I meant to write a new “Prayer Journal” every month but some months life is just plain old life. We should pray without ceasing but when should we make our mundane prayers available to the public so they can pray about it too? Like the other day I was driving around with my fuel gauge below “E.” I was praying about that but it’s not something I’d necessarily include in a list of prayer requests (although I just did, I guess). That’s just my own stupidity causing problems in my life and yet I still need God to help deliver me. Which makes me think, do stupid people pray more than smart people? I know people of faith pray more because living by faith requires God’s constant intercession. So does living stupidly. How do you know when you’re praying because you’re living by faith or you’re praying because you’re doing stupid things and need help fixing them? I don’t know, but we’re getting a little off subject. Hopefully our prayer requests are necessary because we’re living by faith and not because we’re being stupid.

Praise

Potty Training

Adi has taken to the potty like a pigeon to a statue. This is a relief and, frankly, a surprise. The way things were going we were getting pretty despondent but it seems like it just clicked one day and now she voluntarily stops mid-play, yells “I go poop!”, and then runs upstairs to the bathroom where she performs the whole routine herself. Janice bought Adi a little plastic step stool at Aldi’s one day (we LOVE Aldi’s) and now Adi carries it around everywhere. It’s like giving a criminal a bolt cutters, suddenly she’s into everything she shouldn’t be. But, it does help her go potty on the adult’s potty, no help required. This is worth all the other mess the stool helps get her into. She goes potty then drags the stool over to the sink where she washes her hands (for about fifteen minutes), then drags the stool over the light switch so she can turn off the light before she leaves the bathroom. Adi is better at turning out lights than Janice is. I’m so proud of Janice because Janice put a ton of work into potty training that girl and now that investment is giving us tons of return. It’s great not scooping accidents out of undies anymore although occasionally Adi falls into the toilet, which involves some cleanup. This is a praise! Well, being potty trained is a praise, not Adi falling into the toilet.

Moving

We’re feeling settled into our new house. Things are settling into the corners and between the couch cushions and we put a small hole in the drywall the other day so it’s feeling a lot like home, which is good, because it is our home. Hopefully the next time we move will be to the mission field, wherever that may be. But really, we are very happy with our new house and living close to the hangar has been such a blessing. We’re grateful God provided us with this house (and a generous brother-in-law).

Elliot’s Head

A baby’s skull is made up of several growth plates that slide over each other and expand as the little munchkin grows. Our pediatrician (who we love) was concerned that Elliot’s head wasn’t expanding like it should so she recommended that we go for a second opinion at the Children’s Hospital in Columbus, which we did. It was a huge, beautiful hospital which concerned me. This is going to be expensive, I thought. Still, the hospital has you bent over a barrel like a cut-rate chiropractor. What are you going to do? Find a guy in an alley somewhere to diagnose your child? Hire a veterinarian? We’ll just get it done right.

Going into a hospital is like going to a foreign country. They need to see your papers before they let you in. If you don’t have papers, you have to pay a cash bribe, and once you’re in the exchange rate is terrible. $20 U.S. for one aspirin?! Back home I can get four bottles for that price.

Anyway, the surgeon took one look at Elliot’s head and was delighted. “What a beautiful head!” He squeezed and thumped Elliot’s head like a farmer inspects a prize melon. “There is a little overlap there. I’ll order a low grade CAT scan just in case. Then we’ll know for sure.”

I cringed. That sounded expensive but if the plates were grown together, it would require surgery to separate them. The sooner we knew they were joined, the easier and more successful the surgery would be. Sigh. Might as well do it.

We got the results a day later and found that Elliot’s head is in fine shape. That’s a praise!

Prayer Requests

Finding Our Fit

MMS Aviation merely gets you qualified to serve in mission aviation, they are not a sending organization. We need to apply to join a sending mission organization after we’re done at MMS Aviation so we’ve been snooping around for a good one. A recruiter for JAARS (Jungle Aviation and Radio Services) came to MMS Aviation the other day and gave me a sticker, so we decided to go with them! Actually I should say that we are considering JAARS – we still don’t know for sure. I can’t say I ever felt called to any particular people group or area but I have always felt called to get involved with unreached people groups. I even looked into becoming a Bible translator briefly before finding that it involved deciphering more grammar and sentence structure than I thought was humanly possible. Now, a decade or so later, I suspect that God is getting me involved in Bible translation in a way I much I didn’t anticipate but much prefer; aviation! Many times unreached people groups are located in places that are nearly unreachable, hence the need for aviation. We’re planning on taking a tour of JAARS headquarters in Waxhaw, North Carolina sometime in March so pray that God would clearly say “yea” or “nay” while we’re there.

Zambia!

MMS Aviation occasionally sends a team from the hangar to different locations to help mission organizations get a particular job done such as annual inspections, avionics upgrades, or major repairs. These are called “Rapid Response” trips and every apprentice typically gets to go on one. It’s looking likely that I’ll be going to Zambia in April (right after Easter) for several weeks to help upgrade some avionics in several Cessnas operated by an organization called Flying Mission. Pray that God would prepare all those involved but especially my poor wife who will be at home with the children while I’m gone. I feel especially bad since she’s wanted to go to Africa all her life. She’s being a good sport about it but still, it will be hard for her to be stuck half a world away in Ohio. It’ll be hard for me not to share the adventure with her.

Feelings aside, this is a great opportunity to learn alongside Mike, who is on staff at MMS Aviation. He’s forgotten more about avionics than most people have learned and has been working on planes for fifty years or so. It seems like airplane mechanics either like avionics or avoid avionics. I don’t know yet which way I lean. I hope I’m more of a help than a hinderance while I’m on the trip. There’s a prayer request! “Lord, help Josh be a help and not a hinderance.”

Priorities

I’ve been told that when you follow God into the mission field it’s the same as hopping out of a trench and charging the enemy. You’ve been living your life unnoticed and now suddenly you have a large target on your back. Whether it’s personal failures or Satanic attacks, I’ve been finding that’s true.

I feel like our family is doing well but this is definitely stressing us out. Stress provides an opportunity to grow but we don’t always handle the opportunities well. I have a lot on my plate but I try to keep it to this list:

  1. Maintain my personal relationship with God
  2. Help Janice raise our children
  3. Work in the hangar
  4. Study
  5. Sleep

If I focus too closely on any of those, the other items in the list suffer and yet I don’t have time to do them all every day so it’s been a balancing act and an artistic display of compromises. Like Calvin in Calvin and Hobbes says, “A good compromise makes everyone angry.” It seems like some days the whole list is angry at me. Pray that we could learn to balance this new life of ours in a healthy way and use the stress to become better, and not bitter.

Thank you. Thank you for praying. Thank you for giving. Thank you for caring even when my blog posts aren’t entertaining or well written. We are blessed with a supportive bunch of people!

From a small hamlet in Ohio,

Josh


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