Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Yes, you read that right! It's unofficial, but I notified my manager at work that he can expect my resignation effective January 3, 2014. It will be made official when I give my two weeks notice in December. It feels great to finally have a transition date on the calendar!

We've also made some financial decisions that should allow us to reduce our monthly support need by almost $200 per month, meaning that we are about 77% funded (including some commitments that we know are coming in the next couple months). Please pray with us that the remaining 23% (about $1150/month) will be raised by the end of December, allowing us to move to the Coshocton area in time to start the kids in their new school after Christmas break.

This timing would also help to meet current staffing needs at MMS Aviation. Currently, there are only two apprentices in the hangar at MMS, and they will both finish their apprenticeships in less than a year! As we've communicated in the past, MMS mechanics play an important role keeping missionary aircraft flying around the world. When staffing levels are low, it impacts MMS's ability to meet the needs of organizations who rely on MMS to safely carry out their missions.

While $1150 is certainly not pocket change, we know that God can easily provide this remainder of our monthly financial need. We know that He has called us (and all believers) to participate in making disciples of all nations, and believe that He will provide as we step out in faith, as we keep our eyes focused on Jesus (see my last post, and Matthew 6:25-33). Whether or not He provides for us to move to Coshocton in January, we know that He will use the situation to build our faith and trust in Him. But just to be clear, we're still praying for a January move date!

If you've ever considered partnering with us, now would be a great time! Whether in prayer or financial giving, your support is vital to our ministry! If you'd like to participate by giving financially, you can give online or contact us for other ways to give. Finally, if you cannot personally partner with us in this way, please consider connecting us with the missions committee at your church, or sharing our ministry with friends and family that share our desire for seeing the Great Commission fulfilled.

Although I sometimes tire of asking for financial support, I remind myself that we are not simply asking for a handout. We truly believe that missionary aviation makes a difference in the lives of people in need around the world—both for this life and for eternity! My family, and most of the people reading this blog, are immensely blessed with resources beyond what many people in this world can imagine. My family and I want to generously give of ourselves to see God's kingdom advanced. You have the opportunity to participate with us in doing that, whether it's partnering with us in our ministry, other ministries that you are passionate about, or your own personal ministry to those in your sphere of influence. But in order to do that, you must first know Christ! My hope for you is expressed well in Paul's prayer for the Ephesians:
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:16-19)
May God richly bless you!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Walking by Faith

What does it mean to walk by faith? What does the phrase "step out in faith" really mean, and does it fit with the Biblical teaching about faith? If I'm going to walk by faith, do I have to make radical decisions that defy reason, trusting that God will show up in a big way?

I don't intend to answer all those questions, but I've been thinking about them as I prepare to serve with MMS Aviation. I want so badly to finish our support raising, so I can leave the "cubicle farm" I have been struggling in for years and start serving in missionary aviation. But despite working as hard as ever, and praying faithfully that God will provide for our financial need, we haven't seen many responses come in lately. This leaves me wondering what I should be doing differently.

Some pastors say that we need to have audacious faith (whatever that means), and then God will bring about the dreams and desires he has planted in us. Others tell us that we need to believe and act as if God has already brought them about. There are some Biblical examples that seem to support this notion, but I finally just decided to open up Hebrews 11 (sometimes called the "hall of faith") and see what God would say to me through this passage.

As I started to read, I noticed that the people mentioned in this chapter did some pretty amazing things, but also some things that seem less remarkable. Building an ark and saving the human race from extinction: amazing! Left his home, not knowing where he was going: that took some faith. Gave instructions about his bones: honestly, I'm not sure what to make of that, or why it required such faith, but it doesn't seem that crazy. Passing through the Red Sea: truly incredible! Shutting the mouths of lions: scary, and definitely awesome! But then it gets to this part about those who suffered imprisonment, torture and persecution: not so awesome, at least from a temporal perspective. And that's not exactly the incredible life that most preachers have in mind when they talk about living an extraordinary life of faith.

In fact, I've heard many messages coming from churches that depict a life of faith as having amazing results here and now. Having a rewarding and fruitful ministry; getting that promotion; starting a successful business; planting and building an amazing church; getting that book deal; and the list goes on. I could even add another one to that list: seeing God quickly provide the finances to serve Him full-time in missionary aviation! Don't get me wrong: those can be great things (especially the last one!). And some of them even seem to be centered on God. But under a thin veneer of spirituality, they all have to do with seeing results of our faith in this world.

But let's go back to Hebrews 11 and look at a few verses (NIV 1984):
For he [Abraham] was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder was God. (Hebrews 11:10) 
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. (Hebrews 11:13) 
Instead, they were longing for a better country---a heavenly one. (Hebrews 11:16) 
These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised (Hebrews 11:39)
And, finally, let's look at the first three verses of Hebrews 12:1-3, which read:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
When Hebrews 11:1 says "faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see", I don't think it's referring generically to any hope or dream that we happen to have for our life. I can conjure up a sense of confidence that something will happen (or that God is busy behind the scenes), but is that true faith? Is faith simply a matter of convincing myself that what seems impossible is actually possible, and then working up the courage to boldly pursue it? Based on Hebrews 11-12, and numerous other Scriptures that I won't delve into, I don't think so. In fact, if my so-called "faith" points me to anything less than Jesus Christ, what He has done, and our eternal hope in Him, I don't think it can be called faith in the Biblical sense of the Word.

Maybe rather than contemplating whether I need to take a big "step of faith", I need to think about the object of my faith, and where I am placing my hope. If I'm so consumed with getting to MMS that I take my eyes off of Jesus and my eternal hope, I'm focusing on the wrong thing!

I still don't have answers to all my questions. But re-centering on Christ has taken away some of the anxiety about making the "right" decisions. It gives me peace when I realize that my eternal hope is secured by Jesus, and that I can never mess that up! I continue to pray that God will provide for us to get to MMS as soon as he will allow. But my greater desire that I will remain focused on Him, and that I will be a faithful ambassador wherever I may find myself.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

October 6, 2013 Update

It's about time for another update! We've been making a lot of phone calls and have sent several letters the past few weeks, but haven't seen much movement toward our support goal. We have talked to many people who are excited about our ministry with MMS, and are praying that some of them will choose to partner with us in some way.

It's a strange irony, that in a day and age when we are so connected through mobile phones, social media, etc, we find it more difficult than ever to get in contact with friends that we don't see regularly face-to-face. Last time we were in a faith-supported ministry, we could typically locate someone's contact information by simply opening the phone book or dialing 411. Everyone had a land line. But today, many people have given up their home phones, leaving us struggling to make personal contact beyond a letter sent by U.S. Mail.

Would you pray with us that God would provide divine appointments for us to come in contact with people that he would call into partnership with us? We are also praying that He will bring us to mind in the many friends we have sent letters to, but have been unsuccessful at following up with. In fact, we have about 100 families and individuals who have not yet responded to our letters, phone calls, or messages. If each of them partnered with us for only $15/month, we would be 100% funded!

As we continue to work diligently, we also pray for wisdom and patience. Although there will be some difficult things about moving, it is also hard to wait (and wait, and wait) when we are working so hard at moving toward ministry with MMS. Not to mention the struggle that it is for Aaron to sit in a cubicle all day, longing to begin the ministry that we feel called to.

Thank you so much for praying with us as we move toward serving in missionary aviation!