For the first twenty years of their marriage, Josh and Angie Donald skirted the edge of a faith-filled life, barely dipping toes into the stream of spiritual surrender. Though both had knelt in genuine belief and accepted Jesus’ salvation prior to marriage, their early life together was not centered around Christ. A cross-country move in 2014 led to a backwards slide for Josh, where anger, arrogance, and self-sufficiency defined his life. Eventually, he reached a low point where he realized that he was not the man he wanted to be, and, in desperation, he began to earnestly seek God by studying the Bible. Read their story to see how the illuminated Word affected a complete metamorphosis in Josh’s life – and in the life of the whole Donald family.
Josh & Angie Donald
Angie: I was raised in a small town in Minnesota. Our family attended the Lutheran church my father had grown up in. I was confirmed in the Lutheran church. I always believed in Jesus. I found it easy to accept faith in its simplicity without digging very deeply into what or why I believed. My faith was a naïve one, and I was okay with that. During my senior year of high school, a friend spoke into my life and opened my eyes to what it meant to be a born-again Christian, and to the significance of baptism for repentance. At that point, I didn’t feel ready to dive into those new ideas; I felt disloyal to my upbringing by questioning the liturgical way I had been brought up. But her friendship opened new avenues in my thinking, and paved the way for my faith to grow in future years.
Eventually, Angie left home to attend college in St. Cloud. Her parents had stopped attending church regularly, but her mom still clung to a personal faith by watching sermons on television and praying. One day, Angie was home from college, and sat near the TV folding laundry. As a pastor spoke about being “born again,” those sparks of thought were kindled, and Angie felt a distinct calling to personally receive Christ.
Angie: In that moment, I felt content. I knew without a doubt that I was saved.
For Josh, that moment of certainty came at a younger age. As an eight-year-old boy living in Cody, Josh believed in Jesus and was baptized at Grace Baptist Church (now the Outpost building!).
Josh: My mom has a rare faith. She has always just been able to walk in complete trust with the Lord. My dad had become a believer through her, and church was a big part of our lives during my early childhood.
Josh attended Christian school until the tuition became prohibitive. Josh’s dad worked hard as a roofer, and the lean years of raising four kids on one paycheck were made remarkable by his mom’s ingenuity and celebratory attitude – an attitude that turned meals of oatmeal into bountiful fare and fashioned beauty and warmth from scarcity.
Although Josh had accepted Jesus as His Savior, he grew up disliking church. Legalism and judgment clouded the Gospel and made church attendance a heavy burden. As the Donald family moved from state to state (Josh attended 11 different schools during his childhood), their commitment to church eventually waned.
Josh: As we moved from Cody to Casper to California to Florida to Salt Lake and back to Florida, we stopped attending church altogether. But faith was a still a part of our life at home. We still prayed as a family. We saw God miraculously provide for our family.
When Josh was in high school, the Donalds moved again, this time to Minnesota. While they had intended to settle near Josh’s dad’s job on one side of the Twin Cities, they ended up making a home across town in a suburb called White Bear Lake – a move that landed Josh within throwing distance of his future wife. When the two met at a summer concert, Angie sensed that Josh was the kind of man she would marry. And, three years later, they did marry.
While school came easily to Josh, he didn’t enjoy studying, and, after graduation, he opted to take an entry-level position at the company his dad worked for – an architectural engineering firm.
Josh: I began to build some patterns of laziness, where I did just enough to succeed but never actually gave 100% to the jobs I was assigned. After a while, I was offered a side job as a bouncer at a night club. That position provided extra income, and it also fed my ego. The club where I worked was a dark place where a lot of evil things happened – including satanic activity. I put my heart into my security job, but the job was actually corrupting my heart. All kinds of sins began to creep into my life: anger, lust, pride, hardness of heart. I became a different person – someone my nieces and nephews were afraid of, and whom Angie wasn’t sure she wanted to be with.
"I even read the Bible regularly. But my motives were wrong. My life was still rooted in self-righteousness, and I was arrogant. I studied the Bible to make myself look good, not in order to seek the Lord."
