There is nothing quite like spending time with family and friends, especially when you haven’t seen one another for a little while. It may be something unique to me, but I still get giddy and excited when I see my folks. In fact, I was kept up the night before they came. It was as if I was a little kid again and I couldn’t sleep the night before Christmas because I was so excited!
As we press onward to fulfill our calling as missionaries, we realize that importance of maintaining relationships, especially with our families. Though we may soon live half a world away, we want our children to know their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. (And, their FarFar and FarMor, Phil’s Swedish grandparents!) This last week was such a treat because Phil’s parents drove up from North Carolina to spend Thanksgiving with us.
Our friend of over a decade, Doug Ruyle, came up from Dayton, Ohio and he spent a few days with us as well. We had a rich time of fellowship, laughter, playing cards and dominoes, watching Duke basketball, showing them around our little corner of Michigan, and catching up on one another’s lives. I could tell you a number of things about how awesome Doug is and how he challenges me to be a better man, but I will simply let this picture give you a glimpse of his heart…
We had such a wonderful time and there are few things that we are as thankful for as our family and friends. God’s greatest blessings have come in the form of the people He has brought into our lives to give us encouragement and challenge us to press in to God and pour our lives out for Him. We hope that you had a blessed Thanksgiving week with plenty of things to be thankful for!
We officially finished the first of our three courses; the General portion of the Airframe and Powerplant License. Now, it seems, the fun begins!!! We have received three BIG projects and we spend almost all day working on them. The first three hours are spent creating an working electrical mock-up of an airplane electrical system. I am working with my friend Tim. We have decided to make a 24-volt system with a “Master” switch, dual magneto’s (they spin and send the spark to the spark plugs), a starter button, and fans to pretend to be a propeller. We are using a lot of the general electrical knowledge and I am having a lot of fun.
The second BIG project is removing all of the fabric off of an airplane part, cleaning and fixing everything inside, and then recovering the part with fabric. Fabric?!?! Yes, some airplanes are still covered with fabric. Duane, one of my instructors, says that the only real airplanes are the ones with fabric and wheels on their tails. I am still trying to figure out what I have been flying for the past few years! I am working by myself on this one and it is very time consuming. I probably won’t work on too may fabric covered planes, but who knows where God will lead?
The third BIG project is simply learning how to weld. Do you remember my post about finding new skills and hidden talents that I never knew I had? Well, welding is NOT one of those hidden talents. Don’t get me wrong! It is a lot of fun to melt steel into a puddle and move it across the plate, but I am having a hard time welding things together! It turns out that steel will melt like plastic with enough heat! If you have a second around 2:15 pm Eastern Standard Time, please pray that I would start learning how to weld!
All in all, we are doing very well. We made all of our Christmas presents this last weekend and had a great time as a family. my parents will be joining us for Thanksgiving in Michigan and I get a shortened week at school!
Thanks for all your love and have a Happy Thanksgiving with your families!!!
One thing that God has been impressing on my heart is the importance of the Word of God. For quite some time I have known that the Bible is the Word of God. I know that there is such power in the Word and that my life has been substantially changed by being in the Bible and growing closer to God. Even though I know all of this, I often treat the Word as commonplace. It has been a great time in my life because God has been reminding me just how special the Word is and it is stirring up a passion in my heart to see every person from every tribe, tongue, and nation have access to a Bible in their language.
This last weekend, the message at church was taken from Nehemiah 8. There is a story about how the exiled people had found the book of the Law (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) and Ezra read the book to the people from morning until noon. The best part of the story comes in Nehemiah 8:12. The people had been weeping because this was the first time that they had heard the Word of the Lord, but they were told not to be sad because the day was sacred. Verse 12 says, “So the people went away to eat and drink at a festive meal, to share gifts of food, and to celebrate with great joy because they had heard God’s words and understood them.” I want everyone on this earth to celebrate with great joy because they have heard God’s words and understood them!!!
Jessica and I visited the doctor and the ultrasound revealed that we can be expecting a boy around April 13th. (And, much to the delight and relief of Jessica, there is only one child!) We are extremely excited and blessed! God is SO good!
God continues to provide some amazing opportunities for us here in Michigan. The school that I am attending is absolutely amazing. I feel the same as the president of the school when he said, “Your teachers have forgotten more than I will ever know about fixing airplanes.” Every day I learn how true those words are. My instructors are great men who love the Lord and love to fix airplanes. They are a tremendous resource and I am learning a lot simply by listening to their stories and lectures.
The school is also great because of all the resources that have been given to the school. This helicopter pictured above was given to the school, as was almost every other plane in the hangar. The students fix up most of the airplanes and the school ends up using them for training, or selling them to an interested party. It is neat to know that some of the work that I do will be on an airworthy hunk of a metal!
It is not hyperbole when I say that I thank God every day for this opportunity. Jessica and I constantly remark to one another, “God is so good.” It brings me to tears to think of the men and women who have given sacrificially. We are blessed by you. Thank you!