Dear Praying friends,
Lois, Angie, Miss Barrie Greenfield and I left Inuvik on June 13th. 39 hours later we were in Fairbanks, Alaska. In another 60 hours I was heading for Rock Crossing Bible camp to preach at teen camp for the 8th year. The camp staff left Fairbanks around noon and by 11PM we were approaching the camp by boat after the hour and a half portion of the trip on the Tanana River. The hearty staff roughed it at camp for 16 days, some sleeping in tents, showering with water heated on an open fire and battling the ever present mosquito hoards.
There were two weeks of teen camp, one for aboriginal kids from villages in Alaska and a couple from Canada. The other week was for the teens of Bible Baptist Church in Fairbanks. These two weeks were back to back and surrounded by the backbreaking work of a wilderness camp that had to be set up and tore down.
I am told there were many decisions at camp. I do not stay for the invitation after I preach. During a closing appeal with heads bowed and eyes closed, I turn over the service to Bro. Dean Ojala to do as the Lord leads him. Bro. Ojala is the camp director and visionary for Rock Crossing. (A vision realized by great personal sacrifice and callouses.) I leave the invitation to Bro. Ojala to conduct because sometimes teens will respond to a preacher for less than spiritual reasons. Also whether the altar is full or empty, neither pride nor pity can assault me if I remain uninformed.
Back in Fairbanks, Lois cared for the Ojala’s home and kept things organized as 23 people passed through using the Ojala’s house as a bed and breakfast of sorts. Several eventually came to camp and some came for a door to door ministry to the Arctic villages of Alaska.
I leave for another week of camp in 5 days, this time in Vancouver BC, with Pastor Conner and Camp YES. While not nearly as remote as the Alaskan ordeal, it will be 22 days in Christian Camps this summer, and my body is in rebellion every step of the way!
The end of July will see us leave Alaska for the lower 48. By then, we will have had some important truck repair done, dentist and doctors visited and the camper prepared. Our next duty will be in mid-August to teach at Missionary Candidate School for Points North and All Points Baptist Mission. September aims us toward Ontario and October has a week of deer hunting scheduled. So yes, we are taking some family time and R&R this autumn. We are really looking forward to it.
Please pray for us as we travel. Keep Lois’ health in your prayers. Travelling is not as easy as it once was for either of us, but especially for Lois since the viral episode that took her hearing on one side and has left her with residual problems.
Thank you, Steve, Lois and Angie Donley
Dear Praying friends,
It is a little more than six weeks until Lois, Angie and I hit the road for furlough. In all honesty we are thrilled to begin a journey whose steps will eventually lead us to Tuktoyaktuk, but apprehensive in that the economy is volatile and fuel prices are outrageous. The last time we tried to report to our supporting churches and garner fresh support was 7 years ago. Fuel costs were at an all-time high then as well. In all candour, we need to get support from every church we have the opportunity to present our ministry to. Driving all over kingdom come and not gaining new support would be a waste of time and money. Would you please pray for a 100% success ratio in gaining support from new churches we present to? This may not seem like a high powered spiritual request, but being good stewards of God’s money is the right thing to do and becoming more important daily – for us all.
Printed on the back this newsletter is a list of needs. Often while visiting supporting churches I am asked what our needs are. I never know how to answer that. Our needs are big because our goals are big. Yet telling the pastor of a struggling work we need a bale of money seems a bit inconsiderate. Therefore I have developed a list of needs that includes huge things to little things. You can find something on the list that fits your ministry if the Lord so leads you to give. Please do not feel obligated to give anything. However, I am humbly asking for everyone to pray the Lord will provide our need.
June will bring several “lasts” for us with the ministry in Inuvik. My Last message, our last school graduation and awards service, my last Friday RU program and our last observance of the Lord’s Supper with the believers in Inuvik. Angie wants to start college in the spring of 2012 leaving Lois and I to join the “empty nest” club. These ‘lasts’ tweak our emotions because while feeling sad Lois, Angie and I also experience a bit of guilt because we look forward to the “next” thing God would have us to do.
Among all these changes, we can be steadfast because the Lord is our consistent focal point. He never changes. Our health, ministry, and home are changing. The economy is uncertain and Matthew 24 is unfolding daily in the news. But a peace is reigning over us. A God authored peace. We leave the Inuvik ministry on a high note and with tenacity cling to confidence in God. We do so with the backing of your prayer and support. May our partnership continue till Jesus comes.
In His cold but easy yoke,
Steve, Lois and Angie Donley
PS You can now follow us on twitter @iceroadpreacher
Everything has been the same for many years, but now Lois and I are preparing to turn our lives upside down again. As you know from previous prayer letters, I am resigning as Pastor in Inuvik to pursue the goal of solidifying the Tuktoyaktuk Baptist Church, the third and weakest of the churches in our western arctic ministry. My departure also makes way for our Assistant pastor to mature into the native pastor we have by faith waited so long to see.
I am booking meetings with pastors to present our burden for Tuk with hope to gain some much needed support to handle the endeavour. I am dusting off skills that were shelved in 1997 when deputation ended and we moved north for the second time. Back in the day, I started deputation with 35 MM slides and hand drawn maps to churches. Now churches expect DVD presentations, GPS guidance and text communications. The world has sped past us as we have laboured in the arctic for these many years, and while I can email and do other simple tasks related to the technology age, we often find ourselves looking fondly at antiques and remembering them when they were new introductions into society. Recently while traveling, a pastor friend lent us an iPhone with which we answered a call successfully but were unable to figure out how to hang up!
This letter is being written in the high arctic community of Ulukhaktok, NWT. I have been stuck here for 8 days due to blizzards here and in Inuvik. This community has recently come to some fame as a local hunter harvested a cross breed Polar-Grizzly bear. The Polargriz as it has become known has features of both bear families and DNA tests have scientifically proven this one is a second generation bear, the offspring of a female polargriz and a male grizzly.
Second generation. That term never crossed my lips until I came to the Arctic. Imagine having no believers in your family except maybe a mother or father who heard the Gospel from a pioneer missionary. Imagine in the history of your people no one except that missionary ever cared enough or loved God enough to brave the arctic extremes and isolation to tell the good news of Jesus Christ to your ancestors. I recently shed tears with Bro. Gary Forney over this very subject. Why doesn’t anybody care?
Well I do. Bro. Forney does. The 16 families of Points Baptist Mission do. And obviously you do. Thank you for your support, prayer and for just caring when so few others do. We are praying for 30 families to be part of PNBM to preach the gospel across the circumpolar region of earth. With God’s help the term, “second generation believer”, will become obsolete due to disuse before Jesus comes.
Lois and I must be successful in raising support to continue our arctic ministry. We are launching out when gas prices are outrageous, the economy is miserable, churches are suffering and we feel like a transistor radio sitting in a showcase full of smart phones. Our chances of success are slim to none. Chances just like God likes them. Our hope lies in Him and Him alone.
Thank you for partnering with us to honour God in the Arctic.
Steve, Lois and Angie Donley