Tuesday, September 19, 2017

3300 miles...

Cessna 206 in the MAF Hangar in Nampa
This summer, we logged over 3300 miles on the road. In June we traveled from Portland to peaceful Priest Lake for family time and then to Nampa, ID for MAF orientation.  After five weeks there it was back to our hometown of Pullman, WA, on to smoky Coeur d'Alene, ID, and finally past the recent wildfires in the Columbia Gorge on our way back to Portland a few weeks ago. Though we had a great time visiting many dear friends, it is nice to be home (and back in our own beds). Joe is happy not to have to pack and unpack the car for a few months! 

MAF assisting in St. Maarten 2017 following Hurricane Irma
Photo courtesy of MAF
Our training at MAF Headquarters was an intense five weeks of mostly classroom training.  We learned about MAF's locations of service around the world and how MAF does  more than just fly airplanes. For example, we use our technology resources to quickly establish satellite communication after a natural disaster, so that hospitals and disaster response teams can coordinate their efforts. Recently MAF disaster response staff arrived on the ground in St. Maarten, an island nation in the Caribbean that has been devastated by Hurricane Irma. They are assessing the situation to determine how MAF can use our aviation and communication services to best help those in need.  MAF pilots also completed an aerial survey over Haiti that was used by both MAF and other organizations to assess the needed response after the passage of the hurricane.  This type of collaborative service and coordination with various non profit organizations is a big feature of MAF's ministry.

Another part of our MAF orientation was security training where we learned ways to stay safe overseas (including doing some fun evasive driving maneuvers), as well as ministry partnership training where we learned how to share about our journey to MAF and what the organization does.

Us with the other crazy pilot families
My favorite part about training was feeling like I was part of a new family with MAF. It is a place where I can belong, grow, and have fun! MAF is a place were each person's different skills and gifts are celebrated and can be used to serve God and bless others.

Joe's favorite part about our training was seeing how collaborative MAF is with other organizations. He loved learning how they use their logistical expertise to creatively share Christ's love with isolated peoples.

Gracie loved having lots of outdoor space to play in and meeting lots of new friends. She got to go to her first movie night at a friend's house. Timothy also did really well and charmed everyone with his smiles.
Timmy and Gracie giggles

Gracie with her new friends in Nampa
AND a pet frog!

Many have asked us, "So, what's next?"
  • Our full-time job over the next couple months is building a team of financial and prayer supporters for our ministry in Lesotho. Our goal is to complete this task by February. 
  • Once we have raised all of the ongoing monthly support needed, then we can begin 12 final weeks of training: language learning, cultural adaption, flight standardization and maintenance standardization.
  • After that, we will almost be ready to leave for Lesotho! A few final things remain including packing, immunizations, passports, visas and saying goodbye (for now) to family and friends.
  • We hope to arrive in Lesotho by summer of 2018. 
Although it seems like there are still many things to do before we can go, we do not view this time raising support as simply necessary to get done before we can go. It is an opportunity for us to spend time building relationships through listening to others, praying for them and sharing with them the vision God has placed in our hearts.

It has been amazing to us to see how God has been confirming our decision to move overseas and preparing us to go. We can already see how this time of preparation will be one of personal growth. I hope to write more in another blog post the ways we see God shaping and refining us. One of the things I love about this journey is the constant challenge, and sometimes painful push, to reexamine who I am, to face my fears and anxieties, and to surrender more fully my needs to God's will and timing.

We will share a story from the Lesotho team in our next MAF newsletter coming in October. In the meantime, we want to share a few recent photos from our teammates in Lesotho! If you are not receiving our MAF newsletter, feel free to sign up at www.maf.org/adams.

Lesotho is south of the equator, so this is a photo from an MAF flight this August.
Photo Courtesy of Bryan Scott Eygabroad  

Matekane Airport in Lesotho with a 1,300 foot runway that extends to the edge of a 2,000 foot cliff.
A takeoff from this runway is quite thrilling (or terrifying) as the terrain drops away suddenly.
Photo Courtesy of Matthew Monson