Friday, November 28, 2008

"All you care about is getting to Africa!"
Ouch, the outburst was something I needed to hear. It had been simmering all afternoon.
Deep inside I knew I was guilty.
"No, no honey. I care more about you. Always have."
Whoops ... answered too easily. Did I mean it or was it just talk? The past two weeks I have been eating, breathing ... whatever we need to do to get ready. I am not a workaholic by nature (I can hear those giggles from the white phenolic desks at Cessna as I type that). But this is different: I can throw myself into this ministry. I love communicating electronically, I love the idea of who we are serving, and I do kind of like airplanes. Just a wee little bit.
So this holiday weekend I am hoping to be around family and let this big push to Dec 10 rest for awhile.
You know what? I think God likes to wait until we are drained and fallen into a period of rest. Then He moves... no, I don't think that's it. He speaks, whispers, even, or perhaps just breathes, and everything comes into place.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

So Grateful!!!

We are SO thankful for are family, friends and those of you so generously giving of yourselves and resources to help our ministry through aviation in Africa!! Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

November newsletter

Our latest newsletter is here! You can take a peek here.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The woman and the watch

Six minutes. Five passengers stuffed into the airplane. Cargo tied down in the back and loaded in the pack screwed onto the bottom of the plane. The pilot’s mind had looked at every angle, every option, and every combination told him he had six minutes.

The other option is to be stuck for the night. With the last rays of daylight, an airplane’s options fade away as the exotic terrain below the airplane changes from a managed concern to a deadly unknown.

Then someone asks the pilot, “What about her?”

She stood quietly outside the plane. She was from the village, and obviously near full term in her pregnancy. She needed to get into town. There was not room for her, and the schedule allowed no flexibility.

“Can she get to town another way?”

“Well, yes. In two days, a truck with gravel comes through. She could sit on top.”

A glance at the airplane ready to go, then he looked back at the woman. He could take her where she needed to go, but it would throw the entire schedule off by half a day. Getting to their destination would not be an option before dark.

A glance at the watch. Six minutes were up. He tried to think of every option, but the picture of her riding on top of the gravel was too grim.

“Alright, change of plans.”

Passengers climbed back out, cargo was rearranged, and they helped the lady onboard. In a matter of minutes she arrived safely at the nearby town. The original passengers had to wait until morning to leave for their intended destination.

Whatever the pilot thought of his decision then, the truth became clearer several months later. He stopped in the same village and a man came and approached him.

“Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You saved my wife’s life!”

“You are welcome. But I just helped her get to a place to have her baby. She was doing fine on her own.”

Somebody pulled the pilot aside and explained what had happened. 30 minutes after arriving in town, the lady went in premature labor. The baby needed to come out, but because of complications, she needed an emergency C section. Fortunately, the only person in that part of Central African Republic who could perform the operation was a pastor who lived in THAT town. He had been trained by a missionary doctor several years early.

He successfully performed the operation that saved the mother’s life and the baby’s.

“I don’t know what that thing is you wear on your wrist,” the husband said. “I know all you pilots who fly these airplanes listen to them. You look at it and say ‘We must go now!’ or ‘We cannot wait for them.’ I do not know why you did not listen to this thing last time, but I am very happy you did not. Thank you, because my wife is alive. Thank you for not listening to that thing.”

The pilot, who was one of my instructors, shared this story with us during my orientation last September. He said “That conversation changed how I viewed my flying forever.”

Friday, November 21, 2008

Nairobi Airlift (or getting the Hurds to Africa)

November is trucking along ... way too fast!
I was encouraged to hear from some friends in Minnesota saying they want to help out with the outgoing expenses sometime in the near future.
I also received this in our inbox from our pastor in Wichita and wanted to share it with everyone. It is a big encouragement:
(The picture is Dennis and his wife Cathy, with Grace and a one day old Isaiah)

To those who are prayerfully, carefully, financially, and compassionately supporting Jerry and Breanna Hurd:
I have had the privilege of knowing Jerry and Breanna for the last several years. I have watched them grow, develop, and go through some very important, and sometimes difficult steps of maturity and transformation. I will tell you as I have told them: “I am very proud of them and the ways they have humbled themselves, answered God’s call of ministry on their lives, and paid the price of preparation for the mission field.” And, now it is time for them to launch and labor in the field of God’s choosing. God has prepared them, and they have done much to prepare themselves.
I wanted to share this with those of you who have committed to be a part of their Support Team and ask you to join me in assisting them to “get this mission off the ground” - I had to use a flying illustration... The Hurds need our help, prayers, and “Team Support” now in this final blitz as they complete their fund raising efforts and pack their bags for Kenya. Will you help me help them?

