Sidney’s long standing interest in flying was firmly established when in 2011, at the age of ten, he was briefly handed the controls of a float plane. It was an amazing experience he will never forget.
Dawn and I obviously are passionate about missions and would love to see our kids one day follow in our footsteps. To that end I encourage them in that direction, pray for it,and are preparing for our first term of tribal missions as a family. One day my wise wife informed me that my personal desires were casting a shadow of expectation over Sidney that was frustrating him. It can be discouraging when you feel someone else is planning your life for you. At that point, because he felt trapped, he wanted nothing to do missions.
When I apologized to Sid for the undue pressure I had put on him he was obviously relieved. Then I asked him what he wanted to do. His answer: to be a pilot to help missionaries like Dawn and I!
Sidney already has some experience with simple Radio Controlled helicopters but I wanted to do more to encourage him in this direction. So when we were at Missionsfest We visited with a couple pilots from MAF and Prairie and asked what he could do now to help get airborne in the future. The answer was to study the weather, learn to drive things, and build and fly realistic RC planes.
So for his 13th birthday 3 weeks later Sidney was happily surprised with a four-foot wingspan electric RC plane. We began taking it out to the abandoned airstrip in town for sunrise flights before school. Now he’s flying high and making smooth landings. We even strapped an action cam to the bottom to get some great video.
Flying was something I briefly considered for myself when we started missionarytraining. Helping others not only with transportation but encouragement and practical assistance as one of the few outside visitors sounded like a good fit until I learned that I was too far past the age of thirty to become a missionary pilot. Sidney on the other hand is clear to taxi and I can’t wait to see him soar.
Learn more about missionary aviation: http://go.ntm.org/mission-aviation