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Bad Things and Big Opportunities
Suffering isn’t fun. And admittedly I don’t know a whole lot about the subject so take all this with a grain of salt. My life has been easy compared to the lives that many people in history have led. Sometimes I complain about my life to God and I feel like he sighs and rolls his eyes. He’s seen all of history and He knows just how spoiled I am. Then he reminds me of Apostle Paul, or the martyrs of old, or the Christians being persecuted around the world right now. Not that God doesn’t care about my problems but it’s like when Adi complains about not being able to watch an episode of Peppa Pig. I know how spoiled she is and how little of a problem she’s actually facing. She thinks it’s the end of the world but I know it’s not. My job is to help her learn to deal with it.
Last Sunday in our little quarantined house church, we watched a sermon by David Platt entitled “The Idolatry of Comfort” (Click here to watch it on his website). His whole premise was that when we put our comfort above the cause of Christ, then suffering is a bad thing that pulls us away from our life’s goal. But if we value Christ above all else, suffering becomes a good thing because it brings us closer to Him. It also proves to the world that we really believe what we say we do. It’s the fire that purifies the gold. Some of the most amazing people I know have had the hardest lives.
The Coronavirus pandemic has put all of us in a position to show the world that we have something worth more than toilet paper and several gallons of hand sanitizer (although those things are pretty important). During this pandemic, AIM (African Inland Mission) Air was able to get missionary supplies, rabies vaccines (a very necessary medical supply in rural Africa), and personal protection equipment (PPE) to missionaries in Southern Sudan so they can continue to impact their community. Samaritan’s Purse has set up a hospital in New York City and is impacting lives there. If you want your light to be noticed, there’s no better time to shine than when times are dark.
This is our time to shine.
Last newsletter I told you I was planning on traveling to Zambia to help upgrade the avionics in Flying Mission’s fleet of Cessnas. My family was going to stay home. Since then, in God’s amazing timing, the means and opportunity was given to Janice and the children to come along on the trip (in case you missed that blog post, click here). We all got very excited as we purchased the additional tickets and received the passports in the mail. Then the Coronavirus swept the world and everything, including our trip, got canceled (read more about that here).
MMS Aviation has also been closed until May 1 since it’s considered a non-essential business under the Ohio governor’s stay-at-home-order. This means that, because I’m married to an industrious woman, I’m getting all kinds of stuff done around the house.
Even though the world seems to have stopped, our kids keep getting older. We celebrated Elliot’s one year birthday a few days ago! I’ve been working on a 1972 Honda motorcycle I got cheap a few years ago and Elliot loves to “help” me do it. I found several wrenches rattling around in the exhaust thanks to Elliot’s mechanical skills.
He also loves books! He’ll throw himself in front of you as you are dashing towards the bathroom. “Ah. Ah. Ah.” He’s holding a book. Now you’re in a tough spot. If you don’t read him a book, he’ll throw a fit, scream, and require some sort of teaching moment. If you do read him a book, he’ll point to every single thing in the book and demand an explanation. Either way, your urgent trip just got delayed. I look at him, frantic but sympathetic.“Umm. Hey! Go show Mommy your book,” I say. His eyes light up and he goes toddling off. I hear Janice groan, “Not again!” from the kitchen as I run up the stairs. We should start playing hide and seek with books.
But we aren’t just reading books. Janice also wanted me to install a new porch railing. Our porch was in such poor shape that I knew once I started replacing things, I may never get done. Still, no better time to do it. I invited my friend Bryan over and we started ripping things apart. Two days later, just like I thought, we had completely replaced the whole deck!
In April we had visited JAARS (Jungle Aviation and Radio Services) in Waxhaw, NC and had a great time! JAARS is located on a 300 acre campus that was donated to Cameron Townsend (the founder of JAARS) by Billy Graham. It’s now their U.S. headquarters where they do heavy maintenance on aircraft, technical evaluations, and perform research and development on new products (such as cargo pods) that improve missionary aircraft. The highlight of the trip was our tour guide who actually worked in Indonesia for thirty years. I don’t know the future but whether we serve with JAARS or not, we’ll always be supportive of their organization.
Thank you again for supporting my family in prayer and in finances as we pursue God’s call into missionary aviation as a maintenance specialist.