This blog post is basically from my journal, I was trying to think of a way that was best and most accurate and since this was written only a day and a half after it all happened I decided that, with some editing, it would be the best way to let everyone know what is going on. Enjoy!
The Air show in Oshkosh Wisconsin is over, Robby, Sam, Jonathan and I drove the two trucks home with the Mavericks. It took us only two days this time which is very nice. For one it gave me more time to move out of my old house for Brian Reeds’ family to move into, and for two, it gave me more time to relax before returning to work this Monday.
On our way home we stopped through Nashville and my dearest family drove the three hours to have dinner with me and my friends. What a blessing it was! There is nothing that can replace family. I have the most beautiful sisters and mother I could ever ask for, a brother-in-law that is just plain out awesome, and a younger brother who is just as awesome and whom I do not deserve. My niece and nephew are so cute and extremely hilarious even though Dominic is only months old he can make me laugh, and Vesper is only 2 and has a vocabulary bigger than mine!
While at the air show, I met several people that I found incredibly awesome. Several people that I met and found really awesome were in the Mission Aviation tent. JAARS, MAF, and several others were there. I met several of them and some of them even came to the Maverick booth. Though I like a lot of what they do, and I myself have wanted to fly for them before, I did not feel the attraction that I once felt. There was no nudge from God leading me to any one of them. This was both a relief and discouraging. A relief because I do not have any desire to leave ITEC, but discouraging too because I didn’t know how God wanted me to use aviation in the mission field once I got my license.
During the last couple of days at Oshkosh I felt more and more that God wanted me to spend more time flying and studying and working mechanics for my A and P license when I got back. I told Troy this and he was fine with that. He had told me that if I ever felt the need to take a few days and study or fly then to go ahead and do it.
Friday I had planned to do several things including fly. I was confident that God wanted me to put more effort into it and not just work construction. He brought me here to build, yes, but to learn to fly and get my mechanics license too. I went into town to send off a package to home, get my hair cut and, of course, get some coffee:). I received an email the day before from Dr. Busch telling me that I would get my letter from the FAA before his copy came to him and to let him know when mine came through. I made my Starbucks stop first and then headed to the UPS store. On my way there, Mark called me from ITEC telling me that I had a letter from the FAA. I nearly crashed the car i was so shocked and excited. I was 75% sure that it was my medical certificate. I had done everything God had told me to do and jumped through every hoop and used the people that God had put in my life to help me. Even though I was confident, I prayed. I told God that whatever was in that letter when I got to ITEC, I would still follow Him, I would not turn away, no matter what the cost.
When I got to ITEC and opened the letter, I felt my life-long dream shatter all around me. My medical certificate had been denied. After all the hoops I had jumped though, after all the tests I had done, after all the people I had met with, my dream of flying was not to be. I didn't know what to do, as I turned each page, I was sure that there was going to be some sort of loop hole that they would let me fly. I couldn't believe that this was happening.
My biggest question is, “Why? Why, God? I know You have brought me all this way, and now you will not let me have my license?” My whole life has lead up to flying in ministry, and God lead me to Steve Saint, to ITEC, he taught me so many things on so many adventures, and now I cannot fly?
I sat in the conference room for what felt like hours but in reality was only about 30 minutes. I texted Steve and asked if I could come over and talk to him after telling Troy about the letter. I got there and found out that Troy had already texted Steve telling him about the letter. I didn’t know what to do, I was totally devastated.
I talked with Steve and Ginny for nearly 2 hours. I learned so much from them, it would take me all night to write it all down, but I walked out of there knowing that this is all part of God's plan. After being at ITEC for 6 months, I told Jamie that I realized that my view of missions has changed so much, and I have changed so much that I don;t even know who I am. I had changed more in the last 6 months than I had in the last 6 years and that still holds true. I told Steve and Ginny that, and I got the same answer from them as I got from Jamie, they looked at each other and then looked at me and said, "That’s a great place to be." It is certainly not an easy place to be, though I am sure it is a good one.
Steve and Ginny told me stories of other men and women of the faith that had their dreams crushed only to realize God's dream--people like Steve's dad, Nate Saint, and people in the Bible like Job. People who knew that God had a reason for doing the things that He did and moved on following God regardless. I plan to still follow God. I have no plans to stop. I am solid in my faith. I refuse to denounce God in any way or form. There is obviously a plan that God has for me and it does not involve me having my pilot license--at least not yet. I have not lost hope.
I am praying that I will get the opportunity to travel with Steve more or travel to represent ITEC in some form or another, then I will at least get to be in air some.
I called my dad this evening to tell him about the FAA. He told me a story that gave me hope and encouragement. It was the kind of story that I believe every father should be able to tell his son at least once. It was a story that shows you their is hope, and that your father was able to overcome and God gave him his dream.
The story was that my dad signed up for the Navy to fly. I inherited the same dream of flying from my dad. After doing his physical he was told that his vision was 20/25 and the limit was 20/20, no exceptions. My dads dreams were crushed, just like mine. A year and a half later, he graduated and ended up on a ship. He was not the top of his class, nor the highest ranked, but when he was on the ship, he worked his tail off. He learned everything he could, and worked to the best of his ability. And the people that mattered on the ship noticed. After that first tour, he was informed that the vision limit was changed to 20/30. So he tried again to become a pilot, and after months of attempts, he got called from Washington offering a position as an NFO (naval flight officer) the back seat of the jet, The NFO basically runs the mission, does a lot of the co-pilot work which includes navigation. He knew that was not what he wanted to do, he wanted to be the pilot so he turned down the offer, and continually attempted to become a pilot. One day, he got that dream and became a helicopter and jet pilot.
After hearing that story from my dad, I respected him and really loved him as my dad. It was probably the first time we actually connected on a scale that large and that close to the heart. I am hoping to see him at Thanksgiving as long as I am still in town.
As for what is next, I am going to remain working for ITEC. I want to stay working full time ministry. I have a lot I can learn from these people and I still am not losing hope that I will one day get my pilot license.
My mind is in quite a weird place. It is telling me that I should be in shock, but God has poured out his grace on me and I am still able to function and not fall into self-pity. Somehow, I know that this is not the end. I know that I follow a God that can change anything in an instant, and regardless of whether I become a pilot or not, I will still follow Him. I know that God is the Pilot-in-Command and I will stay with him no matter what maneuvers He does. I will make my plans and watch God smash it to bits as He places my steps on the trail He wants me to walk.
One more observation is that my whole life, I have always had an end goal, or something to achieve. Once I accomplished one, I moved onto the next. Now, it seems like God took away all those goals to teach me to let Him write the story and direct the way. I do not regret making those goals, nor do I think I will refrain from making other ones. On the contrary, God cannot use a man that sits still, so I will make plans and goals and sit back and watch God destroy them and show me His plan or simply point me in a direction.
If there is one thing I have learned in my time here at ITEC that is worth mentioning, it is to be flexible. I can make all the plans that I want for each day’s work, but I have to be able to drop everything in an instant. My day can change in one phone call. Or my week, or even month. I cannot even make plans more than a week or two out because I never know if I am going to be in town or not. Once I was asked if I wanted to go flying, I obviously said yes, and after boarding the plane and taking off, I was informed that we were going to a town north of Atlanta. Thankfully that night we flew back and I didn't have be out of town unprepared:)
I love you all and am very grateful for your prayers and support. Have a wonderful day!!
Your brother in Christ,