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Sharing the Vision

Published on April 15, 2020

by Danielle Ripley-Burgess
“I took a photo of one of the high school boys at FCA Camp who was really hard looking; he had a really stern look on his face. The next day at Camp, I took another picture of him, and he did not look like the same person. He had a wide smile. People I showed the photo to said, ‘That can’t be the same boy!’ It’s amazing what bringing the kids in, praying for them, giving them a Bible and loving them can do.”  —Charlene Waggett

 

As Charlene Waggett retold one of the many powerful moments following a week at FCA Camp, her husband, Davie, wiped tears from his eyes.

“When you see God working through coaches, staff or volunteers,” cracked his voice, “the whole aspect of pray, serve and give becomes easy. We don’t question it. God’s put a special blessing on FCA.”

It’s a blessing the Waggetts have found themselves caught up in thanks to the invitation of a coach more than 20 years ago.

THROUGH THE COACH

They both grew up in church and can’t remember a time they didn’t know about God and believe. But like many high schoolers, the two sweethearts each strayed from their faith. When they began dating, they’d occasionally attend church. But it wasn’t until the early 1980s, once they’d finished school, gotten married and begun a family, that they re-evaluated their commitment.

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Davie and Charlene Waggett

“I saw teenagers pull up into the church parking lot after school one day and thought, ‘That’s what I want. I want my kids to want to drive their cars to church, not because I take them, but because they want to go,’” Charlene said.

Davie knew that in order for that to happen, they, as parents, needed to set the example.

“The choices we wanted our children to make, we had to model them first,” Davie said. “So we did; that’s where it started.”

The Waggetts committed to their local church, and as their children got older, they became involved in Christian groups. They began hosting YoungLife meetings in their family room once their kids reached high school. Wall-to-wall with more than 80 students present, they’d occasionally open the windows so those sitting in the overflow area—a.k.a. their deck—could participate. One day, their son’s baseball coach began mentoring him and extended an invitation to FCA.

“The coach approached us about FCA; we soon realized it’s another way the Lord got into the schools,” Charlene said.

As their son got involved, both Davie and Charlene experienced the FCA story unfolding and witnessed the influence a coach holds over not just an athlete’s life, but an entire community. As the Waggetts’ son began recruiting teammates to attend Huddles, they saw how FCA makes a difference in athletes’ lives and the lives of the parents.

“I had a major donor tell me he will always support FCA because of the difference my son’s invitation to FCA made in his son’s life,” marveled Davie.

It didn’t take long for FCA to become a family affair.

 

GETTING INVOLVED

“She’s a great volunteer; she’s so organized and very genuine,” said Davie of his wife of more than 40 years.

For him, she’s both his perfect complement and a utility player serving in roles ranging from serving lunches at Camp to organizing golf tournaments and banquets with the local FCA staff.

“She’s focused on the individual,” Davie said. “She loves on people, and at Camp, she’s the one who gets the hugs— I’m there, but I’m in a different role. I’m in the middle of them and comfortable with crowds and the stage.”

A dynamic duo as many see them, it’s evident they’ve found a key to a thriving partnership and healthy marriage: serving together.


EMBRACING LEADERSHIP

From their hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina, the Waggetts have become local and global leaders. Shortly after his son joined FCA, Davie accepted the invitation to serve on the local FCA board in Wilmington. As Davie and Charlene saw and experienced the impact of FCA firsthand, they donated and volunteered to get more kids to Camp and put Bibles into hands. They began supporting FCA regionally.

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The Waggetts recently attended an FCA leaders’ event at Black Mountain to support and encourage the staff. “They don’t just love the mission of FCA, but they also love the people of FCA. They are truly living sacrifices who are daily offering up their lives for the glory of God.” —Josh Gilreath, FCA Regional Vice President of the Carolinas

In July 2018, both Davie and Charlene joined the board overseeing all of FCA’s two-state Carolinas Region.

“Davie and Charlene have a love for our staff, our board members, and for coaches and athletes that is sincere and sacrificial,” said Josh Gilreath, FCA Regional Vice President of the Carolinas. “They go above and beyond to love, pray for, serve and support our staff. They pray for and receive spiritual wisdom and discernment, which allows them to give invaluable input into the decisions our regional board makes. They have expressed a deep love for me, my wife, Ashlea, and our children that means so much to us as a family.”

Three years ago, Davie joined FCA’s Board of Trustees, and he recently accepted the request to serve a second three-year term. While it’s Davie sitting on the Board of Trustees and attending executive meetings, the couple is quick to mention his appointment is a joint commitment.

“I don’t want to do this without her,” Davie said.

Appreciative of the way FCA includes the spouses of Trustees, Charlene also feels responsibility for how the ministry is supported.

“When we do premarital mentoring at our church, we tell young couples to be together on their financial decisions; charitable giving is a financial and a spiritual decision,” Charlene said. “Davie can come home and tell me about things, but if I can see and experience it for myself, I also feel the passion to the ministry. He may say, ‘Let’s give one amount,’ but I may hear something at the meeting he didn’t and say, ‘We really need to give five times that amount!’”

Whether it’s giving, volunteering, praying or serving, the Waggetts are all in. As they look to their future, they’re focused on how to continue sharing God with their city, region, country and the world. According to Matt Treppel, FCA Area Director of Southeast North Carolina:

“Davie and Charlene are more than top donors, and Davie is more than our board chairman. They are sold out in investing, supporting, encouraging and leading, not only the board and myself, but my whole team. And they do it with the love of Jesus.”


DRIVEN TO GIVE

Thoughts of retirement have begun to loom as a possibility for the distant future, but today the Waggetts are narrowly focused on how to serve God with all of their time, talent and treasure. Davie’s business, church involvement, and their five grandchildren, as well as their commitments to FCA, keep the couple active.

DSC_2680_004 - RetouchedThe vision of reaching every coach and athlete in the schools initially attracted the couple to FCA in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but it’s the exciting growth into more than 90 countries in less than 10 years that puts more tears into Davie’s eyes, “God chills” (or goosebumps) on Charlene’s arms, and implores them both to give their all.

“We have people outside of the U.S. in countries we can’t make public because of persecution,” Davie said. “Why, when we know those people are reaching people for Christ through FCA, would we not support that? It’s the least we can do.”

While attending a recent FCA Global Capacity Conference in Guatemala, Davie was moved by hearing international leaders’ stories and seeing the passion for Jesus firsthand.

“Now that FCA is ministering around the world, I get blown away by these people who have so much less than we do, but they are getting things done. The international leaders’ love for God is just incredible. It’s so much fun. They don’t know what I’m saying; I don’t know what they’re saying. The one common language is God. They want God for their country, just like we want Him for the United States. It has inspired me in my walk.”

It’s a walk leading the Waggetts to pray, send and go from North Carolina to the ends of the earth.



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Photos courtesy of Brandon Hyde