Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas with the Saints

Alaina and Mercy arrived Thursday evening, it was so great to see them.  I had to tie off a few loose ends to finish off the day, and then went over to the guest house where they stayed over the weekend.  After dinner we had a ice cream and watched a movie before we all went to bed.  I drove back to itec and just laid there, I couldn’t sleep for anything, at about 2 or 3 I ended up trying to read for a while, but that didn’t help, so I looked up stuff online, read some blogs, wrote a few emails, nothing helped.  So at 5 I took a shower, and left for Ocala, which is about 30 minutes away, I stopped at a Starbucks a while then the mall then ended up at a different Starbucks.  I sat down and wrote in my journal.  At 7:30 and Stephen texted me telling me that they were packing up to leave, so I drove back down and said good-bye.
After Stephen and Ayala left we drove about an hour to see Mercy’s sister and mother.  Alaina and I talked to Mercy’s mother for a while, she is almost 90.  I ended up telling her my whole story pretty much, and also told her about i-tec and what I am doing here, and my ambition to be a missionary pilot.  She really liked my story and everything God is doing for me.  After lunch we hung out and looked at old photo albums.
We ended up leaving late in the afternoon and headed to Mercy’s brother’s house in Apopka, which was about another hour driving.  We visited again Sunday evening for dinner. We took a golf cart ride and I hung out with a few other guys and we played ping pong and hung out around the fire pit.
Back to Christmas.  On Christmas morning, we went swimming at Rainbow Springs, which is only about 15 minutes from here. The water is clear all the way to the bottom and stays 72 degrees year round! (Troy and I flew over it and at 2,500 ft  and we could see the bottom)  It was cold when I first got in, but after a minute it was great. 
We then went over to Steve Saint’s house for Christmas lunch.  Wow, there were over 50 people there.  Mercy and Alaina helped in the kitchen and Ginny fell in love with them, she told them that they could come over whenever they wanted.  And once again, they were too much help, Steve didn’t want them to go either.  When he found out when they were leaving he asked them who said they could go.  After Steve introduced everyone to everyone, we prayed and ate.  We sat at a table with a family from Colorado that were just passing through and Jamie and his wife Jessica.  It was great talking with all of them.  Jamie and I talked about running a little bit.  He has done a half Iron Man race and plans on doing a whole Olympic distance Iron Man in 2011.
Steve also showed Mercy, Alaina, and me his office where there were pieces of his father’s plane, some of the pieces still have gravel from Palm Beach, and the original copies of TIME magazine about the incident and another copies made a few years later when Elisabeth Elliot, and Rachel Saint were in the Jungles.  Steve introduced us to all the Waodani in each picture and told us about them.  He also showed us two of the spears found in Nate Saint’s body.  He told us that one of them had a piece of New Testament speared through it.  It was a tradition of the Waodani to spear something of their enemies to them.
I don’t think that words really can describe what was going on in my head when I was in that office.  I held one of the spears in my hand, and was awed, as I always am, at the history that that spear made.  The impact on the missionary world, the impact on my world, that spear is what brought me to God, it is what brought me to here to the mission field.  The Indian who made that spear so long ago, in a forest so far away, and used it to do something that impacted so many people.  I constantly find it amazing.
That night, we watched the last movie made about Marj Saint before she died.  It is actually her telling the story, it was really awesome, she is a really remarkable woman, and that is an understatement.  We also watched a DVD series called Missions Dilemma.  Steve Saint made this DVD off of a book he wrote called the same thing.  I would highly recommend watching this whether you are planning to go into the mission field or not. 
I have spent a lot of time with Steve, mostly doing work stuff, but I have learned a lot about missions, and how it is done today and what the consequences are.  I believe that one of the reasons that God brought me here is to learn from Steve how to do missions, and how to be an affective missionary.
On a more practical note, I got a letter from the FAA and they have several more tests and medical records that they want from me before they give me my certificate.  I can still start flying, but I cannot fly as pilot-in-command, or solo, till I have those records and test results.  I am not worried about it is a little discouraging that I still have to get all this now when I am so far away from the doctors who can help.  Lord willing, I will probably make a trip to Memphis when time allows and get it taken care of.   
Please pray that I don’t run into too many difficulties with getting those records and tests done.  Thank you all so much for your prayers, and support, it is much needed and much appreciated.
Your brother in Christ,

