The months of silence on this blog have been filled with the noisy reality of life being lived. Sometimes it’s hectic and stressful; other times we can rest and enjoy quiet and relaxation. Allthe time, God is patiently reminding us that His peace is an ever-present gift to our weary souls.
The early months of 2019 were overflowing with activity: wrapping up language and culture study in Asia-Pacific…packing up our home of almost three years and dividing our belongings appropriately for two locations*…saying goodbyes well…traveling.
Two weeks after our return to Ethnos360 Aviation headquarters, Jared launched into helicopter training. It has been a whirlwind for him as he has gone from only 5 hours of helicopter flight time to over 90 in two short months! Now, he is about one week away from his commercial checkride. We expect to be stateside for approximately one more year in order to visit family and ministry partners, raise funds to cover the remaining cost of the flight training, and build another 200 hours of flight time.
This sounds like a whole lot of time, money, and inconvenience that we never planned on! Why in the world would we want to do this…?? Keep reading.
Early this year we attended a regional conference in the area where we will live and serve overseas.** What a joy to meet families and individuals–both expats and nationals–who are working together to bring the Gospel to the unreached in that region of Asia-Pacific. And it is no easy task, believe me. The evil one is continually at work to blind the hearts of our hearers and hinder the progress of the Life-giving message we bring. Below are pictured the majority of our regional partners in the Gospel, many of whom have faced discouraging ministry situations for years.
The fact that so many people continue to work faithfully toward the goal of seeing Christ magnified in mature indigenous churches throughout the region is less a testimony to their personal grit and determination as it is to the faithfulness of God in each one’s life. He is the one who sustains, nourishes, and gives hope on the often difficult journey, and each ministry partner pictured above has his/her own story of God’s goodness.
Here is one family’s story of working among a tribal group located 12 hours by car from the nearest town:
“In 2014, our team began teaching Chronological Bible Lessons to a very small group of interested people. This time of teaching lasted for nearly one and a half years, due to the frequency at which these interested people could meet. After that time, we discovered that a few of these friends who had heard the entire Redemption story from Creation to Christ accepted Christ as their Promised Deliverer, Savior and Lord. Since then, as of 2019, our group of three believers has grown to a group of ten. It is very slow going. This exceedingly slow rate of growth has been incredibly discouraging for us at times. There have been spans of months wherein even our believers show no interest whatsoever in continuing to learn about this wonderful New Life they have in Christ…
“…Our continual prayer for our friends is for interest and understanding in the things of God. And God is faithful. Though the days are long and the harvest is meager, He is the Lord of that harvest–and He has been faithful to hear the cries of our own hearts, as well as the cries of our new believers here. Though they are a tiny band of under-developed believers, they ARE believers still. And they are growing in their understanding of their new life (here we call it “true life”) in Christ.”
Yes, God is faithful. Not only to the budding believers in this people group, but also to the workers He has called to carry the Gospel to them.
But did you catch that part earlier about their location? 12 hours by car from the nearest town. This team of missionaries was one of those that regularly utilized their regional flight program until it was suspended in 2016. They are also one of those teams that will regularly utilize the helicopter program when flight services are re-opened in the future.
Through this brief story, we hope you feel “introduced” to a few of the lives that are affected by the ministry of aviation. It does make a difference. Sometimes it’s an urgent need for medical help that can’t wait for 12 hours of bumpy, dirty roads before reaching a hospital. More often it’s the routine needs of flying language or translation consultants in and out of the village, transporting families who need to sign visa papers, get a break in town, or find a quiet place to work uninterruptedly on translation projects. With flight services, these necessary trips can be reduced to an hour of travel time rather than the major undertaking of a stressful day or two.
That’s why Jared is neck-deep in yet another study-program. That’s why we don’t feel embarrassed to reach out and say, “Please help!” to you, our readers. We’re all in this together. Some of us are goers. Some are prayer partners. Some are givers. Some are encouragers. Some are a beautiful combination of these roles. So please use your God-given tendency to lend a hand in this project. Pray for us and those we will serve. Tell others about the task. Give to Jared’s helicopter training, sponsor flights for other missionaries, or (coming soon!) help purchase a helicopter for Asia-Pacific. Write to us and other missionaries to encourage us. Visit us! Maybe God is even leading you to go. Somehow, be involved, because this is all for God’s glory among the nations.
*The majority of our belongings were sent ahead to our future island of service in Asia-Pacific, while some luggage came back with us to the U.S.A.
**Is the location too ambiguous for you? Contact us directly and we will happily share more specifically about where we will live and work in the future.