I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.As I read this Scripture one morning last November, God used it to reassure me that nothing can stand in the way of His plans. Even when the path ahead seems impossible, He is able to demolish any obstacle, no matter how great.
In the last post I mentioned a few obstacles we have faced over the last several months, and some of the ways that God made a way to overcome them. In this post I'll briefly touch on a few more ways that God has made provision for us.
After passing the light gun signal test (which I talked about in the last post), I had one additional color vision test to take with the FAA: a "medical flight test". I had started taking flying lessons to enable me to get to the place where I could take this test. I wanted to take it as soon as possible, before investing too much time and money in flight training. Although there were many details to be worked out, I was amazed at the manner in which everything came together. The FAA examiner even offered to drive down to the airport where I was training to save me the time, expense, and complexity of getting the plane up to the FAA facility.
Needless to say, I was quite nervous on the day of my exam. Not only was I going to be flying under the watchful eye of an FAA examiner after logging only 12 hours of flight time, but I also knew that my dream hung in the balance. This test would determine whether the door would remain open or slam shut—barring me from a future as a missionary pilot. But everything went smoothly (well, everything except my last landing), and after about an hour with the examiner, he was convinced that my color perception satisfied the FAA requirements. I walked out of the office with an official letter stating that no further color vision tests would be necessary, and a with a new, unrestricted medical certificate!
With the door to missionary aviation remaining open, I still had to decide how I would gain the experience needed to become a missionary pilot/mechanic. I checked into various schools and training programs, but most of them were full-time programs that cost $35,000 or more (much more). But, having experienced God's provision to bring me to that point, I was not discouraged. I knew that God would somehow provide.
Then, through a mutual friend, I was introduced to Paul Jones (as I mentioned in the previous post). That in itself was so improbable that I can only believe it was divinely arranged. Paul told me about MMS Aviation—an organization that provided maintenance services to mission organizations, as well as apprenticeships for aviation maintenance specialists. He had just finished an apprenticeship through MMS and highly recommended it. One exciting benefit of this apprenticeship was that I would be working on actual missionary aircraft from my first day at MMS, rather than sitting in a classroom or lab. Not only that, but I would be able to raise financial support prior to beginning the apprenticeship. This sounded perfect, except for one thing: MMS only prepares mechanics, not pilots.
Then Paul told me some exciting news. MMS was in the process of forming a new partnership with Missionary Air Group (MAG) to provide a comprehensive program for pilot/mechanics, to address the needs of people in my exact situation. Their vision was to provide a program that would provide fully qualified pilot/mechanics to the missionary aviation community without the burden of training debt. The timing could not have been better! I knew immediately that this program would be a perfect fit, and a follow-up call with Sean Donnelly at MAG made that even more clear to me.
Despite the fact that I had felt some regret over not pursuing this path sooner, I can see in retrospect that the timing for me to pursue missionary aviation could not have been better. Even one or two years ago, I likely would not have found a program that fits my needs and my life situation like the MMS/MAG partnership. Sure, God could have provided in a different way, but I truly believe that He was working His plan, in His timing, to bring us to this place.
Soon after I met Paul, God gave another confirmation that I should apply to MMS. I was talking with a former high school teacher of mine about my plans, and told him that I was considering MMS Aviation. He was not only familiar with MMS, but knew of a former student of his (who happened to be the sister of one of my high school classmates) whose husband recently finished an apprenticeship at MMS and was serving in Bolivia. And, "coincidentally", they were going to be in town that week! To make a long story short, we were able to connect with Davide and Amy Mozombite, and were very encouraged as we heard about MMS and and their ministry in Bolivia.
It is so good to be in a place where I see God's hand at work around me, preparing a way to fulfill the call on my life. Yet I have to believe that He has been at work all along, and I just did not have the perception to recognize it. My prayer is that I will continue to walk closely with Him, in the awareness that He is present and working at all times.