April 15, 2011.
We started off Monday with a meeting with the candidate committee at 8:45 AM. The meeting went well and they asked us about how we met, why we felt drawn to missions, what God has done in our lives and our personal testimonies. They were also interested in the events that led up to that day and how we ended up at the MAF campus. They found it fairly apparent that God has been at work. After this meeting, Tasha stayed in the office while I went and started the maintenance evaluation.
This process began with a mechanical aptitude test, a test on FAA regulations and Aircraft Manufacturer data and support (i.e. maintenance manuals, parts manuals, other supplemental info), and one on maintenance scenarios. These tests were completed on Tuesday afternoon. Tasha went back to the office a while on Tuesday. After all of my written tests, I began the hands on testing, working on aircraft ignition systems, engines, and airframe systems. My final test was to construct a box with my initials riveted on the bottom.
I completed the last of the maintenance evaluations on Thursday evening, and today began the flight portion. I met with my pilot evaluation instructor at 9 and began my oral quiz over aerodynamics and regulations. Then I was tested over pre-flight inspection procedures. During this time my maintenance evaluation instructor compiled his report, shared it with the director of training and made his recommendation. I just sat down to meet with him around 3 for the debriefing. On the mechanical aptitude test I was in the 88th percentile, for the other two tests, I made a 92 and 94 overall. He said they rarely get anyone over 90. He recommended me for Maintenance Service with MAF!
Next week we have our psychological/ marital evaluations on Monday with a local Psychologist. We have heard some stories about him so we are a little nervous about this... Tuesday I will fly for 2 hours just working on my feel for the airplane, doing maneuvers and multiple landings. Wednesday I will be introduced to new concepts and procedures involved with flying around mountains and other terrain. This will not so much be an evaluation of my flight skills but of my ability to learn these concepts and be able to apply them. Thursday we will do a cross country flight, not being able to use the GPS (yikes) in an area I am not familiar with and lacking in significant landmarks. During one of these days I will also be in a flight simulator (not your typical Microsoft Flight Sim) so they can evaluate my instrument flight skills.
There are currently 3 other families here for Technical Evaluation. Two families got here the week before we did and will finish today. The other family got here the same time we did. There are also 3 other families here for one of the final steps in the process of getting overseas, orientation and standardization. We are one of two family that DOESNT have a small child. Out of the 7 wives here, only 3 are not pregnant (because 2 of them JUST had their babies). This made us feel especially welcome (Tasha feels very encouraged by all the experienced mothers offering there support on nausea control)
(Editors note: We were later accepted with the three families who were doing there Technical Eval with us, and one of the other families we met, the Freys, we will be joining in Africa.)
The campus here is very nice, as it is only 5 years old. The main office holds the IT, Finance, HR, Chapel, Prayer Chapel, Recruiting and several other departments. There are 3 apartment buildings also owned by MAF (one of which we are staying in) that each have a 2 bedroom suite, a studio, and one bedroom suite. The accommodations here are very excellent. Across from the office is the Hangar and maintenance/flight department offices. There are two separate hangars, one for training airplanes and training equipment, and the other is for airplanes that have either returned from the field and are being prepped for sale, or are on their way to the field being prepped and modified as needed.
Tasha and I find it extremely refreshing to be with a group of people who without exception enjoys who they work for, who they work with, and have a wholly (holy??) positive attitude. To be able to stop any time and find someone to go pray with and be encouraged to do so is something that is rare in a work environment. Come to think of it, this is the only place that I know of that has a Chapel in the main building that is not a "church"building. The idea that a group of people devoting themselves to Jesus and the love for humanity motivated by the love for Christ all coming together from different Christian denominations is very uplifting. We have both been totally blown away by what seems to be true compassion-not just for who they are serving to, but their staff and future staff. Truly this is a great organization and it is no surprise they are who they are today by the providence of God.