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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Serving God's Kingdom Isn't Always Exciting

Serving God's Kingdom isn't always exciting by this world's standards. Far from it. This world demands flash, style, and success. Constant external change is required to hold people's attention with each change making things more dynamic in impact and appearance. It's external, short-term, eye catching and leads one in the wrong direction. This is the wrong world, the wrong kingdom.

In God's Kingdom quiet faithfulness, perseverance, and endurance are what God uses to provide eternal fruit: hearts and lives changed from the inside out for His glory. There may not be much to look at, but there's a lot going on.

Let me provide three glimpses into God's Kingdom work at MMS featuring faithfulness, perseverance, and endurance. Keep in mind that before the "fruit of flight" is received, there's a lot of work in the dirt that needs to happen.

LAMP 337
Before we return an airplane to the field, as a regular part of preparing for the inspection process, everything in the airplane needs to be cleaned. The aircraft interior is removed and floor panels are pulled to reveal the belly skins of the airplane where everything dirty and grimy collects. Wire brushes, rags, and appropriate cleaning fluids are are put into use. There's nothing inherently exciting about going over the guts of an aircraft inch by inch with a toothbrush and a vacuum cleaner.

Chuck cleans the guts of the 337 with a wire brush and vacuum.

Honduran 206
After an interior has been removed, it needs to be reinstalled. You may not be surprised to learn that interiors come out much faster than they go in. While sitting in a airplane, the interior looks simple: a couple pieces of plastic, leather, some trim...but when having to reinstall an interior very little is simple and just because it was removed from the airplane, it doesn't guarantee it's going to going to fit when reinstalled. Of course, throw in fitting new pieces to the old interior and complexity becomes the name of the game. There's nothing inherently exciting about clearing, tucking, tightening, and securing the headliner of a missionary airplane back in place.

Tim F. and Logan work in cramped quarters tucking the headliner on the Honduran 206 back into place.

Brazilian 206
Everyone can appreciate a nice looking paint job on an airplane. But few people understand the painstaking preparation that goes into a high-quality paint job. There are thousands of rivets on the average missionary airplane. The area around each one of those rivet heads can collect and/or retain contaminants that will bubble paint and prevent the paint from adhering properly. While there are ways of removing large areas of paint from an airplane, the details are where it makes the difference when it comes to rivet heads. There is no fast way to guarantee rivet head edges are properly clean beyond inspecting and cleaning each individual rivet head. There's no inherent excitement in spending hours and hours cleaning rivet heads with a pick.

Paul cleans rivet head by rivet head prior to spraying fresh paint on the horizontal stabilizer for the Honduran 206.

Faithfulness, Perseverance, Endurance
But don't get me wrong. It is exciting here. Anywhere God's work is being accomplished there is a sense of excitement in His children and God's work is being accomplished at MMS. If you walk into our hangar and talk to Chuck, Tim, to Logan, or to Paul, you'll sense the excitement even in the grit, the grim, and the tediousness of their given tasks. Airplanes are being prepared to reach the lost and God's Kingdom is being expanded one rivet head, one interior, one inspection, one repair at a time.

Thank you for helping make this excitement possible through your gifts and your prayers.

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