Thursday, May 17, 2018

RISE

Soon after we arrived in Spokane I attended a Moody Aviation women's retreat where we began brainstorming about how to engage as a group of staff wives with the student wives and female students. We had a great time discussing goals and vision. We prayed for God's will to be done and wisdom in how to be a part of what He wanted to accomplish. We named our little group "RISE", reminded us that our goal was to Refresh in spirit, Ignite in passion, Strengthen in faith, & Equip for service, both students and ourselves. Since then we've hosted some events, gathered to pray, and wondered how it would all come to pass.

In reality, mostly we have prayed, seeking God's next steps. We have talked and brainstormed and wondered when we would feel more like a group, asking ourselves and one another how to move toward being who we wanted to be.

Over the past months we have seen investments budding into relationships, refreshment, passion, faith, and equipping. This growth hasn't happened overnight, but it is happening. Spontaneously. Women have begun getting together in smaller groups. Homes have been opened for play times with young children. Coffee shop gatherings have sprung up. Lunches have been shared. And slowly but surely, we have seen good things growing.
 
Not long ago we gathered for brunch-- a great spread of food and fellowship. The hostess had things set up beautifully, and so many ladies contributed. I loved watching the ladies mingle and chatting with different ones. I enjoyed the testimony of my friend who shared. I loved what happened as we broke into small groups to pray. I was thankful for the space and the time and each investment that was beginning to bear fruit.

This month our main event was a Ladies Tea to honor the wives of this year's graduates. A local business loaned us a beautiful space which some of us cleaned and decorated. Ladies brought fine china and plants to create beautiful tables, and we gathered for conversation and prayer. We enjoyed beautiful food and the quiet of the afternoon. We gave small gifts to the wives of graduates and had a short presentation on prayer. 

I love these women. I love what God has done in each of their lives and what He is doing in lives. I love their passion and their faith. I love the people we become when we are together and I am thrilled to be a part of RISE, investing in the generations in mission aviation here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Alberta Adventures

It may have been my full heart when we came home, or it may simply be my poor memory. Whatever the case, I never posted about our March trip to Alberta. So, here goes-- nearly 2 months late, but better than never.


My original plan was to start with the top highlight, but I couldn't narrow it down to one-- was it the drive north with new friends, the amazing people we met, the stories we heard, or the families we visited?

We do not feel like gifted speakers, yet when the opportunity arose to go to the EMC Northern Alberta missions conference, we knew this was something we were supposed to do. We were excited about meeting the people there and the other missionaries we'd share the time with. And there was honestly nothing disappointing about the weekend, except saying goodbye at the end. It was amazing!

We shared at several services, some of them larger than others. We had brunch with a great group of people. We talked to people. We joined people in their homes for various  meals. We had tea most evenings with our host couple. We spent time with the other missionaries at the conference. And more than anything, God showed up. He showed up in people who are obviously passionate about following Jesus. He showed up when people shared their burden for their local community. He was there when people talked about world missions with emotion and personal connections.  He was there. And it was beautiful.

There are not just generalities that emerged over this weekend, but personal stories. However, those stories are not ours to share, so we are limited to generalities. Yet it was the individuals that impacted us, the stories that encouraged us, the people themselves that made the weekend memorable and encouraging. The impromptu invitations and the planned ones. The people who eagerly listened and those who passionately shared.

When Garry and I drove to High Level, we decided to go the long way around to check out the La Crete ice bridge. It was a fun experience, one I've never had before. The bridge was impressive, and I had to wonder who first started making ice bridges for public use. The drive was beautiful, a reminder of God's creativity.

Thank you, La Crete, Hillside, and High Level for loving Jesus, for being yourselves and for allowing us to be a part of this year's missions conference!


