New Years found us making intimate acquaintance with many porcelain fixtures as we passed the 24-hour stomach bug among our entire family. We even included Grandma, but despite the time of trial, we thanked God that it was not gifted upon anyone else we visited over Christmas.

We are also thankful to receive Grandpa Douglass into our home for a time. And thankful yet again for a home where we are able to do that comfortably, though he is still getting accustomed to the noise level of 3 granddaughters and a puppy!

And lastly, bookended by two long drives, we enjoyed the blessing of two phenomenal days of skiing in Durango, CO where even Gwendi slid somewhat gracefully top to bottom and Zoe began to copy Mommy skiing backward. Since Donna helps Gwendi, she sometimes leaves her poles on the hill awaiting Gwendi’s departure and nap later in the day. This time, someone else decided they needed them so they were gone when she went to pick them up. But God redeemed even this – the following morning staff let Slick pick a pair of poles from the lost and found, but it wasn’t until later in the drive home that we discovered they were the exact right length, though Slick hadn’t even checked. God cares about details.

On the work front, our prayer is still for patience and clear guidance as we continue to wait on Slick’s clearance to learn the F35 in preparation for return to Japan. We would greatly appreciate your partnership in this request. How might we raise up your needs to the Savior? He cares even about the little details.

Always loved the Colorado Blue sky – like nowhere else!

Three sisters in Monument Valley, both in the foreground and the background. And the new puppy Hachi.

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The year began in New Jersey, spent parts of the summer visiting Pennsylvania and Alaska, took a brief sojourn in Misawa, Japan and will end here in Litchfield Park (near Phoenix), Arizona. We expect to return to Japan in spring of 2019, unless plans change of course!

We praise God for the miraculous healing of our friend (see previous blogs) as well as for guidance along the way and for a healthy, happy family and new puppy added to our number.

We wish you a very Merry Christmas and wonderful New Year!

the Douglasses

Slick/Rich, Donna, Zoe, Matti, Gwendi and Hachi

Please email (or comment) if you would like our new contact info.

Taking advantage of living in AZ – a visit to the Grand Canyon. The girls and Donna did some biking!

Miracles, big and small. Eight weeks ago, S was sent home on hospice with 2-8 weeks to live because of a pop-up freak leukemia and an eye infection that blurred his vision, closed his eye and extended into his brain. About four weeks ago God motivated us, and we are sure others, to pray specifically for S’s healing. During Slick’s drive from Seattle to Phoenix, S called to say he was planning to preach on Sunday. His eye infection is obviously on the mend and he’d been declared "in remission". They said he’d never see clearly again, but now not only is his eye open but he can see clearly out of it, too. I’d venture to say he can probably see many things more clearly now than ever! Clearly, God is healing him. Miraculously.

Will you pray with us for S’s continued healing and remission, for the sake of God’s glory as well as that of his wife and 10 young kiddos?

In answer to your prayers of last month, several events coincidentally* occurred on the same day that led us to discern God was directing us to a job with Lockheed Martin and the Japanese Air Force F-35’s at Misawa, Japan. So we are now in Phoenix for five months (back to Japan after that). Today, we continue to settle into our desert tan apartment and research activities for the girls even as we pray for the folks battling to get Misawa chapel programs moving forward. Would you intercede for a moment on their behalf, as well as on ours, that we might see where God would have us invest while we are here?

*Coincidence – a small miracle where God chooses to remain anonymous. J

Gwendi, Matti and Zoe in the Hakkoda Mountains before we left Japan.

Statue of Liberty Park, a quick bike ride away from Misawa Air Base, Japan ?!

“Today, seventeen years ago a plane crashed into the World Trade Center…” Ack! I thought. Was it already seventeen years ago that, less than three miles from here, I sat in a Bible study with three other gals when a phone call cued us to go online and look at the pictures of the WTC. We saw the shot of the plane poised to hit the second tower then the connection was lost, overwhelmed by people desperate for more details.

At that time I was thankful Dad had retired from United Airlines the year before so I didn’t have to worry about him being the pilot! Now, 17 years later, I ran a memorial 5k hosted by the Navy here at Misawa in northern Japan to commemorate our fallen brothers and sisters. That run and similar opportunities, along with Chapel events have enabled us to meet people and begin some friendships through which we can explore where God is working in this part of the world. He is definitely working, of that we are convinced as there is ample enemy activity that has taken its toll on the once vibrant ministries here. But the positive side is that there is lots of work ahead and we appreciate the opportunity to come alongside those who are leading to help them however we can.

Thank you for praying for our transition and the details. Many decisions and moving parts still lay ahead which we would greatly appreciate being facilitated by your prayers, among them a home, the continued transition to homeschooling and where to invest ourselves during our time here. Let us know how we can also be walking beside you in prayer.

