I was born in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, in December 1975 and grew up in Deposit New York. I had a GREAT childhood, busy with traveling, camping, fishing, sports and just hanging out with my brother, sister and loving parents. We attended a Baptist church sporadically and I really didn’t care for it when we did go. I also went to an AWANA program on and off when I was in junior high. I remember praying with one of the leaders to ask Jesus Christ to come into my life, but my behavior and my heart never changed. Through my high school years I began drinking alcohol and partying with my friends. I graduated high school a well-respected, productive teenager heavily involved in sports and community and went to a small college in Massachusetts to play football. I enjoyed the freedom of college life and continued my partying, became sexually active, all along thinking I was a good person. I believed I was going to heaven because I didn’t harm people or have trouble with the law. I graduated with an associate degree in science majoring in building construction.
I was born in West Palm Beach, Florida, in September 1972 and grew up in Maine, Conklin and Whitney Point, New York. My childhood too was quite wonderful. I had 3 sisters, my parents and many foster siblings that came and went. I spent a lot of time with my family camping, doing fire wood, playing games and learning that family and love was most important. My father and his family are Mormon and my mother and her family are Catholic. Growing up I was exposed to these faiths spending time in church with my Catholic grandma and a lot of time with my Mormon aunt and uncle. I also attended a “bus ministry” VBS during several summers at the Baptist Little White Church in Conklin, NY, where I remember hearing Bible verses, drinking orange drink from McDonalds and playing Simon Says.
When I was in 8th grade, 12 years old, my family moved from Conklin to Whitney Point, NY. My second week of school I was invited to a birthday party. My parents dropped me off at a very nice home with my new friend, her parents, more friends, an in ground pool, food and fun, not knowing that there also was a keg of beer and young people having sex openly in the woods. This was to be the catalyst of my involvement with sex and alcohol. I spent my junior and senior high years smoking and partying with friends. I was popular, respected and very active in sports and music. In my senior year while I was dating an older guy I landed the lead role in our Community Musical. It was a huge deal. There was a write up on the front page of the local paper being that I was the first high school student to have the lead. It was all I did my senior year because it took so much time. I wasn’t doing sports but I was having sex and became pregnant. The father did not want the baby and my parents did not want me to have the child either and suffer the consequence of giving up the play. My mother dropped me off and I went alone to have an abortion. The show went on.
After high school I went to beauty school, moved from my parents’ home at 17 and continued the cycle of developing poor relationships. I got married when I was 21, had a son, Wesley 2 years later and 1 year after that, got involved in an adulterous relationship and was divorced.
CHAD & RACHEL:
One year after my divorce, Chad and I met in a bar in Binghamton NY. He was fresh out of college and I was fresh out of a divorce. Chad moved in with me shortly after and we were married two years later. On the weekends when we didn’t have my son we would go out to bars or parties with friends. We were totally against organized religion believing after 9/11 that it was the root cause of everything violent in the world. We did what was right in our own eyes.
Several years after we got married I got a new job as a mortgage consultant. There was this FedEx guy that came into the office where I worked every day. He was weird and annoying! Dale Davis was very different. His wife homeschooled, he didn’t go to the movies and he was just so different. I don’t remember him ever reciting Scripture to me but just saying that he was trying to “live for the Lord.” I would always ask him where he went to church and he would always respond, “It’s not about a church, it’s about a relationship.” Again, annoying!
One day as Dale was headed out, he peeked his head back in and asked, “Rachel, how do you know you’re going to Heaven?” I was really put out! I remember slamming my files from one side of my desk to the other asking him who he was to tell me I was going to hell! Of course that wasn’t what he said. He asked about Heaven but I assumed that he was telling me that I was going to hell. I gave him all the “reasons”…… I’m a good person, I do what’s right, and I’ve never killed anyone. AGAIN he said, “It’s not about that Rachel, it’s about a relationship.” So annoyed by his question I decided that I was going to read this Holy book for myself.
Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord,”
I started reading a Bible that my mother in law had laid on our dining room table many years before. I started, “In the beginning God created…” Within a few months I left that job and was staying home with children that we had taken on through the foster care system, but, I continued to read. Chad was working out of town Monday through Friday at that time and I would share with him over the phone all that I had learned about the God of the Bible that day. Stories of adultery, murder, war, love, creation and miracles were what we talked about. It became a regular conversation starter, “So honey, what did you learn about God today?” This went on for about a year. I said to Chad one day that I wanted to find a church we could go to and I wanted to learn how to play piano. He said let’s do it, so we bought a piano, found a teacher and started visiting all kinds of churches.
Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
Well, through divine design, my piano teacher, Nancy, a 65 year old lady who drove a cherry red Firebird came to my home for my first piano lesson. She got out my notebook before we began hands on piano and wrote on the first line…… John 3:16. Our 30 minute lessons easily turned into 30 minutes of piano and an hour about the Lord! Nancy thought it would be great for us to meet the pastor of West Windsor Baptist Church. The thought of a “holy” person coming to my house kind of freaked me out! Came he did though with his wife and another lady from the church while Chad worked out of town. Pastor Rex Baker answered my questions. ALL my questions! I thought I had myself in a safe place when I clearly expressed the first time we met that I would NOT become one of those “Bible thumpers”. He too was very annoying. I would ask him questions about alcohol and other life choices and he wouldn’t give me a yes or no! He would take me to Scripture. I would ask him again and again, just TELL ME what I must do, to do this church thing! He answered with Scripture every time and the Holy Spirit convicted and I began to change.
Pastor Baker preached the Gospel every Sunday and did that whole, “With your eyes closed and your heads bowed” thing. It was only a couple months and I went forward to hear more about this saving message. I heard and was not saved.
Our Assistant Pastor, Curtis Kenyon, started a discipleship with us going through the work study “Foundations”. It was through THIS, one night in September 2004 that I gave my life to the Lord, surrendering in my heart to the need of a Savior! We kept going to church and kept on with our study and in October 2004 Chad alone in bed one night asked God to be his Savior.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were yet sinner, Christ died for us.”
Here we were………….. born…………..again!
Here we were with one child from a previous marriage and three foster children. Along came the first wedding and the choice of drinking or not. As we were on our way I asked Chad, “So now that we’re saved, do we drink?” He considered for a quite a while and finally said, “No, I don’t think so.” That was our second step in obedience to God’s Word! Convicted not by man but by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God!
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.”
In April 2005 we took on a sister of one of our foster children. The County wanted to send her to a girl’s detention center in Albany, NY because her behavior was so bad. When we asked to have her placed with us we were told no because we were inexperienced and had only parented up to age 10. After 2 days of phone calls asking again and again, we were told yes! She was 15 and living a life of “sex, drugs and rock and roll!” We felt that if God had called us to it, then we were promised that He would walk with us through whatever challenges came along. We couldn’t have imagined all that we would walk through with her, but again, God was faithful!
As we changed, growing daily with the Lord, we watched as Shawna too gave her life to Christ. This journey, taking one from the “pit” and sharing with them the love of Christ, this journey, was not something we signed up for! This, the pit, was tough! God was faithful! Together with Shawna we grew in the Lord, constantly taking our thoughts captive and making them obedient to Christ. Shawna was the first child we adopted in November 2006.
As time went on more children came and went. We had two girls come to us with no father and a mother who was dying from aids. Again, going through her death with two little girls, 7 and 10, was not something we had signed up for! But again, God was faithful!
Through these last 14 years we have adopted 8 children! All of them have stories to tell, heartaches to share and testimonies of how God saved them from the pit! We have seen the Glory and the Power of the Mighty Saving King that we serve. God is faithful, again and again!
Philippians 3:12:14 “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
We are anxious to see just what the Lord does through each of our children for we KNOW that He can do great and mighty things that we could never imagine!
So……………………. What about this FedEx man?
Well, about 6 years ago, 7 years into my walk, I decided to call that office where Dale delivered to see if he was still making the rounds. As the Lord would have it, Dale was! I asked the girls working there to have him call me, which must have been such a bizarre thing for everyone involved! Haha! But…….. he DID call!
As I answered and we went through the introductions, I said, “Dale you must think it’s really strange that I asked you to call me.”
And he said, “Yes”. (very slowly)
I said, “Dale, years ago you asked me a question.”
He replied again, “Yes”. (very slowly)
I said, “Dale, you once asked me how I knew that I was going to go to Heaven.”
He said, “Yes”. (very, very slowly)
I said, “Well, Dale, I now KNOW that I AM going to go to Heaven because of what Jesus Christ did for me on the cross. I have acknowledged that I am a sinner in need of saving and that Jesus Christ has taken the penalty for my sin and set me free!”
Dale said, ………………. Nothing! Nothing but tears.
I had one last thing for Dale! I had a question of my own! I asked him, “Dale, now I have a question for YOU! WHERE do you go to CHURCH!!!!!!???????” He finally spoke and FINALLY said, “Newark Valley Baptist Church”.
God is SO good! Everything in His time! We have gotten together with Dale Davis and his wife Dot. Come to find out Dorothy Davis, his wife writes for RBP, women’s Bible study books. What a wonderful testimony they both are to the love of Christ and letting your light shine among men that it might Glorify Him!
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
And to think…………… THIS is only the beginning of the journey, THIS ……the beginning of eternity with Christ!