I am telling many friends, and I am encouraging the Eastside Family to prayerfully and financially support the Hurd family in several ways. Some are choosing to “adopt” them for Christmas and send monthly support. Some are planning to help with launch expenses as a Christ Birthday offering. Some will be devoted prayer warriors on their behalf.

I want to invite you to join me as we do all we can to identify a few more partners for them who will be added to this Support Team. Will you help? I hope you will also do all you can to identify this last amount of support they need.

Thanks for reading and responding to God’s leadership in your life and in the life of the Hurd family.

God’s best to each of you!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

This is it ... the month that counts

Orientation is over (Yay! \o/ ) . I finished at the head of my class (the fact I was the only student is beside the point, right?) We moved in with Breanna's parents (many thanks to them!) and are gearing up for the home stretch.

Our outgoing funds are the biggest item left to tackle. I want to invite every one of you to send us your ideas in an e-mail for how you may be able to help out! We want to post these ideas as they come in.

We have only one month left before all the support is due. By posting ideas from our support team all over the world it will encourage all of us as God's family comes together in the face of a seemingly impossible goal.

By December 10 we need to be at 100% for both our outgoing expenses and our monthly pledges. On our drive up to Indiana yesterday I worked on the spreadsheet to find out exactly where we are. Here is what I discovered:

Our monthly pledges are at 78%. Thank you so much to those of you who have committed yourselves to be a part of our team! This leaves about $1000 / month in commitments we need.

Our outgoing funds are at 33%. Much of the funds have been used for our preparation and training up to this point. What is left is the cost of travel and shipping, our orientation in Africa, and our first few months of living expenses when we get over there. This totals to $18,730.15 that needs to be raised by next month.

Thanks so much for being a part of our family's God adventure! It is humbling to be surrounded by many many generous families and churches. Above all, we trust God completely with this situation. He has brought us so far, and we are excited to see how He carries us further!

Asante Sana,

The Hurds

P.S. Click this link to read why we are supported...

How to support us

Support Africa Inland Mission
If you are interested in supporting us financially, first of all ... thank you so much. It is always overwhelming to read an e-mail or a letter from a friend saying they want to be a financial part of our calling to serve in Africa.

These gifts are very appreciated. They are sent 100% to our family and our ministry,  and they are tax deductible. There are four options available:

1. By check. The check should be made out to Africa Inland Mission. The check and a separate note stating the check is "for the ministry of Jered and Breanna Hurd" should be sent to Africa Inland Mission at:
Africa Inland Mission Int.
P.O. Box 178 
Pearl River, NY 10965 

2. Online. Africa Inland Mission's website allows contributions to be made to our ministry. The website form has a place to write our names under the "Missionary Name" column, a place to specify the amount and then your information to be entered below. To access the form, click here.

3. Automatic withdrawal. A specified amount can be automatically withdrawn from a checking, savings, or credit card account on the 15th of each month. For instructions and information click here.

4. By phone. Contributions can be made by calling 1-800-254-0010.

If you have any questions, please send us an e-mail and we will try to answer your question, or send it on to someone who would know the answer.

Asante sana,
The Hurds

concerning support,

Breanna and I serve as "faith missionaries." In short, that means we work as volunteers under the banner and authority of Africa Inland Mission, but without a salary from them. Our financial needs are met by the generous contributions given every month from individuals, families, and churches. These partners make up our Monthly Support Team and each pledge a specific amount that is counted towards our anticipated monthly budget. Understandably, the actual amount they may be able to give varies from month to month. This is the faith aspect to the model. We are trusting God to provide what we need when it is needed.
This provision usually shows up as gifts given in addition to someone's monthly pledge or as special gifts which may be from individuals who are not even members of our Monthly Support Team.

As missionaries, we are servants of those who cannot "afford" us. Our goal is not financial success, but instead the completion of God's work that exists inside an epic that spans eternity. In order to not be a burden on those whom we serve, we rely on our friends and family in faith to "send us out" and serve as our Monthly Support Team.
A practical example that explains this: African pastors and missionaries that need a flight to the remote areas we serve are better able to afford the cost of the flight because our salary is not part of the operating cost of the airplane. 
This approach is not new. Even in the first book of the Bible, Genesis, God demonstrates the model of support for those doing God's work full time.

All support must be given to Africa Inland Mission with a separate note included specifying it is for our ministry. This allows the money to be considered tax deductible. There are several different ways that you may send support. Read more here...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Our vehicle fund

If you have helped, or are interested in helping, us purchase a vehicle, thank you so much. The Subaru we are driving now simplies life in our bustling city. However, we have been asked to move to a more rural setting, and we are saving up our vehicle fund to go towards a much needed 4wd.

