James Davis – Liberia
Vice President Africa West
In 1992, 18-year-old James Davis found himself in a scene reminiscent of David in the Old Testament: hiding from enemies trying to kill him and waiting on the Lord. A violent civil war was raging in Monrovia, and James had already seen too much. In a moment, James prayed a prayer that changed his life.
“I experienced some terrible things during our civil war,” James said. “Several friends were killed and things went very bad with me. During my hideout, I made a promise to God that if He rescued me during the war, I would work for Him. The Lord answered my prayer, and I committed my life to Him.”
Soon after, James joined a church and, under the direction of an American missionary, started a Joy Club for the kids in his neighborhood. In 2002, James was practicing a skit. His role included a prop—a magazine. As he began to flip through the pages, what he discovered changed his life again. “As I read through the magazine, I came across many youth ministries and what they are involved with around the world, but Young Life caught my heart because it was similar to what I had started with high school and neighborhood kids,” James recalls. “Immediately, I began to pray…that if it was the will of God, I would do all I can to start Young Life in Liberia. I later shared with Rancy Barsaye, one of my senior staff, and we began to pray. Our prayers were answered and we started a relationship with Young Life. After months of interaction and meetings with Steve Larmey, we officially started Young Life in Liberia in 2003.”
Today, there are over 100 Young Life ministries throughout Liberia. In 2019, James became the first vice president of Africa West, and now oversees Young Life’s current work in Sierra Leone, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Mali, Senegal and Liberia. In this role, James will supervise the established geography and provide more hands-on supervision and leadership development of staff. He will cast vision and work to develop ministry in new areas and countries.
James says Young Life “creates a great opportunity to set a positive example for high school students coupled with its heart to reach kids at their level, pursue a friendship with them and eventually share the gospel of Christ with them. This makes all the difference.” James is married to Gloria and they have two children.
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