All I can say is that you would’ve been even more surprised to see me last night when I was halfway done and had to go to the ER!
Well, my Mom started chemo today after being diagnosed with cancer. They removed the cancer in January but she still has to undergo chemo in order to help prevent it from coming back. I shaved my head to show my support and love for her. Please pray that her body will not react too much to the treatment and that she will have energy to conduct a choral show on March 5th before she takes the rest of year off from work.
Jessica and Adelina are doing better today. Adelina is back to her lively self and none worse for wear. Jessica is a little sore and the little man in her belly is causing quite a bit of discomfort. 6 and 1/2 weeks to go!!!
I finished up the repair project with a partner last week. One of the aspects of the repair was to fabricate a metal stringer that supports the cowling’s round shape. After bending the piece with a 1/8″ radius, I used a “Shrinker/Stretcher” tool that does what the name suggests. After feeding in the piece of metal, a pedal is depressed that brings the top “teeth” down on the bottom “teeth”. Once the “teeth” contact one another, they are designed to either spread apart, for stretching, or come together, for shrinking.
It is important to space the stretching/shrinking apart because it creates a small bend that can lead to stress and cracks. The cowling, being as it covers the engine, is subject to a lot of vibration and the stringer could break if there is too much stress. After shrinking the piece to fit the cowling, we riveted it on and it looks great. (Except for the small place where the rivet gun slipped off the rivet and hit the skin a couple of times. I don’t know how that happened…)
Thank you once again for all of your prayers for our family. God is carrying us through, one day at a time. We are eagerly awaiting the days to come, even as we enjoy the days that we are in! Have a blessed week!
I am sure that you are all excited to hear what’s new for us, but I won’t be able to write much tonight. Lina is really sick and we are taking her to the E.R. Please pray for and for Jessica, she has been really sick today and I am worried that they both will get dehydrated soon.
A young family walks into a pawn shop. While mom and dad engage in conversation with the shop owners, the older son peruses trinkets while the younger son stays close to his parents. As they slip off their wedding rings and exchange them for cash, the younger son begins to cry. His tall boisterous father kneels down to make eye contact with his son and asks what is the matter. Through bitter sobs the boy says, “You and mommy are taking off your wedding rings and I want you and mommy to always be married. Does this mean that you and mommy are not married?”
The father stills and pulls the boy into his arms and gently rocks him. He whispers into his ear, “My son, your mommy and I will always be married. Our rings are only an expression of the vows that we have made in our heart. Our vows will never change or go away. Today, mommy and daddy sold our rings so we could follow Jesus and move to America to be trained as missionaries. This is our moment and, though it is sad to sell our rings, there is nothing more important than following Jesus. So we give up everything to follow Him, even if that means giving up something that we care a lot about. But, mommy and daddy will always be married.”
He hugs the boy again and wipes the tears from his cheeks. “Do you understand?”
This is the story of one of my classmates at SMAT. He and his bride sold not only their wedding rings but much more because they consider the call to missions a privilege and an honor. They consider the Gospel the greatest treasure on earth.
It is humbling to see the sacrifices of others for the sake of the Gospel. It is an encouragement and a blessing to rub shoulders with men and women who’s focus is on Christ alone. We know that we will be called to sacrifice as we pursue God’s calling for our lives, but it is nothing compared to the sacrifice that Christ made on our behalf.
May you be encouraged and spurred on by the testimony of our friends, and may you know that knowing Christ is the greatest treasure in the entire world.
This week Phil and I are looking at our post as missionaries in a new context. We know we were sent here to be groomed, educated, and prepared as missionary aviators. We have mentioned in past blogs the way the Lord is stretching and growing us personally as well as “professionally”. We know that the lessons in the cockpit, the mechanic shop, the home and the heart are all a part of the Lord’s good process in preparing us for what we hope is to be our life’s work.
This week, we are feeling a particular burden for our neighbors. We are surrounded on all sides by people in great pain, anger, and distress. From intense marital conflict (the kind of stuff that’s scary to listen to), to severe mental illness, to the worship of false gods, we are engulfed in a community of need. I confess that I have been overwhelmed by the “scariness” of our neighbors. When I invited the muslim woman downstairs and to the left to tea she said, “no” and when I tried to greet their daughter, her husband silenced me as though I were a child speaking out of turn.
Many days I hear the woman with mental illness in the apartment beneath us cursing at her dog and telling people where to go in no uncertain terms. The neighbors to our left share a wall with the room which will soon be occupied by our son. From within his room we can hear the husband verbally assault his wife in ways that leave us feeling tragically hopeless. And yet, it is our prayer that God would use us, somehow, someway to be a light in this dark little apartment complex. We want to be true missionaries of the gospel of peace right here and now. “But Lord, the darkness feels too heavy and the sadness feels too sad. How might you use us so that the story of redemption might begin in these precious lives?” I ask in prayer.
Concurrently, I am going through a Beth Moore study with a pastor’s wife and friend. This week I read a chapter on prayer and I was reminded of the dangerous, lethal, sacred, and holy power we have in prayer. It is for this reason that the enemy seeks to make us busy, well intentioned, but prayerless people. Beth Moore describes how many of us will serve and serve and serve yet grow weary and apathetic because our prayer life is not what it needs to be. Beth Moore describes substantive prayer as “original thoughts flowing from a highly individual heart, personal and intimate.” And she charges us, “Prayer matters. The Spirit of God released through our prayers and the prayers of others turns cowards into conquerors, chaos into calm, cries into comfort.”
Perhaps you’ve read and heard dozens upon dozens of sermons on the power of prayer. The question we must all ask ourselves in humility and truthfulness is, “How much am I praying for lost and hurting people?” It is before this mirror of assessment that we can truly grow as effective missionaries in our own communities.
If you keep a list of things to pray for please pray the following three things for the Vana family: First, that we would be a family faithful in prayer for lost people around us. Second, that we would see the Spirit of God move in the lives of our neighbors and that we would have the courage to be a part of the process. Finally, that we would be supernaturally protected from the spiritual darkness surrounding us. The biggest ways we feel spiritually attacked right now are in the way of sleeplessness, sickness, and relational tension. We know that victory is in Christ and that it comes through the prayers of friends just like you. We are grateful.
Only 6 more months to go! Wow, time is just flying by and we are having a great time. I continue to learn more and more at school, we are preparing to welcome baby Jeremiah into our family, Adelina loves to sing “The wheels on the bus…” and her ABC’s (though she doesn’t have it all down), and God continues to be faithful and good!!!!
My riveting project is almost finished and it has been a great learning experience. I made a few mistakes but I learned how to drill out rivets without ruining the skin. It is almost complete and approved by my instructor. We have started two new classes. The first is aircraft inspections. I have to learn how to recognize problems when I see them. Inspections are an important aspect of being a mechanic as there are a number of inspections and a whole slew of things to cover and inspect each time. The second class is aircraft rigging. All of the flight controls (rudder, aileron, and elevator) on a small plane are connected to the yoke and rudder pedals via metal cables. As a mechanic, I will need to know how to connect the controls to the correct input so that the plane turns right when the pilot turns the yoke to the right! Currently I am working with a team to remove the wings of a Cessna 172 and then remount the wings and re-rig the flight controls. It is amazing how the wings are only held on by 4 bolts!!!
Thank you for all of your prayers for Jessica and our family. She is doing a great job managing her blood sugar and getting things all set for the arrival of Jeremiah. We have been blessed with the help of Jessica’s Mom this past week and even got to go on a date!!! We are excited about the days to come and all of the things that God has in store. It is a privilege to serve our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and we are blessed to share our adventure with all of you!