by Todd Fisher

My friend Dave is a modern day Robin Hood. As I sat down to write this last October, he was enduring a lonely 15 hour flight back home to his family in the Philippines. You see Dave had just completed his travels to the richest country on the planet to collect money that will be invested back into the poorest people in the world.


Now I have known Dave since we were kids collecting baseball cards, writing rap songs and discussing late into the night the mysterious and fascinating world of girls. As we approached the age of such coming of age milestones as obtaining our drivers licenses, legally watching Rated R movies and buying lottery tickets (Heck yes, I was a rebellious kid!), Dave veered more towards the spiritual while I merely flirted with it while also enjoying my new found freedoms as an “adult”.

While I was goofing off with friends terrorizing poor Denny’s waitresses at 2 am or cruising around town on the Fourth of July throwing water balloons at innocent bystanders like immature adolescences are prone to do, Dave was busily plotting a different course for his life. His hard work, dreams and prayers would eventually land him in China serving the downtrodden and hopeless when he was barely of age to serve his Country in war.

And Dave has been at it for over 15 years now. You see Dave’s heart is for the forgotten, rejected, misplaced, abuse and exploited people of the world, much of his tireless and underappreciated work being done in the difficult to reach, let alone find villages in and around China.

I got a chance to visit Dave in China many years go and witnessed his selflessness and compassion for myself. My friend Chris Cherry and I went on this epic trip that still conjures up unforgettable memories and stories from eating ridiculous street food like chicken feet, crashing a wedding and somehow being seated at the head table with the bride and groom, to experiencing all new ways of dangerous and death-defying transportation.

Dave was our host and yet it seemed like he wasn’t around much of the time. In the morning when we woke up, Dave would have already left the apartment for the day or when we were out seeing the city sites Dave would excuse himself from our little excursion because he had to meet someone for coffee or had some other “saintly duty” to attend to. He was constantly on the go, on the alert, on the clock so to speak. But we could sense that what he was up to he wouldn’t consider work or a burden. He was ministering to people out of a heart of true compassion and love.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:  Missions History Today: July

At one point on our trip we took an epic two day train ride from Hong Kong into the heart of mainland China witnessing the indescribably beautiful and mythical looking country side from the comfort of our roomy sleeper car equipped with four semi-comfortable beds. On day two of our little jaunt we realized we hadn’t seen Dave for several hours and we decided to go in search of him with adventurous spirits as if some fate had befallen him like you might see in a Alfred Hitchcock movie. A few cars up the tracks we found him in an overcrowded, loud and smelly passenger car amongst the “peasant class” simply talking to people, being friendly and genuinely caring about people’s stories and lives. While Chris and I had taken the trip as an opportunity to kick back and relax, a vacation so to speak, here was Dave tirelessly pouring himself out to people.

Dave lives in another world and breathes in the air of a life that we cannot really imagine. I only had enough time to scratch the surface of what life is really like there, yet I still saw things that are shocking for a comfortable, wealthy American living in the mostly sanitized world I do. I saw young children begging on the streets, horribly deformed and handicapped people who have been cast aside by society to fend for themselves and met people who thought we were looking for someone who lived in their village when we asked if they “knew who Jesus was?” Little did they know how right they were!

Now, I hate to be that guy, that depressing commercial pleading for the starving kids in Africa or that junk mail you get looking for sponsors to help build wells in Africa to provide clean water. I personally hate to be guilt tripped into stuff and I don’t want to be that person.

And yet I know this guy, I know his story and I have seen the work he does with my own eyes. stly It pains me that Dave must board a plane and leave his mission and his family behind to seek handouts. He shouldn’t be wasting his time driving around the Southwest United States asking people for money when he his time would be so much more valuably spent overseas. Quite honesty he is making sacrifices that none of us cares to make. He is getting his hands dirty and making a difference in people’s lives. He shouldn’t have to stop what he is doing to travel around the globe to raise enough money to keep such an incredible work going.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:  We Just Printed Hundreds Of Discipleship Books For New Chinese Christians

No matter our economic status here in the US we are filthy rich in comparison to the rest of the world. Yeah, my monthly budget probably looks a lot like yours. Barely squeaking by but enough money to enjoy the luxuries of high speed internet, a smart phone, cable and a cup or two (or three, four or five!) of gourmet coffee daily …you get the picture.

We are rich not only monetarily, but also spiritually and that is the most important place where Dave works. He brings hope, reconciliation and salvation to people who are starving not only physically but spiritually as well.

I jokingly call Dave Robin Hood because he “steals” from the rich and gives it to the “poor”. He does this for the benefit of the poor, but in reality he is doing it for the benefit of the rich as well. He helps us to put all of our ridiculous blessings into perspective. He keeps us in touch with a world that has so many needs and yet, if not for people like Dave, would be mostly forgotten in our world of 30-second Youtube clips and 140 character attention spans.

Fans of the television show Veronica Mars raised millions of dollars on Kickstarter in a few days to make a movie, A MOVIE!

What are our priorities? What is important to you and I?

Why not invest some money towards something good, something with eternal implications?

I am not trying to tell you how to spend your money, just telling you how you should spend it.

You can get more information on Dave and Lorna Joannes’ misson and support them here: or

I truly and sincerely thank you!

David Joannes
Founder/President at Within Reach Global
David Joannes is the co-founder and president of Within Reach Global, Inc, which serves the advance of the Gospel in some of Southeast Asia’s most difficult places. He is the author of The Space Between Memories: Recollections from a 21st Century Missionary. David has a love for language, culture, and creative writing, and for the last 20 years, he has witnessed God’s Kingdom established in forgotten parts of the globe. David lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with his wife, Lorna, and their daughter, Cara.
Get The Space Between Memories: Recollections from a 21st Century Missionary by David JoannesBUY NOW