These gifts are very appreciated. They are saved towards a vehicle with very little taken out for administration,  and they are tax deductible. There are four options available:

1. By check. The check should be made out to Africa Inland Mission. The check and a separate note stating the check is "for Jered and Breanna Hurd's vehicle fund" should be sent to Africa Inland Mission at:
Africa Inland Mission Int.
P.O. Box 178 
Pearl River, NY 10965 

2. Online. Africa Inland Mission's website allows contributions to be made to our ministry. for the dropdown menu under Categories & Funds select "Missionaries (USA Sending Unit)"
Then select "Hurd, J & B Vehicle Project 034860010" To access the page, click here.

3. Automatic withdrawal. A specified amount can be automatically withdrawn from a checking, savings, or credit card account on the 15th of each month. For instructions and information click here.

4. By phone. Contributions can be made by calling 1-800-254-0010. Be sure to mention the vehicle fund.

Asante Sana!

The Hurds

Friday, November 07, 2008

Training is Over!

Jerry's finished his training here (pre field orientation), the last technical requirement before our departure to Africa.

His instructors and the rest of the aviation department celebrated with us with a spread of yummy food and a certificate of Jerry's accomplishment.

We're grateful to all the guys that gave of themselves and their God given talents to prepare us for service with AIM Air in Africa!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Rejoice with flutes

And you will sing 

       as on the night you celebrate a holy festival; 

       your hearts will rejoice 

       as when people go up with flutes 

       to the mountain of the LORD, 

       to the Rock of Israel.

Isaiah 30:29

I'm back! From where?

Let me explain ... no there is too much ... let me sum up.

The past five weeks we have been in Waxhaw, North Carolina so I can go through pre-field training with Jungle Aviation and Radio Service (JAARS). The training has been crammed into my cranium for eight hours a day, but it all began to make sense last Thursday.

The last week is called "mountain week" and it is a chance to put everything into practice from the previous lessons. The fact that we are flying over fiery red trees in the highest part of the Appalachians is just a bonus!

The heart of my training is what is called "STOL" which is an acronym (like everything in aviation) for short takeoff or landing. The Cessna we practice in has been modified to land extra slow, and the technique I have been learning puts the airplane in a stable but somewhat vulnerable area of flight. The final 45 seconds before landing are a mix of my eyes looking outside, the seat of my pants detecting roller coaster like drops and rises, and ears listening to the sound of ... flutes.

Yup, that's right. However, not the woodwind instrument we all think of. It is actually the vent

 system for the little Cessna. A hole in the front of the wing blasts cooling air into the cabin and over the front seats. However, as we slow down for a short landing, the airflow reverses and pulls air out of the cabin. This creates a faintly audible whistle which tells us we are at the right configuration for landing.

I put this to the test for the first time in the mountains. JAARS has been using a hayfield in the mountains for over ten years to make a good short training runway. It is less than 1000 feet long and runs across a narrow valley. Because of the obstacles around and the hills on both ends, I have to commit to land about a quarter mile away.

The desire to land in the "zone" was never stronger!

Yesterday was interesting. My instructor was a missionary pilot in Papua New Guinea and was a friend of my sister and brother-in-law, Gweni and John. He coached me through the unusual pattern around the valley through saddles and scraping over the trees. It was a wild ride. The 206 acted like a glider -with almost no power applied- wanted to float in the rising air currents. Then the floor dropped out and down we came. The next updraft slammed into us and the power had to come off again.

Inside I listened for my flutes. I heard them faintly blowing, so I locked the airplane into that attitude. Then the runway fell away as our descent slows. The wind shift caused the stall warning to sound. It is unsettling. Stall, unlike a STOL, is not an acronym, but it is short for the point where the airplane stops flying and begins falling ... uncontrolled.

So to sum up, flutes good, stall warning bad. But this is the area of control I must land the plane. If I land too fast, I run out of runway and would go barreling through the highway off the end of the field.

After a go around and two landings, I elected to stop. The wind was picking up and shifting direction. But the lessons up to this point all began to make sense. You can land a plane in a field in the mountains by applying all the skills I have practiced ... and listening to the sound of flutes.

Another highlight was a spaghetti dinner on Thursday night. Around 400 people came to hear more about mission aviation. They love the fact we use their home turf to train in. Everyone was very generous and friendly. 

A lady introduced herself to me. "I am the owner of Valhalla." Valhalla is another field turned runway. It is even shorter and is on the side of a mountain.

"I hear you are going there next week? Well ... good luck!" she said with a concerned smile