Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Planning for the road ahead

Since our trip to New York and our AIM Candidate Week, we investigated a ministry called Proclaim Aviation. Their passion is to get ready, willing, and able missionary pilots and mechanics out into the field as quickly as possible.
Currently our plan is to go to Kenya with AIM-AIR as short term missionaries. The purpose of this is two-fold:

  1. Gain required A&P maintenance technician experience so I can go with AIM full time as a pilot mechanic, and
  2. Get a preview of life in Nairobi and serving with AIM.
After that I will return to work at Cessna. During this time I would get back up to speed as a pilot and work on passing the Technical Evaluation. This rigorous test determines if I am accepted as a pilot/ mechanic or not. I am guessing this process will take a year. We would still have some of our school loans when we leave for Kenya full time.

Proclaim Aviation offers us is a chance to spend a year in sunny Minnesota. I will be essentially a missionary for them and obtain my A&P maintenance technician experience I need, as well as stay current with my flying, and they will help us pay off our school loans. After a year with them we will be ready to jump into the Technical Evaluation and then leave for Kenya full time, probably six months ahead of our original schedule and not carrying our student loans.

We would miss the six month preview of Kenya.

I have posted a link to Proclaim's latest newsletter on the right. It features a superb story from AIM-AIR pilot Matt Olson.

We have prayed over this decision and met with our Prayer Advisory Group. But we want to know: What are your thoughts? Original plan or plan B? Proclaim values missionary aviation and believes that the demand is on the increase. Leave a comment or send us an e-mail regarding our plans or your thoughts on mission aviation and long road to get out on the field.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Reach Africa - AIM International

Check out the newest video from Africa Inland Mission. It captures where AIM is today and where we are going.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Suntan to frostbite in a half hour span

Watching the weather is a large part of being a pilot. The past three days have been hard not to notice. Tuesday was sunny in the 70's. The next morning was 50 degrees colder, and brought sleet. We now have a beautiful coating of dry powder. Topped by a cold, clear night sky.

I am not sure if I will miss the snow, winter, and temperatures changing by the minute. Either way, it makes for a striking temperature map.
All temperatures are given in degrees Fahrenheit with apologies to friends across the border.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

At the gate

I am sitting at Kansas City International airport. Breanna and the kids are going to be here any minute after an extended stay with cousins and Uncle Glen and Aunt Maria. Of course the house is clean, the dishes washed, the laundry clean ... maybe that was just a dream.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Genesis reflection

Rain. Dishes. Commercials. Tears. Counsel. Testimonies. Ping. Pong. Coffee. Strong. Groups. Prayer. Singing. George of the Jungle. Walks in the desert.
Memories of a beginning. Words can describe and even relate, but they can't capture. Not fully. The new bonds that were formed, mixed with the sobering reminder that our next steps are not intended to be easy or safe. They begin a journey of exhilaration, wanting to escape, wanting to resist, and belonging. These steps will also leave footprints into eternity. It's what life is about.

Tidbits learned during Candidate Week:
  • Allow enough room to see the rear tires of the car in front of you. If you have to, this gives you room to turn around.
  • Plan out everything your family needs to say goodbye to.
  • Fried corn bought roadside (if it is still hot) is OK to eat.
  • At least in Wichita, Kenyans may refer to donuts as "Police Food."
  • AIM covers ALL the bases!
  • We can look forward to having a house help.
The best part? Sharing these days with collegues -- the seasoned veterans with stories to share and others like us: on the brink of something entirely new.

Monday, November 13, 2006

AIM Candidate Week - Man of sorrows

Yesterday and today we had morning sessions as a large group of AIM candidates. Yesterday, this was followed by a tour of the AIM facilities. Growing up in the Wide World of Wycliffe, I was surprised and impressed by the fact that the department offices were all in the same 3 story building as our dorm rooms. All the creativity and resources I had been using and displaying were generated in a handful of office rooms down below by a handful of staff personnel. Incredible!
Today we met with a counselor to go over the results of our personality tests we had completed several weeks ago. Tests of many many questions; from the obscure, to the very personal, to the obvious. Some points of discussion were hard, even discouraging, but nothing was suprising. The conclusion is passed on to the directors to decide how we should proceed. Tiring though it was, I appreciate the thoroughness of all the preparation work we are going through.
In our morning session we were told about grieving and loss. Understanding what we will be losing as we leave for Africa. Understanding how we can prepare. Understanding that it is normal. Understanding that Jesus was aquainted with grief, and did not cover it up or hide it. Not that any of this makes it easier, it just passes quicker.

