Saturday, November 23, 2013


My basement is quite cozy with the fire cracking and me bundled up in my sweatshirt and warm slippers, sipping coffee. Life feels good in this moment.

I'm sitting reading updates from the Philippines, humbled and awed by both the needs and hope. The hope on the faces of these people who were receiving aid. The resilience behind a kitchen on the beach.  The width of the destruction is staggering. The reality of more than 2.5 tons of aid delivered, and the end not really sight.

NTM and MAF are partnering to help small islands that would not otherwise receive aid because the larger relief effort is focus on more densely populated areas. The island we are serving have relatively few people (30-400 houses). Many people have eaten little or nothing since the typhoon, and they are incredibly thankful for the aid they are receiving through the partnership of the local church, NTM, MAF, and generous donors around the world.

As time goes on the aircraft are needing maintenance and the pilot/mechanics are getting tired. Av-gas is hard to come by, but God continues to provide. Longer-term decisions need to be made as it becomes obvious that the opportunity to help and bless and serve is much bigger than we imagined. 

Garry has been in Arizona for meetings this week, and we are looking forward to having him home again late tonight. His week has been really full, but we are thankful for this opportunity God gave to be involved in what He is doing in other parts of mission aviation.  

As I reflect on the realities others are facing this day, I am thankful and humbled. We have been given so much, and we want to invest that in what God is doing, in the bigger picture around the world and in the smaller picture of neighbors, friends, and family. To receive blessings with joy and pass them on generously. That is my challenge today.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


This week I've been overwhelmed by two things: the magnitude of the devastation and pouring in of aid in the Philippines and the incredible response of people to our celebration of 25 years in mission aviation and the fact that we're in a transition right now. It's amazing to realize how quickly life can change for any of us. And it's humbling to know you have friends who would walk with you through anything.

Last night I was type chatting with several friends in the Philippines and the homesickness hit again. The ache to be there, to be a physical part of what's going on, the desire to help, the knowledge that a chapter in our lives is finished. And gratitude for the incredible friendships God gave us there, friendships that I know will last the test of time.

We've spent a good part of today getting ready for Global Connections, a missions conference our church is doing in partnership with another church in town. We're just setting up a display table, but we're looking forward to it. I can't wait to hear what God is doing through other missions and missionaries, I'm looking forward to connecting with friends and making new ones, and we're excited to be part of corporate worship once more. I don't know.... missions conferences are just pretty much fun.

This evening is an international potluck, and I was thinking through things I could take. In fact, I was trying to think of some amazing international salad to share (I arbitrarily signed up for salad). Something we routinely ate overseas. I really couldn't come up with anything. Kevin's response? "Mom, most places we've lived we didn't really eat salad." Oh, yeah. So, I came up with an idea from life in the jungle growing up. I'm not sure it's a great salad... maybe more like a reality check.

Well, I guess I'd better go make that salad and get ready to go.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Celebrating 25 years in Mission Aviation!

Last month we celebrated 25 years in mission aviation! It’s been an incredible journey that has spanned 5 countries on 3 continents and supported 25 tribal churches. We have seen God do far beyond what we could ask or imagine. We’ve experienced God in more situations than we can count and worked with incredible people. As we move on, we want to take a few moments to relive parts of the journey with you, our friends, supporters, mentors, and co-workers who have journeyed with us.

I am posting overviews of what God did and what we experienced in the various countries where we've served. 

Moving on.... As things have unfolded with NTM Aviation and the safety job over the past year, we have come to the realization that God is once more moving us on. As of the end of October, we are no longer serving with NTM Aviation, but plan to continue to be involved in mission aviation with New Tribes Mission of Canada. This is yet another move, a transition for us. But God is faithful! The details of the future are still unclear, but God is giving us many opportunities to be involved in consulting for mission aviation. He continues to confirm and clarify His call on our lives. We are passionate about the potential of mission aviation and the people who minister there. We love helping resolve technical challenges while encouraging people towards God and His plan for them. 

We trust you will continue this journey with us, a journey to see God glorified because of who He is and to prove His faithfulness as we follow Him in simple obedience.  Thanks for your part in our journey and for taking time to reflect with us on all God has done over the past 25 years. 

Truly, He is worthy of all honor and glory and praise!

Venezuela 1988-1999

Beginnings.... Garry arrived in Venezuela in 1988 and worked on loan to Mission Aviation Fellowship for several years before we were married. Having both grown up in Venezuela, we were friends with the missionaries and many of the tribal people. In this busy program we learned the ropes of a mission aviation program. 

In fact, we were privileged to be part of opening NTM Aviation’s program in Venezuela. Besides flying, Garry was also in charge of maintenance for most of his years in Venezuela. We were privileged to work alongside many different pilot/mechanic families. Most of our missionaries were totally dependent on the airplane for all transportation, so the demands of this program often felt endless.

As an aviation program, we supported work among the Yanomamo, Piaroa, Maquiritare, Yuana, Panare, Pume, and Maco people groups. When we left Venezuela, each of these groups except the Maco had a functioning church.