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Visitors from Home

This week has been an incredible week, so much has happened that it seems like it was two weeks instead of one!  I wrote about Monday but that was only one day.  Stephen and Ayala also came Monday around lunch time and left Friday morning.  It was so awesome to see them, and spend some time with them.  They are family to me and it was so encouraging just knowing that they were here.  Stephen came over to work with me Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and it was great.  I was wondering what I could have him do cause though there is a lot of work that needs doing here, it requires several people, not just two.  Then when I was showing him the building that we got the lease on I remembered that the tree outside had several branches that were hanging over the roof and we needed to get them cut.
For those of you who do not know Stephen.  He and I worked together on a sound crew and he was my foreman when we worked for Yachad Building Company several years ago.  So after he put on the new chain, on the chainsaw and checked it over, we went over and cut them down.  It was great actually doing some work, I have been planning everything, and having to be meet with people and make phone calls and not really doing much labor.  It took us till lunch to cut everything we needed to cut and put it in a pile behind the building. Then when I got back, Troy told me of a few others trees near the itec hangar that needed to come down, they were dangerously close to the planes and hangar and if branches fell on the planes especially it would cost us tons of money that we don’t have.  Then Jesse showed us a few more, and then Steve made it out there.  In the end, they wanted Stephen to cut down about the whole forest! Well, I suppose that is a bit of an exaggeration, but they gave him enough work that we wasn’t able to get it all done.  I had to go meet some contractors with Steve and then the two of us had some stuff to do over the next couple of days.  But another guy came named Andy and helped Stephen do most of it.  He drove a lift and was able to get Stephen up high so we didn’t have to drop the entire tree in one go and risk it hitting the planes or hangar.
It turns out that Stephen was too much help around here.  They have been trying to get those trees dropped for a couple of years!  When I told them that Stephen wasn’t coming back, he had other people to see while in Florida for the holidays they asked, “Who does he think he is? Didn’t you explain to him how things work around here? If you work and are productive then you stay! You should know that by now!”  It was a pretty funny conversation.
Ayala came and cleaned the bathrooms and kitchen for us and it made a world of difference, we were all very grateful.  Their visit was very encouraging to me, it was wonderful to see someone familiar and someone I trust.  It made a world of difference for me.
The family I told you about in one of my previous posts, the Siefks’s, arrived on Wednesday evening.  They have been great to spend time with and get to know.  They have 10 kids, and travel in a Greyhound bus.  The oldest 5 or 6 all do construction and have been a great help to me, and have gotten a lot done in the few days they have been here.  I am really grateful for their help. 
The Maverick Assembly Building is looking incredible, we are getting everything we can get done before the inspection and the Siefka’s are doing a wonderful job.  We are suppose to get the permit to start construction on the other building too so it will be nice to have both buildings underway at the start of the year. 
I’ll write about Christmas at the Saint’s house next post.  Happy New Year!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Presence of God

I remember when I was about 13 or 14 I was given a book by a man named Chashaq, whom I deeply admire, the book was called, “The Practice of the Presence of God” it is a very short book, but really incredible.  The title does a pretty good job of explaining what the book is about.  I remember reading it and thinking, “This guy makes it sound so simple!”  Staying in God’s presence was a somewhat new concept to me.  I had heard about it, but as a very young man, I was still learning to hear God from my parents and mentors, and never really tried to have a personal relationship with God.  As I read the book, I found that God’s presence must be a wonderful place to be. And so to sum everything up in a sentence, I strove to be in God’s presence.
I found as I grew older, that my view of striving to be in God’s presence is different from most peoples.  I have been in several churches, revivals, or religious meetings in general, where the pastor or worship leader tells me to raise my hands, or close my eyes, or kneel down.  God’s presence is not a place I go on command, God’s presence is a state of being, not something reserved for Sunday morning or Wednesday night.  If I am a real Christians, then my life is not my own, it is Christ’s, that means that my life, from keeping my room clean to how I treat the people I am come into contact with, should be in honor of and a representation of Christ.  I raise my hands and close my eyes not because someone tells me to, but because I love my God.
Since moving down here I have started a habit that I have always wanted to have but I was always too lazy.  That habit is starting the day off with devotions.  I have a book by Oswald Chambers that is a daily devotional and it has you read some scripture that the devotion is about, then you read the devotion and pray.  It is simple, but takes dedication, and it is a healthy way to start your day, in God’s presence.  I have found that on the days that I don’t do these devotions, my days are much more stressful and I get caught up in the practicalities of this world and loose sight of God.  I get so caught up in the busyness of life that I leave God out of the picture.
Anyway, I hope this is helpful to someone, it is something I feel God has been teaching me. I love and miss you all, Merry Christmas

