Sunday, October 21, 2012

Lessons from the E.R.

Last week started out with a bang...or should I say, "a snap"? Monday after school, Ian was playing with some friends at the playground. While jumping off a platform his foot got caught, causing him to land on his arm, which took the brunt of the fall. As soon as Tara saw his arm from across the playground she knew something wasn't right.

Tara gave me a call while she, Ian, and Ella were on the way to the emergency room. I met them at the hospital. Although he was being very brave, Ian was obviously in a lot of pain, and the doctors gave him morphine as soon as they found a bed for him.  As parents, it was quite shocking to see our son's arm visibly broken and bent out of shape, not knowing whether it was only a broken arm, or whether there was more serious damage. As Ian's father, it's still difficult for me to look at this picture and remember the pain and fear that Ian was enduring.

Soon after giving Ian morphine for the pain, the hospital staff took x-rays, and eventually sedated him to set the bones in place and put his arm in a splint. Fortunately, although he had broken both bones in his forearm, there did not seem to be any further complications. Now, after several days, the worst of the pain is over, and Ian is on his way to recovery.

I am so thankful for the medical facilities that are available here in the United States. In a matter of hours, Ian was attended to by well-trained medical professionals, and the healing process had begun. But what if he had been born in a third-world country? What if he lived in a remote jungle village in South America? Would anyone know how to set the bones to heal properly, or would Ian have lived with a deformed arm for the rest of his life? And how would that affect him? As parents we certainly would have been fearful, not knowing what the outcome would be.

As I ponder these questions, I can't help thinking of the important role that missionary aviation plays in meeting the physical needs of people living in remote areas of the world. While our vision for our ministry in missionary aviation goes beyond physical healing, meeting physical needs is often a first step in demonstrating the love of Christ to people who are in need of Him. What a privilege it is to be able to be involved in this kind of work! I am so excited to have the opportunity to devote my life to taking the love and hope of Christ to the world—hope that lasts not only for this life, but for eternity!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Be Still

It seems that I have been going non-stop the last few weeks. In addition to working full time, being a husband and father, and giving leadership to the music ministry at church, I have been preparing for the last step in earning my pilot certificate: my practical test. Then, as if I wasn't feeling overwhelmed enough, I received a call from the examiner on Monday, asking if I could be available the following morning for my test. Yikes! I thought I would have a little more notice than that, but I had already run into several delays and just wanted to get it done. So I went ahead and scheduled for Tuesday morning.

I took one last practice flight Monday afternoon, and studied a little that evening. Before bed, God brought Philippians 4 to mind. Verses 6 and 7 provide this assurance of the peace that God offers:
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
You'd think this would be second nature by now, but it's still easy for me to hold on to my anxiety! That night and the next morning I consciously gave my anxiety over to Him.

Tuesday morning, I flew the Cessna 162 from Lambertville, Michigan to Bowling Green, Ohio for my practical test. Despite a somewhat windy morning, my test went well. The examiner was great and actually made the morning enjoyable. And the best part? I am now a certificated pilot!

I have been looking forward to earning my pilot certificate, since my training and studying has been consuming a decent amount of my time, energy, and focus. Wednesday, after work, I had the house to myself for a few minutes and was going to lay down and rest. Yet I found myself anxiously pacing back and forth in the kitchen for no apparent reason. Another verse came to mind. Psalm 46:10 says
“Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
Perhaps I've had so much going on that I have cultivated a lifestyle characterized by busyness and anxiety, rather than stillness and peace. I've been working hard to get things done, and not taking time to remember that He is God. He is the one who is in control, and He is the one who will make a path for us as we follow this calling into missionary aviation.

If you're like me (and I know I am), it can be hard to find time to be quiet before God, to meditate on who He is, and to allow Him to speak. So yesterday I took a half day off work and went to a nature preserve with my Bible and my journal. I just spent a couple hours enjoying creation, reading God's word, speaking what was on my heart, and listening to what He might want to say to me. It was a much-needed time of rest and relaxation.

I hope you'll join me in renewing my commitment to surrender my anxiety and receive His peace daily. Life won't always slow down when we want it to, but let's cultivate the practice of taking time every day to be still and know that He is God. Then, even when life gets crazy, we can have that peace that surpasses understanding, which only comes from truly knowing and trusting Him.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Baby Steps

Slowly but surely, we're making progress down the road toward serving with MMS Aviation. This progress may be in the form of baby steps, but at least they are steps in the right direction!

We were excited to welcome two new ministry partners last week. It's so encouraging whenever another family or individual chooses to partner with us in prayer or to invest their God-given resources in our ministry. We trust that God is preparing more people to help send us into mission service with MMS, and we are continuing to share our vision with prospective ministry partners. We have about three months to reach 25% of our monthly financial goal, so please join us in prayer as we work toward reaching that milestone.

In a previous post I wrote about the delays I have been experiencing in my flight training. Well, I'm happy to report that I have now satisfied all of the training requirements in preparation for my practical test. My instructor signed me off today, and I hope to schedule my check ride next week! It will be a huge relief to have earned my private pilot certificate, which will free me up to devote more of my energy to other things. Not to mention I'll be able to fly without the constraints of a student pilot certificate, and to carry my first passenger (yes, Dad, I'm talking to you!).

Thanks to all of you who have been praying and supporting us over the last several months. We are truly blessed!