Left to right: Jannette Cave, AIM director; Twyla Wall – top, previous AIM director; Zora Williams – bottom, AIM shiftleader; Joel Edgar – top, AIM business manager; Brianna Moore – bottom, AIM shiftleader; Douglas Janssen- top, AIM assistant to the director; Ricky Moore – bottom, AIM network administrator; Yesica Daniela Bravo-Gonzales - top, AIM programmer/analyst; Angel Easton – bottom, AIM assistant supervisor of operations and digital media manager, Rebecca McClellan, client account executive.
As Douglas Janssen’s retirement from serving the church for nearly half a century neared, Adventist Information Ministry Director Jannette Cave knew a traditional sendoff wouldn’t be likely. There could be no restaurant gathering of colleagues and family to offer up kind words and well wishes, at least not during a pandemic. Yet, here was someone who had spent 45 years in ministry and deserved some type of recognition.
Doug begun his service as a pastor in California where he served for many years. As technology began to increase, he became interested in ministering nationally via satellite technology and moved to the Adventist Communication Network (ACN) where he and his wife Coral, provided satellite support for churches and “NET” events all over North America. As satellites became more accessible to the end user, he and his family settled in Berrien Springs where he became part of Adventist Information Ministry (AIM) where satellite sales, service and support continue to members and churches alike. He served 19 years at AIM as Satellite Service Director, Assistant to the Director and pastor to AIM chaplains. If you look around southwest Michigan you can still see Doug atop a rooftop providing satellite support.
So, Jannette brainstormed with the staff who was by now working remotely to figure out how to make his last day, July 31, extra special. Yes, they would order a crystal plaque to present to him. But that wasn’t enough.
Jannette knew that Doug was a people person and would enjoy seeing the staff he hadn’t seen since they scattered that last week in March. They would surprise him with a roadside celebration.
On Friday, July 31, the AIM staffers gathered in a parking lot on the campus of Andrews University for the five-minute drive to Doug’s house. In the car were an assortment of colorful balloons, handmade signs and home-cooked meals. As the group neared his house which ends in a cul-de-sac, they began blowing their horns. Doug emerged from the back of the house in time to see his colleagues shouting congratulatory messages.
“Jannette, I wasn’t expected this!” he exclaimed.
But, there was another reason the AIM staff was determined to extend this show of love. Doug’s wife was gravely ill and because of the coronavirus visitors weren’t allowed inside their home. As the staff celebrated on the front lawn, they saw that the curtains were pushed back a few times for Coral to witness the excitement.
It was a bittersweet moment as the staff offered up brief tributes for a full life dedicated to serving God.
As Doug looked back over his years in ministry, in the end he could see how God plotted the steps of his career path. From a teenager who was excited to meet media ministry speakers at camp meeting to later on when he was a pastor following up on interests generated by media ministries, then at AIM where he worked in collecting those interests. “My passion ended where it started.”