Your brother in Christ,


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Week Two

This post is a little late, i wrote it Monday, but wasn't able to get it online till just now. will write more soon
Today was the start of week two, and it started off with a bang.  I had heard that there were 15 people staying in the guest house Sunday and Monday night this week but I didn’t know just how much I would see them if at all.  So I start my day as normal and after grabbing my over-shirt and tape measure I run into Jamie, Steve’s son, at the bottom of the stairs.  I met him at the Global Missions Health Conference in November and also during my visit two weeks ago, but not at all since I moved here.  After hugging him, I look and see people pouring out of the door Jamie had just walked through, it was the 15 people staying the night at the guest house here to do some video recording with Steve Saint.  Well I didn’t know that yet, I just said hi and went to work. 1 hour later I was walking through the offices heading upstairs to my room to look up a few things online, when Jonathan asked me if I knew what was happening up stairs, I had been outside for the past hour and didn’t know that anything was happening.  I walked into my room to see half a dozen college students ironing a huge sheet on the floor.  They were going to shoot some footage up there and needed a white background.  There was still just a little room for me to work at my computer so I did and got to meet a few of the students.  Some were interested in the mission field and were already making efforts in that direction and some have already been overseas.  After I got what I needed, I went down stairs to make some phone calls and talk to Steve and Jesse.  All in all it took about 30 minutes, I headed back upstairs to find a new bedroom. My bed was turned sideways and everything that was on the table was now on my bed, the sheet was hung from a pole frame, and lights were everywhere. There couldn’t have been a shadow in the whole room.  I grabbed my computer and made a run for the conference room, where I was shortly joined by Steve and two other people going over some stuff about the footage they were shooting.  There was a serious lack of peace and quiet:)  
            So that was just the side I had to directly deal with.  I was informed as I walked into the office that the help that is coming down to help with construction for a week or two is not coming next week like we thought, they are coming Wednesday.  This changes my plans a bit,  I was planning on buying materials and getting a bunch of projects lined up for them, during the week.  Well I didn’t get that time, and several other smaller problems occurred, but small problems cause hold ups in one way or another, and they add up quick.  I ended up calling the dad of the Family, he has 10 kids and they all pretty much do construction.  The guys were telling me that when they were last here, the oldest boy was 15 and he was incredible.  There was an 11 year old hanging from the rafters screwing up drywall.  So now the oldest is 20 or 21and i am not sure of the youngest, but the dad said that the oldest 5 can pump out some work.  I really am looking forward to meeting and working with them.  So at the end of the day even with all the problems I was able to get a lot done, well a lot lined up, I didn’t do any real labor, so I am not sure I could say that I was working.
            As far as flight school goes, Jesse talked to a guy today that is going to be here Wednesday and Thursday to fix the Cessna 150, so that is one step closer!!  Thanks so much for all your prayers and support.  I love and miss everyone,


Saturday, December 18, 2010

First Week

I have just finished my first week here at itec, it has been a pretty good week I think.  I have spent most of the time working on getting the MAB building ready to insulate and put walls and ceiling on.  There is a family coming during the week between Christmas and New Years to help with the construction.  As I understand it, it is a pretty large family and they all do construction work as a ministry.  I haven’t met them yet, but I plan to call them next week to work out some details about the building.  I am pretty sure they have done some work for itec in the past.

There is an intern that might be moving down here with me and Jonathan named Ryan.  He has been here for about two weeks longer than I have, but he lives about 45 minutes away.  I think he is tired of making the drive so he is going to possibly move in.  He is going to college to be an engineer.  He took a year off college actually, and I think he plans to start back in the summer.

