Tools of the Trade

Snader family buys tools

I’ve been buying tools. I know that’s not surprising, at least it shouldn’t be since I’m learning to be an airplane mechanic. It’s important to be able to gently and lovingly hit, smack, tweak, squeeze, wrench, twist, and otherwise persuade expensive pieces and delicate components into place. I discovered that the more money I spend on a tool, the better it is at being effortlessly persuasive, kind of like a good lawyer. In comparison, a cheap tool can get the job done but there’s a swath of destruction around the job site. It’s kind of like using a bulldozer to clean out your living room. The explosion of effort that was waged against the project is very evident and since a missionary plane can cost anywhere from $80,000 to $3 million dollars, it’s important to keep your effort level from exploding. Hence, spending money on persuasive tools makes sense.

I’m used to cheap tools. In fact, I never owned a proper tool box before two years ago. I would just go out in the shop and forage for tools like a gazelle grazing on the savannah. My philosophy was that if I bought enough 10mm wrenches, eventually I wouldn’t need to look for one anymore. They would just be piles of them around the shop. This meant that when I went tool shopping I focused on quantity, not quality. Snap-on wrenches are high paid lawyers flying around in helicopters. Pittsburgh wrenches, on the other hand, are like relatives who watch a lot of lawyer shows and actually do a decent job if you only deal with the occasional traffic citation. I owned a lot of Pittsburgh wrenches.

When I started at MMS Aviation, I quickly recognized that the problems in front of me required a better lawyer. Because I get a 50% student discount through Snap-on’s SEP program, I decided to hire some bright young minds to keep in my tool box. I picked some of the more important tools I needed, purchased them, and then eagerly waited for them to arrive in the mail. Why, considering the amount of money I spent, they would likely send a semi-truck to deliver my tools.

“Boy,” I thought,“I sure hope they use a truck with a lift gate because I don’t have a forklift or an unloading dock. Maybe I should have spend less money and spaced out my purchases so the mail system can handle the cargo.”

One day I came home from work.

“You got a box in the mail,” Janice said.

“Yippee!” I danced a jig and then quickly composed myself. I’m an adult, after all. “Where is it?”

“It’s that box right.” Janice pointed to a shoebox on the floor.

I ripped it open. Sure enough. Somehow my large stack of money had been boiled down and forged into a few shiny trinkets. Turns out that making tools is a lot like making beef jerky. They take a side of a heifer and dry it until it shrivels up to the size of your little finger. The same happens with expensive tools. They take a stack of cash and boil it down until they get a few pieces of chrome.

All joking aside, aviation isn’t a cheap business and it does take quality tools to get the job done. The payoff is massive. We’re reaching people groups in minutes that would otherwise take days. These tools I’m buying are instruments that will serve me the rest of my life and I intend to use the rest of my life serving as a Maintenance Specialist on the mission field. They will literally keep missionary airplanes flying. Right now the foundation is being laid for our service wherever God calls us and I want to thank everyone who is making this a possibility. We have been blessed with a faithful, generous group of supporters and we can serve well because of them (Mr. & Mrs. Hippenhammer even gave me a Snap-on toolbox). Thank you for being part of this!

From a little rainy town in Ohio,