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Purpose after the Unexpected

Purpose after the Unexpected

Like so many of us, Don Lang has always considered himself a pretty ordinary man. He looked at evangelists like Billy Graham and the talented pastors and leaders around him and found it easy to disqualify himself from doing “important” work for God’s Kingdom. Though he tried and was willing to share his faith when opportunity arose, Don never thought the impact of his ordinary life could reach very far to help people find Jesus. What he didn’t know was that God had already been hatching a plan to use him, in all his friendly ways and willing heart, to reach the nations.

Don’s life as a loving husband, devoted father of two, and an electrical engineer was sweet. As the years passed and his children grew, Don headed toward retirement with the classic expectations of rest and enjoying time with his wife while grandbabies toddled around them. But after being married 28 years to his wife, Pauline, she unexpectedly passed away from a heart attack and Don was left looking at a future he hadn’t anticipated.

With the weight of transition and now grief upon him, he slowed down to seek the Lord. “There was a specific day in that season where I had gone through the worst of [grief],” he says. “And I came to the realization that there were a bunch of years left, even though I was retired.”

Don kept asking God to speak with clarity as he waited in hope. “I thought I needed to see the picture, the program, the plan as to what was next.After 40 years of working, that is always how it had worked. But what I discovered was that I wasn’t really going to see the plan before I started moving toward it.” Instead of providing a clear picture, God wanted Don to discern the step for the day. And this started his unexpected journey.

With a seemingly ordinary trip planned to visit his sister and brother-in-law in Alaska, Don felt prompted to visit Kingdom Air Corp, a ministry he had heard about that trains pilots to fly on the mission field. Having been a pilot himself and with some loose connections to the work, he was excited to see how God was using people in such a unique way to touch the nations.

Don’s heart was open and attentive to God’s leading. He believed that while he was asking the questions about his future, God would arrange divine appointments along the way. Don was ready to consider ordinary circumstances with an expectancy like he never had before.

Prior to making this trip to Alaska, Don was casually chatting to a friend, Kent, who was associated with Audio Scripture Ministries, a group supplying solar powered audio Bibles in a wide variety of languages to believers around world. Kent suggested that if Don was going to be connecting with people in Alaska from around the world at Kingdom Air Corp, he should take some audio Bibles to give away as a great resource. Don packed a few, having no idea this was the start of something.

At the base, there were as many as 50 people from Russia, Burma, Thailand, and other countries. Don gave one to a missionary from Russia and another to a pilot who served with the Free Burma Rangers. Hesitant yet obedient, Don handed them off one by one, unsure of the impact.

One man from Burma was so amazed by the device he asked Don if he could access even more prior to being deployed. He was passionate about the Word of God being available in the native tongues of those in closed cultures, or to isolated people who had never encountered God’s life-changing truth. Don excitedly secured 70 more Bibles to be sent into the rural areas of Burma.

That was the beginning for Don. In just one simple moment he was stirred to join a movement that would allow the Word of God to reach people who needed it most, right where they were and in their own language.

It’s been seven years since Don took that first tentative step of obedience. Since then, he has helped send Bibles to Burma, the Crow Nation, Mexico, Uganda, Russia, Thailand, Syria, Afghanistan, Cambodia and many others. Don and the passionate people he partners with have sent out around 800 audio Bibles to the nations. Don now serves as the volunteer West Coast representative for Audio Scripture Ministries where he connects Bibles with other ministries like he has done with Kingdom Air Corp. The Word of God is invading places ordinarily restricted and God’s truth is spreading like wildfire. Audio Bibles have made it to the frontlines of war with ISIS, areas where refugees are broken and lost, and are now in the hands of individuals previously unreached around the globe.  

“I am a pretty ordinary guy, and this mission is a powerful evangelistic movement,” Don says. “Who would have ever thought that a group of ordinary people in retirement could have the impact we have? Each audio Bible can be used on average by 10-100 people. That means potentially 70,000 people are being reached with the truth of God’s Word, people who otherwise might not ever hear. What can people in my age group do in service to the Lord that is completely within our capability? How could we make a difference and reach people for Christ if we don’t feel qualified to preach or do the expected aspects of ministry? What if God was asking you to do something that seemed small and doable that He planned to anoint and multiply?”

God continues using Don to connect and advocate for the Word being sent out to change lives. These divine appointments have allowed his small seeds of obedience to grow a harvest that is transforming nations.

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As the future unfolds for Don, he walks with certainty that God will continue showing him, day by day, the ways he is called to “go into all of the world and preach the Gospel.” Though not an evangelist in his own mind, Don wholeheartedly believes that someone who gets their hands on these unique Bibles might become the next Billy Graham. What if Don’s obedience sparks a beautiful multiplication in nations he might never be able to visit? That sounds like a miraculous way God could work.

For those facing questions and uncertainty about their future or how how God might use them, Don is full of encouragement. “There is amazing work that God can use you for,” he says. “It will fit into your abilities, giftings, and capabilities without a problem. It will be the most fulfilling, satisfying piece of your life, even at this stage. Do your little piece and discern the next step. That is all the Lord asks of us.” And if we need an example to follow? Don’s is it!

 Written By: Jenna Anderson || Portrait Photos By: Erica Stubblefield

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