Posted by: Donna Douglass | Tuesday September 27, 2016

Further Up and Further In

22 September: My dad, Bill Kohout, departed Valley Hospital, New Jersey, at 3:15 this morning to join Slick’s good friend Howie Forstrom (who just passed away 2 weeks ago) and many others on the hiking trails of heaven. Memorial will be at Hawthorne Gospel Church on Sunday 2 October at 2pm. Fellowship to follow in the Pavilion. All welcome. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be sent in Bill’s name to Star of Hope Ministries or to the Hawthorne Gospel Missions Fund, and stories, notes or words be sent through the contact page at Thank you all again for all the love and support in this time.

Obituary: Bill was the middle child of Matilda and John Kohout, between John Jr and Matilda Anne. He was born in 1940 in New York CityAt the age of ten, the family moved to Thornwood, New York, in Westchester County, where Bill lived and helped in the family garden until he left for a year of college at Virginia Military Institute. After hitchhiking out of there, he finished his education at University of Kentucky where he met Diane. They married one day shy of her 21st birthday on January 25, 1963 in Readington, NJ where Diane had grown up.

When he was about five, Bill, his mom and siblings flew from New York to Virginia in a DC-3 airliner. The pilots asked his brother and him to sit in the cockpit for the flight and both caught the flying bug. Bill began his flying career in the Air Force, teaching Vietnamese students in a T-28 in Biloxi, MS, then transitioned to C-141s in the Reserves until his retirement from the USAF. Meanwhile, except for a brief hiatus to work for the Federal Aviation Administration in the 1980’s, Bill flew 727s then 757s and 767s with United Airlines until his retirement in 2000. After that he began to work in earnest…

Friend and pastor Larry Miller befriended Bill in his mid twenties and introduced him to Jesus, which began the real labor of Bill’s life. Wherever Bill found himself, he brought the fragrance of Christ and gravitated toward leadership, teaching Bible studies, helping with the youth group at their church on Long Island, helping Africa Inland Mission revamp their board, more recently serving on the board at HGC. Tuesdays found Bill beginning the day with a men’s group in his home then traveling to Preakness Hospital to minister to the folks there. He continued to volunteer and to serve on the board of Star of Hope Ministries for more than 30 years.

But beyond and deeper than any list of titles or accolades was the personal impact Bill has had on more lives than we will ever know. So many have testified that Bill invited them, or asked them, or walked alongside them, cried with them, asked them questions they needed to hear or just listened to them. Or that Bill is the reason they serve as they do today. He may not have personally led more than a handful of souls to cross the line of faith, but he certainly furthered the Kingdom of God in ways we will only learn of when we join him in Heaven.

We love him and miss him more than words can say. And when we get to join him “further up and further in,*” don’t be surprised if he has all the best hiking trails picked out and invites you to come along…

*From C.S. Lewis The Last Battle, referencing the ever-increasing glory and delight of Heaven, beyond all imagination

Posted by: Donna Douglass | Thursday November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving (link to post by Howie Forstrom)

I’ve never been one to link to others’ posts, but since our healthy, strong, long-distance road-biking friend Howie Forstrom was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer a few months back, he’s had some excellent reflections. This Thanksgiving one is particularly poignant. Enjoy.

Posted by: Donna Douglass | Saturday December 6, 2014

a gingerbread lesson

We made the first batch of Christmas cookies today. Zoe helped me mix the Pepparkakor (gingerbread) batter. I mixed while she held on to the spoon. Then I removed my hand. She moved the spoon up and down but it didn’t progress toward mixing the batter. "This is hard," she said. Kind of reminded me of making progress toward becoming who God made me to be: I work really hard and sometimes even think I’m getting somewhere, but looking back I recognize that it is God’s unseen "hand on the spoon" that has accomplished the work. Unless He changes me, I spin my wheels really fast but the body of the car goes nowhere.

Posted by: Donna Douglass | Tuesday November 4, 2014

Same and different

Homeschooling Zoe, we just finished a unit on leaves including the concept of "same and different". Glancing around my life, I wonder at the pervasiveness of "same and different" and how often they are wrapped up in one, resulting both in comfort from the predictable and excitement from the unexpected. A leaf is always a leaf, yet there are pointy ones and round, complex ones and simple, big ones and small, and at this time of year, leaves of nearly every color of the rainbow! But they’re still leaves.

And it is Fall, when a welcome, familiar crispness comes and leaves pour forth color. Fall comes every year – some years slow, some fast. Some years the colors are swept away quickly by storm, other years they linger, some years brilliant and some mellow. But each fall it’s the same: leaves and temperatures change in the same, but different ways. And there’s comfort and beauty in both the sameness and the difference.

Zoe and Matti are both children, playing their way through early life, thriving on both little daily changes and on the structured routine (just ask their Daddy whose not as familiar with it as Mommy!). Both marvel at the new, yet respond to it uniquely. For Mommy, there’s humor and wonder in both the similarities and the differences.

Our newest baby has arrived by the same method called "natural birth" though each of the three has been completely different (and its own great story!). We now know just enough to say "Generally you might expect something like this, but be prepared for anything!"

And so it has been, too, with God’s moving us to France, Africa, Germany, Palau and now Japan over the last five years. His directions have come at just the right time, never far enough in advance that we might walk a while without Him, but never a moment too late. And they’ve come in ways we understood and to which we can still point. But when they came – and how – has been as varied as creation itself.

So thankful we are for both certainty which prevents chaos and for change which prevents complacency. As in so many things, it forms a perfect balance pointing to a Creator aware of, and concerned for, our needs.

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