A Friend Joins Mission Aviation Fellowship

I met Elijah Derbecker at a Cirrus Certified Service Center in Houston, Texas. He’s an Airframe & Powerplant certified mechanic and obtained his Inspection Authorization (IA) rating a few years ago. He was a lead mechanic that took care of our Cirrus SR22 airplane.

In February 2019, they were accepted into Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) after he and his wife made a big decision and commitment to become missionaries. They will be serving in the Democratic Republic of Congo but before they get there MAF has a very organized transition program.

It began here in the States and then moved them to France to learn French. They’ve met new friends and are building a strong foundation in a new language. They’ve remained healthy and stayed safe from the COVID-19 global pandemic. Truly, they are on a life-changing journey that will bring help and hope to some of the world’s most isolated people.

I’m glad we connected with them on this journey. It takes a faithful support team willing to stand with them through prayer and financial assistance. Last year, we made that commitment to be on their team. I hope you will also consider supporting the Derbeckers. Just contact give.MAF.org and designate a gift and remember to support them in prayer.

The greatest connection

We all have connections and moments of prescience. 

This past week I traveled to Louisville, Kentucky.  It had been 7 years since I landed at Bowman Field.  Both Mom and Dad would meet me there.  Home was not far from the airport. Ten years ago, Dad departed in November which was the month of Mom’s birthday.  And 7-years ago Mom passed away in September the month of Dad’s birthday.  I miss them both. Letting go is a long-term project.

By providence, I was blessed with two wonderful parents.  They loved each other very much. Helped each other through the hard times and stayed together. They danced together really well.   They enjoyed many friends with whom they shared good times.  Mom and dad upheld a strong work ethic and had high standards with fair expectations.  They expected a lot of my brother and me. Both were great mentors to us in our vocations, yet always Mom and Dad.   They loved us.

Wednesday morning, I visited Louisville’s Cave Hill Cemetery where Mom and Dad are buried. Established in 1848, Cave Hill Cemetery is Louisville’s largest and a botanical garden by design. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places.   

It was before 8:00am when I arrived and the gates had opened early.  I entered through the Cherokee Road main entrance, instead of Grinstead Drive with which I had some familiarity.  In the early dawn light and after a number of turns I was lost.  The roads bend and criss cross like a maze and created an unexpected moment which added to my feeling of being alone. Circumstances had led me on this trip by myself without family. Indeed, a quiet time for reflection.  

Louisville, KY Bowman Field Terminal building with entrance to the French restaurant Le Relais, photo credit wikiWings.

I could see the ground crews were gathering to begin their day’s work.  But I wasn’t going to ask them for directions.  So, I pulled out my phone and asked Siri.  Weird, she knew where I was.  And had directions to the Grinstead Drive entrance.  Mom would say, “there were more turns than you could shake a stick at.”  From Grindstead Drive, I recognized enough landmarks to find their graveside. 

As James Taylor sings, “Mama don’t understand it, She wants to know where I’ve been, I’d have to be some kind of natural born fool, To want to pass that way again, But you know I could feel it, On a country road (circa 1970).”

It was a quiet September morning with a fall chill in the Kentucky air that paused any interruption.  In life, there are occasionally full hard stops. This morning was prescient. We all know night cometh. I reflected on the “space and time” between the engraved dates and knew it was a blessing for Mom and Dad to have been with me through much of my life.

C.H. Spurgeon has said, “We are not called down to the grave, but up to the skies. Our heaven born spirits should long for their native air.” Indeed, sir. From Cave Hill Cemetery, I turned onto Bardstown Road and traveled south back to Bowman Field.  It was a short 10-minute drive.  My plane was ready.  I accepted the Air Devil departure and climbed westward back to Houston, Texas with thankfulness to have the opportunity to pilot a modern chariot through beautiful skies.

“There are only so many years, days, hours and minutes we have to invest in the lives of others . . . So many of the things we expend our energy and time on disappear and will not last, but people will; therefore, considering our use of time in relationships proves important.” Can past connections help us with those we have today?  To value family and neighbors more?  To find paths we have not yet discovered?

In life, relationships should be our most celebrated connections, although sometimes it doesn’t work out that way.  Broken relationships are a heartache. My hope rests in the foremost reconciler of relationships, Jesus Christ.  The Greatest Connection. By grace, the hope is in me and does not disappoint and will carry me past – The Last Day.

Mom & Dad

On a Country Road Mom. On a country road.

References: (Rev Jason Helopolulos, “Time and Relationships,” Table Talk Magazine, September 2020, p. 10 – 13., John 9:4; 1 COR 15:50-58; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Ro 5:1-11, 1 Peter 1:3-5, Titus 1:2, Lamentations 3: 21-24). Has 19th century liberal theology delivered us into a post Christian nation?

© 2020 Connecting Aviators® Above and Beyond

GA Factoids part 2

General Aviation:

  • Is the primary training ground for most commercial airline pilots.
  • Flies to more than 5,100 U.S. public airports, while scheduled airlines serve less than 400 airports.
  • Flies over 25.5 million flight hours, of which two-thirds are for business purposes.
  • Can reduce travel related exposure risks associated with COVID-19.