Sunday, January 27, 2008

Yahoo! He Passed!

It's over, he passed the T.E.! Praise the Lord and thank you, thank you, thank you for your prayers. And a special thanks to the guys (and gal) at Proclaim Aviation that gave us a huge assist in getting ready!

What's next? Well, first, we'll go as fast as we can to Indiana to hug and kiss our kiddos we've been missing somethin' fierce! Then back to the frigid north in Minnesota!!

What's next in our journey toward mission service in east Africa? Jerry will continue to work in the hangar to gain as much experience as possible; then Support raising (A Biggie!); then back here, JAARS, in North Carolina, for 10 weeks of training in the T.O. (yes, yet another acronym!), the technical orientation. In the T.O., Jerry will learn, among other skills, the precise art of taking off and landing on rural and bush runways in jungles, on mountainsides, in the mud, etc...

And yes, we still ask for your prayers! We're so glad you're along with us for this incredible ride!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Update - Thursday Edition

Maintenance portions of the Technical Evaluation are complete (yeah!). The maintenance debrief will be tomorrow. Because of weather, flights have been delayed. Tomorrow we will plan on two flights and a cross country Saturday morning. IF weather cooperates, that means the flight debrief will be on Saturday afternoon, and we will know the results then.

Thank you so much for the e-mails and the prayers. I have really felt God's strength during this time!


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The TE, so Far...

JAARS, the technical support "wing" of Wycliffe Bible Translators, here in Waxhaw, N.C. is where Jerry is taking the Technical Evaluation AIM-Air requires
Jerry by the Helio-Courier he is flying throughout the TE
We chuckled over the hand-written note on this snack machine in the hangar. Leave it to super-frugal missionaries to try their foreign coins!!
Jerry in the plane. They're "getting to know each other", as he hangar-flies and perfects his pre-flight, as he's done nearly every free moment he's had while here.

You'll have to ask him how he feels about the TE today...but last time someone asked, he said, "hopeful". After the first day's work, he was very anxious and had trouble getting his mind off the evaluation, with the anxiety of the upcoming flights. Now that he's had two flights, he's more calm. But please, keep praying!
Weather has prevented two scheduled flights from occurring, so it looks like we'll be here through the weekend to hopefully get those completed.

Every night we talk to the kids. It seems we miss them more than they miss us! I feel especially direction-less without my typical days' activities of getting them up (or them getting me up!), dressed, fed and educated! But we're so glad they're having fun at Grandma & Grandpa's and get this opportunity to spend an extended stay with them. They'll cherish those memories & miss them when we're living overseas!


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

10 Days to find out the direction of our lives & Desperate Situation in Kenya

It's finally here, the dreaded TE aka, Technical Evaluation, the must-pass intense ten day testing of Jerry's skills as a pilot and aircraft mechanic to determine if he will be allowed to serve as a pilot/mechanic with AIM Air.

We are in Waxhaw, North Carolina, home of JAARS (Jungle Aviation and Radio Service), which is the technical branch providing support to Wycliffe Bible Translators. It was JAARS' pilots that flew Jerry and his family to and from the island of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea, when he
was a boy and his father, a Bible translator for the Naasoi language group. JAARS has made it their business to train missionary pilots to safely deliver precious cargo to and from the mission field and all its jungle/ bush airstrips. AIM Air has partnered with JAARS to borrow on their experience to determine the skill & safety of potential missionary pilots.

For a couple years or so, this has been Jerry's focus: to get the hours, experience and knowledge needed to demonstrate his skill and competency here at the TE.

Jerry studied nearly nightly for almost a year. We moved to Minnesota, and partnered with Proclaim Aviation, in order for Jerry to get more hands on aircraft mechanic experience. He flew with an AIM Air pilot, an AIM air recruiter or two, JAARS evaluator; and most recently spent two weeks with a topnotch former Moody Aviation instructor, all to be at the top of his game. As
his wife, I can say confidently that Jerry could not be more prepared.

That said, we are fully relient on God. We trust the outcome to Him. With your gracious prayers, we know, that God will ease Jerry's anxieties so he can perform to the best of his ability for these ten days of testing under the watchful, note-taking eyes of the JAARS evaluators.

We trust God implicitly, and though I forbid Jerry to mention it now, should he not pass this evaluation; we understand that simply signifies God means for us to take another path of service to Him and the people of Africa.

Please, continue to keep Jerry daily in your prayers during this time. Pray also for me, as I try to be a rock of support for him, and our kids -who we miss fiercely (it's much quieter around here then we're used to!), being cared for by my parents and sister in Indiana.

