July 2012

Normally Matti smiles and coos, but sometimes she fusses impatiently as she waits for me to pick her up and comfort her. Sometimes there are just things that need to be in place before I can settle down with her. And while those things are arranged, she simply has to wait.

Such is the place we feel we’re in. God is doing something and we’re dying to know what, but while He arranges the circumstances, we must simply wait. We have accepted a job with the Air Force in Spangdahlem, Germany where our mission field might be fighter pilots and military folk. But paperwork will prevent us from going until the end of August. And so for the summer we’ll be working at Camp Cedarbrook in upstate New York (see below).

Separately we have both wondered if God is slowing our timeline down so that the folks in Colorado might have time to hire a pastor for Fraser, though we do feel that the chances of them calling Slick are low. Or, by making us wait even longer, God might simply be further forming us… As my dad likes to say, situations we don’t like, but can’t change are “opportunities for spiritual formation.”

As we wait, we’re getting our bodies back in shape with a little encouragement (see picture below) after some time off from the athletic scene due to pregnancy and the life in Nairobi. When Donna competed in a local race, God seemed to affirm this direction with a tiny sip of His abundance: she placed third in her age group in the oldest and largest triathlon in New Jersey.

We continue to pray for you all and very much appreciate your prayers, support and encouragement through this time of transition.

In His grip –
The Douglasses

PS: Our latest pictures are posted: http://www.flickr.com/photos/donnadouglass/sets/72157629848790439/show/

PPS: Camp Cedarbrook is where Donna spent her summers years ago as a camper then counselor. Their “Camper in Leadership Training” (CILT) grounded her in the Word and gave her the tools to study it and to teach it. It has been an invaluable benefit: to Donna throughout her life, now to us both and also to all those with whom we’ve studied the Bible over the years. While Slick’s position there this summer is paid (a little 🙂 ), the camp is supported largely by donations. So if you would like to support the camp’s work or indirectly support ours, please visit their website: www.campcedarbrook.net

Zoe gives Mommy a little help starting the route

We have a lot of transitions going on in the Douglass home!

FAREWELLS (the next chapter about Slick’s parents): With great peace and surrounded by family and friends, Slick’s mother passed away on Monday 7 May in her own bed at home. We saw her the Saturday before at the wedding of Slick’s younger brother CT. Matti was only 12 days old when we flew up to Minnesota for Grandma to meet her second grandchild and spend some time with her first, Zoe. Brenda glowed as she held the tiny one on her lap. She glowed also during the wedding reception as she asked Donna if she could see her cup running over with the love and blessing she felt. In Slick’s last conversation with Mom she told him that angels were all around her. She asked if he believe her so he recounted the story about Elisha: When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha (2 Kings 6:15-17). Slick thanks God for the assurance that Brenda is now decorating the rooms the Lord has prepared for our family there. We thank you for praying with us.

NEXT STEPS (the next chapter of our lives): With great trepidation we bring y’all another prayer request. As we’ve said before we will most likely not return to Africa. Consequently, we are seeking the Lord’s guidance and Slick has applied for some jobs. When asked what he really wants to do he replied, “I want to pastor that church in Winter Park (Colorado).” (We visited Fraser Baptist on Easter 2010 while raising support and visiting family. We found out they were looking for a pastor and the more Slick got to know the people the more the fire in his heart grew…but we knew the Lord was sending us to Africa and so he refrained from applying.) Last month, Donna suggested looking at Fraser again, but we knew they had hired a pastor already.

A few days later without knowing why Slick checked on Fraser via their website. It looked dated and not quite right. Searching further, the staff page displayed no name beside the pastor slot… For the first time during the job hunt, Slick heard pounded. Several phone calls revealed that the man they had hired left after only seven months and the church was heartbroken. Their confidence shattered, they have turned to the state church association for guidance.

Slick shared our encounter with Fraser with the state association. Though interested, they want to move slowly. They have considered adding him to the transition team but want to apply due diligence before making any moves. Thus we wait while they move through whatever process they must follow.

Meanwhile, the end of May brings the end of our time in this loaned house and the selections for some of the civilian jobs Slick has applied for. In need of a home and means to support a family, we feel that the end of the month is 4th down and 15 yards…either we hear from the CO state board and we move forward with Fraser or Slick takes a different job and we bloom where we are planted…

Above all, we desire that His be done, whether following our own hearts’ desire and pastoring in Colorado…or otherwise. Thus we ask you to pray that God would move the hearts of those He has placed in authority in His church in CO and that He guide us clearly by closing the doors to all other jobs. But if not, that He give us the confidence to rest in the manifestation of His will through the association’s silence and steer us to the job of His choosing.

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him (1 John5:14-15).

We have been enjoying Matti Grace tremendously. Both Donna and she have been getting stronger every day. We sure appreciate your prayers to get us thru the delivery…they were right on the money! In fact more than once we have commented on how things have gone too smoothly at times, but we know why. Having y’all behind us has been the greatest blessing of this season of our lives.

Unfortunately, it looks like this season is at its end. AIM AIR has had some rather tremendous setbacks and is now struggling to decide whether they will continue to function at all. We knew AIM AIR had some problems but were shocked at the level of organizational dysfunction we had just stepped into. It became rapidly apparent that the leadership had made some tragic errors…some they will never recover from.

AIM AIR suspended the General Manager unjustly shortly after our arrival. AIM conducted an extensive investigation which cleared him of all the allegations and (without any apology) offered him reinstatement, which he refused. Since we have been home (12 March) the government of Kenya has revoked AIM AIR’s maintenance license and AIR AIM is presently not booking any new flights. They have fired the Director of Maintenance; the Director of Flight Operations resigned shortly thereafter to avoid his impending termination. The owner of one of the most well-used planes terminated its lease to AIM AIR. Samaritan’s Purse has announced they will be leaving their long time partnership with AIM AIR to begin independent operations. Slick offered to help AIM AIR reorganize and reconstruct, but was told he was the “new guy” and despite his 25 years as an aviation professional, they dismissed his inputs and gave him no credibility.

Consequently, we have been intensely seeking God’s guidance for the way ahead through prayer and the guidance of many mature godly men in our lives. We have concluded that the door to mission aviation with AIM AIR has closed. We pray now for the Lord’s guidance on our next steps and are awaiting His revelation. But sadly, this chapter has ended.

Truthfully, we were a bit bewildered about the sudden, unexpected change of events. We hope you are not left wondering what this was all about. It is pretty simple really: sin…there are men everywhere who sin and there are repercussions. Sometimes we suffer because of our own sin and sometimes we suffer because of the sin of others. What is important is how we react to each situation. As Donna and I have processed this, we realize we do not have all the answers but we are certain that the Lord asked us to go to Africa, that He has brought us back, that He is in control and has done all things for our good and His glory. We are confident of His care and have seen Him move during this trying time, growing us and covering us with His protection and provision. We have had the opportunity to share our lives and the Gospel on many different occasions. We plan to continue doing just that wherever the Lord plants us next.

We would like to thank you for all you have invested. Our interaction with you, our prayer teammates, has truly been the highlight and greatest blessing of this chapter of our lives! However, our time as overseas missionaries is officially over.

Donna will continue sending very infrequent email/blogs and maintaining her blog as she has for many years and we invite you to continue the journey with us. If we do NOT hear from you, we’ll assume you prefer not to hear from us. We look forward to sharing the stories of how He is moving around us. He is always working in the most amazing of ways 🙂

At "home" with day-old Matti Grace