Flying with Toddlers & the Depravity of Mankind

Much discussion occurs around the question of man’s depravity; is man inherently evil or inherently good? If you find yourself thinking that humankind, in it’s natural state, is goodhearted and unselfish then I suggest you find a toddler (preferably one you have permission to use) and then fly somewhere with it. All discussion becomes moot.

Flying with a toddler is like pulling the pin on an old military surplus Russian grenade, gingerly placing it into a refrigerator, then climbing in and closing the door behind you. Chances are it will go off but you and your wife convince yourselves that it probably won’t explode if you are just really careful around it. You spend an hour tiptoeing, whispering, praying and then the toddler is advised, in the gentlest way possible, to stop banging on the seat back in front of you. You see the anger start glinting in the toddler’s eyes. How dare you tell me what to do. Her chest starts to expand with a lungful of air as her mouth begins to open and you quickly start to grovel and beg. “Daddy’s sorry. Daddy should never tell you what to do. Please don’t cry. Please.” No one has ever groveled like a parent with a screaming toddler on a plane. “Here’s pretzels. Have a cookie. Here’s a bag of sugar. Hey, I got an idea, let’s sing “Baby Shark.’ In fact, here’s Daddy’s iPhone; all yours! Whatever your heart desires, up to half the kingdom, is yours. Just stop screaming.”

Maybe Adi’s calling is to be an opera singer. The few unfortunate times I’ve been forced to listen to opera I’ve always been surprised. Just when you think they have reached maximum volume and pitch, they get all red faced and then hit another plane you didn’t think they, or any other human, were capable of. Adi does the same thing. Just when you think she’s really screaming and that it’s as bad as it gets, she doubles down, gets all red faced, and then finds a new plane of volume and pitch in previously unexplored regions of human communication.

At this point another problem arises. When your child is screaming over trivial, unimportant things, they should be disciplined but the problem is that there’s two hundred other people watching you. Most of them have been convinced that man is naturally good and if you just beg your child hard enough, they’ll stop crying and see the logic in your reasonable arguments. Spanking is for neanderthals, or so they think. Interestingly, after a two hour plane ride with a screaming toddler, most of the passengers would gladly volunteer to administer the corporate punishment themselves if given the chance.

Also, what’s with the shrinking seats? Every time I get on an airplane I sit down only to find the width of my posterior has either grown or the seat has shrunk. Probably both. This results in some of my posterior finding it’s way into the next seat which makes both me and the person sitting in the next seat rather uncomfortable. Of course, since Adi is under two years old, we can put her on our lap. This saves us the cost of an extra plane ticket but holding a toddler in your lap is like trying to calmly and rationally hold a wet, slippery octopus that just consumed several cans of Red Bull. There’s tentacles everywhere at once all the time. You cannot peel the suckers off of things fast enough.

So why and where were we flying? My family and I attended a support raising workshop in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Now, you may think to yourself, “Humph! What good is it to spend money going to a conference to learn to ask for more money?” I know you may be thinking this because I, too, thought the same thing at first. There’s six families raising support to go to MMS Aviation right now and none of us are raising our support as fast as we should. Phil, the CEO at MMS Aviation, started looking for advice from other ministries that require their staff to raise support and found that the ministries that were most successful in getting their missionaries on the field used a program called SRS (Support Raising Solutions) Bootcamp. So after a short discussion, Phil and I decided that my family should try this program and give it a test drive, so to speak, and see if it’s worth the effort.

To summarize it quickly (I know you have other places to be), the SRS Bootcamp, I believe, will be a pivotal moment in our support raising. Now, I don’t agree with or question about 15% or so of their tactics. I think they are too pushy for my culture and I want to be careful not to sacrifice relationships in order to raise support. My wife and I are in this for the long haul and I want relationships that will sustain us on the field for the rest of our lives, Lord willing. But that being said, their principle of building relationships is foundational. This involves one-on-one meetings with people explaining our mission, our vision, our budget, and how it’ll change lives of isolated and unreached people groups. These face-to-face meetings honor people with undivided time and attention and help establish a relationship that goes deeper than a response to a mass appeal such as letters, presentations, or blogs (ahem). So, we’re turning our focus from mass appeal methods and focusing more on personal one-on-one meetings. Please don’t be offended if I ask you out for coffee so I can explain what we’re doing. We value your involvement but we’ll honor a “no thanks” as well.

We had a contest to see how many sticky notes we could put on someone’s face. Sticky notes do not stick to beards well. The point was to show us how hard it is to keep track of supporter info so we can stay in touch with them and what’s going on in their lives.

With that being said, thanks so much to you guys who are supporting us already! MMS Aviation allows us to use current support funds raised to help pay for support raising costs (we just have to file the right paperwork for each cost so we stay accountable to MMS).  This means your current support is providing the fuel to raise more support. We truly would never be able to do this without amazing people such as yourselves who believe in us and our calling enough to put your money where your mouth is. You’ll always have our respect and gratitude!

We want to reach 100% support by May 28, 2019 (my birthday). If you know some mission minded folks who may be interested in our vision, let me know who they are! I want to get more people involved in reaching isolated and unreached people groups through mission aviation. We can do this!

In other news, we found out Monday that we’re having a baby boy! We’re expecting the little squirt on April 11. All that we have to do yet is figure out a name. I’m kind of picky when it comes to names. With all this politically correct gender confusion going on right now, I’m pretty adamant that I want a solid, masculine name that doesn’t go either way. Something like, um, Rex, or Brutus, or, well… those may be dog names so not those. But you get the picture.