Our next door neighbors knew we were moving out of our house and they invited us over for dinner. Four of our five neighbors are from the U.S. and have a lot in common with us. The fifth family is from Pakistan. Guess which one invited us over to dinner.
The day before we came to dinner the wife, who recently returned from a trip back home to Pakistan, gave a beautiful Pakistani dress to Adelina. So, Adelina wore her new dress, Jeremiah wore an outfit of mine when I was 2, Jessica wore an East Indian dress, and I wore an East Indian shirt. We were treated to a delicious meal of traditional Pakistani food. There was plenty of spice and flavor, followed by a rice pudding with cardamom and raisins. I spoke with the husband while Jessica, my sister Lynnae, and our kids played and talked with the wife and kids in the other room. It was interesting to me how many times he spoke against the actions of the Taliban and “radical” Muslims. He is proud of his beliefs and wanted to make sure that I understood that those groups are not typical of most Muslims. We all had a wonderful time and are excited to move to Indonesia and spend more time with Muslims and building relationships with our new neighbors!
We also had some great ministry opportunities this past week. We have taken a trip to Arizona to visit some ministries before starting more training with MAF in Idaho. On Friday we visited Chi Alpha (pronounced Kai Alpha) at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and spoke to the college students. Chi Alpha is where Jessica and I met, were discipled by friends, learned to lead and disciple others, and were married by the campus pastor. We love this ministry and it was a joy to speak to the students who are sitting where we sat a decade ago! Our hope is that we can have some students from this ministry intern with us and learn what mission aviation is all about. We are excited to show them how they can use aviation to further God’s Kingdom and make a lasting difference with their lives.
On Saturday and Sunday we visited The Heights Church in Prescott, AZ. The Heights Church is partnering with us and MAF. We were privileged to be introduced to their congregation and get a chance to meet people between services. A number of people visited us in the lobby and we even had a chance to speak in a few of the services. It is amazing to be somewhat of a stranger to a congregation and yet still have people love us for no other reason save Christ! It is similar to the mission field. There will be an instant connection with those men and women who share our faith in God. It is a blessing to know that the message and love of Christ transcends all cultures!
It has been a great trip to Arizona. We have spread our passion to others, planted seeds of mission aviation in the hearts of college students, and connected with some dear friends. There is a good chance that we won’t see many of these people until our first furlough with MAF. It is difficult to say good-bye but we are excited about the things to come, not only for us but for all of our friends as well!