By Sharon Mager, BCM/D Correspondent
OCEAN CITY, Md.—Summer in Ocean City, Md., for most of us conjures up the smell of suntan lotion, the sound of waves lapping on the shore and the feel of gritty sand between our toes. For Resort Missionary Lynn Davis the summer bring waves of international students who arrive ready to work at local shops and for Davis, they bring an opportunity to further God’s Kingdom.
Davis has served with CALM, (Central Atlantic Leisure Ministries) since 1985 in cooperation with the North American Mission Board, the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware, Eastern Baptist Association and Ocean City Baptist Church.
She, along with her husband Terry, former pastor of Ocean City Church, and local church volunteers, help the young students assimilate into the town, provide free weekly dinners and have a coffeehouse ministry. This year Davis will add conversational English and American cooking classes. Most importantly, the couple seeks to form strong bonds with the students, befriending them, loving them and sharing Jesus as the Holy Spirit leads them.
“We’re always looking for ways to take a huge mass and break them down into smaller groups so we can get to know them better,” Lynn says.
Over the course of the summer over 1,500 international students attend the dinners.
Lynn says the students are intelligent, many speaking four or five languages. They want to talk about religion and they want to go deep. Many ask why Christians think Jesus is the only way to heaven. They want to know the difference between Jesus and Mohammad. They’re eager to own and read Bibles.
Sean Davis, Terry and Lynn’s son, and now pastor of Ocean City Baptist Church, grew up at the ocean and around the international ministry. Now he works alongside his parents ministering to students.
“It is unbelievable what God is doing in Ocean City in the international student ministry. It is hard to put the story in words,” Sean said. “I believe this summer we will see many more students come to Christ. This will be the first summer that we have several students coming back. We will have a core group to help us reach more students,” he says.
“I hear many churches talk about kingdom building and church planting. Well, there is no ministry that exemplifies that heart than what God is doing through the ministry of Lynn and Terry Davis and the work in Ocean City,” Sean says.
“Things are happening around the world and we can touch it around here. We can touch it a lot more directly and with a whole lot more intentionality,” Lynn says.
The North American Mission Board no longer funds this ministry. Part of the state missions offering will be used to support this outreach.
“I can tell you that this is one ministry that we do not want to lose,” Sean Davis says.