I had the honor of interviewing missionary, theologian, and writer Gail Suratt Davis-
Me: So my first question is, for those not familiar with you, tell us about you and your projects
GD: I was raised in the southern part of America in the Bible belt. I went to church from the point I was born. During different parts of my life, God spoke to me and began preparing me to work with Him in His world. My journey to become a missionary was not a mighty step over a chasm of missions or not missions, but a journey of stepping stones from introductions to missionaries, personal faith in Jesus Christ, growth as a teen in Christ, growth of following Him as a young adult of Christ, to seminary, meeting a future pastor who would become my husband, and following the leading of the Lord to leave home and family to go anywhere He leads, like Abraham.
Since being on the field over 15 years now, I have done multiple things. As a missionary mom, you work based on the amount of time you have left after being mom/wife, those are priorities. It can become frustrating when children are young that you do not get to be involved as much in ministry as you feel you should be, but missionary moms must always remember their mission field is their children. If we give all we have to other people and our own children do not come to know and love the Lord, we have not been good parents or servants of the Lord. So my efforts with the Lord have changed as my children aged. I have been involved as a worship team leader, children’s choir leader, feeding program to homeless people, Sunday School teacher, ladies’ Bible study teacher, teaching English to refugees, being resource for refugees, feeding and blanket programs for refugees, Bible study researcher and writer, and most importantly, a student and servant of the Lord. Currently, I work with refugees, teach Sunday School, teach a ladies’ Bible study, and research and write Bible studies and devotionals which are posted on four websites daily and have over 20,000 readers around the world.
Me: Four websites?, and you also wrote a book?
GD: Yes, it is hard to imagine, but there is a purpose. In 2011, God told me to go deeper into His Word. So I began studying the Hebrew and Greek words, cultural backgrounds, idioms of the language, history of the areas around the Bible passages I studied. I process by writing.
After a few months of that, God nudged me and said to put them online. I had no idea how to go about that, but my oldest son was writing a blog so I thought I would just start with a basic blog site. After less than a year of that, people asked me to put the writings – basically devotional length – into a book so they could have them handy at their finger tips. My husband and I prayed about it, spoke to a couple of publishers, and spoke to another Christian author and decided to publish 52 of the first 60 posts. We did it out of obedience to God. We did not go into the endeavor to make money, but said whatever money was made over the initial cost would go into the mission work with refugees.
Last year I found out about LinkedIn. It is a professional website to connect people in their professions and to connect businesses with potential employees. It also allows people to publish online their writings. Whereas the first web site was a general in the public venue site. LinkedIn opened doors to an audience of professionals whom I would not necessarily encounter through blogspot. It has a “higher” profile of members. With LinkedIn, the readership doubled in a year to what I received from the previous 2 years on the blogsite.
Near the end of last year, the founder and editor of Altarwork.com read some of the Bible studies I write and asked me to be the feature Bible study writer for his online Christian arts magazine. I was honored and began submitting Bible studies to that site. It opened the way for me to gain entrance into another group of people in the world. Each time a new online venue opened to me, a new demographic opened to the Bible studies and devotions.
This year a man from the UK emailed me and asked how to study the Bible. He said he Googled Bible studies and found my blog site with the Bible studies and devotions. He then asked me which of my studies to begin studying. I realized the blogspot site I used was not as user friendly as it could be and reorganized the launch page so people could go directly where they wanted without hassle. His questions led me to open a Facebook author page and make it open to the whole world. What social media mechanism gets more traffic than any other? Facebook. Who does God want the Gospel to reach? Everyone. Through the Facebook author page anyone in the world can type in a search word and find people and things for which they are looking. I typed in basic tags that would lead people to the site. Through Facebook, in the past 6 months, over 5500 people from 43 countries have found the Bible studies and devotions. People have been able to reach out to me to ask questions in public and anonymously. (Remember, not all countries are open to the Gospel and people have to be careful what they say and to whom.)
So, in answer to your question – yes a book and four web sites. Each of them has a purpose to reach a certain demographic for the Gospel and to help Christians grow in their walk with God and become more Christlike. Am I doing this for the money? No. Any time I think I just can’t do this any more, I remember I began doing this because God wanted me to go deeper in my personal Bible studies. The writings come as a part of my processing. So, in essence, I should not let the weight of writing for four sites push me down. I do not do it for them. I do the Bible studies in obedience to God for my growth and for His will.
