Hello from sunny southeastern Arizona! Well we finally made it to the New Tribes Mission Aviation Center in McNeal, AZ. We are thrilled to have finally arrived safely after a 3 day cross country trek with a 16 ft. Penske truck and van packed with everything we own, including Mel & I, our three girls, Mom and Dad Simmons, and Mama and Papa Owens. Yeah, I know – I’m still not sure how the logistics worked out on that one either, but we managed. We arrived on Wednesday, August 6th, and were greeted by about 15 eager co-workers waiting to help us unload all our things! Praise God! The last thing anyone wants to do after driving for three days is to unpack. We enjoyed 10 days of settling in with help from our folks before we started our week of “Orientation Class.”
I started maintenance projects the following week and was fully engrossed in rebuilding an Elevator for the Cessna 206 mission plane that I will be flying. Stephen VanKampen, another mechanic going through the training, and I spent a week in September in Idaho going through some safety and security training, which involved spending lots of time outdoors, camping. During that time, I was able to meet Gracia Burnham and Frank Peretti, which was a highlight of the trip for me.
The week after returning from Idaho, I started flying the Cessna Turbo 206 Stationair with veteran NTMA pilot Bart Haines, who served in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. I have been flying every day for many weeks now, and am loving every minute of it! I’ve been practicing short-field take offs and landings, mountain flying techniques, landing on the 1400 ft. strip…only as wide as the airplane, and “package drops” 50 feet off the ground. Soon I’ll be experiencing the thrill of the 1000 foot long strip…sweet! Thank the Lord for BRAKES!
God has been very good to us since the last time we wrote. Sarah, Morgan, & Hannah have settled in nicely, and Melody has been doing a fabulous job of homeschooling Sarah and managing the household so I can concentrate on turning wrenches and flying.
To all of you who have faithfully stood by us throughout this long journey, we love you! God has given us the best support team we could ever ask for. We are constantly aware of how difficult this would be without the prayer and support of our friends, family and most of all our Heavenly Father.
from the Simmons Family