“If you love them, you are willing to give your life for them. Love has to be the root and sacrifice is just the fruit…”
– Rod Davis
The story I am sharing today is not meant to lift people up larger than they should be, because the family I will speak of has gone about their work for 22 years. I am not writing to bring glory where it shouldn’t be because this family would be the first to say it was a community effort and its only God’s provision that has done it all. I am writing because I am compelled to share a story that has captured my heart and I believe will capture yours as well.
Twenty-two years ago, the Davis family decided to move into the barrio in La Vega, a neighborhood in the Dominican Republic. The Davis family was from Portland Oregon and Oakland CA. Twila and Rod decided that God’s call on their lives was so profound, they would move with their 3-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son to the DR. They didn’t know Spanish and had no savings or family to support them. In fact, they were receiving 25 dollars a month. The barrio, in a one-room, tin-roof home, is where they would land. Their kids became sick shortly after and it was their neighbors that picked leaves from trees to make tea, that got them through. They had thoughts of leaving, but couldn’t get enough money for a ticket home. At that point Rod said, “I put my head down and began to work as if this was my home forever”
I am a mere spectator of this story 22 years later and what I see is quite remarkable. The Davis’s raised their children here, both college grads for those of you who need to know such things. They have 48 Dominican staff members. There are only 3 US staff and Rod is one of them. I have had the opportunity to walk and ride through the community with Rod, who is known as “Rodrico” in the barrio. I know this because people yell his name as we go through. Rodrico and Twila have been able to start a school (which is Pre-K to 11th grade now), start at least 27 churches in the DR and Haiti, create a water filtration business that serves 20,000 residents while employing local people, start a lemon and lime farm in a mountain village employing people and spurring on the economy there, and refurbish an entire baseball field that the community now uses! If you know anything about the Dominican, you know baseball is huge. There are bible schools training pastors because of their work too. They have converted their home, in which they live in community, into an electrical system that uses solar panels for electricity. Rod drives a car that runs on propane, not gas, and their marriage is incredible. I could go on and on my friends.
Rod and Twila are a black couple living in the barrio. They are a testimony to the fact that God raises leaders wherever He pleases. They had nothing to start with and continue to trust God for every move. Even as I am writing this, they are building a high school and community center. There is a faithful God who resides on the side of the those who trust Him. God finds delight in showing Himself through people like Rod and Twila.
Join me at Hopemob as we support leaders like Rod and Twila representing hope and justice through their engagement in community.