Sunday, October 26, 2014

Embracing times of preparation

I have spent a lot of time thinking about preparation the last few days. It seems that everything I've been working on at MMS has required lots of preparation, leading up to a final step that takes very little time to accomplish. As an example: Glen, Mike, and I did a compressor wash on the engines of a King Air 200. The whole process took about two hours. The actual wash and rinse time was about six minutes. The remainder of that time was spent preparing the equipment, mixing the rinse solution, getting the equipment into position, and cleaning up when we were finished.

(By the way, here's a video showing some of that process)

PT-6 Compressor Wash - GCI's King Air 200 from Aaron Hammitt on Vimeo.

And this is a more extreme example: last week we were painting some control surfaces for MAG's Cessna 206. Applying the paint only took Dale part of an afternoon, but the preparation took weeks of work by multiple mechanics and apprentices.

I could list several other jobs that I do around the hangar, where 75% (or more) of my time is spent preparing materials and equipment for a seemingly simple task. Prep work is not usually the most enjoyable part of my job. It usually consists of tasks like stripping paint, gathering supplies and equipment, scrubbing corrosion from 30-year-old parts, or researching parts diagrams and other documents to ensure a repair is done correctly. Even though I don't always enjoy this aspect of my work, I know that poor planning and preparation leads to a poor result.

As I step back and look at the bigger picture, I see this whole stage of our lives as a preparatory phase. Our time in Coshocton (and then with MAG in North Carolina) is giving us the foundation we will need to serve on the mission field as a pilot/mechanic family. Sometimes it's hard to embrace the current stage of life, and I am tempted to focus too much on the future. But when I do that, I tend to miss the opportunities that God has placed in front of me today. It's easy to say that preparation is important. But to actually live that out, embracing and valuing the times of preparation, can be a challenge. So I continue to pray for the strength and wisdom to embrace our time in Coshocton, and even to embrace the mundane tasks I face in the hangar, knowing that God can use these experiences to develop me into the man He desires me to become.