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Davis dodges land mines, other obstacles in Kosovo

RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–When missionary Connie Davis’ four-wheel drive got stuck in winter mud, she had to get out and walk.

That could be a problem anywhere, but Davis was traveling in Kosovo, a former war zone filled with land mines.

After she walked a mile in an isolated area, some United Nations soldiers appeared and towed her vehicle from the mud.

“God answers prayer, even by Humvee,” Davis said.

Without a doubt, life in Kosovo is never boring. No one knows that better than 24-year-old Davis, who coordinates relief ministry while planting churches in the war-ravaged region.

“Kosovo is not for sissies. It is tough: Electric shortages. Cold weather. The threat of violence is constantly around you,” said missionary Bill Steele, Davis’s former supervisor. “Connie thrives in that environment.”

But she hasn’t always lived in a war zone. Three years ago she was just another student at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. After graduation, she signed up for the International Mission Board’s Journeyman Program and took an assignment in Bosnia, another war-torn country in the Balkans.

“I was untrained and unskilled. Talk about on-the-job training!” Davis said.

She got even more training after moving to Kosovo in August 1999. By then the NATO war against Yugoslavia had ended, but hundreds of ethnic Albanians had been tortured and massacred by Serb aggressors. Davis began to minister to those who survived.

“It’s trying to comfort a grieving widow whose two sons, husband and grandson were all killed in one day,” Davis said. “It’s walking into a house after it was burned … then picking up an edge of a destroyed picture and realizing their lives went up in flames. It’s whispering Bosnian language in the dark with your Bosnian friends in their apartment because they fear someone will think they are Serb and kill them.”

There may never be permanent peace. But there is a hope for the future that many people in the predominantly Muslim region don’t realize.

“People will tell you their greatest needs are physical,” Davis said, who finished her journeyman stint in July. “I think their greatest need is to know Christ and His peace.”

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  • Grace Robinette