Angie and Josh were engaged at the time, and Angie confronted Josh about the changes in his personality and behavior. Josh left his position at the nightclub, but his heart had been seared, and the damage was hard to undo.
Josh: When we got married, I knew Jesus, but I wasn’t walking with him. I had become a prideful, arrogant person who was quick to judge others.
Together, Josh and Angie delved into the Amway corporation. The team of entrepreneurs they joined were genuine Christ-followers who accepted them just as they were and invited them into a Christ-focused community. Through Amway, they started to get tied back into their faith. They found a church, and Angie felt prompted to be baptized, taking another step of obedience that sprouted from seeds planted by her high school friend.
Angie: At one point, the Amway leaders encouraged us to read a particular book. The topic was finding freedom from the opinions of others. It was eye-opening for me in that I realized I didn’t need to seek approval from other people; I just needed to be content with doing what was right in God’s eyes. That perspective freed me.
Josh: As we participated in Amway, I grew in a lot of ways, particularly with my people skills. I showed improvement at my regular job. I even read the Bible regularly. But my motives were wrong. My life was still rooted in self-righteousness, and I was arrogant. I studied the Bible to make myself look good, not in order to seek the Lord.
The Donalds had been active in church in Minnesota, but a 2014 move to Cody (with sons Logan and Leon now in tow) left them floundering. For a while, they continued to watch the broadcasts from the church in Minnesota, but soon that involvement, too, dwindled. Josh found himself escaping from reality through digital gaming, and Angie quietly avoided the topic of church attendance. In 2021, Josh purchased a pistol without Angie’s consent, and covered his tracks with a carefully fabricated lie. That moment of deceitfulness gave Josh pause, as he pondered how far from Christ-like character he had fallen.
Josh: I realized something needed to change. It scared me to see who I had become. I was working in Riverton at the time, and, instead of succumbing to my usual temptations, I started to read God’s Word with a seeking heart. I wanted God to change me, and I came to His Word with a heart that was open and ready for Him to work in my life. For the first time ever, God’s Word was truly living and active in me. Although the narrative of faith had been a part of my life for so long, it was the first time I actually began walking with Jesus. My motives in reading the Bible were completely different. I wanted to know God and be transformed by His love.
Angie: It wasn’t long before the Lord impressed on Josh that we needed to join a church, and at that point, we discovered Outpost.
Josh: I began praying for God to open my eyes to the things that needed to change in my life. And He has done it. Don’t pray that prayer unless you want God to undo you. He showed me so much. At one point, I was teaching the boys a devotional lesson about honesty, and the Lord made it so clear that I needed to confess my lie about the pistol. My sin became the object lesson that day.
As Josh studied the Bible with eager fervency, Angie began to develop her own patterns of study.
Angie: I had always believed the Bible and knew that it held the answers I needed. But it wasn’t until this last year that I read the New Testament in its entirety. I am learning to balance simple faith with deep-diving into God’s Word.
The Donalds joined a community group at Outpost. When their group visited their home for an evening gathering, it was the first time the couple had hosted anyone besides family since moving to Cody. As the Lord transformed Josh’s heart from prideful and closed to open and hospitable, the Donalds began to reach out to the others.
Angie: I feel like I have the man I fell in love with back. The frustration and anger that marked Josh for so long are gone. He has peace within himself because of Christ.
Josh: Sometimes I feel nervous as the Lord moves us into leadership roles. Will I slip back into arrogance and self-sufficiency? But the Lord keeps showing me that He is in me and that I am not the man I used to be.
Like a caterpillar emerging from its cocoon as a butterfly, the Donalds have undergone a complete transformation over the last two years. Earnestly seeking Jesus and learning to depend on the Holy Spirit has changed both from the inside out. A man once prone to anger and isolation is now more likely to cry with a new friend than to judge him. Both of their sons were baptized in their backyard, and they are seeking community, service and personal growth together as a family.
“Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”