We stayed overnight in a treehouse!

Japan?!

And so, we waited on the Lord through most of August. Our house was packed and in storage at a warehouse awaiting further direction. The visa process blocked our progress toward Italy as it seems that the entire country takes vacation in the month of August. A surprisingly detail of the hiring process blocked progress with F-35’s under Lockheed Martin. And our deadline to move out of the parsonage slipped by while we explored amazing Alaska following cousin Jen’s memorial who had just lost her few months battle with cancer. Good to see Alaska and family, though the occasion was anything but welcome.

Yet since our decision to go back to the job offer from a few months ago, we have met with what seems to be God’s approval: even with rooms packed by the impending airshow, the base allowed us a 2BR apartment for a month; someone we know from our last time here is in the US for the month and lent us a Subaru Forester until we find our own vehicle and all the travels have been entirely uneventful if not downright enjoyable. We even took the girls to Tokyo Disney for two days to help switch time zones before the last leg of the journey. It is good to sense even the slightest confirmation that we are where God wanted us, especially after a particularly ambiguous month of August!

Please join us in praying not only for the myriad details that come with such a move, but also for us to recognize where He is working here in remote northern Japan and to join Him in wherever He would allow us to serve. How might we be praying with you, too?

"We pray for you on Tuesdays!" Matti called out as the Kellonds arrived at our house. Kid will sure keep you honest! We appreciated encouraging and being encouraged during their brief visit, despite the swim meet and kids’ triathlon that punctuated it. They shared how God has repeatedly provided so that hundreds of girls might be protected from sex trafficking in the various countries where Remember Nhu works. Kerry works mostly with Cambodia and Mark coordinates short term missions trips with groups from the US. We can link you up with him if you know any interested groups!

The week at Cedarbrook Camp in Pennsylvania also showed God’s hand at work in the lives of several girls who began a relationship with Jesus and others who grew in personal and spiritual dimensions. As staff (Slick in the kitchen, Donna as a counselor supervisor), we also had a front row seat to see God’s provision of all the various positions necessary to run a camp, and to meet the folks who responded to His prompting and stepped up, often to find camp far more demanding – and fun! – than they’d dreamed!

Finally, it seems that God has something more for us to learn with respect to waiting on His timing. We still are not certain whether we will go next to Italy, to Japan, or to somewhere else that we don’t know about yet – and our household goods shipped last week. We thank God daily for our family, especially in light of the heartache we see around us, yet we long to know our next step and be able to move toward it. Will you ask with us for wisdom, discernment and favor with the necessary people, as well as for the same for close friends who are facing difficult and dangerous medical and family situations?

Another area we’d appreciate your company in prayer for is Donna’s extended family, as they move through a time of grief at the loss of Donna’s cousin Jenifer whose cancer was only discovered a few months ago. It has been quite a shock as Jen was only in her fifties, a fellow triathlete and marathoner, and passionate outdoorswoman. Would you join us in praying for both temporal and eternal healing of the family’s hearts?

Please let us know how we can stand beside you in prayer as well!

Visiting our neighbors, which happens to be a "living historical farm" and one of the big things to see in the area. the farmhouse was built by Paul Revere’s grandson (the girls are on the porch), but the pigs were the favorite. Well, the cow who licked Zoe and me also ranked right up there, too.

We hoped for 100 people, but God brought 120 to the MidAtlantic 9Marks Conference in early June! Participants learned about the distinguishing characteristics of a healthy church, which they will hopefully take home and build up their own churches in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York and even Texas!

Slick / Rich also had the honor of helping Pillar College’s Biblical Studies Department as they look into how to position themselves to meet future needs of the underprivileged urban community in Paterson and Newark, NJ. Making the jolting step from urban to rural, Donna received training at Camp Cedarbrook in Pennsylvania while Slick supported with a weekend in the camp kitchen.

Outside of work, it is still summer and we have been richly blessed to enjoy two days at a Wolf Creek Water Park in PA, and a week in Chincoteague, VA, splashing around in various forms of water and viewing the wild ponies made famous by Marguerite Henry’s book, Misty of Chincoteague. We thank God for your prayers, and His answers in giving us the ability to rest in the promise of His provision and be fully present with family and friends, even while the way ahead is still unclear to us. It was a particular blessing to spend the week in VA with family we rarely see, but greatly enjoy.

We much appreciate your continued prayers that God would find new homes for the sheep of our former church and make clear the path He would have us take from here. Please let us know how we might sharpen the aim on our prayer arrows as well.

Sunrise over Assateague Island, home of the wild ponies.

Gwendi and Donna pose with Misty. Beside her is Stormy (not pictured), whom Donna and her family met in "person" back in the 1980s!