Steve is Back from out of town, it was great to see him here today. Most everyone is gone for the holidays so it has been very quiet and not a ton happening. So it was great to see him back.  There is a guy named Rowland that helped me this afternoon layout the ceiling in the MAB and mark out where the vents are going in the ceiling.  He is downstairs talking to Jonathan right now who is working on something for the Maverick.

Troy and I went flying for about a half hour the other day, we had a blast.  At about 2,000 feet we could see the Gulf Coast and Troy said that at 4,000 feet you could see both coasts, but we never went that high.  Troy is one of the test pilots for the Maverick, and he helps things stay moving around here.  He let me fly for a little while, it was awesome, I loved every second of it.  Just being so high off the ground, so close to the heavens, it was awesome and I cant wait till I can do that on my own.

My instructor gave me a few chapters to read and I have to go watch some DVDs at his hangar. Once the chapters are read, the DVDs watched, and the Cessna 150 is fixed then we will start flying.  The parts for the Cessna come in early next week so hopefully we can start flying mid to late next week. All in God’s timing.

Thanks everyone for praying for Steve while he was out of town, he is really busy and needs all the prayers he can get.  I am also grateful for your prayers, I couldn’t survive here without your prayers and support, thanks so much, God Bless

Your brother in Christ,


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Adventure Begins

The Adventure has begun!  These past three days I been working on the building next door where we will be putting together Mavericks, we call it “Maverick Assembly Building” (MAB)  There is plenty to do over there and it is pretty high on the priority list to get done so pray that we don’t run into too many difficulties.  Also, we are waiting for the power company to run the electricity pray for speed on that too.
This morning, I was awoken by a phone call from my mom telling me that I had to call someone from the Jackson Sun.  Apparently when my mom sent out an email asking for support for me, they were on the list and said they wanted to interview me.  It was quite a way to start your day, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone:)  Once I actually managed to get out of bed, I called the reporter.  His name was Jessie, we scheduled a time for him to call me back and went to work.  He did call me later and I think it went alright.  He wanted pictures of me flying, so Troy and I went flying for about half an hour this after noon.  At about 2,000 feet we could see the Gulf Coast, and he said that if we went to 4,000 feet we could see both coasts, but we didn’t go that hi.  I had a blast flying, nothing like it at all.
Troy also took me to meet Charlie, my instructor, today, we walked over there, picked up some homework to do, and walked back.  He works in the hangar next door to us.  It is really exciting finally starting all this, God has been good to me.  Charles said that he would give me lessons for $30 an hour plus fuel.  Fuel was $4.01 last checked but it changes like all fuel does.  The Cessna 150 I will be training in burns about 5 gallons an hour while cruising, but more during actually lessons cause of maneuvers and practices in landing and take offs. So roughly it will cost me about $55-$60 minimum per hour to train.   
 Jonathan and I met some friends for a Christmas party tonight. Actually, I met most of the people last time I was here, but it was great actually spending time with everyone.  There are 19 year old twin brothers that I got to know last time I was here named Matthew and Mitchell, they live about 5 minutes from here.  Matthew works here on his days off doing video editing and stuff, but works at a Chick-fil-A in the Mall in Ocala for his job.  Mitchell works in the same Mall making cookies.  They are going to come over later this week to hang out with Jonathan and me.  We had to wait in the Mall for about an hour till Mitchell got off work because he was bringing cookies to the party and he was the only one who knew where the party was.
            Steve is out of town in Oklahoma till Thursday so be praying for him.  For those of you who didn’t know, Nathanael’s family drove down with me and got to meet Steve and Ginny.  We had dinner with him Saturday night, got a tour of itec with him, went to church, had lunch and then when we got back to itec, he took us all for a ride in the Maverick.  We didn’t fly, just drove, everyone had a blast.  Steve and Ginny treated all the kids like they were their own grandkids.  Amara, Maria, Auna, and Naqi, rode with them everywhere. 
Steve has a lot of great insights about the mission field, some of them are similar to thoughts I have had, but mine are just thoughts.  He has been everywhere and so he has seen it and handled it, I have just read stuff about it.  I am going to learn tons from him, I think that is one of the reasons that I am here, to learn how to be a missionary from Steve.  I am going to read his book about it when I finish the one I am reading now.  I am so grateful to God that he brought me here.  He and Ginny are trying to come to at least part of the wedding, I think he said that he has to speak at a school on the 27th or something like that, but I think he plans on coming just to make sure I come back here, he said something about sending an armed guard to make sure I come backJ  Pray that God would let him come to the village.
            Thank you all so much for praying for me and for your support.  God Bless