Me: So you’ve became a popular online theologian, has that opened up any chances for speaking at events?, and can we expect a second book?
GD: Interesting questions. I have been asked by pastors in impoverished cities and countries to go to them to teach the Word, places like Bangladesh, Zambia, Mozambique, India, and Thailand. I am honored, but realize I am not an expert. Also, I am a woman and feel if there is a man who is a minister of the Lord nearby, he would be better to speak to a general group of people that encompasses men and women. Additionally, I contracted with our mission organization to work with the people in South Africa. If I went to other countries, then I would be breaking contract with them and the money they invested to get us here. Plus, our organization has people around the world, so I can contact some colleagues or other Great Commission Christians who are closer to the pastors/people who ask me to speak to their people. It is a better use of God’s money that way.
As to can people expect another book, if the Lord tells me to, I will publish another printed book. I have been compiling the individual Bible studies from the Deuteronomy Bible study series into a book as I posted each online. There are now about 32 chapters in that book with about 2 more to add to it. Should a publisher and/or agent contact me wanting to publish the book on Deuteronomy, I would pray over it, consider the publisher/agent, and make a decision. There are people around the world who are journeying with me through Deuteronomy and want a book, but I truly have to wait for God to tell me to publish another book.
Me: Awesome!, you mentioned not speaking because you’re a woman, what about women speakers like Beth Moore and Joni Lamb?
GD: I can’t speak for other women speakers. This is how I feel about women teaching men. Yet, I must say, Beth Moore speaks to women almost exclusively. Unfortunately, since I have not been in America for 15+ years, I have not heard of Joni Lamb.
Me: So what are your current/upcoming projects?
GD: Keep watching the web sites and you will know what’s next. You can follow me through http://www.tcmhome.blogspot.com, https://www.linkedin.com/today/author/125016469, or https://www.facebook.com/gaildavis.miracleoffaith?ref=aymt_homepage_panel. You can read the studies and learn about other Christian artists of all mediums through http://www.altarwork.com, too
As to the non-writing projects, I am continuing to teach English to refugees. The class has become so large now that we had to divide into three classes. There are about 100 students. Before the decision was needed about dividing the class, God sent two well educated refugee men into my sphere. Both of them had taught before and they each had time to give to help their fellow refugees. Now we have the joy as a team to watch our students learn English using the Gospel of Mark, to see the needs and seek humanitarian aid to help them, and to watch them come to know and grow in the Lord.
Me: I see, so what can we expect from you in the future?
GD: I cannot predict the future. I know that I love the Lord and want to stay in His will. I cannot stop telling the Gospel. Because of these, I will keep studying the Bible and writing as part of the process. I love learning and researching. I love hearing from the Lord and learning new things from Him. I am waiting on the Lord to tell me which book of the Bible to study next. He will and in His time. Until then, I keep doing what He last told me to do. Is it hard to wait on the Lord? Sometimes, but His timing is always perfect. I had never wanted to study Deuteronomy before, but now that I have, my faith is more enriched and I understand the foundation of our faith as Christians much better. Deuteronomy is not a slog to get to the Promised Land. It is the story of how God made a small group of people into a nation by whom He drew the people of the world to Himself. Israel was to be the beacon to which the people of the world drew to see and know the almighty God. Then, by seeking Him, we, the world, come to receive His love and salvation by His grace through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. Deuteronomy is foundation. God blessed me with this study.
Me: That’s awesome!, is there anything else that your fans/followers would be interested in knowing?
GD: I don’t know. I want to impress on people that I am a regular person; I am just like them. We each have the opportunity to choose God or not, to choose to hear Him, follow Him, grow more like Him. I have stumbled in my walk, but God forgives. He has a plan and I just happen to be part of His great plan to tell the world about Jesus Christ. All believers are part of that plan. We each just have to decide for ourselves whether we will play our part.
Me: Amen!, thank you so much for this interview!
GD: It has been my privilege. What an honor to have someone see me as a servant of God. I hope and pray others will read this interview and want to delve into the Bible studies and devotions so they, too, can become Christians and/or grow deeper in their Christlikeness.