears. She was overwhelmed with emotion as a room full of loved ones stood in her honor.
I was smiling and quietly joking with Erwin, my best man. Typical behavior for a groom, I suppose. But part of me still couldn’t believe this wedding was actually happening. It all seemed too good to be true, as though any moment I’d wake to realize it was all a dream.
Two years have flown by. My dreams are occasionally haunted by images of life without (or before) her. I’ll find myself regretfully married to a random woman from my past; my subconscious mind still knowing Mare Cris is the one I am supposed to be with. Or I’ll re-live my days as a romantically frustrated student (those dreams seem to happen more frequently now that I’ve moved back to my home town). I’m always relieved to wake up and find my wife lying next to me.
Life is sweet when you wake to see your most beautiful dream.
He who finds a wife finds a good thing
and obtains favor from the Lord.
I don’t guess I’ve said much about our journey since the post on reverse culture shock. Mare Cris and I have been here in Alabama, USA for six months (as of yesterday). Here’s what we’ve been up to:
After 11 years in the tropics I was looking forward to the variation in weather that comes with the fall and winter seasons. Be careful what you wish for–we’ve experienced some record-breaking low temperatures. Mare Cris saw snow for the first time while we were in Pigeon Forge (TN) helping with a youth retreat. She also loves seeing me wear something besides shorts and white t-shirts (my garb of choice in the Philippines). I only sweat when I go to the gym these days, and this is a welcomed change of pace.
Mare Cris and I visited several churches in and around the Birmingham area last year. It was an honor to preach, worship, and in some cases catch up with old friends.
This month I started a new phase of ministry at First Baptist Chalkville (located about ten minutes from where we live). Their pastor resigned recently (to pursue another ministry opportunity) and I’m preaching/teaching there while they search for a new one. My wife and I are delighted to have a place to serve!
Spending Time with Family
Mare Cris’ 27th Birthday Celebration (with our nephews)
I’ve really been blessed with the way my family has welcomed Mare Cris. My nephews are crazy about her (who can blame them?). I’ve spend most of the past eleven years on the other side of the globe, so being with my family through the recent holiday season was a great joy.
The most challenging part of our lives right now is living in limbo. We believe the next step for us is for me to become a full-time pastor. We just don’t know know exactly when or where this will happen. We could end up settling down here in the Birmingham area or moving to another state altogether. We are patiently waiting and trusting God to reveal these things to us in His perfect timing.
I recently bought a Straight Talk cell phone. I decided to go with this service for several reasons:
*One of my relatives uses this service and recommended it.
*I’m all about saving money right now, and Straight Talk’s unlimited call/text is about half the price of the major brands.
*I really don’t want to be in a contract.
*I’m already used to prepaid cell phone service–it’s the way I most of us in the Philippines did things.
*I did some research. It seems the tech support leaves much to be desired, but most users were pretty happy with the service (signal strength, etc.).
I decided to buy a cheap flip phone directly from their website to avoid any issues with compatibility. One of these days I’ll upgrade to a smart phone, but now I just need something I can rely on for talking and texting (my phone can access the internet but I haven’t done much with that). The grandpa-style phone is fine with me.
That’s How I Roll
So far I’ve been satisfied. The calls are clear and I have no problems sending or receiving text messages. We even decided to buy a sim card for my wife’s cell phone (brought from the Philippines). It only took us a few minutes to activate it and she’s also getting a good signal.
I think Straight Talk is definitely worth checking out if you are interested in lower cell phone bills. Just click here if you are interested.
Posted in Review
Mare Cris and I have watched the news coverage of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda with heavy hearts. Her family lives in northern Luzon and was not directly affected. But we know thousands of others were not so fortunate.
Typhoons and floods are a normal part of life in the Philippines. But I never saw a storm this big while I was living there, and it has apparently hit some vulnerable population centers–the images from Tacloban city are revealing widespread destruction.
The main reason I’m posting this is to offer some direction to my readers who wish to help. There is an organization I can recommend for those who would like to donate:
The Two-Thirds Network is a Christian organization dedicated to helping people living in developing countries. Some of their people went directly to Bohol (the province most affected) within a day or two of the storm. I have linked directly to their urgent needs page.