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.
We all have connections. In life, relationships should be our best and most celebrated of connections. But sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. Broken relationships are a heartache in life.
By providence, I was blessed with two wonderful parents. They loved each other very much. They worked hard. They enjoyed good times with many friends. And, helped each other through the hard times. They danced really well together. Through it all they stayed together. They expected a lot of me and my brother. They had high standards with fair expectations. Both were great mentors to us in our careers. But always Mom and Dad. They loved us.
This past week, I traveled back home to Louisville, Kentucky. It had been 7 years since I flew into Bowman field. Both Mom and Dad would meet me there. Home was not far from the airport. Mom passed away 7-years ago in September the month of Dad’s birthday. And, Dad departed 10-years ago in November the month of Mom’s birthday. I miss them both. Letting go is a long-term project.
Wednesday morning, I visited Louisville’s Cave Hill Cemetery where they are buried. It was before 8:00am and the gates had opened early. I entered through the main entrance at Cherokee Road, instead of the Grinstead Drive with which I had some familiarity. In the early dawn light and after a number of turns I realized I was lost. The roads bend and criss cross like a maze. It was an unexpected moment which added to my feeling of being alone. Circumstances had led me on this trip by myself without family. A very quiet time for reflection.
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. 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, she had directions to the Grinstead Drive entrance. As my Mom would say, “there were more turns than you could shake a stick at.” From Grindstead Drive I recognized enough landmarks to make it to their graveside.
It was a quiet September morning. A fall chill was in the Kentucky air and the moment was prescient. It pushed away any thought of interruption. There are times in life that are a full hard stop. I reflected on the “dash” between the engraved dates. I know to have Mom and Dad with me through much of my life was a blessing. We all know night cometh. But because of the hope that’s within me, I have assurance I’m not lost. The hope does not disappoint.
Our past connections can help us appreciate the connections we have today. To celebrate and value our family, friends and neighbors. To strengthen and support them and mend brokenness in ways we have not yet discovered. “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.”
My hope is still in the best reconciler of relationships, Jesus Christ. He’s the greatest connection of all that we can have. Even though, I realize 19th century liberal theology has delivered us into a post Christian nation.
From Cave Hill Cemetery, I took Bardstown Road south back to Bowman field. It was a short 10-minute drive. My plane was ready. I accepted the Air Devil departure and climbed west back to Houston, Texas with thankfulness to have this time to pilot a modern chariot through God’s beautiful skies. Until that – Last Day.
(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 5:1-5).