Pauls Valley Democrat
For one Pauls Valley native and church pastor it’s a higher calling for him to return to an African nation where he and his wife once spent time as part of their mission work.
For Andy Davidson, who grew up in Pauls Valley graduating from high school here in 1996, his fast approaching chance to make a return to trip to Zambia, Africa is truly a calling.
Davidson, now an associate pastor at the local Higher Ground Church, and his wife Robyn spent a number of years helping to set up churches in the south central African nation.
Now he’s returning and joining others in a mission project meant to bring “life” by way of the construction of a water well in the village of Chengwe.
The project and the place clearly has plenty of personal meaning for Davidson, who left for Africa earlier this week.
“It’s a place I hold very dear to my heart,” he said about Zambia and Chengwe. “I think of it often.”
The story of this new project actually gets started back in 2003 when both Andy and Robyn were among a group offering their volunteer help to building a handful of churches in Zambia.
“We had the privilege of building nine churches, all out in rural areas and villages,” Davidson said.
“The chief of the village was amazed at our interest, all these people who kept coming around.”
He adds before the first church was built members numbering around 100 adults and orphans initially met in a tent.
“What’s interesting about Zambia is when you do something for the church the whole village rises up and helps,” Robyn said.
Now Andy, traveling alone, is in the middle of a 10-day trip where he is joining other missionaries and the people of Chengwe to construct a water well for the village.
“They say water is life and that’s so true in Chengwe,” Andy said. “It will be a tremendous advantage to have a water well on site.”
During their earlier mission work water had to be carried in for the construction of the church there.
He hopes someday electricity will come to the village, which would allow for the construction of a water storage tank there.
Although Robyn didn’t accompany her husband on this trip, both are uplifted by this chance for him to help with the water well project.
“Zambians are such peaceful and passive people,” Andy said. “They’re such wonderful people.”
“My wife and I are thankful to the Lord for this opportunity. This is something that’s bigger than me; bigger than us.”
Davidson also has his eye on another project that never got completed in the village — the construction of an orphanage.
“For me it’s not just the water well but the orphanage.”
The water project is estimated to cost around $3,000 with any additional money going toward the completion of the orphanage building, which currently only has a foundation in place.
During their previous time in Zambia the Davidsons also received a gift beyond just their work to help.
Along with their own kids, Andy and Robyn have since adopted a boy from Zambia. His name is Deacon, now a fourth grader at Whitebead.
“He was scared of us at first but we adopted him and now he’s healthy and living with us here,” he said, adding they were the first white people Deacon had ever seen.
They have since also located Deacon’s older sister, now 17, and are looking into the possibility of adopting her as well.
With a smile Andy also describes how he will need a little help of his own on this trip.
“English is the official language of Zambia, especially in the capital building,” he said.
“It’s a little different out in the villages. There are 64 tribes in Zambia. That’s 64 languages, so I’ll need a translator.”