So here we are approaching one year from our arrival in Palau and the end of our commitment to PMA. We have been blessed by seeing God transition the aviation program from experimental beginnings to a more mature, sustainable operation better suited to its unique situation and outfitted with a more appropriate airplane. We have also been blessed to see God use us to encourage and strengthen other servants furthering God’s kingdom in Palau in a variety of ministries. And we’ve been immensely encouraged by you all, who are stood beside us in prayer and beyond.

Nevertheless, our replacements have arrived and been trained up on PMA’s Palauan operations. In many ways they are an even better fit than we are for the role they will play and we look forward to seeing where God will lead them and PMA in the future.

As for us, several factors lead us once again to move on. Among them are the following:

Fully confident that God will fulfill all our needs, we also believe that "what He ordains, He sustains". And He has seen fit to sustain our one year almost exactly through the generosity of many of you. As we draw our last support check from PMA, we also use the last of the financial support reserve that was initially donated towards our being here. We believe this is one way God says "it’s time to go".

Additionally, we have not only completed our "contract" of one year by bridging the gap between Shan & Karen (predecessors) and Stephen & Tanja (replacements), but we’ve invested much of ourselves into building up relationships and PMA’s church here in Palau. Having held nothing in reserve, we now reach the difficult crossroads where someone else will likely be able to take God’s work here further than we could, and it is time to leave it in God’s hands by releasing it those who follow us. One of the most difficult things is to hand ministry off to the next leader God has appointed, but through that transition we can be sure that it is God’s work that continues, not our own. And He is glorified as we step aside.

Far from "abandoning" the work, however, we plan to continue volunteering with PMA, assisting as we can in various roles to include filling in as pilots when requested. As if facilitating these potential opportunities, God has provided a job for Slick in Japan. So we transition to Air Force-connected life once again.

And we transition to ministering again among those with whom we share much in common. Coincidentally, in all our world travels over the last four years, we have been increasingly convicted that the most effective person to win outsiders to Jesus is one from that culture. Just as there is honor in responding to the call to "go", there is also honor in remaining in the situation in which we were when Jesus first called us (1). As has been noted, “Jesus seemed to respond to people by noticing first what he had in common with them. But it was often in the context of their similarities that Jesus’ difference came crashing through (2)" (3). And so it often is with believers today as well.

These are a few of the many factors that draw us into this next sharp turn in life. With each turn, we experience more deeply the truth that The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit (John 3:8). Undoubtedly many of you might have questions about why we seem to move and move on so frequently (this is our seventh international move in four years). We are happy to field hard questions such as several have already asked. Our path certainly has been unique, but then so has that of many who have gone before us.

If this seems sudden, we apologize. We send our updates to encourage you and show how God is moving in response to your prayers – which we see Him do so often and we love to share! But sometimes that means we hunker down and wait for the storms of life to pass by before sharing more details of our personal lives.

Thus when the Christian summer camp where Donna is serving ends and Slick finishes handing the Palau operation off to Stephan, we will meet up in Japan and look to where God might have us invest next. We’d love to continue sharing the journey with you and will do so unless we hear otherwise.

Thank you again for all the support and encouragement you have been over the last year(s)! We cannot say how much that has meant or accomplished.

Notes: (1) 1 Corinthians 7, especially verses 17-24

(2) John 4:7, 10

(3) Becky Pippert, Out of the Salt Shaker

Doing an emergency food run from Koror to Angaur with Yap’s Queen Air airplane, after rough seas prevented boats from reaching the island for several weeks.

Visiting one of Palau’s highest waterfalls in June