Thursday, May 22, 2014

It's Official!

     It’s hard to believe that a little less than a year ago, we were accepted at MMS Aviation to pursue God’s call in our lives for me (Jason) to serve as a missionary pilot.  Now we’re standing on the brink of a monumental step of faith - on May 30th, I will be leaving my full time job at Keim Lumber to focus more time & energy on raising the financial support that we need in order to start serving.

     From the world’s perspective, this step may seem silly and foolish.  But when looked at from God’s perspective, this step is humble obedience to His lordship in our life.  Why do I want to be a missionary pilot?  Because God has given us a passion for ministry, a love of flying, a heart for the African people, and given me a comfort in the French language (spoken in several African countries).   I desire to be a missionary pilot because I will be able to help in the effort to spread God’s Word and love to the ends of the earth (Mark 16:15)

     At MMS Aviation, I will have the opportunity to serve something much bigger than myself.  This one organization has serviced & repaired airplanes from more than 100 different Christian missionary organizations.  Can an airplane save people?  No, but they certainly make it so much easier to reach some of the most remote people with the great news about Jesus - and that is what saves people!  (see our previous post for a story about how one airplane made a huge difference)

     And the awesome part is, you have an opportunity to be a part of this exciting ministry!  We are seeking people & churches who are willing to help make it possible for us to serve, by supporting us in ministry with regular financial contributions & prayers.  We are currently at 37% of our funding goal, because of the many people who have already come alongside us and begun supporting us - and we thank them so much for their part.  As eager and willing as we are to serve God in this ministry, we cannot do it without your help.  We need to be at 100% before we can begin to serve at MMS Aviation.  This breaks down to roughly:
    *126 people supporting at $25 per month, or
    *63 people supporting at $50 per month, or
    *42 people supporting at $75 per month

     Really, you can support us at any amount, but these are just a few examples.  Would you consider whether God is calling you to be a part of supporting us in this ministry?  At the top of this page is a link that says "Donate Online" which explains how you can do that.  Remember, the last day at my current job is May 30th; so if the Lord leads you to support us in ministry, the sooner you begin, the sooner we can begin serving at MMS Aviation!

     If you would like to hear more about this exciting journey, we would love to tell you all about it.  Please feel free to contact us - at the top of this page is a "Contact Us" link that is a great way to get ahold of us.  We love having people over to our place for dinner, and if you're too far away for that, our upcoming travels may likely bring us near to where you live.  We're excited about how God will be using us in the mission field, and excited to share that journey with others!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

How Airplanes DO Make A Difference

     They say a picture speaks a thousand words, but the picture that you see here also cries a thousand tears. At first glance, it’s difficult to tell what you are seeing in this picture, and that’s because what you’re seeing is absolute destruction. Quite possibly the most tragic single event in modern history is the “Boxing Day Tsunami” that happened December 26th, 2004.

     This tsunami happened in the Indian Ocean, and was triggered by one of the most massive earthquakes ever recorded. This generated a series of gigantic tidal waves that in some places were over 100 feet tall. In the span of several hours, over 230,000 people lost their lives to the destructive forces of this tsunami. And for those who survived, life would never be the same.

Epicenter of 2014 "Boxing Day Tsunami"
     While the giant destructive waves hit many countries all around the Indian Ocean, the hardest hit country was the closest country to the epicenter of the earthquake- Indonesia. And the hardest hit province in Indonesia was Aceh.  As you can see in the picture above, nothing is left of what used to be a village. Other than the road, the only man-made object that is recognizable, is the hero of this story - the airplane. The plane you see is from a ministry called Mission Aviation Fellowship (or MAF for short). This plane was stationed in a nearby province of Indonesia, but after the tsunami hit, was quickly and easily relocated to Aceh to help in the relief efforts.

     One of the biggest challenges that the relief organizations faced right away is how to get the relief aid to those who needed it. The roads were either destroyed or completely covered in debris, so ground transportation was not a viable solution for quite some time. However in areas where a small strip of land or road could be cleared, airplanes could easily get in and out to bring food, water, clothes, medical supplies, and other essentials to those who desperately needed it. And this airplane, among many others, stayed for months and flew constantly to provide that aid.

     Quick tidbit of info here - Indonesia has the highest population of Muslims anywhere in the world. The Aceh province has traditionally been a very closed Muslim area of Indonesia - meaning hostile to Christianity. But in the aftermath of the tsunami, the Muslims were not around to help out with the relief efforts. So when the Indonesians looked around and saw that it was the Christian “infidels” that were helping out in their time of need, this helped to open the door to the Gospel in this area. All this because airplanes owned by Christian missionary organizations, flown by Christian missionary pilots were there to show the love of Jesus.

     Fast forward 9 years, and after a long life of ministry, this airplane has seen better days. To the secular world, the airplane is scrap, or at best, good only for spare parts. But a ministry in Coshocton, OH (you guessed it, MMS Aviation) is able to provide service free of labor costs, to get this airplane back to prime operating condition. In June 2013, during my evaluation week, I was able to do some work on this airplane (see 1st pic below). Now after close to a year of servicing and modifications (done by others at MMS), this plane is nearly ready to begin serving in ministry again, and helping to make it possible to share the love of Jesus with those who are so desperate for His love. This is just one example of the type of project I will be able to work on at MMS Aviation, and of the kind of impact that can be made using airplanes to help spread the Gospel. Will you be able to partner with us in this ministry, and help make it possible for me to serve at MMS Aviation? Through your regular financial giving to support us in ministry, this all can be possible!

During my evaluation week last year, I am helping to install
a new wing spar carry-through on this "Tsunami Hero"
This picture was taken 2 weeks ago.  Though it doesn't look like much,
this same airplane is nearly ready to begin serving in ministry again.