In addition to the wonderful celebration of Easter, there are three other reasons why this last week was simply unforgettable. The first is that I passed my Airframe test with the FAA. The Airframe test involves a practical and oral test that covers everything I have learned since starting school back in August. The test took 8 hours but I completed it and I passed with “flying” colors. There were, however, one or two times where I made a small mistake. One of these was when I had to torque a bolt to a specified torque in inch-pounds. I didn’t realize how my torque wrench worked and I continued to torque the bolt after my wrench had indicated that the specified torque had been reached. I just kept turning the bolt and, “snap,” the bolt broke in half. WOOPS! I walked up to my examiner laughing and he told me to replace the nut plate and move on. I did. Another problem was when I couldn’t keep my welding torch lit. Every time I added oxygen there was a loud “pop” and the flame would go out. I tried to clean the torch tip and adjust the pressure of the oxygen but it was all in vain. My examiner rescued me and said, “Well, it looks like you know what you’re doing. It must be a bad tip.” Thanks for the grace!
I am 2/3’s of the way through the program!!! I will get me official FAA Airframe certificate once I passed the written test, but the hard part is over and done! Another student and I are the first ones to complete the test! Praise the Lord!!!
The second reason that this last week was so wonderful is that we received an official invitation from JAARS (Jungle Aviation And Radio Service) to perform a Technical Evaluation in October of this year. JAARS is the aviation branch of the Wycliffe Bible Translators. A Technical Evaluation is a chance for me to “try-out” with the mission organization and show them my flying and fixing skills. I will spend a week in the shop doing all sorts of maintenance. Then, I will spend a week flying one of their planes (one I have never flown before) and showing them all sorts of maneuvers. It will be an intense two weeks but this is what we are working toward! Please be in prayer as we have a firm date and continue to prepare for the adventure of a lifetime in Missionary Aviation!!!
The third reason was the surprise I found waiting for me at the lunch table on Thursday. I opened the door and found Grandpa Dirk sitting at the table, ready to eat lunch with us! He completely surprised us! He flew into Detroit, drove to our apartment, and then showed up at the front door. We were all thoroughly surprised and excited to see him. Adelina had such a great time with Grandpa. He was always playing with her, whether it was on the swings or on the floor.
We are so blessed! From the support of our family, the prayers of you (the saints), and the families of my fellow students who have been providing meals for us this week, God continues to shower us with His love and mercy. He continues to move and lead us forward! We are speechless! Then, throw in one of the greatest weekends and celebrations of the year in Easter and you have One Great Week here in the Vana household! Hallelujah!