Sunday, August 30, 2009

Hangar Tour

Guests were arriving, and the chief pilot asked if I could give a tour of the hangar. Visitors love to see the variety of planes in the hangar (especially the DC-3...the BIG one).

AIC Runda is a new church in a small slum. However, this slum is in the middle of Runda Estate, a high class gated neighborhood made up of mansions. In a place where wealth and success peer down from above, Musioki and his family faithfully shepherd this church.
It’s fun to introduce visitors to the Kenyan workers in the hangar. Several of the Kenyans working here serve as pastors in addition to their 5 day work week on the hangar floor. Musioki is one of them. From Monday to Friday he works in dispatch keeping our airplanes at a glistening shine and helping us clear customs. He’s usually in dark blue coveralls and a fisherman hat; so when we visited the church he pastors on Sunday, I hardly recognized him in a suit.

Ushers led us to the front bench of honor, as the youth dance team rehearses their “special” to be performed in the service.

Musioki had invited us to see the results of a church fundraiser, mainly a new sound system. The speakers pulsed with upbeat worship songs as the youth perform synchronized hip hop moves. It’s a joy to watch -young kids and teenagers all having fun dancing, singing and praising the Lord in their way, in church.

After church, as they feed us lunch, Musioki shared his passion for the church. His quiet and reserved nature belie his focused vision; encouraging the youth (and adults) to express themselves through dance so they feel valued and an integral part of the congregation.

Meanwhile, back at the airport, and after the hangar visitors meet Musioki, we proceed on our tour. I carefully avoid the paint room with tarps carefully pulled around it to obscure any view of its contents. I’d been instructed to avoid it, “nothing they need to see in there.”

When it was my turn, Musioki translated my words into Swahili. I “borrowed” a message from Erwin McManus on Jesus’ power over death. Death is all too familiar to them. I was out of my league, but I prayed they could embrace the message of hope.

In fact, these days everyone at AIM-AIR gives it a wide berth. Usually enclosed to contain paint fumes and overspray, now it contains the evidence of the pain that’s hiding just under the surface of our controlled emotions- causing a lump in the throat, halting steps and moist eyes. Burned and broken pieces of a Cessna 206 lay scattered, orange tags cataloguing each piece. Each piece has been carefully examined, to determine the “why” we all want to know. Two friends, co-workers, fathers and husbands have gone to their heavenly home much too soon for our understanding. In my head I find myself repeating the words to the song... you give and take away. My heart will choose to say, Lord, blessed be your name!

One day we will be able to ask God why pilot Frank, and mechanic Ryan, both husbands and fathers of four each, had to leave this earth and their ministries here in Africa so soon. Until then, we rejoice in knowing that they are home in God’s presence.


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