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Ezra, Nehemiah, and Community

Over the past couple of weeks I've been reading through Nehemiah and Ezra. It's a great journey, reading through the story God wrote through the Israelite nation-- the story of calling, faith, grace, disobedience, forgiveness, and love. Seeing the ways the Israelites stumbled reminds me of myself. Seeing the way God continually called them back to Himself reminds me of His graciousness with me. I've been struck by communal repentance, worship, and purpose, the ways the people of Israel functioned as a community when they returned to their land after captivity. It's both fascinating and challenging.

Ezra and Nehemiah remind me that there is a different power in community than the one that exists in individuals. "A cord of three strands is not easily broken." When we work together there is something incredible that happens, a strength and solidarity and momentum that we can never find on our own. I believe God made us this way and intends to use this truth to help us grow and change. He wants to work in us individually, but he places us in families and communities to multiply His work both in and through us.

This week we've enjoyed time with various communities here in Spokane. At Moody Aviation we are in a time of re-organizing and re-evaluating as we consider the many changes that will occur with the closing of the Biblical Studies Campus this summer. Change makes us take a new look at what we are doing and why, and this process has been good. It's been amazing to hear the conversations Garry has been involved in as staff and students think through this change and the future. We are excited about the opportunities before us and the ways God will intervene on our behalf.

I was privileged to join a group of Moody Aviation wives this week, and it was a sweet time of fellowship. I loved that challenges were brought to the table and wisdom and truth was replied to them. I love seeing women together, focused on what God is doing and how we are to be a part of it. Next week we are planning another get together with a missionary pilot's wife who is here from Indonesia.

Last week Kevin spent a couple days up north, coaching in a first nations community. It's been a great opportunity to sow seeds of love and grace. Just listening to him talk about the things he's experienced I am reminded how not only growth but also brokenness is multiplied in a community. Oxford House, where he visited, is a beautiful but needy place. What they need most is Jesus, a Jesus who can redeem and change them as the people He created them to be, without first requiring them to leave their culture and community. May He invade their community and redeem it for Himself!

Kaleb continues to study and to invest in his junior high group at church. It is awesome to see the ways God is both using and challenging him. He is also excited about an animation job he applied for and got last week! He is currently waiting for the contract and first script, a process that is growing his patience. As I watch Kaleb reach out I am amazed at the things God is doing both in and through him.
God has placed each of us in a family and community-- may we use our place there to both learn and teach, to grow and change. 

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Good Friday 2018

It's Good Friday. A day to reflect and remember, a day to mourn the cost of sin and the price of redemption. A day to ponder sacrifice. It's Friday, but Sunday is coming.

Until Sunday, let's take time to stand counter-culture in remembering the hard parts of redemption, in mourning before we jump to the dancing. Let's reflect on the reality of Christ's death and the journey to the cross. Let's allow God to convict us of the things He wants to change and the ways we stray from the best He has for us.

This week I've struggled with a cold. This morning it all came to a head as I woke up feeling terrible and wanting so much more. I was discouraged about the state of our house (it needs some cleaning), the state of my cupboards (I need to go grocery shopping), and the long list of things I still need to do. It took me a while, but this afternoon I realized that my concern should  be the state of my heart, which is lost in the temporal and discouraged by circumstances. There is a reason the Israelites were told to remember special days and celebrate feasts-- to change their focus, to remind them of what's important, and to continually set aside time to remember various aspects of God's truth and His work, among other things. And maybe, mostly to remember it's not our work, but His.

So this Easter season, we choose to pause. To set aside time from our work and our play and reflect. To see God in this moment and the price He paid for our salvation. To realize that the things we are called to are a privilege that allow others the chance to celebrate an eternity with him. To remember our need and the way He has met it. To simply stand in awe of God Himself.

May you see God this Easter weekend!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Clouds of Witnesses

After the famous chapter on men and women of faith in the Bible, men and women who saw miracles and those who waited all their lives without seeing them, there is an admonition for us to remember that we are surrounded by this cloud of witnesses. With that in mind, we are to set aside the weight that hinders and run with perseverance the race set for us. We are to fix our eyes on Jesus, not the circumstances that surround us. And the thought seems to be that we are encouraged by this cloud of witnesses, inspired by their stories, and prodded on by their faith.

