Longing For Home

I’ve reached the end of my 1 1/2 year contract and reflecting back, I am left in awe and amazement about all that God has done in my life. This truly has been the most difficult year and a half but the richest in my walk with Jesus. Never have I experienced such depth in relationships quite like the ones here as well as my relationship with the Lord. As hard and painful the journey has been, I wouldn’t have traded it for anything because of how I know and love Jesus in the ways I do now.  I’ll be honest, when I first moved here, I didn’t know how I would make it to June 2020. I was pretty certain I wouldn’t stay longer than that.. I was so bitter and resentful because of shattered expectations, struggling with my mental health, and missing friends and family.

But God…

God began a WORK in my heart. Leading up to summer 2019, I counted down the days and seconds to fly back to the United States, longing for comfort, rest, and a break.  I couldn’t wait.  During that summer, God began to soften my heart for Mexico and my community in Puerto.  He gave me such a deep desire and longing to be back.  He began to grow my heart where I felt this heavy burden for the people here to come to know Jesus.  When my plane flew back into Puerto in August, I was overcome with tremendous peace that could have only come from God.  I knew this wouldn’t be my last year. I began praying in August about what this upcoming summer would look like in preparation for who knows how long God will keep me here in Mexico.

When I first came back to Mexico, I lived with a family for a short time due to having so many struggles my first semester here. It was a sweet and needed season that allowed me to feel safe, secure, and back on my feet again.  God allowed it to where He opened up a tiny little house next to my friends just in the time I needed and was ready to have my own place.  On my first night by myself in my new home, I opened up my book called “Every Moment Holy” and prayed a prayer over this house. That God would dwell within this place. That he would be present at this table and present as I rise and lay down at the beginning and end of each day.  That this home would be a place of shared tears and laughter, a place of meaningful conversations, a place of creating and reflecting, and a place to serve and welcome in others.

Over the past 6 years, I’ve moved around quite a bit. I’ve never actually lived in the same place for more than 9 months at a time. I lived out of suitcases and boxes and storage bins while expecting to pack up and switch dorms or houses shortly after I would begin to feel settled.  Now that I am in this house, I don’t have a time frame for when I need to move on to the next place. I can just “be.” For the first time in 6 years, this is the longest place I’ve lived in and it has been such a gift from the Lord. I’m able to be more intentional and welcoming towards people within this space.  It has served as a “harbor of anchorage and refuge, and a haven from which I journey forth” in order to carry out the Great Commission. And as I continue on, my roots are beginning to grow deeper and deeper within this community that I am growing to love more and more each day.

So leading into what this summer will look like for me. God has made it so clear that I’m not supposed to come back and visit the states until December. It was sad and hard at first to have to cancel plans I was looking forward to and realizing I won’t see my family for a year. But as my roots grow deeper and deeper into this community, there is only so much I can communicate and understand with my limited Spanish.  I am SO excited for what is next. I’m not moving back to the States. God knows that timeline, I don’t. However, over the summer, I am going to be living in a small town 30 minutes outside of Puerto with a sweet Mexican family to study and learn Spanish at a school there. I start school on June 22 and I end on August 7th. After school, I will start preparing for the next school year at Manantial teaching 4th grade again.

God did more than I could ever imagine in my life this year and especially within these past 6 months. I am so excited for what’s ahead. What the enemy intended for evil, God used it for good (Genesis 50:20). No matter how long God may have me planted here, I am praying that “my days lived within these temporary walls would serve to awaken a restless longing for my truer Home in heaven” (Every Moment Holy).


-Shelby Davis, GEM Missionary

God is Faithful

Life here in Puerto has become very busy for me. I have a new wife, Soco, and a large extended family to go with her. I love them all, and they are all wonderful. Sometimes the responsibility can be a little overwhelming. God has faithfully worked out all of our problems and in the process, is working on my patience and my reliance on Him.

We are currently building a house. It should be finished near the end of March. God provided a man, Mike Albutt, to manage the construction, and I could not have done this on my own. I am very pleased with the outcome so far and expect to have a wonderful house for Soco in a few weeks.

Yesterday, my step-grandson Mario fainted in worship time at school. He is ok, but it caused a stir. His parents are in another state, 12 hours away, and he is staying with his grandmother and me. God is helping me learn how to deal with the unexpected. I know I need a lot more work in this area, but I see His hand in almost everything. That word ‘almost’ is still a problem for me. But He is faithful and true to His word.

School is going reasonably well, praise God. The sixth graders are doing better in math than my previous years of teaching the subject in the middle school. I think part of that is because more of them speak English fluently because they have been in our school longer. And the other part of that is due to God growing me as a teacher.

God is faithful in showing Himself to students in school. There are a few students that are obviously struggling with God. That is good because we can see Him working in their lives.

God is also faithful in my personal life and my life in school and to the students that we are serving. I am so thankful that He has put me here. I will keep struggling with turning everything over to Him, but He will faithfully keep pulling me through.


-David Coulter, GEM Missionary

Learning Patience

School is fun but challenging.

School is fun because I love the students, many of the students are very loving, and the entire teaching staff is committed to help these students in school, in life in general and most importantly in knowing God.

I loved these students the first time I saw them in November 2015. They are full of life. Most of them have joyful attitudes. All of them have a need for Jesus at some level as do all of us. Some know Jesus but their sin nature gets in the way at times. Others don’t know Jesus and need to keep hearing God’s word. I have seen students grow.

One student that had severe anger problems last year now has occasional bouts of anger that are so much less severe that it is miraculous. God is working in his life and it is obvious. Many other students demonstrate varying levels of increased responsibility and work ethic. A few have made professions of faith and committed their lives to Jesus. Even more miraculous, God is doing this amazing work through teachers and staff that are also fallen and broken, but now restored in Jesus.

Many of the students are loving. They enjoy hugging their favorite teachers. They beg for my lunch at times and other times they like to give me food. One girl sprays water on my face when it is hot. Oh, it is always hot. The expression of love I appreciate the most from students is completing their work.

Some of the biggest challenges in school is overcoming cultural differences as this is only my second year living and teaching in Mexico. Normally, you would not want to try too hard to overcome culture, but in this case, there is a culture of cheating and copying work. There are many students (not all) that avoid doing work in school so that they can copy from their “friends” that evening. I am learning to juggle the amount of homework and am having more success than last year keeping them on task, Praise the Lord.

My lovely wife and I are going to build a house, Lord willing. He has provided more than sufficient and it appears that construction work will actually begin on or about Monday, November 27, 2017. We are excited and know that God will give us what we need in our new house. We are looking forward to moving in in January or February if that fits in God’s plans.

God has been teaching me patience through all of this. I pray for help with patience but not too fast. Learning patience is not an easy task. God knows how much I need patience and how much learning I can stand without cracking. He has been very good to me.


-David Coulter, GEM Missionary