Thursday, November 1, 2012
This post has been two years in the making and we are thrilled to announce that we passed our Technical Evaluation with Mission Aviation Fellowship!! It was an extremely difficult and trying two weeks but the Lord was faithful as He always is and got us through it. We began our trip by leaving Hannah and Caitlyn with Jenn's mom. This was the one part of the trip I was dreading the most, since I've never been apart from my girls for that long, even with my airline schedule. We took Caleb with us and he enjoyed his first ride on an airplane (even if he was quite squirmy)! We arrived in Nampa without issue on Saturday afternoon to give us a full day to rest and gear up for the next two weeks on Sunday. We were also able to finally connect with some friends of ours that we had never met. Sounds confusing, but they were a couple who has been supporting us the lsat two years and we were able to plan to meet during our TE, since they are also applying to be a pilot/mechanic family. It was awesome getting to know them better and for Jesse and I to study and help one another as we both went through the TE. My first week was the maintenance evaluation and I was pretty nervous about it. As I've said before, I'm not the most mechanically inclined person so some things don't come quite as easy, but I do feel like I'm a quick learner. My maintenance instructor for the week was absolutely fantastic, as is everyone at MAF. Even though during the evaluation times they don't give much feedback, he was very encouraging and I really enjoyed getting to know him. After a week of tests, projects, and tasks he told me that I had passed! I was so excited and relieved! However, my relief was short lived because I had the weekend to prepare for my flight evaluation the next week! Jennifer was able to stay with Caleb most days as she was still having to assume the full time mom job. She was also able to connect with other women that were there and have play dates and go on walks with the kids. She also had the opportunity to help out in the offices with the MAF staff and get to know them. Jennifer was such an encouragement to me throughout our time there and when I was feeling stressed or discouraged, she was always there to pick me up. She also went through many emotions while we were there as she also had to interview with candidate committee and psychologist. I felt more confident going into the flight evaluation because that's where most of my experience has been. I feel I can self evaluate my flight performance more than maintenance. I got the privilege of flying with the Director of Training for the week. He was also such a pleasure to work with and see his heart for missions and aviation. There were 3 flights and also a simulator session for instrument work. I had never flown a Cessna 206 before so I was excited and anxious to get in the air. We did many different kinds of flying and finished the week by doing a flight to several different airports that were an hour or so away from Boise. I had never done mountain flying before. WOW!! I was shocked at how close we were flying to the terrain, but with my instructor beside me I knew it was safe. Now for the big big day! (In my best Effie Trinket voice) On Friday, our last day in Nampa, I was meeting my instructor pilot and Jenn and I also had to meet with the candidate committee to see if they were going to invite us back for candidacy training in January where we would become official missionary partners. In the debrief I was informed that I had passed my flight portion and later that afternoon the candidate committee asked us to return!! For the first time in 2 weeks Jenn and I could take a deep breath. We were so thankful to God that he allowed us to do well and gain favor with MAF. As each day passed Jenn and I became more and more aware of what an amazing organization MAF is. I will include more in a future post, but we were so impressed with their heart for missions and their way of glorifying God through aviation. They are definitely good stewards of what they've been given. The airplanes are all in pristine condition, the facility is top notch, and the people are amazing. We are thrilled and humbled to be part of such an incredible organization! We would like to thank everyone for the prayers over the last two years, and the two weeks we were in Idaho. They were felt and needed! Our journey is not yet complete but this was the biggest step we have completed yet. Like I said before, our whole family goes back in January for a month for more training and also find out where the Lord will have us serve!! We will FINALLY be able to give an answer when people ask where we are going! We look forward to updating again soon and can't wait to see what God has in store for us as we become official partners with MAF!