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Working of God's Hands

It is a strange thing to move away from everything and everyone that you have known your whole life to face an unknown for an indefinite amount of time. Yet, it is an adventure I eagerly undertake, and I look forward to the new experiences.
           God has brought me this far and throughout these past weeks, especially, I have watched as I make plans and God makes His own, much better plan. Believe it or not, I have enjoyed watching Him smash my plan to bits and reveal His.
One such plan, was to move around spring time, after my mom gets married.  I thought that would be nice and logical.  I would have plenty of time to raise support, spend time with my friends, continue to work and have a little saved up, and to pay off some small debt. God however decided to move me two and a half months early, and allow me to go to the wedding, and fulfilling a goal that I considered impossible only a month ago. That goal was to start training to be a pilot before the year was out. I set that goal in mid/late January this year.  There are several stories just like it, but perhaps for another time.
I arrived home from i-tec Sunday morning with 6 days to raise support, say good bye to my friends, and move.  And as pretty much everyone knows, when you move, there are plenty of loose ends to tie up.  Well I have been in that mode of tying up loose ends when a couple loose ends started to unravel to cause worse problems.  One was an electric bill that I had from my last house.  My two friends (Daniel and Joel) and I had an envelope that we would put money in every week for the electric bill, so when I moved, I told them to just use that money to cover my part.  Well they ended up moving about the same time I did, so in the confusion of all three of us moving, the envelope got lost.  So the day before I leave, I got a text telling me that I had to pay my portion of the bill.  I also had my car insurance which just went up because I am moving to Florida and my policy had to change.  I was suppose to pay both of those and somehow get to Florida, and survive, and I really didn’t have the money for any of that.  Also, my car was running pretty rough and I was a bit worried about it.
But God was there for me and moved the obstacles with a sweep of His hand.  Just when all this was starting to overwhelm me, Joel called me and told me that he was going to cover my part of the bill because he knew that I was cutting it close on this trip.  Only hours later, someone donated $1,250 so I was able to pay for gas to get down here and hopefully start training right away.  And if that wasn’t enough, for some reason they are not starting the new policy payments till next month so I have a little time to raise more support.
All week God has been working on building my faith, and teaching me to lean on Him.  He has moved so much stuff around all week, it would take me so much time to write it all down and this post is already pretty long.  I thank all of you for your prayers, we had a very safe trip down here and my car ran wonderfully.  I am so grateful to God for getting me here, I could never have done it with out Him.  To Him be the Glory!     

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A New Chapter in my Life

          To those of you who have never met me.  My name is Austin Park, I am 20 years old and about to move to Florida to start training as a missionary pilot. I have dreamed of going to the mission field since I was very young when I first read the biographies of Jim Elliott and Nate Saint, a missionary pilot.  Plus, my dad was a pilot so that also got me interested in flying.  Due to several heart issues I was born with I never thought I would be able to fly, but against all odds God made it happen.  I met Steve Saint (Nate Saint's son) at the Global Missions Health Conference in Louisville, KY 2010 where he invited me to join his team at itec to help with the construction of a few buildings and also learn to fly.  The full story of that encounter will eventually be put up here but I want to do it justice, so I am taking my time writing it.  He told me that I should come down for a week-long visit and meet everyone, make sure we all like each other, and to make sure this is what God wanted for me. So last week, 11/29- 12/3, I worked alongside them and we felt God calling me to move there, not only to help, but also to prepare me to be a missionary.  I will be overseeing the construction of two buildings and possibly a third later next year.  My original plan was to move down in the spring after my moms wedding, but they tried not to let me come home and just stay down there. I told them I needed to come home to raise support, so they let me come home for one week.  I am moving this Saturday at 4am.

Living there will be similar to living as a missionary in the field. I will live off of support from other people while I train. Any support you can offer will be very much appreciated. Thank you and God bless you!

