Thursday, October 12, 2023

A New Semester Begins

Tuesday evening was opening night for the Melbourne, Florida chapter of Wings of Grace. A room full of teenagers and their parents gathered to share a meal and kick off the new semester. It was encouraging to see several familiar faces and to meet several students who are new to the program. We have the great privilege of building into the lives of these teens, not only by teaching them aviation and life skills, but by sharing with them the truth of God's Word and setting an example of what it looks like to walk with Jesus.

I was reminded last night that ministry is really about people. I enjoy flying and maintaining airplanes, but what really excites me is using aviation to serve, help, and minister to others—whether they live in a remote Bolivian jungle, or right here in the United States. As I stood with the other mentors in front of the students and their parents, I experienced a mix of excitement and sadness. I am excited that I can build into these teens during our Tuesday night meetings and by working alongside them on designated service days. But I also felt discouraged that I can't participate in teaching the students to fly, since I still don't have my certified flight instructor (CFI) certificate.

We would like to trust the Lord to provide for me to get my CFI certificate as soon as possible, but as with many things in life, time and money have been standing in my way. I have studied for and passed the two required knowledge tests, but still have a lot of preparation to do before I can take my oral and practical exams. Despite my best intentions, I have found it challenging to devote the time necessary to studying. With an endless supply of airplanes needing maintenance, I have devoted most of my time to fixing them—not flying them—and have not had the time to prepare the lessons that I will need to teach during my oral and practical tests.

Would you pray and trust the Lord to provide the resources so that I can become a CFI soon? During our two years in the United States, I would love to be able to instruct with Wings of Grace Ministries (as we had planned to do). This would not only be an excellent opportunity to disciple and mentor young people, but would also help me to stay proficient as I look forward to returning to Bolivia as a missionary pilot. There is an instructor at Wings of Grace who is willing to help me prepare for the CFI exam, but he has limited time and lives in another state. If I had the funds, I could devote a few weeks to take an intensive course and earn my flight instructor certificate in a very short time. For that to become a reality, the Lord would need to provide the funds or a reduced-cost option. 

We don't make a lot of direct appeals, but the semester has already started and we want to make the most of our time. I have always enjoyed teaching, and being a flight instructor would allow me to continue to train and build into future missionary pilots for the next 20-25 years—even after I am too old to be flying on the mission field myself. But I don't have to wait until then; I can start right now! Please trust the Lord with us, and if you would like to help, please get in touch with us!

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