Looking out the front windscreen, all I could see was the blur of fall colors twirling beneath me. I was controlling an airplane that was spinning towards the ground at a terrific rate. Quickly, I added the opposite rudder to stop the rotation, and gently pulled the airplane out of the spin.
I am excited to share that I will be launching to Nicaragua within a few short weeks now that my funding goals are nearly met! In the meantime, I have been gathering tools to equip me to better serve in the mission field. This consisted of attending a month-long missionary training program with Adventist Frontier Missions (AFM) as well as gaining a certification that will enable me to train more mission pilots.
For about a year now, my dream of serving in mission aviation has made me think of ways I can be even more useful in missions and mission aviation. One of the clearest ways I saw to do that was to become a certified flight instructor (CFI). After figuring out what I needed to do, I set out on my study quest. I learned that each applicant must practice and demonstrate specific maneuvers to keep a higher level of safety as they teach. One of these maneuvers is spin training. Gaining confidence with each spin, I enjoyed learning this new skill. During the training I almost got my endorsing instructor airsick after about ten spins!
This video is of me doing intentional spins before my checkride.
As the past couple months have gone by, I was given several opportunities to do aircraft maintenance work. As fun as it was, these also helped to reduce some of my expenses getting my CFI which was an incredible blessing! I can see so many ways that the Lord opened opportunities for me and blessed my study. For about the past eight months, I had studied off and on, studying anything that I could get my hands on that I figured would be useful.
Another small task I needed to master was teaching and flying from the right seat. This is a different perspective and takes a little bit of time to get used to. I flew with several pilot friends and got used to the difference and even practiced landing with them nearby during my transition.
At last, the big day came, and I showed up to the airport with as much preparation as I could. After meeting the examiner and getting the initial paperwork completed, the exam started.
As my examiner was asking me to describe various topics, my mind was working in the background. I felt a mix of nervous-excitement with a sense of confidence in my understanding. Still, with this confidence, I felt very unprepared for the checkride because of the incredible vastness of knowledge I was expected to remember. The more I had studied, the more I felt unprepared for the hardest test in aviation. Within a couple hours, I passed the hardest oral exam the FAA has to offer. Once complete, the examiner and I continued on to the flight exam. The flight portion consisted of several maneuvers that were familiar to me from the commercial flight exam that I had done just about a year prior.
Throughout the whole flight I was excited to be flying again and it felt like the pressure was off from passing the oral exam. I was really enjoying myself as I talked through the maneuvers and procedures I was doing. We finished the flight and I parked the airplane and went inside. I don’t think my smile could have been any bigger! I had just achieved a huge milestone and I had seen God work out the details in such an amazing way. I had just become a certified flight instructor!!
Walking out of the classroom, my eyes turned to the bike sitting in the middle of the road with a crowd of people around it. At first glance, it looked like a normal bike, but my confusion arose as everyone who tried this bike fell left and right. It didn't make sense. “Surely they know how to ride bikes” I thought. My turn came. Frustration built up within me as all of my new friends were watching, and I couldn’t ride this bike more than five feet. I felt completely humiliated. The training director proceeded to tell us that “to get good at something new, we must be willing to start out bad at it”.
The point of this exercise is to equip and prepare missionaries to thrive in new cultures. Oftentimes, the food is different, the language is different, the culture is different and we are bound to make many mistakes. Instead of letting fear hold us back, we need to realize that to become better at serving in other cultures, we need to be willing to start out bad at the things we set out to do.
During the AFM student mission training course, I gained additional tools to help me serve overseas. The backwards bike was one of the first memorable lessons reiterated to us. We also gained tools to help us resolve conflict, work as a team, communicate more effectively, and many other valuable lessons. Keith and Jennifer LaRoy were also a part of this amazing training and I look forward to serving in Nicaragua alongside them and the Hansen family in just a few weeks!
I want to say thank you to each of the amazing supporters that God has blessed me with!
My launching goal of $15,000 dollars is completely funded! You helped make this possible!
Not only that, but my monthly goal is only $925 dollars per month away from completing my goal of $2,000/Month needed to directly cover expenses that I will face in the mission field.
To help me reach my monthly goal before launch, hopefully in January, I am needing each of the following:
2 partners who would be willing to donate $150/ month.
4 partners who would be willing to donate $100/ month.
3 partners to help with $50/month.
4 partners to help with $25 / month.
Would you, or your church, consider being one of these partners? I look forward to sharing behind-the-scenes stories and experiences with you, showing you how your gifts are making a difference in reaching isolated people with the gospel!
Thank you for your support!
Below are pictured some of the neat opportunities I was able to be a part of during the last couple weeks.