Good-bye Family and Friends

Dear family and friends,
     I want to take my first blog post to thank you so much for all you have given me to aid me in my walk with God.  You have all been very supportive of my desire to go to the mission field and I am extremely grateful for it. 
     I have wanted to go to the mission field for a very long time, and God has known it, so He began to teach me. He has used you to teach me practical things, construction, mechanics, and resourcefulness to name a few.  Though those are skills I will no doubt use in the mission field, they are the least of what you have taught me.  Through you, I have learned how to work, give, serve, and most of all love. 
     I thank God that he put you all in my life, I could never have gotten this far without all the work you put into me.  You have been a wonderful representation of what God's loving kindness looks like, and how full ones life can be when completely given over to God.
     To my friends, I would like to encourage you to pursue your dreams, don't put God in a box, He can do anything! What He did for me is proof of that, against all the odds with my health issues, He did the impossible. God cannot use a man or woman that chooses to sit still; run straight for the goal, but stay open to the idea that God may have something else for you.  Don’t get too much into what you are doing that you miss God speaking to you.  As you very well know, He will speak through strange people and even stranger circumstances.  Together we have been through so much, but still our friendships have endured. I will miss our crazy adventures we have been on together, especially the life-threatening ones (you guys know who you are J)
     To my family, I am going to miss you so much!  Life is going to be so different without spending evenings playing with Vesper, or laughing at jokes by Brian Regan, or making memories on a beach in Outer Banks, North Carolina.  I am sure we will see each other a couple of times during the year and I am sure they will be filled with laughter and fun. But I will miss having access to that all the time.  You have all been behind me as I have pursued the mission field, and I am very grateful for it.  Thanks so much for all you have given me while I was living here in the Village.
     To my much larger family:  Rose Creek Village has been my home for nearly my entire life, from the beginning in Geneva, FL to where we are now in Selmer, TN.  The adventures of our lives together have been full of excitement and have played a crucial role in shaping the man I am today.  Every adult has been a mentor to me and helped me walk God’s path, every peer was there to pick me up when I fell.  I am extremely grateful for the send off you all gave me last Sunday at the Gathering.
     There is very little I feel that I can say to express my gratitude to everyone, words just don’t quite do the trick.  Just know that I am excited, and honored to be called by God and to be sent by His people on an adventure filled with unknowns.  I am honored to have known you and lived among His people for as long as I did.  Thanks so much for your support and encouragement. To God be the glory!

Your friend and brother,


Monday, December 6, 2010

Letter of Recommendation from Steve Saint

Dec. 3, 2010
Dear Friends of Austin,
You probably don't know me but we have something in common - our interest in Austin.  Actually I just met Austin at a Global Missions Health Conference that I speak at each year in Louisville but I feel like I have known him longer than that. 
At the conference, Austin introduced himself to me and told me of his interest in missions and aviation and his experience in construction.  Fifteen years ago I started an organization called Itec - the Indigenous People's Technology and Education Center.  We are a missions orgnization with a little twist.  Instead of going overseas to provide healthcare and other missionary services, we train and equip Christ Followers in frontier areas of the world so that they can meet the spiritual and physical needs of their own people.  We disciple them so they can desciple others who disciple others, right there where they live, in their own country and in their own lanuage and their own culture.
You can find out lots more about what we do on our webb site ( or in our videos and books.  What I really want to tell you about is Austin.
We are growing and that means that we really need someone here who can oversee several construction projects.  In addition to that, we are doing some final design and testing for our flying car called the Maverick ( and we are building a training center on the edge of the Amazon jungle, in Ecuador and we are building airplanes for missions and dental equipment and ...
One of the things we impress on those we train overseas is to learn to be frugal.  So, we try to live by the same principle.  That is why most of our staff are self supported and also why a key part of our staff is young interns.  The interns fill a crucial role at Itec while they learn Biblical principles of doing missions the way Christ taught us to, and while they develop additional skills that they can use in missions and teach to local believers. 
Austin has offered to come and be part of our community here at Itec for a period of time.  We can offer him a place to stay and we will help him get some aviation training very affordably.  I would really appreciate it and would consider it a personal favor if you would consider helping support Ausin while he works and trains here at Itec. 
Thank you for considering my request, and have a blessed Christmas,
Steve Saint