The air was filled with anticipation. The day we had spent months preparing for as a team had arrived. Some teammates set out crafts and passport activities for the kids’ zone. Others were out staging signs, balloons and parking spots. Additional MAG staff set out food, a guest book and prepared a photo booth. Energetic worship songs filled the large hangar along with a hefty stage and hundreds of chairs as the band’s sound check came to close. It was time to celebrate all that God had done to make our new hangar and office space a reality and dedicate it to the Lord’s service in a public way.
Our Open Hangar and Dedication event on April 22 was by far the largest event Missionary Air Group has hosted at headquarters. Field staff from 3 countries, ministry partners and partner organizations from at least half a dozen states came to share our joy and hear the story of what God is doing through MAG. The day was filled with special connections as we thanked those who had made the space a reality and shared the vision with new friends. At dinner time I (Carmen) asked the Lord where he wanted me to sit and eat. I sat down as directed and was excited to meet a young man who had driven a considerable distance to attend will likely be one of our flight apprentices in the future. I was eager to connect him with Sean and they were able to talk in greater details about flight training logistics at MAG. God was also so gracious to keep the weather perfect for the day. The strong wind and thunderstorms stayed away until moments before the white truck came to retrieve the bounce house we had rented.
Surrounding our Open Hangar event was our MAG team forum. This was 4 days of training, retreat and meetings with the entire MAG staff present (all 3 countries represented). What a gift to spend that time together. The JAARS development team came to lead us is in a 2 day retreat. We spent time in worship, learning to communicate more effectively and growing in understanding our and our teammates’ strengths. As we opened the retreat we were invited to put the looming tasks on our minds into a box labeled FJTD (For Jesus To Do). I (Carmen) really appreciated that and need one of those boxes on a daily basis when I try to shoulder the tasks that Jesus should carry. It was a blessing that a number of MAG’s local partner churches helped with forum logistics by providing a meeting space with a great kids area and childcare volunteers. It was certainly better for everyone that the little ones got to enjoy a church nursery and play rooms instead of the flight operations office!
In the flight training department we hosted a 2nd consult visit for the Hoblit family who, the Lord willing, will be joining us in Burlington around March 2018. Sean continues to train Aaron who is now ready for the instrument part of his flight training. The one flight rating that Sean needed for his work as an instructor Pilot at MAG is his CFII which equips him to do instrument instruction. Sean has been studying hard for the written examination (which he passed last week) and he begins a 10 day flight regimen to practice and hone his instrument instruction skills in preparation for his check ride with an FAA examiner on June 12th. Part of MAG’s master plan for Sean includes him participating in the intensive month long MAF standardization course in Nampa Idaho. For a while it looked like that was going to be happening currently in June 2017, but was recently decided that Sean’s CFII training was the priority and that the MAF training which takes place in a Cessna 206 airplane would be most effective after he has more time logged in this particular aircraft. On that note, Sean will be helping to ferry our Honduras 206 to Burlington in mid-July. This aircraft is due for its 1000 hour maintenance regimen which will be best done here at headquarters. Sean will be flying with our Guatemala pilot through several countries, over the Gulf of Mexico, through Florida and the Carolinas. This is a big journey for a 6 seater aircraft! Please pray for Sean and Paul as they prepare for the trip and for safety and favor with the customs officials as they travel.
We also have praises to share regarding some long term prayer requests we’ve had.
1) We have settled on a main church family. Sean joined Blacknall Memorial Presbyterian Church in Durham the first week of May (Carmen attended the New Members class but can’t join the church since she is a member of Presbytery in Presbyterian Polity). Gladly, but ironically Carmen was preaching at a different local church for the first time since our move. Blacknall, while a farther distance than we’d recommend for a church home, is a wonderful body of believers and is a great place for us to be fed spiritually. Life as missionaries has us visiting many congregations on a regular basis, but we are glad for a place to put down some roots and begin to volunteer.
2) We are in the process of purchasing our next home. Before we moved we thought we’d be renting longer term somewhere in the area. But as we’ve settled in we’ve discovered it is not a great rental market. After much prayer we’ve sensed the Lord leading us to purchase another home we can use for hospitality and to welcome guests as they come through. We will be right off of I-40 and would love for you to visit! We hope to close in a couple of weeks.
3) The kids had a great school year! While there is more that could be said about this we are thankful that they have done so well with this big transition.
Thank you for your prayers and financial support that make our ministry with MAG possible. We couldn’t be here training missionary pilots without a great team!
In Christ’s Love,
More pictures from the Hangar Dedication event.