Panama 1999-2000

Learning... We arrived in Panama as a young family, eager to learn and experience life in a smaller program. Flight scheduling, bookkeeping, and juggling various jobs in addition to flying and maintenance was a new experience as we worked alone after serving as part of a large team. God gave us a great team of missionaries to work with and serve, and we loved our year in this beautiful country.  

We arrived in Panama with a 4-year-old and a six-week-old, excited about this new venture. Another couple trained us in the flight program, marked a map of Panama City with favorite places, and introduced us a to a great getaway spot before moving on to their next ministry. The leadership team encouraged and blessed us, becoming good friends over the year we were there. Friends adopted us with the adage, “You have to take care of your pilot!” All in all, God gave us great new friends in Panama and a renewed vision for teamwork.

Our year in Panama we flew for works among the Buglere, Kuna, and Naso. The first two were older works, while the Naso work was just beginning. We were also privileged to witness the salvation of a couple who worked for us and have since been a huge part of the local church in Chame, Panama. 

Paraguay 2000-2001

Experiencing... We arrived in Paraguay after an overnight flight from Panama, excited to see what God would do in this new country. This was a furlough replacement, and we were eager to begin flying. We adjusted to this very hot, but sometimes cold, southern country. We learned to love life among the Mennonites in the Chaco. Our missionary teams were a privilege to serve and we made many friends as well as gained new mentors. It was a year of practicing what we’d learned in Panama and experiencing God for ourselves in a new way. 

Our first months in the Chaco were spent asking, “Why would anybody choose to live here?” Over our year there the question became, “Why do we have to leave?” The Mennonite community was similar to Garry’s roots, and he enjoyed being able to speak low german and relate to the local culture. This was our first experience south of the equator, where a south wind was cold and northern winds brought extreme heat. 

The Paraguayan field leadership was a blessing as we faced many challenges during our year there. Co-workers became great friends, and we look back to Paraguay as a “school on intentional discipleship and relationship building”. We flew in support of four works in Paraguay. There were growing churches amongst all these people groups when we were in Paraguay and they continue to grow and reach out.

Arizona, 2001-2005

 Growing... From Paraguay we moved to Arizona to join the leadership team of NTM Aviation. This was a huge growing experience as we came to see more clearly that God has individual callings for each of us. We loved being involved in training new families and aviation safety, and moved out of leadership to focus on these other areas. 

We arrived in Arizona with a deep desire to make a difference in our headquarters and to invest in other mission aviators. Garry got his instructor rating and began training new pilots. We found nearly endless opportunities to build relationships, mentor, and invest in community.

We are thankful for these years we had to invest in younger families and build relationships with older ones. We appreciated the opportunity to see life from a headquarters perspective as well as the field perspective we’d grown over our years in Latin America.

Philippines, 2005-2012

 Enjoying... After 3 years in Arizona God moved us to the Philippines. The years we spent there were some of the most challenging and exciting in our journey as we trusted God to re-open flight programs on 3 islands and train 6 new pilot families. We had an impossible prayer list when we moved to the Philippines, but God granted all of those answers and more besides! 

The leadership in the Philippines impressed us by their faith. We loved the way they led and were blessed by the way they ministered to us through the many challenges we faced. We lived on two very different islands and Garry especially spent a lot of time traveling to other islands. On both the islands we called home, we “learned the ropes” and then ran the flight program for a while before training new families. Our family also made several extended trips to other islands to train new families. We worked with a younger team and were amazed by the opportunities we had to invest in their lives and by the ways they blessed us.

Honest relationships and a new leadership paradigm were things we took away from the Philippines. One of our biggest prayer requests when we moved there was for a healthy team. God granted that and we enjoyed team work like we had never experienced it before. As a flight program we served missionary teams in eleven locations and saw the birth of three new churches during our time in the Philippines.

Canada, 2012-1013

Paying back... We’ve often joked over the last year that we moved to Manitoba to pay for all the fun and excitement we’ve had overseas. Garry spent our first year in Canada working as  Director of Aviation Safety, traveling to various locations and getting more training in aviation safety. Other focusses have been home assignment and helping Kevin settle into life as a young adult. 

The past year has been challenging in a totally new way as we have worked with NTM Aviation from a distance, re-connected with our church and friends, learned again how to function in Canada, and spent weeks on the road. This year has also been incredibly rewarding as we have planted seeds and seen them sprout and begin to grow.  

In some senses, this time is still too new to summarize. The story is not yet complete, so it is hard to relate. Yet already we are blessed by walking through this time as children of God, relying on His direction, grace, and strength. 

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Just for fun...

I thought I'd post this photo from the Grand Canyon just for fun. It's nice to have boys who like to play with the camera!

The past week has been busy with a myriad of things.... finishing up some safety stuff in the office, phone calls, school, getting firewood, having friends over for dinner. What struck me this morning is how each day is meant to be governed by God. He actually cares what we're doing, and in each moment, each hour, He has a plan to use us in HIs kingdom.

The seeds we plant with the people around us, the times of prayer, the energy we invest in relationships, the heart of worship, the tasks we do as part of living-- all things are meant to bring Him honor and glory. And that happens as we walk in step with His Spirit.

Today is a blank sheet, a new chance to experience God and invest in His kingdom and work.