Friday, November 10, 2006

NYC is people. Lotsa lotsa people. And also the statue of "Libervy"

Today was our first full day in New York. We hung our hats in Pearl River last evening. This is the Africa Inland Mission - US headquarters ... and to be honest, very charming. The kids love the playground and trees.
Today we had free time. The ONE thing we all wanted to see was Lady Liberty. Phil and Heather Enoch, AIM staff members, watched Izzy, while we took the girls on a hectic public transportation hopping adventure.
11 am: Pizza downtown Pearl River
12:50 First bus we saw going to NYC drove right past the bus stop.
1:20 pm: A two hour bus ride to 41 St. Grace read a book about what she called "The Statue of Liverby."
3:30 pm: A walk to time square,
3:45 pm: a jaunt on the subway to South Ferry.

4:30 pm: Then we boarded Staten Island Ferry. Got some great pics as the sun was low over the water and really lit up the statue.
5pm: Exited the ferry than ran around back into the terminal to re-board.
5:30pm: Back down to the subway to get to Penn Station.
5:45pm: On a NJ Transit train to come back north.
6pm: Missed a transfer at Secaucus Junction.
6:20 pm: A conductor told us we were on the wrong train. We should get off and catch one going back.
6:50 pm: The opposite train didn't go to Secaucus. So we went to Hoboken.
7:20pm: We got off the train to hear "Final call" our next train.
7:25pm: Sprinted with kids onto the train.
8:30 pm: Arrived in Pearl River. Dr. Ted Barnett picked us up and even bought us KFC! We missed supper and our first meeting for Candidate Week.

When I asked what the first meeting covered I found out it was just the vision and purpose of AIM. Great!

Saturday, September 30, 2006


At night I can hear them calling. In the morning they grab onto me as I head out the door. Stuff is everywhere! We are in the magnificently sobering task called "sorting". Most won't make the cut. The more digging in obscure places where things are, the higher the yard sale pile grows!
The release is exhilerating, and the mission ahead of us hits home. Saying goodbye to odds and ends we thought would make a home and ready to jump into the ultimate cause.

The excitement is building inside the house ... thoughts of people across Africa knowing and enjoying a God that compels us to move out of what we thought was a home.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Going to bootcamp.

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The stall warning wailed, the tires chirped, and the radio crackled: “Turn right at end of runway. Contact ground.” We had landed in Colorado! The pilot, a friend and Cessna coworker, Rob Young, taxied the Cessna single engine airplane to parking.

The weekend of August 4& 5, Breanna and I enjoyed the mountains, rested, and prepared. Monday and Tuesday were long days as we attended a fund raising training conference in Denver. They call it “Boot Camp” for a reason. We listened, role-played, and formed a strategy for the next months. The preparation “home work” was rigorous, but our excitement is growing as we imagine the next three months.

We want to be prepared when we leave for Kenya. I see the conference as training for team building. We have to build a team to “go with us” since we can not do this on our own. By taking this time for training now, I am excited by how much more potential our ministry will have. In fact, I want to share what we have learned with other missionaries.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

We're Going To Africa

Tonight we found ourselves gazing at an Arizona desert sunset. The mountains around us lit in waning light under a dramatic backdrop of storm clouds above. This beautiful ending to the day fit perfectly with our time here in Peoria with family, attending a mission conference at Grace Bible Church in Sun City. We spend our time with Mom and Dad Hurd, Gweni and her husband John and brand new daughter Sierra, as well as Uncle Chuck Burton and Great Aunt Clarice Mayfield. Catching up with relatives is always very interesting and we are meeting many devoted supporters of both my parents and Gweni's family.
It is moving to be reminded of how my relatives have been involved in missions, from the Navajo nation, to the mountains of Pakistan. I heard my Uncle Chuck Burton describe the work in their clinic and his deep concern and love for the Pakistani people, even though he no longer lives there.
This has been a great opportunity for us to share with our friends the news that we have been accepted to Africa Inland Mission for a short term assignment. We are planning on leaving in November, 2006 and I will be working at the AIM-AIR hangar in Nairobi, Kenya as an aircraft mechanic. We are humbled and encouraged by the support of Dale Beverly, the AIM Kansas representative, who recommended to AIM-AIR we do this, even though i do not have all the necessary experience. Since receiving my Airframe & Powerplant mechanics license at LeTourneau University, I haven't worked as a mechanic, and instead have been busy as an Electrical Engineer at Cessna Aircraft, which will also be valuable experience to have on the field. This assignment in Africa will give me the chance to get my hands dirty again and to also allow us to become acquainted with AIM-AIR and with Kenya. AIM-AIR will also have the chance to know us and observe my work while we serve there. God willing, we will return next year and be ready to take the next steps to be full-time AIM missionaries.