It never ceases to amaze me how our God can take a group of people with different skills from all over the world and bring them together to accomplish something truly great for His glory. That\’s exactly what He is doing through the ministry of Missionary Maintenance Services (MMS).
On June 23, we made the 9 hour trek up to Coshocton, OH for our \”in hangar evaluation\” with MMS. When we arrived at our host family\’s home (the Dunkleys) we were immediately greeted and spent the first hour and a half getting to know Mike Dunkley who is a team leader and one of the head mechanics with MMS. It was fun to hear of his many adventures on the field and growing up in Zimbabwe, Africa.
We quickly learned that all the MMS staff were just as friendly and accomodating.
On Wednesday, Richard went straight to the hangar to get a feel for life as an MMS missionary. We both got tours of the facilities which have expanded extensively since the ministry was founded in 1975, evidence of God\’s hand in the work that they are doing for mission aviation.
After the tour, Richard went to work helping replace the carpet in one of the missionary\’s dad\’s airplane.
I headed out with Cathy Egbert (wife of Chuck, a missionary mechanic) to get a tour of Coshocton. I immediately loved the quaintness of the town. With a population of about 12,000, it\’s a very slow paced and family orientented place. I enjoyed walking through some of the shops in Roscoe Village, a historical area in downtown.
That evening, we had dinner with Dwight and Rena Jarboe. Dwight is the President of MMS and he and his wife have been at MMS longer than any current missionary, serving for 27 years so far. We enjoyed time getting to know them better and hearing of their missionary adventures and learning more about the history of MMS.
On Thursday, Richard worked with Ian Hengst\’s team changing a nose wheel tire on a the Commander. After that, he joined \”Team Dunkley\” and helped put the wings on the Alas de Socorro Cessna 206. After lunch, Richard and Tim mounted the horizontal stabilizer. This plane came in for a 1,000 hour inspection that was scheduled to last only 4 months but has now been in the hangar for nearly 2 1/2 years undergoing repairs that were not anticipated but desperately needed. It was really exciting for Richard to help in the completion phase of such a long project. They are hoping that this plane will soon be back on the field in Honduras, helping Alas de Socorro and Missionary Air Group reach more people for Christ.
That afternoon I got to meet up with several of the wives for lunch. I had a good time getting to know them and their kids a bit and hearing more about life in Coshocton.
For dinner that night, we ate at the home of Dennis and Mary Satterthwaite. Dennis went through the apprenticeship 24 years ago and now serves as a Chief Inspector with MMS and laison with the FAA. Mary is the Director of Office Administration and Bookkeeper. They were both a tremendous encouragement to us as we heard of their faithful years of service in the ministry. It was fun sharing with them about the vision God has given us and hearing of how God led them to serve with MMS. In addition to their work in the hangar and office of MMS, they have a passion for horses. They have 4 at their home and let us ride \”Brenda\”, a mild mannered mare. That was good for me because it\’s been a long time since I had ridden and I don\’t think I could have handled an energetic horse! It was fun and brought back a lot of great memories of when Richard\’s parents boarded horses and Richard took riding lessons.
Friday was the last day in the hangar for Richard. He worked with Mike Dunkley\’s team along side missionary Tim Fox serving with Wycliff Bible Translators. Together, they installed the pulleys for the trim tab cables and the trim tab actuater on the Honduran 206, one more step in getting it ready for the field. They also installed the vertical stabilizer and Richard installed a transponder antennae and an HF radio antennae.
I was invited to the home of Dale and Deborah Coates after lunch. I spent a couple hours in their home and enjoyed getting to know their family and sharing with them my testimony of how God led me and Richard into missions from a young age. They are a truly spectacular family and have two very sweet daughters and I look forward to getting to know them better during our time with MMS.
That afternoon, we met with Dwight Jarboe and Keith Dodson. Keith is the Human Resource Director with MMS and has been our main contact throughout the application process. After our three day evaluation, we were officially \”accepted\” as MMS Missionaries. We were very excited and privileged to be welcomed as part of the team. What an honor to be involved in a ministry that is doing so much to help spread the Gospel to the uttermost parts of the world!!
We spent our last evening with Keith and his wife Karen at the home of Tim and Michele Obarow. It was a great time of laughing and sharing stories of past experiences. What a great way to end the week!
So, after months of prayer and seeking God\’s direction, He has confirmed in our hearts that MMS is where He will have us serve for the first 30 months of our missionary journey. We will serve as SCORE missionaries \”on loan\” to MMS. We are very excited about this new chapter in our lives and our passion was refreshed yet again as we were surrounded with people excited about reaching others with the Gospel.