As a family, we like to take some time in January to reflect on the previous year, remember all that God has done, and ask Him for His priorities for us in the coming year. We wanted to share some of these memories with you in a month-by-month format. You can also check out the links at the bottom of the post for more stories and pictures!
2018 started with a bang. Just days before Christmas we had signed a contract on land to build a hangar on, so as soon as government offices re-opened after the New Year, we began applying for permits and started clearing and dirt work. The clock was ticking on our June 2 departure for the U.S., and the Lord did some incredible things (including giving us endurance for some crazy long hours) to allow us to nearly finish the project before we left for furlough in June. Josh was beyond overwhelmed as reality began to set in – he was responsible for a huge construction project in a third world country with limited contacts and limited ability to communicate with local workers. Check out the story of the Angel in Flip-Flops to see how God met our need.
While waiting for building permits, we were allowed by the city engineering office to begin preliminary dirt work and fencing. The Lord led us to a heavy equipment operator with an excavator to do the initial dirt work. Despite breakdowns and delays, we were able to get the pad leveled, driveway cut in, and dig the 6ft deep holes for the piers that the hangar would rest on. Josh and Joshua also spent a week taking care of a 100hr inspection that was due on the helicopter.
When our building permit was released on March 12, we were ready, and began pouring cement for the hangar piers the same day. In less than two weeks we were ready to start assembling the hangar on the piers. We had a a sickening delay when we discovered an SAE to Metric conversion error on our blueprints that led to several of our piers being poured in the wrong place. Working 16-18 hr days, we re-excavated the piers, broke them up with sledgehammers and formed and re-poured the piers. Within a week we were back on track, and the hangar was beginning to take shape!
Cement, and more cement. Over 100 cubic yards by the time we were finished, all mixed in bagger mixers with water hauled from town, and sand and gravel measured and bagged by hand. The main hangar floor was a single pour requiring 350 sacks of Portland cement, 700 sacks of sand, 1050 sacks of gravel and 2500 gallons of water. We started at 4:00am, and finished the final trowel at 3:00am the next morning. By the end of April, the hangar floor, ramp area and helipad were poured, just in time as rainy season was fast approaching.
While there was plenty of work to finish outside, our main focus turned inside – doors, windows, walls to enclose a parts room, office and bathroom, lights, plumbing fixtures, the list seemed never-ending. Once again the Lord provided just the help we needed. Co-workers from Germany had just moved to town and were in between ministries, and he has a background in finish carpentry and construction! With time running out in earnest, we needed all the help we could get. Candy somehow managed to continue supply buying, homeschooling and record keeping until almost the end of May, when she transitioned to packing our house up and preserving anything that could be damaged by mold, rats or roaches.
As the sun set on June 1st, Josh worked into the night finishing the last of the major electrical connections. With a city power connection still months away, we were operating off of our personal generator, and it required a lot of guesswork and mind-reading to figure out how the power company was likely to connect our non-standard 120v/240v transformer, and wire the main panel accordingly. June 2 found us headed to Manila for a week of refreshing, encouraging meetings with all of our co-workers from across the Philippines before our flight back the the U.S.
We took a few weeks when we first arrived back in States to recover, renew and adjust, and reconnect with our family and home church. (And eat American food!)
Early August found us at our main Aviation headquarters in Arizona, dialoguing with our leadership about our future ministry. As we wrote in our last update, when we moved to the Philippines over nine years ago, we assumed that our ministry would always be flying, but it became clear as we talked that the Lord has given us other gifts and experience that he wants to use to grow his church in the Philippines. It took us a while to process the reality that our ministry will no longer involve flying, and to get excited about the things that the Lord is leading us into, but by September we were ready to start visiting and sharing with current partners and potential new partners.
We spent most of September seeking the Lord and continuing to talk with our leadership, both in the U.S. and in the Philippines, to clarify exactly what our new ministries would look like. We also began preparing presentation materials and scheduling visits to supporters.
Our first major road trip on this furlough! We had a refreshing, encouraging time with supporters across the eastern U.S. from Michigan to Pennsylvania to Southern Virginia. We took the opportunity to see some of the places so significant in the history of our country, and it was fun to see history come alive for our kids!
Josh began spending some time at our home church, helping out with maintenance and taking the opportunity to connect with more people there. We also were able to connect with some of our supporter in our home area, and enjoyed three family Thanksgiving get-togethers!
After another whirlwind round of visits with friends, family and supporters around Christmas, we headed out on another road trip at the end of December, this one visiting supporters in South Texas. We had a wonderful time re-connecting with old friends and meeting new friends who share our passion for the gospel, and for the unreached peoples of the Philippines.
Since June we’ve put over 20,000 miles on our car, most of them traveling to meet with our ministry partners, and we feel like we’re just getting started!
We’re asking the Lord to add both prayer and financial partners to our ministry during our time in U.S., and there are several ways that you can help:
- Forward our updates and contact info to friends who have a heart for missions
- Host an event (typically a home group/life group type of setting) where we can share about our ministry and connect with potential new partners
- Be an advocate to local churches you are connected with.
Please contact us if you feel led to get involved in any of these ways.
Over the last few months we’ve also gradually been writing blog posts, sharing stories from our last few years in the Philippines, and some details of our new ministry positions. Check them out at the links below.