Legacies: Steve and Debi Douglas

Steve and Debi Douglas celebrate over 35 years of faithful ministry to South America.

From Message magazine issue "Building a Legacy"

Q: How did God first call you to missions?

D: I’m an MK from the jungles of Peru, and developed a burden for missions in my high school and college years at Baptist Bible College (BBC).

S: I grew up in a missions-minded church—Independent Baptist Church of Towanda, PA—and had an interest in the pastorate and missions. After making a missions trip to Peru and later completing studies at BBC, God confirmed that he was leading me to missions in Peru. He led us to Arequipa, the second-largest city of Peru. We arrived never having seen the city.

Q: What moment had the biggest impact on your ministry?

A: One moment was facing strong opposition in our first church plant—being threatened by the local priest, being investigated by the local “FBI” due to false accusations of being the leader of a sect, and petitions by the local priest to the authorities that our residency be revoked. It left its mark on us and reaffirmed our commitment to this ministry.

Q: What is your favorite memory from the field?

A: Seeing lives transformed by the power of the gospel, and new leaders being trained and then leading churches and ministries is amazing. And seeing our children love the people and culture.

Q: What is the best part of being a missionary?

A: Having the opportunity to share God’s love and message with so many people in Peru and South America.

[It is] a great blessing working with our Peru teammates, our Spanish South America team, and our local pastors and churches in all of these countries. [That teamwork] is biblical and necessary.

We are not mere colleagues—we are brothers and sisters in Christ, teammates and partners for the cause of Christ!

Q: What advice would you give to a new missionary or someone considering missions?

A: God has impacted our hearts with these five key concepts:

Grace: Follow God’s leading, always attribute everything to his grace, and extend grace one to another.

Fingerprints: We all have unique fingerprints. Our focus is to leave our mark on others with love and edification…with God’s help and for his glory.

Teamwork: Don’t make decisions alone or in a vacuum. Invite others to come alongside you to pray and offer perspective. Work with others in humility and submission. The Holy Spirit speaks through them as well.

Paraklete: We have not only been given the ministry of reconciliation, but also of “parakleting”, or aiding and helping others (1 Thess 5:11). We participate with the Holy Spirit in coming alongside a lost world and a growing church.

Spiritual Life Focus: Cultivate a deep walk with the Lord now. We must be careful not to drift through our Christian life and only do things for routine’s sake. It is helpful to develop a spiritual plan for our character weaknesses and for ongoing growth. We need to constantly strengthen ourselves “head to toe” (Eph. 6:10).