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kdavey.jpgThe seeds of a future ministry to the military were sown in the heart of founder and director Keith H. Davey as he served in the United States Air Force from 1951 to 1953.

Watching his military buddies struggle to find value and purpose in their lives challenged Keith to be a witness for Jesus Christ, and that passion laid the foundation for Missions To Military.

The First Center: 1958 - 1963

1stcenter_177x300_opt.jpgAfter graduating from Bob Jones University, Keith and his wife Yvonne moved to Norfolk, VA in 1958 to open the first Servicemen’s Christian Center (SCC) on Main Street in downtown Norfolk. In those days the streets were flooded with uniformed military and the storefront center was a place of activity seven days a week. Free refreshments, table games, Bible studies, and evangelism drew many active service military to the center, and almost every day someone would bow in one of the prayer rooms to invite Christ into his or her life. By 1963, at least 70 men had completed their active service and had enrolled in Bible college to prepare for service in the Lord’s work.

A New Home and a New Name: 1963 - 1967

momhaginnsailors.jpgIn 1963, we lost our storefront lease and had to find another place to meet. Keith and Yvonne found a building for sale at $35,000.00, but they didn’t even have $350.00 in savings and couldn’t even pay their own salaries. After much prayer, they made an offer of $30,000.00 and contacted some family and friends who agreed to loan a total of $10,000. Then they asked a bank to loan them the remaining $20,000. The owners agreed to sell the building to the fledgling ministry (strange to the world, but not to God!) and Keith and Yvonne moved into the large three-story building in the heart of downtown Norfolk. As they waited for the agreement to be finalized, they began remodeling and raising money, and they also changed the corporate name of the ministry to Missions To Military (MTM).

Spreading the Gospel to Fayetteville, Florida, and France: 1967 - 1986

oldftbraggcntr.jpgMissions To Military had hardly gotten settled in the new building when a request came to launch out to new military bases. In 1967 we received a request to start a full-time ministry in Fayetteville, North Carolina among the military stationed at Ft. Bragg Army Post and Pope Air Force Base.  Jim Morrison and Willard Zimmer, both members of our team, went to Fayetteville, and began a new SCC where they served for 15 years.

The third SCC opened in Key West, Florida in 1969. Led by Jim and Tommie Eggimann, the new center operated in a former Jewish Synagogue. It operated there until a military base realignment paved the way for a move to Mayport Naval Base in Atlantic Beach, Florida. Bill and Anne Haney currently serve as the directors of that expanded ministry.

In 1970, Chuck Greenstreet, a former serviceman of MTM, asked if we would extend the ministry to reach the thousands of French Sailors in Toulon, France. After a time of careful consideration and prayer, the Board of Directors approved the move and our French ministry was born with Chuck and his wife, Joanna, as the first Center Directors. In God’s timing, Emmanuel Baptist Bible Institute opened as part of this French ministry and it was evident the Lord was doing special things in that country. 

In 1979, founder Keith Davey answered God’s call to plant a church in Virginia Beach. That church, Colonial Baptist, housed our Missions To Military headquarters office for many years and is home to Virginia Beach Theological Seminary.

Tragedy struck in 1986 when Chuck and Joanna, the directors of the French Center, were involved in a fatal car accident while home on deputation.  Chuck was immediately ushered into his eternal home in Heaven. Joanna was seriously injured and began a long recovery, but ultimately returned to her ministry with the SCC in Toulon where she still serves.

Our Ministry Today: 1986 - Present

The ministry of MTM continued to expand to new locations where we could strategically reach the military community for Christ.  Around 1990, as we saw an increase in the number of women serving in our military, we chose to change our local ministry name from Servicemen’s Christian Center (SCC) to Military Christian Center (MCC). 

The beginning of each MCC has been a step of faith followed by God’s special blessing. In January 1981 we opened a new center in Jacksonville, NC (Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune) and then another in Goldsboro, NC (Seymour Johnson AFB). In 1998, John and Betsy Sargent, one of our veteran missionary couples, launched a Ukraine ministry to Russian-Ukraine Military in Kiev and Sevastopol.

MTM marches on consistently today as a Baptist missions agency. We want to provide churches of like faith with a way to fulfill our God-given international missionary commission to win and train the military for Jesus Christ.

We would say with the Apostle Paul, “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” II Timothy 2:1-3