I was thinking this afternoon about these men and women of faith. Some of them knew that they'd received a promise-- they received their dead back to life, they had children, they saw miracles. Others spent their lives in faith, waiting for a reality that would only come clear in eternity. Yet, regardless of their story, I can't imagine that these people lived the way they did so they'd be part of the Bible for all of history. They wouldn't have known there would be a Bible, and I imagine that many of them lived their lives of faith in what seemed to be obscurity. I imagine them feeling alone and forgotten. I imagine them wondering if they would see a miracle. Yet, I think they each recounted the stories of what God had already done. I believe they clung to His promises as though they were life. I think they prayed with perseverance even when they didn't feel the faith.

Yet, how much easier it must have been for those who were surrounded by people of faith?! And I thought that each of us has opportunity to be that person of faith, that one who talks about Jesus, that man or woman who seeks God above all else. And it makes me wonder how things would change in my community if I became more of that person. We have many stories of answered prayers and God's goodness and faithfulness-- stories we have lived and ones we have watched unfold. And yet we can set these stories aside for the "pressing realities" of life-- the weather, the things I'd like to do, the items I'd like to buy, the places I'd like to go, the people I met, the challenges I'm facing.

While these things are normal conversation starters, I've been challenged again to go beyond what is normal and be a witness to what the God of the Universe is doing.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Work and Worship

All work can be worship, and worship can be work. In a world that is driven to perform it is easy to forget why we do what we do, focusing instead on getting things done. We can set goals then put life on autopilot and pursue those goals. Yet how we spend our time, our work, is a reflection of what we worship. Every bit of work can be an act of worship for God, or it can be worship of our own ego or the things money can buy.

As I reflect on this reality I am so thankful for the work we do, because the work itself reminds us continually that God and His glory are top priority. We are privileged to be part of Ethnos Canada and to serve at Moody Aviation. We are blessed to be part of reaching the unreached and discipling believers in a way that fits our gifting. These thoughts prompt me to share a bit about what is happening at work these days.

Garry's work hours a mix of planning this year's safety seminar, meetings, unscheduled conversations, and work on the Safety Management System. Planning Safety Seminar is a good opportunity to connect with different people and to discuss safety and how we can do that well. Arranging logistics like sound, speaker accommodations, and snack options open conversations with people that aren't normally in our circle. Conversations with speakers and those that provide FAA credit are a privilege. We are excited about this year's seminar that will focus on Aviation Decision-Making. Another part of the process has been putting together a simple website, which has been a good and growing experience.

Meetings. Thankfully Garry doesn't spend a lot of time in meetings, and the ones he does attend are productive. One of the blessings our team is the value we place on diversity. It's great to work in a place where a different opinion is valued one and group-think is minimized. Meetings are a great opportunity to share ideas and discuss how we can do a better job of doing what we do, train the next generation of mission aviators.

Parts of Garry's job are unscheduled and this allows him freedom to interact with students and staff as opportunities arise. Some conversations are very short, "Hi, how's your day going?" Sometimes this line is an opening to discuss an aviation challenge, an issue at home, or a question about God and life.

Beyond the interactions at work, we enjoy having aviation students and staff in our home or meeting in other places. We are passionate about passing on the truth God has allowed us to learn  and enjoy discussing realities of life in mission aviation and overseas. It's always fun to hear how God has brought people to where they are and the things He is teaching them. These days we have several ongoing interactions, some of them being very international.

Work was created before the fall, and it is a privilege to do work that matters. And all work matters. Beyond what we do, how we do it is a huge testimony to God's work in our lives. May your work bless you as ours blesses us.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

House full of Cheer

Home can be a quiet place or a loud place. Sometimes we retreat there and sometimes we reach out. At times we hide at home and other times we invite people in. Home can be a place to grow or a place to stagnate, a restful place or a stressful place. There are times we choose how to use home and times when it seems things take off on their own, without any invitation to do so.

