Throwing out the Fleeces

In April of 2010 at two o’clock in the morning on the night shift, Dan Osborn—a deputy sheriff—asked God, “Is this what you want me to continue doing, being a cop?”

Dan enjoyed his job. He got a new car every four years, a plane he could fly anytime he wanted, and all the bullets he could shoot. But something still felt off to him.

In those pre-dawn hours, Dan heard God say, “Look at mission aviation.”

So on the computer in his car, Dan googled mission aviation. The first organization that popped up was Missionary Aviation Fellowship (MAF), only five hours from where he lived in Washington. So Dan called them and said, “I’m 58 years old and interested in mission aviation. What do you have for me?”

MAF told him he was too old.

Undeterred, Dan looked to see who was next on the Google list. It was JAARS. The team in Aviation said he was too old to go the field because many countries have an age limit of 60 for pilots. After further probing, they described some administrative management positions that were open, specifically Operations Manager.

Dan had been an Operations Manager in the military and had run two Air Ambulance bases, so he had plenty of experience in this area. After meeting his potential coworkers and learning more about JAARS, Dan decided, “I think I’d be a fit here and JAARS would be a fit for me.”

But Dan and his wife, Gail, faced some barriers. Dan would leave a well-paying job as a deputy sheriff to serve as a volunteer with no income. “Is this what you want me to do?” he asked the Lord. Like Gideon in Judges 6, Dan laid out a few fleeces to see if JAARS was where God wanted them.

The first fleece they threw out was selling their house. At that time in Washington State, the housing market was depressed, and Dan wondered if their house would sell.

They listed it on Thursday and received two bids by Sunday! The house never even made it to the market. In four days, two people had bid above the asking price!

“That was an easy one,” Dan observed. He now needed to move his family from Washington to JAARS in the winter without any problems—his second fleece.

It took him and his wife three days to drive down. Every day was gorgeous. God had showed Dan and his wife, through these fleeces, that JAARS was where they needed to be.

In January of 2011 Dan began volunteering full-time as the new Operations Manager and that summer he became the Aviation Training Manager. He held this post until he retired this month. God used his forty years of experience in the military, law enforcement, and air ambulance training to run the aviation training side of JAARS.

Dan has enjoyed seeing God provide the right people and tools at the proper times. A three-week miracle produced one of the aircraft needed by our partners in Papua New Guinea. The manufacturer called JAARS, explaining that they had an airplane they needed to sell by the end of the year—three to four weeks away. People like you gave generously, and within the three weeks, JAARS cut a check for the Kodiak now serving Bible translation in Papua New Guinea.

What does Dan love most about JAARS? “The mission of Bible translation and the impact it has in changed lives. It’s hard to argue with that as a foundation of what the organization does.”

How can you use your experiences and talents to serve Bible translation and help change lives? Learn more here!

Rachel Greco