Dear Praying friends,
Summer gets shorter every year we spend in the Arctic. No, I haven’t converted to the doctrine of climate change, I admit to believing that old saying, “The older you get the faster time flies.” The summer was as busy as ever and the recap is in bullet format below.
* There were several teens that trusted Christ at Rock Crossing Bible Camp in Alaska and the reports from the pastors of the churches those teens attend have been encouraging. The teens have continued to grow in The Lord and been faithful to church.
* I was honoured to teach at the All Points Baptist Mission / Points North Baptist Mission’s Advanced Missionary Training classes. The training classes help prospective and veteran missionaries prepare for and maintain successful ministries on mission fields around the world.
* In conjunction with the missionary training classes, I was able to spend some time with my parents, brother and family. Mom and dad are in their 80’s and I enjoyed the visit thoroughly.
* I met the new Pastor of our sending church. Pastor Jeff House is now my pastor and I am pleased to say so. Our fellowship though short, was profitable and sweet. Thank you for praying for this transition. God has His man in place at our sending church.
* In late August we heard a young man from our Inuvik ministry preach his first sermon. Norman Snow Jr did a great job and was used of The Lord the Wednesday night he preached. Norman is a junior in Bible College.
* September 1st, Lois and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary! All the mushy stuff still applies and I won’t bore you with the details of two old folks still in love!
* The Tuktoyaktuk Baptist Church is gaining stability every week. The services are well attended with approximately 17 to 20 each service. Each week, as usual, I have unusual liberty as I preach and the attention level is always high.
* I hope to find some interest in northern missions later in September as I will be representing Points North Baptist Mission at the National Canadian Independent Baptist Pastor’s Conference. Lord willing the exposure will encourage some young men to consider the far north as an option for their future ministry.
* Last but not least I am pleased to report that Lois’ health has improved much. She has travelled well this summer and we are thanking God for His blessings. Thank you for your prayers on her behalf.
In His Cold but easy Yoke,
Steve and Lois Donley
Dear Praying friends,
The array of items on my desk is an accurate microcosm of missionary work. As expected, there are four bibles, an English dictionary, an Inuvialuit dictionary, an old school hand bombed address book, a hymn book and a book on revival by Ravenhill. There is the usual 21st century electronic wizardry; external hard drives, wireless router, chargers, cables and recharging batteries. My laptop, printer and an old school pair of drug store reading glasses occupy reserved spots on the desktop. (The real desktop, not the virtual one)
Along with the expected stuff there is a birthday card for mom needing a signature from her far away son, an exploded view of my truck’s transmission and the phone number of a parts guy in Yellowknife who said he’d call me back when the parts came in. Speaking of parts, the pullout writing surface of the desk has now become a shelf where the shifter and surrounding parts are sitting awaiting Jeff the afore mentioned parts guy to call.
I just properly stored a couple of shotgun shells that stood as paperweights, and there is a dry erase board with a multi colored “to do” list scrawled at a right angle to another list of things I need for Tuk. Odd scraps of paper with notes, phrases, reminders, phone numbers and late night thoughts lay here and there. Some extra printer paper and a cup full of pens, pencils and highlighters sit to my right as a reminder of a simpler time uncluttered with digital technology.
The hodgepodge desk is representative of a missionary’s life. Theology and devotion to Christ is certainly an obvious and large part of who a missionary is, but the normalcy ends there. We are mechanics, our own tech support and accountant. We are purchasing agents, medics, writers, sons and daughters. We teach, preach, parent, counsel, build, repair, fix and demolish. Our tools are bibles, hammers, rifles and wrenches. By the time a missionary reaches the field we are professional drivers, advanced telemarketers, and conference speakers. We dabble in audio visual production and become amateur historians of our field. Some are linguists, interpreters and translators of God’s precious Word. Missionaries must multitask.
This is my last newsletter until September. The short Arctic summer is extremely busy and it is a great help to slide the next newsletter one month. I appreciate your understanding. My summer work consists of ongoing duties in Inuvik, foundation repair in Tuk, paint my house and preach two weeks of Rock Crossing Bible Camp in Alaska. I am teaching four courses for Points North Baptist Mission and All Points Baptist Mission’s Advanced Missionary Training. I end the summer with a trip bringing my repaired boat back to the North from Manitoba for use in any aspect of ministry which puts us on the river.
Lois’ heath continues to stabilize and even improve. She can travel now with lesser difficulty and we humbly thank you for praying for her and we honor God for His healing touch. I have had a couple of skin cancer spots on my face dealt with and they have proven to be more embarrassing than dangerous. Angie is back from college for the summer and is an amazing lady. We are blessed by her walk with the Lord. Our other two kids are doing great in serving and preparing to serve.
The Tuk mission is going well. Our attendance is solid and we are building relationships with more and more people in Tuk. I continue to experience total liberty when preaching and I believe decisions are being made or at least pondered. I envision a day when we live in Tuk and we continue to move toward that end.
Your faithful monetary and prayer support is a source of continual blessing. Thank you very, very much. We do count on you and we know we can.
In His cold but easy yoke,
Steve, Lois and Angie Donley
So how does this sound? We retire our 2004, 29ft camping trailer to Tuktoyaktuk? We could conceivably live in it from late spring through summer and into early fall. Then as the temperatures fall we could re-occupy our home in Inuvik and drive the ice roads to Tuk each week until spring when we could move back into the camper. We would essentially have a year round ministry in Tuk and the housing costs would be nil. Lois and I both love to camp, and we lived in the camper for a year of furlough, so we know what we would be in for. The water and sewer situation will take some out of the box thinking and preparation, but certainly not too big of an obstacle. What do you think?
Our services in Tuk have been very encouraging. Each service I have a moment where I almost become overwhelmed with emotion. Either it is during the song service or during the message. I get overwhelmed with joy that the Lord is working in such clear and distinguishable ways. What a joy to serve the Lord! Good participation in the song service, eye contact during the preaching, sweet fellowship after the service and some good questions getting back to me. I am thrilled!
God is continuing to use me in Inuvik. Although I am no longer pastor of FBBC, I am often called upon by Bro. Gary Forney to preach or participate in the service in one way or another. Bro. Forney is our mission director and Pastors FBBC as we slowly transition to indigenous leadership. I also am honoured to be friends with fellow missionary Larry Noland in Aklavik and help him in small ways as he leads the congregation there. Although we wait on the Lord to facilitate our onsite presence in Tuk, we are definitely busy. I am looking forward to two weeks of Rock Crossing Bible Camp in Alaska and as well working on our own Delta Bible Camp here in the Canadian North. While activity is never the sole indicator of a good missionary, activity is part of the picture. I pray you can see that Lois and I are busy, moving forward and pressing toward the mark.
Our family is doing excellent. Each one is serving the Lord and faithful in preparation for or actively in full time Christian service. Our granddaughters are doing excellent, with the youngest just turning one year old. All four are… grand!
Lois is improving a bit. We are being cautious to not have a setback, but progress in noticeable. Please continue to lift her up in prayer and thank you for doing so. I’m doing fine, just getting older.
Thank you for your faithful prayer, support and friendship. We are blessed in so many ways and you are part of those blessings,
Steve & Lois Donley