This week marked the beginning of a new and exciting chapter in our life – Frank has begun flight training to become a helicopter pilot! Now you’re probably thinking, “wait – isn’t Frank an airplane pilot?” Let us explain:
NTM Aviation uses both airplanes and helicopters around the world to support tribal church planting. Each has its different pros and cons. Often, a flight program will choose to have both. At the beginning of this year, NTM Aviation leadership asked us to consider transitioning from airplane to helicopter. They have a very specific and urgent need on a large island in the Asia-Pacific region and they would like to use our family and a helicopter to meet that need. Currently, both church planters and mature tribal churches on the island have no aviation support and are desperately awaiting help from NTMA.
This was a big shift in our thinking! We were supposed to wrap up here in May, raise our final support and then fly airplanes overseas. But we prayed a lot, made a pro/con list, and sought out counsel from many godly people. In the end, we felt that everything was a green light. Everything that is, except for the finances. At $300/hour, helicopter training adds up fast. That’s $1 every 12 seconds. Total – around $60,000. Daunting, to be sure!
But should our answer really all come down to the money? The helicopter training is a good fit for our family right now. It’s a good fit for the churches we’re connected with. It’s a good fit for NTM Aviation and meets their most pressing need. Trusted friends and mentors said it was a good fit. And as a bonus, Frank has always had the desire to fly helicopter.
If God gives us green lights everywhere, but we can’t see how exactly He’ll provide the resources, should we still move forward? Is it financially responsible to turn down the training? Or is it a step of faith where we will miss out on a big opportunity from God to grow in trusting Him?
After much prayer and counsel, we said YES! No, there’s no guarantee that Frank will be able to successfully complete the helicopter training. No, there’s no guarantee that we’ll ever get to that island or that there’ll be a helicopter waiting there when we arrive. No, there’s no guarantee that God will see fit to provide the $60,000 as we would like. Regardless of these things, we believe that God is asking us to step out in faith and accept this opportunity to prepare to be used by Him in a new way to multiply the efforts of missionaries, national pastors and tribal churches overseas!
And so, this was week 1 of helicopter training. Turns out, flying a helicopter is NOT like flying an airplane! They said that hovering was supposed to be the hardest part – they weren’t kidding. This video was taken five minutes into Frank’s first helicopter training flight. Every time you see the helicopter stabilize over the helipad you will know it is the instructor handling the controls. Praise the Lord for quality instructors!
Now you’re probably thinking, “I’m never going to get in a helicopter with that guy!” That’s ok. But by God’s grace you will feel differently in a few months and we are looking forward to another video to update you on the progress!
Please be praying for mental endurance, faith and peace for us as we trust God to provide the finances, and continued unity in our marriage as we take on this huge task together.