Joe also finished the first part of his schooling in early December. After two written tests and an 11 hour practical test that consisted of verbal questions and practical demonstrations of his ability, he was issued an FAA airframe mechanic certificate. Over the break from school he has been working some extra hours flight instructing for Hillsboro Areo Academy. We had a snow day in Portland today, but tomorrow Joe starts back up at school with powerplant classes, in which he will be learning to inspect and repair aircraft turbine and piston engines.
I have been co-leading a small group at the women's Bible study at our church, Village Baptist. It has been helping me to stay accountable with my personal prayer and Bible study and also learn some leadership skills. It is such a great group of women and they encourage me so much. I am still working at Old Spaghetti Factory and enjoying the opportunity to get to know some of my co-workers better. As always, it is a challenge for me to balance my desire to not miss out on social opportunities with getting enough sleep and spending time with my family.
Gracie is our joy and growing up so fast. She really likes figuring out anything mechanical, pretend play, "darbies" (Barbies), Play Doh, dress up and hide and seek. She is also starting to help me some with cooking. She knows how to make her own melted tortilla with shredded cheese and "thomas" (hummus). She has the quite the sweet tooth so she asks to make cupcakes and cookies a lot.
As far taking a mission trip this year, we decided against going to India in February. Instead, Joe and I are planning to go to Lebanon in June. Our church has been partnering with Heart for Lebanon for years, and with the current refugee crisis there, there is more work to do than ever before. One of the ways they help is a two-week trip every year where they assist with food distribution, medical care, construction projects, kid's day camps, etc. Our church focuses on safety and does a lot of training beforehand so that the people who go are well prepared to serve. I really wanted to go last year but it didn't work out, so I am very excited to get to go with Joe this year.
Our goals for this year are to focus on our family, for Joe to finish school, and to learn as much as we can about how to effectively serve God both here and abroad. We have heard from lots of people that the pressures of full-time missions work here and especially abroad puts a lot of stress on the family during the adaption stage. So we want to make sure that we are in a good place with our personal relationships with God, in our marriage, and with our family and friends. In addition, we are taking advantage of several learning opportunities; we are attending a major missions conference in a couple weeks, taking a Perspectives on the World Christian Movement course and staying involved at our church. Joe will be done with aircraft maintenance school this fall and we are unsure of what doors God will open after that. We may stay in Portland for awhile after he finishes school before applying for a missionary aviation position. We would appreciate prayer for guidance and wisdom in this matter.
We deeply appreciate all of your prayers and support. We love to hear from you all about how you are and wish you the best in 2016.