We recently had a week where things seemed to take off of their own accord, without any prodding or warning. We had invited a couple guys for supper the first evening of our advisory board meetings here at Moody Aviation, and the two turned into seven by the time supper arrived. It was great to talk with these guys, hear their stories, and share what we're learning and doing and how we're growing.

A couple days later Kaleb invited "some friends" over, and quite a few showed up. Maybe twenty friends from Moody and church, though I honestly forgot to count. We did a make-your-own-pizza and salad supper then sat around swapping stories. A majority are in the aviation program, and it was fun to hear their thoughts and dreams for the future.

Between the slightly larger groups, various other people showed up. It was interesting to watch God simply bring people into our lives. I could have taken photos. I didn't get out the camera, so I'll post a couple that I enjoyed taking.... my new "favorite tree" to watch out the front window and a view from a recent trip.

The other thing that's been happening a lot at our house lately is fixing cars. Kevin and Dustin did a small job for a friend that turned into a somewhat larger project. Kaleb's car quit on his way home from school one day and it's been in the shop over a week as the guys troubleshoot and try different things. Our van has had some issues that needed attention, and Garry has it all fixed now. It's been cold for working on cars, but likely much warmer than it will be in a few more weeks.

As Christmas approaches I have grand ideas of more baking happening, but the process is currently on hold as I do my best to fight a cold and take care of the essentials. We are, however, the proud owners of a real tree that some friends gifted to us last week. The glowing lights and comforting aroma of pine fill the house and remind us to take time this Christmas season to remember the reason for Christmas and the gift of God's own Son.

Friday, November 24, 2017

A week back in Canada

Three Hills, Alberta. A small town with a large impact. Three Hills is home to Prairie College, formerly Prairie Bible Institute, and Prairie College of Mission Aviation (PCMA). Thus, many people in full-time ministry have spent a few years in this town. Surrounded by farms and empty space as far as you can see, Three Hills has its own kind of beauty. It already felt like winter last week as fog hovered over the snow-covered ground and the wind blew the chill right through you.

Thankfully, we didn't go to Three Hills primarily for the weather. We were there to help with an aviation audit with Mission Safety International, an audit which doubles as a consult. PCMA has a long history of training pilots to serve both overseas and in the industry as ambassadors of Jesus. Over the past two years PCMA has been through a lot of changes, yet their joy and hope are overflowing. More change is happening due to a new partnership with Mission Aviation Fellowship Canada, and everyone is engaged in asking God what He has in mind for the future. We are excited with them as they ask God for direction and open doors for what He wants to do with them and their students as they move ahead.

Our time at PCMA was encouraging at we met with various staff and spouses, asking them what God is doing and how they think things could improve. We were impressed with the passion for God and commitment to excellence at PCMA and are excited to see where God is going to take them. We enjoyed the opportunity to share some of what we do at Moody Aviation that might be helpful for them. We loved hearing God stories from various people, stories of God's grace and strength in times of hardship both overseas and in Canada. Stories of amazing opportunities to share God's truth in dark places. Stories of need and provision, questions and answers, and the overwhelming grace and goodness of our Father. We left PCMA with thankful hearts for what God is doing there.

Some of the most beautiful parts of the Canadian Rockies lie between Spokane and Three Hills, and we were privileged to drive through some of them. The majesty of the Rockies was rejuvenating in its own way. We loved the hours of driving to reflect on what God is doing in our lives and in our family, particularly after the recent news of Moody Biblical Studies--Spokane closing. We were encouraged and refreshed as we processed the change in the midst of so much beauty and so many reminders of God's power.

We arrived home to a short work week and Thanksgiving celebrations. We are, quite simply, incredibly blessed to be a part of what God is doing in the world to spread His Good News! We trust you find yourself in a similar spot, awed by God.