Glenn + Patty Davis
Glenn’s Story: Journey to Colombia
My journey to Colombia first began in 1993, when I accepted a teaching position with Wycliffe Bible Translators. I lived and taught missionary children at Wycliffe’s Loma Linda Translation Center located on the southern plains, teaching high school math and science to the children of missionaries working to translate the Bible into the languages of Colombian indigenous peoples. The only facilities in the area were the Translation Center, an airstrip right next to the Center and, on other side of airstrip, an army base. Guerillas began attacking the army base, imperiling the Translation Center and threatening the people in it. The situation came to a head when the guerillas kidnapped one of the men working at the Center and held him for 385 days before releasing him. During that time Wycliffe closed the Center, moved everyone out, and I moved to Bogota.
In Bogota, I was a teacher (still with Wycliffe), but at the El Camino Academy, teaching missionary children in grades 9-12, mostly math and science. Over time I really ended up teaching nearly every subject but English. I thought I would be just be there one semester, but ended up teaching there for 9 1/2 years.
I first went to Santa Marta on a vacation with three others from the church I was attending in Bogotá. Two of my companions were men; the third was a woman named Patty, whom I knew casually at that time, but she would later become my wife. The trip was a one-hour flight or an 18-hour bus ride. While in Santa Marta, on the northern coast of Colombia, we stayed in the apartment of a missionary who we knew there.
On our vacation, we visited a different beach every day. One day, I was out swimming beyond the breakers, and I heard God’s voice calling to me, telling me to return to Santa Marta to start a church. After returning to Bogota, I discussed this with several pastors, both there and in the U.S., who advised me to pray about it. Having prayed fervently about it, I decided to follow the calling and put in my two-year notice at the Academy.
We, Patty, Candy (our adopted daughter) and myself, decided to go to the States at the end of the 2004 school year for six months (Patty had only a six-month visa). Our goal was to raise support, both prayer and financial, for the new ministry and to spread the word about planting a church in Santa Marta. I didn’t know how to make tents, so I worked for a painting contractor and taught math and science at Valley Christian School in North San Diego County. We returned to Bogota in December 2004, packed up our house and moved up to Santa Marta in January 2005. We initially stayed with an aunt of Patty’s and immediately started holding Bible studies and services in her house while we looked for our own place.
It took us a couple of months (probably March) to find our own house and begin holding services there. Every Sunday morning we would move the furniture in the dining room and living room to the garage. We eventually found a house about two blocks away that, with some modifications (removed three walls), worked as the church. We went from 40 seats in our house to 85 seats in the new location. Sunday services are two hours including worship time, prayer time, a 45-minute message and communion, which we celebrate at all services.
We are very passionate about evangelism, sharing the Gospel and winning the lost to Christ. Colombia is a predominantly Catholic country. Most of the Catholics are eager to hear the Gospel message and receive Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.
Santa Marta is a very special place for Patty and me because, in addition to it being the place where God spoke to me and gave me my calling, it is also Patty’s ancestral home. She has won her parents and many family members to Christ. This has helped grow the church, bringing extended family members to Christ. One of her God-given gifts is evangelism – bringing people to Christ.
Since the church began in 2005, we’ve seen over 3,500 people accept Christ! God is truly good, and we have a strong vision for planting a daughter church in the near future.