"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.

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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!

The other track. Rick Warren once wrote that life is like railroad tracks, with joy and wonder unfolding on one track while sorrow and tragedy parallel it along the other. Highs and low come less like a trail winding through hills and valleys than like railroad tracks, beside each other all the way.

We are celebrating: a month ago we were wondering if we would have to cancel the 9Marks Conference (www.9marks.org) we are organizing for the Mid-Atlantic region as we only had 15 registrations. Yesterday sign ups passed 100 and are still going! This crowd from NY, NJ, DE and PA is coming to learn about the distinguishing characteristics of a healthy church – something quite rare in today’s Christianity. We are also praising God for providing housing for a family desperately in need of it. Jehovah Jireh – He is our provider!

As Henry Blackaby recommends, we search out where God is working so that we might join Him there. Sadly, this month it has been revealed where God is not working. Therefore, we grieve deeply and pray earnestly for sheep who are about to be without a shepherd. And as we search for the lesson God would have us learn from this experience, we also seek the next step for our family. Your prayers for these people, and for our discernment are much appreciated!

As always, please let us know how we can be praying for you over the next month. It is an honor to join you before the throne.

Blast from the past. Donna (in blue) and her family a few years back J

Sisters hanging out on the front porch.

After a friend introduced her to Jesus, a tiny woman from India walked up the street bundled tightly against a bitter March wind. She kept walking past the end of the street – and right into our church. In the weeks that followed, she shared her story and asked to be baptized. This first Sunday in May we will fulfill her request and rejoice with her! Elsewhere at the church, Wednesday Bible Studies and Life Night have continued to deepen relationships, grow knowledge and encourage the folks who make space in their busy schedules to come. We thank God for how this has set the stage for a renewed commitment to church life. Please join in our thanksgiving, along with the associated plea, that God would continue to instruct and change hearts, to draw us deeper into relationship with Him and thereby move us to be more willing to commit and serve.

Rich (Slick) has continued to be present in the local train station during the morning rush hour – but this month someone finally and bravely stepped forward to accept the offer of prayer. His life is a “train wreck” of crisis despite his best efforts to hold it all together. And his greatest concern? His estranged wife and his 10-year-old. Would you, too, ask God to intervene demonstratively in this man’s broken life?

And finally, on the home front, Grandpa Douglass flew in from Minnesota and Grandma Kohout hosted a wonderful birthday dinner for Matti’s big 6 years old celebration. A pink ballerina lemon cake and pink ESV Bible all her own, along with a few gifts, completed her day, though she attempted to retain her center-of-attention status for several more days :). Thankfully she has also begun reading her new Bible with a passion.

Thank you for joining the journey with us, and please let us know how we might partner with you in both prayer and praise – His love is abundant and amazing!

The life-sized Noah’s Ark in Kentucky is REALLY BIG!

Pink ballerina cake?! We definitely have girls!

Thankfully, April Fool’s day was eclipsed by Easter, an egg hunt, breakfast at church, Grandma’s help decorating the Easter bunny cake and her company for lunch. The girls had a long list of tricks to play on Mommy and Daddy, but the list was mercifully misplaced or forgotten in the activity of everything else…and our twelfth anniversary.

Twelve years that have literally flown by. They have taken us from Korea to New Mexico, South Carolina, all over the US, to France, Kenya, Germany, Palau, Japan, back to New Mexico and now to New Jersey. They’ve seen us move from Air Force work to parachurch ministry to language study to missionary flying to contractor work with the Air Force and now to pastoring a church. And we are wondering if it will stop?

We praise God for a major breakthrough in one family in the church and continue to hold them before the throne as they walk a difficult road. We praise God also for significant positive progress in Life Night’s fellowship and teaching, and in our worship service. Would you join us in requesting God’s continual movement in those as well?

On the home front, we celebrate with Zoe for winning the Bible Bee (like a spelling bee, but on the Bible) for the whole school, including three grades older than her! As we walked into the school to pick them up, the administrator told us we needed to have more kids because the staff so much enjoy the girls. Even while we vehemently disagreed, we silently thanked God for such beautiful, sweet, smart kiddos.

We find ourselves incredibly thankful for all of His many blessings…is there something you are thankful for that you would like to share? Thank you so much for continuing with us on the journey!

A four-footed Gwendi at "Kid’s Kingdom" between snow storms.

"Why are there so many churches and so many denominations in the world?" is a common question when someone wants a reason to discount Jesus and the Bible. Why, indeed! So we rejoice and know that it is only He Himself at work to help us actually begin to partner with another church, rather than stay isolated in our own walls. So far, we shared one Life Night Special Dinner hosted by our Peruvian missionary friends and are planning a summer Vacation Bible School (VBS) together with them – unity!

A huge God-gift this month came in the form of a gal who feels a burden to help one very technical area of need: our online presence. We have had several visitors who "found us on the web," so join us giving a huge "Yay, God!" for sending us Denise who’s helped our internet abilities and presence immeasurably! We’re even on FB now!

Also, available online is the latest article Donna wrote, published by CCCA’s “InSite” Magazine and another might be on the horizon shortly as well J We are very encouraged to see God bringing new life and new directions. Having recently heard that our long-beloved camp in the Adirondacks has now decided to leave the Cedarbrook Association, Donna is now working directly for the Association and looking forward to see Him moving there.

We so appreciate you joining us in continued prayer that God would change hearts and lives through Life Nights, Men’s and Women’s Groups, Sunday School and Sermons. Please also pave the way in prayer for continued collaboration between these two churches and between the 12 remaining Camp Cedarbrooks. “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!" (Psalm 133:1)

Please let us know how we can unify with YOU as well in what we pray for you. THANK YOU for joining with us in these endeavors!

Min-mountain at Keystone with Matti (5), Zoe (8) and Gwendi (3).

Three quarters of a century! We celebrated with Donna’s mother and aunt, identical twins, their birthday marking 75 years. Impressive!

Just up the hill from our house, at the church, Wednesday evening Life Night kicked off in mid January and has received positive feedback. Together with the morning men’s and women’s groups, we’re thankful to see people seizing the opportunities to get to know one another better and to be together in God’s Word more.

Praise God also for a set of 13 year old twins who were baptized last month, and for the 10 new members inducted at the January membership meeting. Exciting beginnings!

In a small church, covering all the necessary tasks can be a challenge, so we’ve enjoyed the front row seats to watch how God has been raising up folks to step into a wide variety of roles. While we continue to pray that God would bring in the outsiders living around us, we are excited to see the body beginning to function as a body, and to hear feedback from visitors about how welcomed they felt.

We so appreciate your praying and praising alongside us for each of these areas. Please pray also for specific individual needs for several of our members, as life at the moment is exceptionally challenging for them, as many of you know it can be. Thank you for praying, and for the words of encouragement many of you have sent! May you also see the Master Artist at work in your corner of creation. And as usual, please let us know how we can pray for you – it is our privilege!

Celebrating Mom and Aunt Dorothy’s 75th birthday, Douglass style.