The Lost is Found!
I was preparing for sleep when I got a notification from someone I had never met before. The conversation started strangely and I remained friendly yet reserved, not knowing what was to follow. The message went on to ask if I had lost my phone. The person went on to describe the phone and it matched the description of the phone that had been stolen in February. The person that currently had found my medical ID listed and knew it had been stolen or lost. They had been keeping it safe after being tasked to delete its data.
We quickly made a plan to collect it so that we could assure its return. Steven, myself, and a trusted church member went to meet with the person who had it and was willing to return it at the police station. Since its return, it has once again proved useful as I capture stories of how God has been working. God is amazing!
The month of April was a flurry of activity. I returned to continue working with MiracleAir after my Spanish Intensive in Costa Rica, and right away, our team, once again, focused on the required documents and meetings for aviation permissions. Initially, we were encouraged by the meetings and how our proposals were received. After the whole country celebrated Semana Santa, (Holy Week) it became clear that the road to aviation permissions would take much longer than we had initially hoped. MiracleAir is still making connections and God is blessing the efforts.
Recently, I have been pondering how my skills could be put to use for the service of others. My goal for several years has been to serve as a missionary as my career and passion. For me, the call to missions was closely linked with aviation, and I have been wondering what my role is and how to get involved. I joined MiracleAir as a pilot nearly 19 months ago and as aviation took longer than expected, I did the best I could to reach out to others and stay busy. After discussing possible summer opportunities with the rest of the MiracleAir team, they gave me the freedom to explore opportunities to stay active with mission aviation. God’s initial leading in my mission service was aviation, and the team was ok with me looking at other potential options for service. I enjoyed my time in Central America and learned a lot of useful skills as well as getting experience working in a team environment. Even though I don't know all of the details, I can clearly say that God doesn't waste time or experience and I look forward to continuing to see God’s plan unfold for me.
Within a week, doors started opening for me with a sister organization on the other side of the world. The Philippine Adventist Medical Aviation Services is active on several islands in the Philippines and has several airplanes and helicopters active in mission service. They have an immediate need for a pilot flying a 206 on the island of Palawan while their main 206 pilot is on furlough. I plan to go to the Philippines for a site visit and see how the Lord leads for the future.
One of the airplanes I plan to be flying. Photo by Sean Knapp
Just last year, the 206 flew close to 700 hours doing mostly medivac and passenger flights. Some of the other airplanes in the fleet like their 182 flew over 400 hours. The helicopters are flying shorter missions and making a significant impact. Among the remote mountain villages, travel is extremely difficult and the trails are incredibly steep and muddy. often after a storm, the mountain streams turn into raging waterfalls and prevent crossing. On average the terrain is so rugged that the distance covered by 8 hours of walking is the equivalent of just an 8-minute flight in a helicopter. A week of hiking can be shortened to just a few minutes which gives these remote villages access to critical emergency response that simply wasn't possible before. I’m making tentative plans to go to the Philippines in June, and I will start with getting my license conversion and then get a Philippine type rating for the 206. After my paperwork is sent in, I may help fly on another island or help with an engine change in the 206. I don’t know the service duration yet, but it seems the same pillar of cloud that moved in front of the Israelites in the time of Moses is moving in front of me today.
The month of May is scheduled to be very busy in preparation for my Philippine site visit in June. The 9th of May, 2022, marks the beginning of a very exciting opportunity that I'll be joining in on. I am starting a ten-day medical training program for missionaries in North Carolina. In this intensive, my classmates and I look forward to learning more about how to care for and assess and stabilize injured patients, check vital signs, and be of assistance to locally trained professionals. The curriculum covers specifics for the region that each missionary plans to serve in and emphasizes common illnesses for that area. This is different than what an EMT or Nurse training would look like, as this class focuses on remote jungle medicine to stabilize a patient before help can arrive. I believe this will be very useful to me so I can be of assistance in preparation for medivac flights, and I look forward to starting the class very soon!
After the medical training, I am considering doing some recurrent flight and maintenance training opportunities so that I can be better prepared for coming into this new opportunity. Please keep me in prayer as I step out in faith, seeking the path that God is calling me on.
Together, let's prepare for Jesus to come!