As we settle back into our “home” culture of the military, we do sense many opportunities to minister to the folks here in northern Japan. One couple has invited us to meet with each of them to help and encourage them as they both serve in leadership positions in the chapel programs. So it has been blessing not only to get to know them personally but also to find kindred spirits in our outdoor pursuits and thus great tour guides for the local area. All five of the kids we presently have between the two families are about the same age so while it’s loud, even the kids love it.

We appreciate your prayers and God’s responses for getting settled in quickly. We’re not done, but close enough for the family to function smoothly on a daily basis and have some hope to get at least one car in the garage before snowfall in a month or so…

Please join us in praying for a smooth, uneventful delivery sometime in mid-October and for continued discernment on where and when we are to engage in the local community.

Sitting by a really hot spring in the Hachimantai mountains. Yes, that is steam…

“As you are going, make disciples…baptizing them…and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded…” “Love the Lord your God… This is the first and greatest command…” And this is love for God, to obey His commands… (Matt 28:19-20, Matt 22:37, 1 John 5:3).

Coming to Africa, land of spiritual darkness, we thought we would have a hand in winning souls for Christ as we flew in support of missionaries, but once again, as He did in France, God is showing us otherwise. This time, He’s showing us the necessity of the second half of the Great Commission. Here in Nairobi, the first half is well underway: many, if not most, call themselves “Christian.”

When Slick went to the furniture sales section of Ngong Rd, lined with all sorts of brown wood and black metal bed frames, shelf units, dressers and chairs set out in front of the shacks, he found two “fundis” (craftsmen) – one to build a couch and the other a bed frame. Totally unplanned, we did not have enough cash on hand to pay the balance upon delivery of the furniture and promised to deliver the rest within a day. Bernard and Geoffrey, the fundis, profess Christianity, yet both were amazed when Slick, citing Christianity as his reason, actually showed up with the funds. Geoffrey was so impressed to get his last $10 that he offered Slick a Coke.

In discussing the warranty, Slick and Bernard discussed the wisdom of praying for a long life when one considers how Hezekiah fell when God extended his life in answer to this request. Bernard’s workmen stopped to listen in as this strange, motorcycle-garbed “mzungu” (white person) spoke quietly but confidently on the wonders of the Old Testament.

After waiting a week, Slick arrived to collect his Coke from Geoffrey, again surprising him that a mzungu would show up for a warm, 10 cent sugar fix. Over the promised Coke, Geoffrey asked how to discern God’s will with respect to his potential engagement. Again Slick shared biblical wisdom, showing the Word’s direction to submit to the advice of your parents and elders.

In reflection, we pondered how these men had been “won” (or “baptized”) but how desperately they needed the second half of the Great Commission – to be taught how to obey God’s commands, the biblical equivalent of how to love Him. Here, as everywhere, there is much work to be done to fulfill our commission, especially the second half!

Now in a fully furnished home with minimal cardboard boxes (thank you for praying about that!), we daily discuss the myriad of directions AIM AIR could take in the near future as it undergoes some significant transitions. Please join us in prayer that the organization find and follow God’s leading and also that we would accurately discern and do the part He desires that we play, both in the organization and in the community, baptizing and teaching.

Dogs and airplanes: Zoe is a Douglass through and through. If you look closely at Chili’s back, you’ll see Zoe’s favorite toy which she found on the playground: an F-117 Stealth Fighter model – Mommy’s previous airplane

PS: Slick has successfully been oriented to maintenance and is now “up on the flight floor.” He eagerly anticipates the test for his Kenyan commercial flying license, which he’ll take sometime in the next couple months. After passing that, he can start flying training.

Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds… Let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the day approaching. (Heb 10:24-25)

We laid out a blanket on the hills and valleys of white sand on beach outside Marseilles, anchoring the corners with shoes and backpacks. But the moment 13-month-old Zoe hit the beach, she was water-bound. Sand proved too difficult to walk on just yet, so she flopped gracelessly to all fours and continued her beeline toward the surf.

At first we let her go in only as deep as her thighs, but as the afternoon with our friends the Faulkes wore on, we relented to her curiosity and Zoe eventually experienced the shock of cold waves smacking her belly. Her favorite activity, however, was simply picking up handfuls of sand and letting it slide through her fingers. Close behind that was smashing the sandcastles Simon, Lee Ann and their girls made with buckets.

