Here’s the Video Version
Here’s the Written Version
The Big Idea
Let’s reach the isolated and unreached with the love and compassion of Jesus Christ.
Janice and I both have felt a call to the mission field since we were grade school students reading books about missionaries who followed God’s direction into impossible situations and saw miraculous outcomes. We want to see headhunters and cannibals lay down their spears and find the freedom and joy that comes with finding a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. We (and you) are called to be part of that story!
Here’s a video I love that kind of sums up what we want to help happen in remote areas around the world. This is the Kimyal tribe in Indonesia receiving the very first copies of the New Testament in their own language!
The unreached are not unreached because they are easy to get to. Airplanes are a huge part of getting the Gospel to remote regions and there’s a big need for qualified airplane mechanics and pilots right now.
God knew I was better at fixing things than fixing people and so He redirected us to MMS Aviation’s pilot/apprentice program, where I’ll get the training necessary to fix and fly aircraft in support of the Great Commission.
But where do we even get started? Let’s look at the challenges, the solutions, and the steps needed to get the Gospel to the isolated and unreached people groups in the remote regions of the world.
Here are the problems in front of us…
- 600 million people don’t have the Bible in their own language.
- 3.14 billion people have few, if any, identifying Christians in their people group – that’s 41% of the world’s population!
- 1 billion people have no access to all season roads making ground transportation slow, dangerous, and at times, impossible.
- Even when roads are available bandits, bad bridges, flooding, mudslides, and nearly impassible roads can make transportation dangerous, difficult, and very, very slow.
- Isolation is usually caused by extreme wilderness and rugged terrain; both things that make it difficult to stage missionary operations.
Mission aviation provides a link between those in need with those who can help.
Even a small airplane can cruise from 140 to 163 mph and flies in a straight line over obstacles to its destination, saving valuable time.
Brian Shepson, an MAF-International pilot/mechanic, took an informal survey among the missionaries he flew to see how much time they saved flying versus driving. Here’s the results:
Step 1: Raise Support
Building a Foundation for Ministry
Before we begin our training, MMS Aviation requires us to raise 100% of our monthly support quota. This involves building up a group of people willing to invest in our ministry both with prayer & with finances. This will enable our family to fix and fly aircraft so we can get missionaries to the far corners of the world.
This is a foundational step of the process since missionary work was never meant to be done alone. We want and need the emotional, spiritual, and financial support that comes with having a group of investors behind our ministry.
We need to raise $5,300 month in support before we can begin our training at MMS Aviation. We’re prayerfully expecting to raise all our support by May 28, 2019.
We’re currently 72.07% of the way to our support quota!
Step 2: Mechanical Training
MMS Aviation (Coshocton, OH)
I’ll be getting 4,800 hours of hands on training during our 30 month apprenticeship at MMS Aviation. Not only will I be getting real experience working on actual missionary airplanes from around the world, I’ll be helping to save mission organizations money since MMS doesn’t charge Christian organizations any labor charges (In 2017, this saved mission organizations $1.5 million). The goal of all this is to graduate with my A&P certification which will license me to work on FAA certified aircraft (mission organizations primarily use FAA certified aircraft).
Most mission organizations require you to have mechanical experience in order to be a pilot so this training is foundational for involvement in mission aviation.
Here’s a short video of a Mercy Air Airbus helicopter being modified and upgraded at MMS Aviation. This is a taste of what goes on at the hangar everyday!
Step 3: Pilot Training
Missionary Air Group (Burlington, NC)
Once we’re done at MMS Aviation, we’ll move to Burlington, N.C. to begin our pilot training with MAG. Missionary Air Group serves Guatemala, Honduras, and Gabon (Africa) by providing medical transport in support of the hospitals they run or serve. MAG is also involved with pastor training and VBS programs.
This training will take about 2 years to complete and will give me about 400 flight hours with an emphasis on mission aviation environments. Towards the end of the training, I’ll travel to Guatemala to get flight hours in a real life mission environment. The goal of this training is to get my commercial pilot’s license and a foundational amount of flight experience required to join most mission aviation organizations.
Step 4: Serve Long Term
We’ll finally be qualified to join almost any mission aviation organization and to serve for many years.
As of right now, our only long term plans are to be missionaries as long as God allows; hopefully the rest of our lives. We have a duty to take the training that our supporters invested in and to use it on the mission field in an effort to keep aircraft flying; enabling more missionaries, doctors, Bible translators, and doctors to reach isolated and unreached people groups.
If we had to guess, we would say that we’ll end up somewhere in South America. However, there are a shortage of airplane mechanics and pilots all around the world so there’s plenty of opportunities available. In our experience, God rarely gives you a detailed blueprint of the future. We’re simply taking each step in obedience to His call and trusting the future to Him.
We are hoping, praying, and working to raise our monthly support quota by May 28, 2019 (my birthday).
Are you called to be involved?
Right now we’re raising our support quota so we can start our MMS Aviation apprenticeship. Will you consider becoming a recurring financial supporter so we can get this big idea started? Our biggest need right now is recurring monthly, quarterly, or annual supporters. We have some folks who give $10 a month and some who give more than $400 monthly. We like to think of it as building an airplane; whether it’s an engine or a rivet, every piece is important! Thank you!