By SHERRY DIGMON
A special service was held Sunday morning, October 23, at Atmore First Assembly of God as members and visitors honored Pastors Don and Sara Davis for “51 Years of Faithful Service and Dedicated Ministry.”
The couple began their ministry in Sylacauga, Ala., serving from 1974 to 1987. Then they came home to Atmore and have served at Atmore First Assembly since then.
Sunday’s service started with Lori Diller announcing a gift the church is giving the Davises.
“They are here for us,” Lori said. “They celebrate our highest highs and they’re here during our lowest lows. What do you get? What do you give? What do you get someone who deserves the world? You give them a trip to Israel!”
The pastors’ three children each spoke about their parents and their ministry. Of everyone in the sanctuary, they know Don and Sara best. They honored their parents with humor, love and the utmost respect.
Sara Beth Davis McCartney, the only daughter and “the favorite child,” said whatever else was going on in their lives, they never had to wonder about their parents being there for them. Whether it was an after-school program, a sporting event, “I never had to wonder how I was going to get home,” Sara Beth said. “I never had to wonder if anybody was in the stands cheering for me … They always made their mission field their home with graceful and gentle parenting … The same two people you see up here are exactly the way they are at home.”
Josh Davis, the middle child, recounted some of Don and Sara’s accomplishments at First Assembly – Don’s mission and pre-mission trips, Sara’s founding of Camp AFA for kids 22 years ago.
“They’ve always put emphasis on children,” Josh said. “They couldn’t have children for ten years. Then they had three children and dedicated them to God. They’ve dedicated your children to God.”
About their anointing, Josh said, “Satan hates their anointing. God has always intervened.
David Wilkerson said, ‘God does not give anointing to lazy preachers or lazy Christians.’”
Jared Davis, the oldest child, left Atmore when he was 20.
“In leaving, I experienced different churches, experienced different pastors and pastor couples,” he said. “In kindness, the Lord let me come to the end of my ministry. I came home and learned.
In the last five to seven years, I’ve learned what it means to be faithful to a people and to a place.
If there’s not honor in a church, God won’t be there.”
Don and Sara’s family was asked to come to the front of the church, as were members Kelvin Diller and Cynthia Wilson, who prayed for the couple.