Monday, June 30, 2008

Last Day, Here we go!

Friday was Jerry's last day at the hangar.

Today Jerry's on the second leg of the drive from Dallas, TX. to here with his mom, Phyllis, who will bravely watch our three kids, while we drive and visit the west coast for three weeks, catching up with friends and family and sharing about our journey to the mission field in Africa and how we will get there!

We will REALLY miss the kids. And as we learned from our January trip for the TE, we will miss them more than they will miss us (Grandparents are just a whole lot of fun!!) So please pray for us,
and Isaiah

especially at night when their absence will be felt most! (he, he!! Jerry will not be happy I posted this. He rolls his eyes at my love of pictures of him and the kids sleeping)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

I am not sure if this is the start of the “big plunge” after climbing the start hill. That’s always the most anticipated part on roller coasters, right? Yesterday I finished up at the hangar where I have been working for the past ten months. Now I am a passenger in an Airbus A319 airliner somewhere over southeastern Colorado and heading to Dallas at 39,000 feet.Earlier today I flew with Cameron and Chris in a single engine Piper from Worthington to Omaha. Chris is the next Proclaim candidate and will takeover at the shop as well as flying.
The flight seemed significant to me. As I made my way to a shuttle to take me to the airline terminal, Chris jumped into the pilot seat to fly the Piper back. A completed transition ... I’m moving closer to the mission field, and Chris is coming up right behind.
I have mixed emotions. Leaving is hard, but it is satisfying to think of the new guys that are stepping up into a desperately needed role in the farthest corners of the Earth.On the flight from Omaha to Denver I whipped out my handheld GPS to get a better idea of where we were (the onboard maps have these annoying commercials that keep popping up!) I felt like I was cheating as I could see the oncourse direct route and see we were a little off as well as 200 feet below assigned altitude. It was almost like peeking in on what the pilots (well, OK the autopilot) was doing. I am sure it was the GPS that was in error.
On the ground, I remember a time at Cessna when we were developing the flap system for the Citation Mustang. An issue came up on how slow was too slow for the flaps to move. One engineer reported, after returning from California on the airlines, all the flap speeds he observed on that trip by looking out the window. 72 seconds for one type of Boeing, 47 seconds for another ... The Airbus I was riding on to Denver retracted full flaps in a stately 11 seconds. :)
In Dallas, I will stay overnight with Dad and Mom and also my brother, Steve. It has been awhile since I have been to Dallas. Tomorrow after church, Mom and I will drive back to Minnesota. She is going to watch the kids while Bre and I meet up with as many people as possible in July. Mom is really excited about this chance to care for these three... spirited grandchildren. The kids are excited too. Mom will continue to be my hero, especially during these weeks!
This is an exciting change for us. As the unknown seems to loom ever larger, and our pulse quickens, I am acutely aware of my Provision. God has cared for us even when we thought we were caring for ourselves on our own. He will surely be with us as we plunge further, and further, down (referring back to the roller coaster analogy, definitely not the airliner I am in!)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

July Travel Plan

First to Idaho, then Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona then back home

Monday, June 09, 2008

Faith Lessons from a Five Year-Old

Over Memorial Day weekend, we visited friends from Wichita, meeting part way in Omaha. I (Breanna) took the girls to a small water park while the guys went to the Strategic Air Command museum.

Olivia and her friends, Abbey & Madelaine, that were closer to her age, went down the water slides all afternoon. After coaxing Grace to go down the shorter “mild” slide on my lap, she exclaimed, “I though that was the end of my life!” So I took her to the kiddy pool area, with a toddler-size butterfly slide. She stopped at the top, and I thought she said, “first I want to play.” So I turned around to look for other things to do in the kiddy area, but heard Grace talking, but not to me. She said, “Dear God thank you for today and help me to be brave and go down the butterfly slide, amen.” Then without a moment’s hesitation, she went down the slide.  

Ever since, she’s been a true model of “praying without ceasing”. She prayed her computer game would load on the computer. She prayed her friend Brit’s kite would fly. She prayed that Jerry would be able to drive the lawn mower out of the mud it was stuck in. 

We chuckle at the things she prays about, but shouldn't. She's teaching us a great lesson about praying no matter what the issue, or how important it may seem to others. 

Even so, we couldn't help a chuckle when she prayed that we wouldn't die in Africa (after we'd watched a movie in which a boy in Africa dies from a snake bite)


Homeschooling is amazing. The world is your classroom instead of the classroom being your world. I (Jerry) just usually see the highlights, but recently the girls had a fantastic project we could all observe. A kit came with a jar of caterpillars and a gel at the bottom for them to feed on.
The caterpillars swelled over a two week period from barely visible to large, juicy, hairy wrigglers. Then they climbed up the jar and attached to the lid. They shook and shook, stopped, then shook some more. Over the period of several days, they finished their chrysalis.
Then all was still for a long time. Then one by one new creatures emerged. They looked quite different and had beautiful wings - useless at first, but they held them up for a while as they dried into something capable of carrying their body through the air.
What really amazed me, however, was that not all the butterflies emerged. In fact, the instructions with the kit say it is normal for several caterpillars to not make the transformation.
I thought of myself, especially my courage. My thoughts of butterflies always assumed it was a natural progression for a caterpillar. I never thought of the risk. Could I allow myself to go into an unconscious state in a cocoon with the hope of emerging a brand new incredible flying being, knowing that at the same time this might be my very last breath?
I also think of Jesus’ poignant observation: “...whoever loses his life will preserve it.” I confess, I want Jesus to transform me, but I don’t like to think about the risk too much. The analogy breaks down with the bullet proof guarantee given by God. I won’t die in the cocoon. The transformation will happen, but I have to be ready to give up everything.
So, let me slip into a silken mummy bag of sorts. Everything is out of my control except to trust that God knows what he is doing. When I open my eyes, what will fill my vision? Wait and see, wait and see together.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Gearing Up

Our LAST yard sale is over. Yes, I mean it this time. It took a week of sorting, hauling, pricing, setting up and then slowly turning lobster red sitting outside praying for customers to come by. Profit-wise, it was mostly a flop, but it did get us to sort and pare down the belongings we toted here from Kansas. 

We're now ready to PACK for AFRICA!!! Why are we packing already? Because the 7 months remaining before we leave for Kenya on January 9 will be busy. Here are our tentative plans:

June: Jerry finishes his last month working as an aircraft mechanic with Proclaim Aviation. We'll compose and send a newsletter to update you on what we've been doing and where we're going. We'll plan upcoming fundraising trips, because filling our outgoing and monthly support funds is all that remains to get us to the mission field! Please e-mail us if you, your church, small group desire a vist & want to hear about our journey to Africa: (for our e-mail, see this link)

July: Jerry & Breanna travel to the west coast to raise support. Jerry's mom has graciously agreed to come here from Texas and stay with the kids the entire month. We'll be back to celebrate Olivia's 10th and Isaiah's 3rd birthdays at the end of the month.

August: Jerry & Breanna will travel to Kansas and Texas to raise support. The kids will stay with Breanna's parents and younger sister in Indiana.

September-November: Two weeks much anticipated family vacation, a breath before the plunge. Then 10 weeks of flight training in the science of being a safe bush pilot in North Carolina.

Thanksgiving and Christmas with family along with lots of packing and good-byes.

January 9: Fly out of New York for Nairobi, Kenya in east Africa!!!!