On a side-note, but also forefront in our minds... Please pray for the people of Kenya, the country in east Africa we anticipate to be our home in a little under a year.
You have probably heard the news of the post-election violence and fighting there, cause mostly be age-old tribal differences. We have personal friends, Andy & Lesa Brown, a five-minute walk away from the largest slum in the world, Kibera, where hundreds are homeless after losing their homes and meager belongings to the violence. 600 people have lost their lives, from the last report I read. Africa Inland Mission has set up the Kenya Crisis Fund (Which you can find a link to on the right sidebar of this page), which will be used:
To provide food, water, clothing and other commodities to refugees
To rebuild homes of pastors in affected areas
To rebuild churches burned down in the crisis
To assist with funeral expenses of members of the Africa Inland Church who were killed.

AIM will rely on AIM-Air heavily to transport needed food and other aid to areas of Kenya in crisis, which include: Mombasa, Kisumu and the slums of Kibera in Nairobi. We long to be a part of God's human hand reaching out to love His people in Africa in situations such as these. I'm certain you see how great the need is for missionary pilots to fill these roles. Our hearts ache to get there as soon as possible, to add a few more willing hands to this "bucket brigade"of hope.


Kenya photos by Andy Brown
Caravan in Sudan photo by Mike DeLorenzo

Friday, January 11, 2008

We’ve been practically “off the grid” since we arrived in Tennessee seven days ago. While Jerry’s getting an intense Aviation Focus with a topnotch instructor, 20 minutes away in town and cell-phone coverage area; the kids and I are staying at a little cabin in the Roan Mountains with no television, cell phone coverage or internet connection. This place is great for its intended purpose -as a retreat center for anyone in ministry. But for this modern family used to Googling anything that crosses their minds, regularly face-booking and e-mailing… we feel quite a bit cut off. We joke that this is training for living in the bush in Africa. (Although, Jerry notes, at least there we’ll have internet via satellite!)

While Jerry’s down at the airport flying, the kids and I really are cut off as we don’t have a vehicle either. But it does provide me plenty of uninterrupted time to home school the kids with few distractions!! And once “school’s” over for the day, they love walking alongside the creek that runs under our cabin or on the hill behind it. I love the beauty and quiet of it here too except for my dear internet connection I pine for; and the fact that the snow covering we arrived to has melted off and allowed…something…I’m apparently allergic to, to drive me mad as my nose has become a veritable faucet. (Yes, we did venture into town for meds, but they make me so drowsy I have to weigh the benefits of relief and letting the kids run around attended only by a very sleepy mommy!) On the occasions when the kids and I go with Jerry down the mountain into town, we’ve enjoyed the scenery. And Grace noted the relief of pressure in her ears by announcing at one point, “Hey, I have my loud back!” Sarcastically, we celebrated with her.

We decided to conquer our every increasing pile of laundry on Sunday afternoon, when, to our chagrin we discovered the retreat center’s Laundromat was closed. So down the mountain into town to wash clothes and check e-mail we went. At the airport, we learned how much junk mail we were missing. We also discovered Olivia had won 3rd place in her age group in an art contest she had entered with other home-schoolers before Christmas! She was to make a collage of a family holiday tradition. She cut and glued pictures of her, Grace & Isaiah sledding in the snow and decorating the Christmas tree. We wonder if both of those traditions will be only memories in Africa. I think you should be able to find her name on the website for Miller Pads and Paper (a home-school art supply store out of Wisconsin that put on the contest), but I don’t know for sure and don’t know the website because I’m internet-deficient, you’ll recall J Anyway, please congratulate her when you see her!

Soooo, back to the laundry excursion, we found an open, mostly clean-Laundromat and had everything in a washer and kids mostly content coloring with mom, when more patrons entered and we discovered tour launrdromat was a “smoking certainly allowed” Laundromat! So after the 45 minute wash and half hour dry plus folding time exposure to second-hand smoke, I do have doubts for a load of mountain-fresh smelling clothes. So if you should have the pleasure of smelling us in the next couple of weeks, you’ll understand why we smell like a tiny Tennessee 24 hour Laundromat. About 20 minutes into the washing and already bored coloring with mom, Grace remarked to Dad, “This is way more unfunner than it first looked!”

This post is being made on a very solitary laptop up in Roan Mountain, TN, and will be posted on our blog by my wonderful hubby tomorrow…who by the way is learning a lot from his instructor but at times feels overwhelmed by all there is to be learned or is at times unhappy with his progress (like pattern work….whatever that is J) All to say, He IS doing great, but spending almost eight years as en engineer has rubbed off on him and he wants to be perfect up front!

This coming Sunday we’ll drive to somewhere in Kentucky to meet my parents and exchange children and vehicles. They have bravely offered to watch AND HOME SCHOOL our kids while Jerry takes the Technical Evaluation Jan 15-26 in North Carolina. Please pray for them. J

In conclusion, please remember to be thankful for your home washer & dryer, your internet connection, cell phone coverage, wonderful parents that will watch your kids when you can’t, and please continue to hold us in your prayers, Jerry especially!

As if you couldn’t tell it was me writing,

Breanna :P