One of the key aspects of attending a gathering of the size and scope of AirVenture is the way it brings so many aviation enthusiasts together in one location. It provides an opportunity to renew, restore, and build new relationships. With mission aviators spread literally around the world, there are only one or two events each year that can really draw "everyone" together under one roof, or tent, for a time of interaction. The annual International Association of Missionary Aviation Conference is one such venue. Oshkosh is the other.
Many friends, graduates, and pilots who've been served by MMS have stopped by the display table in the IAMA tent. Jacques, from Congo, Africa; Dave Spangler, from the Bahamas; Terry McClary, Philip Thompson, Ward Montgomery, Mitch Pennington, Ryan Joy (MMS grad serving in Brazil), are just a few who stopped by the MMS display to say hello.
Of course people interested in learning more about MMS Aviation are also stoppying by to learn how MMS prepares people and planes for worldwide mission service. Several have requested additional information to learn more about the program in greater detail.
At least one new media relationship has been established between MMS and General Aviation News. And it sounds as if contacts were made which could lead to another venue being opened up for missionary representation down at Sun 'N Fun, the other major US fly-in airshow. We'll see how it all works out.
AirVenture finishes on Saturday with tear-down and clean-up on Sunday. I'll have another post or two before Team Oshkosh returns.
I've previously mentioned the Mission Aviation Support Association (all volunteer) which was formed to handle the logistical side of missionary housing, meals, speaking, and transporation challenges related to AirVenture. This year that covered nearly 400 missionaries.
MASA does a fantastic job of making sure the main thing visiting missionaries need to concern themselves with is just getting to Oshosh. MASA takes care off all the rest. Over the past few years, MASA has grown from an idea of one man, to a living reality expressing its own Christian witness throughout AirVenture venue as well as the local community. MASA is integral to the success of the missionary effort at AirVenture and is a wonderful example of the Christian community working together as one body. It's a ministry and a blessing for which all the missionaries at AirVenture are thankful.
AirVenture is an exiting time for the Christian community to live a witness among 500-700,000 people over the course of one week. It's an experience unique to itself, and creates an aviation synergy that is unequalled in its scope and focus.
Thank you for your prayers and gifts which have made it possible for MMS to send Team Oshkosh to AirVenture.