Years ago I (Donna) remember commiserating with my sister that it always seemed that we were waiting for “life” to begin, whatever “life” really was. It just seemed to elude us. Several times since Zoe was born I’ve observed that I emphatically no longer feel that way. In some ways more lives than just Zoe’s began when she was born.

And as difficult as it may be to have heart-level, soul-encouraging conversations with our friends when children’s laughter rings in the air, the children truly are a special smile from God. So what if we adults lose a little sleep to post-bed time fellowship? Wading into that depth of sharing happens more easily in those late hours and refreshes the soul even more than sleep.

"Further, Mommy! Further!"

After much hard work and studying, Slick finished his training in Nampa, ID and joined Zoe and me (Donna) in Colorado last week. He was due in after the two-day drive on Wednesday mid-morning, but pushed through the night to arrive at 1am on Wednesday, blaming it on being “a man in love.” 🙂 Read more about his training on our blog.

Mom, Dad and Mom’s cousin enjoyed playing with Zoe, who gave us adult children the excuse to sing silly songs and to linger at the ice cream social. The plethora of baby sitters freed me to slide down the snowy slopes again a few times, but change is definitely afoot – I almost preferred to forego the steeps in favor of the flats where I could tow behind me the next generation of our family. Hence the cross country skis logged many more miles before we departed the high country for Colorado Springs where I’ll be working on adding a flying rating to my collection, courtesy of an Air Force education program.

As we prepared to leave the snowy heights last week, God gave us two special gifts. The first was one last beautiful mogul run on my last trip down the front of Vail Mountain. Much of the previous day’s powder remained, making the conditions perfect. I felt God’s smile as I gasped for air and danced down the bumps. The second gift was a Sunday full of friends, new and old. Of course going to Africa to fly little planes in support of missionaries is not the most boring potential future…and it certainly opened the door to conversation with many interesting people. The high country proved again that both in the vast but familiar terrain and with the spirits of those who choose to live there, our hearts are at home in Colorado.

Nevertheless, half of our flight training is behind us and the road to Africa on which we believe God is leading us seems ever more certain.

Chili and Zoe on Shrine Pass, a couple miles south of Vail Pass

19 Feb 10: The gym below the “auditorium” at the Vancouver Barracks definitely wins the award for most character. Having no funds to fix it up because of the coming closure of the entire post, it is a mishmash of well-used old equipment…with no supervision or rules. Perfect for us! We have thoroughly enjoyed it – both using the few operable machines, the tired mats, and the cob-web-ridden shower area. The low-hanging pipes and patterned ceiling add all the atmosphere anyone could possibly enjoy!

Another treasure of combining support-raising with flying training is the opportunity to visit with friends from all over. It was wonderful to see Sarah and Matt again (to meet them for the first time, in Sandi’s case) and to meet their 13-month-old daughter, Mari. What a beautiful, contented child she is! It’s so obvious how much her parents love and care for her. What a treasure to witness that, and to bask in the company of fellow believers, dedicated to serving Jesus and loving others.

And again yesterday we practiced more cross country navigation, divert and lost procedures en route to a lunch date with still other friends who had a baby we met for the first time. Jenni & Jason drove all the way out from Spokane to Davenport for lunch when the weather did not clear as expected in Spokane. Their 9-month-old Kathryn spoke at length with our 6-month-old Zoe as all of us adults enjoyed the wonderful company of old-time brothers and sisters in Christ, catching up on the twists and turns through which God has been guiding each of us over the last two years.

the gym (below the auditoriom) at the Vancouver Army Nat'l Guard Barracks

12 Feb 10: Last Monday we cross country skied with her in the Chariot behind me. We discovered that the stroller can fall over and Zoe will be just fine, and that I can fall over and Zoe and the stroller will be just fine. Fortunately no bruises resulted from our experimentation and I was over the soreness of skiing within only a few days.

The longer we stay in a place it seems the more folks we get to meet and share a meal with. Last week we dined with Rick & his wife, whose son is in the AF, an Eagle driver, and Will and Nan, a young married couple. We know Will from our vision trip in 2006 to Ecuador. Nan is his new wife and a very sweet young lady. Both are willing but a little hesitant about going overseas with missions. Next week we have a pretty full schedule: the Osgoods at Fairchild, the Frauenzimmers in Seattle, Shan (flight instructor) and his wife, my dad’s cousin Patsey and her partner Richard. God has sure given us a broad circle of friends and family to share His work with!