Friday, December 22, 2017

Two Special Airplanes

Each of the airplanes in the photo below has a special significance to me. The airplane on the left represents God's protection and mercy. The one on the right reminds me of His faithfulness and provision for the needs of His children. Through both airplanes, and the stories that surround them, I am reminded of God's kindness, especially as it's been expressed by my brothers and sisters in Christ.

N381MG and N64328, on the morning that we returned N64328 to its owner in Shelby, NC.
If you have been following us for a while, you know that I was involved in a weather-related accident with MAG's training aircraft (on the left in the photo) early this year. The airplane was damaged significantly, and had to be disassembled for repairs. This was heartbreaking, but the outcome could have been much worse. I walked away with no injuries: not even a bruise or ache. I believe this was by the mercy of God. But equally amazing was the grace that was extended to me by everyone at MAG. Not only did they not ground me (as I feared might happen); they supported my family and me through the tough process that ensued, and did everything they could to get me flying again—and flying as safely as possible.

That's where the second airplane comes in. Although everyone at MAG wanted me flying as soon as possible, we had no airplane. Then, through a chain of circumstances involving another organization (Compass Aviation in Shelby, NC), God provided the orange plane in the photo above. A generous friend of Compass, who had no previous connection to MAG, personally purchased the airplane and then made it available to us until ours could be repaired. What a blessing! This enabled me to continue my training and make progress toward my instrument and commercial pilot ratings.

In the meantime, N381MG eventually made its way to MMS Aviation in Coshocton, Ohio for repairs. The team at MMS worked hard to get the project turned around quickly, with the goal of returning it to us by Christmas. Not only did they meet that goal, but they completed the repairs and annual inspection more than two weeks early! I'm extremely thankful for all of my friends at MMS who worked hard to get the airplane back to us so we could return N64328 to its owner, and so I (and the other apprentices coming to MAG soon) can continue to be trained for missionary aviation service.

Yesterday, we returned N64328 to Shelby (well, almost to Shelby—but that's a story for another day). I'm thrilled to have our airplane back, with its updated instrument panel, newer paint, cargo tie-downs, and updated interior, but N64328 holds a special place in my heart as well. I flew many hours (112.6 to be exact, including 178 landings and 22 instrument approaches) and learned most of my basic instrument flying skills in that airplane. But, more importantly, when I see it I am reminded of God's kindness to me, and the fact that I'm surrounded and supported by so many wonderful people.

When I'm worried about how my circumstances are going to turn out—or the future looks uncertain—I need tangible reminders like this. May I never forget that He is faithful. May I always be mindful of, and thankful for, the many people He has placed around me to support and encourage me!

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