On a positive note, I completed my oral and practical examinations and earned my Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic certificate on August 30! We are now cleared to move to Burlington, NC to begin serving and flight training with Missionary Air Group. I will be continuing to gain maintenance experience by helping to maintain MAG's fleet of airplanes, while receiving flight training to prepare me for overseas service. After gaining the necessary flight experience and ratings in North Carolina, I will spend some time on the field in Honduras and/or Guatemala.
Since we have a bit of time to make the transition to Burlington, we are spending a few weeks to do some traveling and support raising to cover our increased cost of living in North Carolina. We started out by spending a long Labor Day weekend camping with my parents and my brother and his family. Then our family of four headed west to visit some national parks, with the intention of visiting friends, family, and ministry partners on the way back to Ohio. We had a great time visiting the Painted Desert, Petrified Forest, Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, and Arches National Park. Finally, we crossed the mountains to see Tara's grandmother in Colorado, where we had a great visit and spent the night.
Our car did well through the whole trip, until we crossed into Kansas the next day. This is where the major "down" of our trip took place. About 20 miles into Kansas, the engine started making some disconcerting sounds, and I immediately pulled to the side of the road. We ended up getting a tow to a local shop, where my fears were confirmed. At 190,000 miles, the engine in our car is finished, requiring replacement or rebuild.
This is certainly a test of our faith and trust in the Lord! There is nothing like being stranded in rural NW Kansas, knowing no one, being at the mercy of a mechanic you know nothing about, facing a $2500 repair bill and $400 in hotel costs. In the midst of this trial, however, God has been gracious to us. I'll write more about that in the next post. But for now, we appreciate your prayers for our situation. Given the choice of buying another car here in Kansas or putting another engine in our Pontiac Vibe, we've decided to repair the Vibe, which would be essentially worthless as a trade-in in its current state. We also don't want to take out a loan to make a purchase under pressure, and we already have the money in savings to pay for the repair. However, the repair will take several days, which means we are stuck in a hotel until early next week or later.
From an earthly perspective, this couldn't have happened at a worse time. We already have many expenses on the horizon with our move to Burlington and financial costs associated with Tara's pregnancy. We were also planning to draw from our savings to purchase another car to accommodate our third child, who is due to be born next March.
I'd be lying if I said we haven't struggled with discouragement over the last few days. Yet, in the midst of anxiety and feelings of helplessness, I have been reminding myself of the truth that God is our provider. Even as we watch our savings account being drained, we know that we serve a God who holds the world in His hands, and for whom money is no concern. For the most part, my anxiety has turned to peace, knowing that God will—and already has—taken care of us. We look forward to seeing how He will continue to provide over the next few months. I'll share in the next post some of the ways that the Lord has already met our needs here in Kansas.