Friday morning came and I was certain we would have to go back to East TN needing to do more training before we would be accepted. Glory and grace to God, the instructor said I actually did very well. There were a few things he said I needed to work on, but I knew about theses areas, mainly navigating with only compass, map and clock. At no point in the cross country was I lost, I knew where I was all the time (although the one “airport” was a different story-but I never lost sight of obvious landmarks), but I relied very heavily on only one method of navigation called pilotage, and all but ignored another method called Deduced Reckoning. Hey, I was recommended technically for the next step, I was tickled to death. Scott said a prayer, we took some pictures and I went back to the apartment to wait until our next meeting with the head of Ministry Partnership. We met with him for an hour and he talked about all that was required for fundraising. We have a book to read and a bible study to do, and come up with a list of 200 people and as many churches as possible so that MAF can send information regarding Ministry partnership (i.e. prayer and financial support)
Then we will go through a two week fund raising seminar. We also found out our new friends who came to the TE at the same time we did, Pete and Joy Neal, also got accepted. That night we joined several other families for a pizza party and movie. We packed that night and left for the airport at 3:30 AM the next morning. On the flight back, I reflected about all the families we met there preparing just as we are to go overseas and serve. It is truly amazing to see how God has prepared these families all over the United States with so many different backgrounds, and brought them together just because of one man two thousand years ago. As exciting as the process is, it is sobering to think that our job is necessary because a group of people needs our help so desperately and humanity truly cannot take care of itself without a God that truly loves us.
It was an amazing two weeks. We were both put under stress many couples do not go through together. They do this for several reasons. One is so they can see how we behave under stress, and how we behave long term, rather than just a one day interview. Two, they do this so we can learn about ourselves and lean on each other and God. We both relied on each other heavily for support, strength and encouragement. Tasha was such a blessing to me the entire time. Even with nausea, she gave me the courage and motivation to keep going and do my best. We both learned how crucial trust in each other is, and more importantly, trust in the Lord. Through this experience He has solidified and re-enforced our calling to missions.
The bar is set high with MAF, and they require a very complete set of skills for the job, not just in the pilot and mechanic, but in the wife too. I know for sure I wouldn't be here without Tasha supporting and pushing me to do my best and keep going. I am even more confident I would not have even been accepted (much less even thought about going to the interview) without a loving wife, and the grace, mercy and love of Our Lord. We are confident that these are the good works that Paul talks about in Ephesians 2:10 "for We are Gods workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do". From our perspective, we can see how God has led us through different struggles and situations to allow us to grow and gain abilities that have taken us to this point. It is nothing to do with us or who we are, but it has everything to do with God and who He was, is and will be.
We are so grateful for all of the prayers on our behalf and give thanks to God for everyone who prayed for us. Please continue to pray as we have much to do and little time to do it before we leave again in July. Pray that our child continues to grow, and that mother and child will be healthy when it gets here. Tasha is about 10 weeks along and is due December 14th. God's timing is perfect once again. We will be able to be together throughout the whole pregnancy and birth and will get some time to raise the baby stateside with the help of the family for about 6 months.
(Editors Note: we suffered a miscarriage shortly after this, but God is faithful. He gave us another not long after and she got to spend her first 3 months with both sets of grandparents after them. The miscarriage was not easy, but actually cleared our minds about some decisions we needed to make and we praise God for his care over us)
They say fundraising takes about 13 months, which puts our time to ship out for language school in our country-probably Indonesia- around August of 2012.
(Editors Note: Because we were in fact assigned to the Democratic Republic of Congo, we still “shipped out” in August 2012, but instead of going to our assigned country, our language school was actually in Canada. We are looking at entering active field service in October of 2013. Our friends who did go to Indonesia are going through language school now and will enter active field service about the same time)
For more information, or entertainment, on MAF visit www.MAF.org http://www.maf.org/ or http://www.youtube.com/ and search for Mission Aviation Fellowship. There are hours of video of jungle flying, landings at remote airstrips, and people reached more efficiently and safely because of Gods work through MAF.
Pray that Gods will be done through us and that we will see clearly where He leads us.
Praise Him in all things. His love endures forever!