May the joy, power and glory of our resurrected Lord fill you with all hope now and always! Some highlights since our last newsletter…
Sean and Steve, MAG Chief Pilot/ Acting CEO, went to JAARS (the aviation branch of Wycliffe Bible Translators) for a 2-week supervisor pilot course at the beginning of February. It was more personality tests and management theory than Sean typically enjoys, but they both came away more equipped to lead others well. The Lord also impressed upon Sean’s heart the importance of using these skills as we lead our children to maturity in Christ.
This year our apprentice Aaron went to Rus Rus in Honduras to help with the big IHS medical brigade. In addition to using his air frame and power plant skills (aka airplane mechanic) to fix what ever needed fixing, he used his considerable photography skills to capture the event. God provided him with a very helpful drone camera prior to the trip, and Sean’s CFI credentials gave Aaron the sign-off to be an official drone pilot with the FAA. Here is the video Aaron produced:
We recently welcomed the Hoblit family to the Burlington area. Brad Hoblit began as the third pilot apprentice last week. They have a 2-year-old son Boston and a 5-year-old daughter Lillia. Our Lilliana is glad to have another little girl in the midst of the MAG family.
Another big celebratory day occurred recently at the airport as apprentice Jason Maust made his first solo flight (meaning nobody else in the airplane). This is the point at which the pilot has gained enough skills and abilities to be able to fly the airplane without an instructor sitting in the co-pilot seat. The flight went smooth, as Jason flew 3 trips “around the pattern.” This means takeoff, fly a circle around the airport to the other end of the runway, and then land. Way to go Jason! It was a joyful afternoon as we see the fruit of training emerge. One aviation tradition that we continued was cutting the pilot’s shirt, from the day of their solo, to hang on the wall for posterity. In American aviation folklore, legend tells that many years ago, when there were no radio communication between a student-pilot and their instructor, they both tended to sit in a tandem aircraft: the student occupied the front seat while the instructor was located behind him. Because there were no radios, the instructor was forced to tug on the student’s shirt tail in order to get his attention. As a successful first solo flight indicated that a student was ready to fly without any escort it also meant that the shirt tail was no longer needed. Hence, there is no longer a need for the shirt tail, and it is cut off by the proud instructor!
Last week was our triennial MSI audit (MSI stands for Mission Safety International). This safety organization provides consultation services throughout the mission aviation world. Each member organization is required to have a safety audit once every three years at one of its bases. This time it was our turn at headquarters! We learned that the idea of a “safety audit” was innovated in the world of mission aviation and then launched in commercial sector as well. The 2 auditors who were with us have a lifetime of mission aviation experience. As a part of their audit they interview everyone, do flight ride a longs, and maintenance evaluations to determine what our safety culture is and what we can do to improve.
Carmen’s area of ministry has been quite busy the last few months as well. MAG hosted a technical evaluation for a family in the application process. This mean lots of hospitality on our end, but it is a ministry we enjoy. It is exciting to see God at work raising up potential new coworkers to join us with MAG. Carmen is going to be undertaking the task of “candidate coach” staying in touch with, praying with, and encouraging families who are in the process of becoming MAG staff, but still need to complete some extra steps.
This month we have been hosting classes from Lilly’s preschool for field trips at the airport. There are 6 preschool classes at Burlington Christian Academy, so this is a lot of little ones. But we are eager for them to learn about airplanes and God’s love for remote people groups. We pray God’s plants seeds in their hearts and their parent’s hearts from their experience at MAG. In early May, Carmen is planning a discovery day for a local homeschool CO-OP at the airport.
Another episode of joyous hospitality was hosting a church group for our first Operation Serve at the MAG Hanger. A youth group and some adults from the Mebane Presbyterian Church came to learn about the ministry God is doing through MAG and offer their time to help with some deep cleaning projects around the office and hangar. Sean took some participants on a short flight. For 2 of the teenage girls, this was their first flight ever! We look forward to more of this kind of connection with other churches as time goes on.
Big on our horizon is Sean’s month-long standardization course at the MAF (Missionary Aviation Fellowship) headquarters in Nampa Idaho. This course covers topics and flight time such as new runway evaluation, air drops, and difficult mountain flying. This will help Sean and MAG’s operations in a number of ways. It is a requirement for Sean to be a fill-in for field operations, and it will also be helpful information as apprentices move into the advanced training module in their time with MAG. Aaron will be ready for his advanced training this summer. We are so grateful and blessed by a Presbytery Grant that provided a substantial amount that is needed for this training. Here is a video from another pilot who went to this training:
We have also had some inquiries as to how our monthly support level is so we thought we should give an update on that as well. We are so grateful how God continues to grow our monthly support team. A little over a year ago we needed another $1,500 in monthly support for long term sustainability. Now we are just $800 shy of our monthly goal. It is such a joy and privilege to have behind us so many individuals and churches, who are investing in raising up future missionary pilots and bringing help and hope by air!
Thank you for your prayers and partnership!
Sean and Carmen Garrigan