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Overflowing Joy & Rich Generosity

Our Macedonian Church

 

It was this time a year ago that Phillip and I ventured into the world of SOAR. Well, we started Kingdom Come Training - training in how to tell our story to those that are dear to us (you) and invite them to be part of this journey. I remember trying to be extra disciplined that week so that Phillip and I would be excellent students with great habits, starting with waking up before sunrise to get exercise in before classes. On the last day of week one classes we exercised our way to get donuts - Phillip’s reward for doing two things he despises, waking up early and exercise. To our excitement, it was National Donut Day (June 5 in case you need to exercise your sweet tooth this week, too)! Those disciplined weeks of classes, led us to a deepening perspective of SOAR as our ministry AND of our ministry to YOU, our partners, knowing your value to us. For many of you this is the first email update that you have received; so, welcome!
 
Presently, the start of pandemic brought up a few dry weeks of ministry where we struggled to make “ministry visits” happen. Now that is behind us, and we have recently spent so much time having ministry visits - the virtual atmosphere proving to be effective for us - getting to talk to many about what SOAR is and enjoying all you have to share with us.
 
Like I said, we just continue to gain understanding of your value to us. One incredible reward of this ministry is that Phillip and I are not alone; we get to see so many people live like one of the first century churches Paul writes about. In 2 Corinthians chapters 8 and 9, I read about the abundant giving of the Macedonian church, about giving being their way to partner in making sure others hear the gospel, and about Paul’s boasting of these saints and his praising God because of them. This passage reminds us of YOU. Seeing this working of the church still today has long made this one of my favorite passages in relation to missions!
 
“And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God to us. So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. But since you excel in everything -- in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you--see that you also excel in this grace of giving.”
 
Times like this where much of what we know becomes flipped upside down might just be a slight equivalent to what Paul writes as the peoples very severe trial. But like Paul, Phillip and I have been able to see that there is still an overflowing joy in you that wells up into rich generosity. Here are a few of the many ways you all have shared joys with us in conversations, visits, and in life!
 
  • Sacrificing pay so your employees can receive it.
  • Staying home, having fun with your kids, and loving them.
  • Discovering the fascinating pirate language on Mango.
  • Building backyard playgrounds.
  • Making food deliveries to students' families.
  • Translating many phone calls between schools and parents.
  • Gaining girlfriends. (Ha!)
  • Laughing with your families.
  • Commissioning one of your daughters into the Navy.
  • Running 24 hour marathons with family.
  • Saving grocery receipts for me and my “cash-back app” obsession.
  • Preparing for a baby girl! - On Friday we rejoiced at the arrival of a healthy new niece!
  • Adjusting life to finish a semester of school online instead of in the classroom.
  • Working from home.
  • Taking “Perspectives” class. (We’re jealous :))
  • Getting out of debt!
  • Buying a home!
  • Enjoying a short break from school.
  • Pastoring church virtually.
  • Working on project cars.
  • Forgoing short-term mission trips and still placing trust in the Lord.
  • Caring for animals at the zoo when no visitors get to enjoy them.
  • Overseeing the needs of hundreds of elementary students and teachers.
  • Following through to complete another school year of guiding youth through ministry.
  • Helping Phillip and I think differently about how we would answer some of the intense questions we ask you at the beginning of our “ministry visit”. Thank you for your vulnerability as we visit.
 
Paul took pride in the giving nature of the Macedonians. And we take pride in all of you who are our partners, exemplifying Christ in who you are and what you do. We must share with all persuasiveness that there is an overflow of many thanksgivings to God because of you (2 Cor. 9:12). You all are our Macedonian Church! Thank you.
 
In case Phillip ever thought his leading a small group as not fruitful, it's finally proving to be...a gift from his small group boys.

In the Shop

Among the slow down and stay at home order, we have kept our doors open at SOAR. We all were deemed essential works due to the upkeep of the fuel system. We did have to momentarily ground our fleet to the available renters which also included the SOAR students. So with less of the flight training going on, we revved up the amount of projects that we've been doing on the maintenance side of things.

Of the various things that we have been doing inside the shop the past couple of months, one of the more exciting things is the restoration of one of SOAR’s donated airplanes. We started this process a couple months after I began SOAR and are now coming to the final stage of it; fabric covering and painting. It’s an interesting process that takes time, but can be very rewarding in the end. It entails cutting the fabric, gluing it down, ironing to shrink it (much like ironing a shirt), riveting it together, and many many layers of different types of glues and paints. The other new experiences that I’ve had the privilege to be a part of are replacing a cylinder on an engine, riveting with a rivet gun (it’s terrifying), replacing all the windows, and removing and installing a flap on a wing four times over.

During the stay at home order there was no flying at all. Therefore training was abruptly stopped in that regard. But now we are starting to pick that back up again. I had my first Instrument lesson since passing my written exam as well as my first lesson in a tail-dragger. Right before the pandemic took place, Kevin (our head of operations and mechanic for SOAR) and I were able to go on a unique trip to Texas to pick up one of the flaps we needed for our aircraft. We took the Helio Courier, an infamous airplane used for missionary work as well as Bush flying (in the picture of the flight you may be able to see two very small C-130 airplanes flying under us). Oh what an experience it was!

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