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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Spring break 2015

The LeTourneau Crew

For the past couple of years a small group of college students have traveled 18 hours from LeTourneau University in Longview, TX. to spend their spring break volunteering at MMS. The purpose of their trip is to provide an opportunity to explore mission aviation on a personal level, a professional level and a spiritual level.  This Face-to-Face profile highlights this group of students and their advisor.

This is a photo of the four students and their staff advisor that came to MMS this year.

Sitting on the left side of the couch is Pablo Silverio, staff advisor. LeTourneau requires a staff member accompany students on trips such as this and as of two weeks ago no staff had committed.  When Pablo stepped forward the students were grateful because without him the trip would not have happened.

On the personal side, Pablo is a programmer and he and his wife moved from Ecuador last July. He works in the IT department at LeTourneau and has been able to assist MMS with some of their computer issues.

On the right of the couch is Rebekah Martel. She is in her freshman year at LeTourneau. However, Rebekah is not your typical first year college student. She graduated from high School in 2011 and worked in a hardware store the past couple of years putting away money for school.  During that time she felt the Lord working on her heart and calling her to missions. When she was 12 she took her first airplane ride while attending a Young Eagles Day coordinated by the EAA. It was then she fell in love with planes. She says that the Lord is combining all her passions by calling her to mission aviation; flying, fixing things and mission work.

Standing directly behind Rebekah is Caleb Gibson. When asked the question concerning his call into missions he is quick to tell you he has felt called since the age of 6. It was then he developed a love for planes. During his freshmen year in high school he heard a missionary speak and he knew then mission aviation was for him. This is Caleb’s senior year at LeTourneau and he will be graduating in May. He is very open about his school loans and hopes to get a job to pay them off quickly. This will allow him to get to the mission field that he feels such a passion for and calling to.

To the left of Caleb is Jack Harper. Unlike Caleb, Jack is not able to be so specific about the date and time he felt called into mission aviation. Growing up his family went on short term mission trips which created a desire for mission work. However, it wasn’t until recently an interest in mission aviation developed. His father is a pilot and when flying with him during his high school years (just last year, Jack is a freshman) he came to realize how much he enjoyed it.

Standing next to Jack is Trey Kleppe. Trey wants to work with helicopters more then anything. His first ride in one occurred in high school when his church was conducting a community outreach dropping Easter eggs out of a helicopter. Ever since that flight helicopters have excited him. His dream is to fly helicopters for a mission organization when he graduates from LeTourneau.  

Collectively they readily admitted how beneficial they have found their time at MMS. The opportunity to work with licensed mechanics on planes that are going to serve all over the world is enriching their lives. They feel encouraged, more knowledgeable, and better able to picture what mission aviation maintenance looks like on a day to day basis. Learning from people who have served in different parts of the world has also broadened their scope of what it means to work in mission aviation. In addition, to be able to network among people who have the same passion as theirs seems to feed into their souls. 

It was a pleasure to meet Pablo and each of these students.  I pray for their future and hope that the rest of the MMS family joins me.  I am grateful God continues to call people to serve Him in mission aviation. “Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.’” Mathew 9:37

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Off to Africa

The SIM  SMA diesel 182Q is completed and is on it's way back to service in Niger, Africa. This is a 4 cylinder SMA designed diesel engine. The diesels cost $250/Hr. less than the av-gas engines and based on an 800 Hr. year of flight time it saves this program $200,000/yr. When traveling at normal high speed power this aircraft has a flight distance of 9 hours on a tank of fuel and when throttled back for optimum distance can reach 14 hours with the right conditions. This is a very valuable capability as they do many long flights over desert terrain. They can safely fly this plane to it's destination in Africa from the US. This is leading edge technology and will be the future of mission aviation. The cost of fuel for Jet-A is between $6-$8/ gallon as compared to Av Gas which runs around $22/ gallon.

We at MMS are always excited to see such technology and get to be a part of working on such an airplane. Although we had no part in working on the engine there was plenty of things that we had our hands on in working on this aircraft. We added wing extensions, doorpost/ wing strut modifications, HF radio installation, storm scope installation, ELT replacement, an inter cooler addition to the engine, new shoulder harnesses, a max gross weight increase, new floor matting, an upgraded starter system, and a new magnetic compass system. The betterment of this aircraft will give it years of service on the mission field.

The efficiency of this airplane allows SIM to have the ability to make individual runs if needed for anything  from ambulance to supplies when needed. To learn more about what SIM does you can visit their site at

All washed up and ready to go

We gathered the crew and gave it a proper send off bathed in prayer and it is now on it's way

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A special treat

Mercy Air has completed it's helicopter, and to say thank you to MMS for the use of it's facility they were giving families a ride. It was exciting sitting in the front seat with anticipation as you heard the slow whine start to pick up momentum and the long blades started to swirl around. Inside the cockpit you could feel the wump, wump, wump of the rotor blades swirling. Looking through the windshield you could see the swirls of snow curling across the ground. After all checks of the helicopter we were cleared for take off. The slow upward lift as it pulled us skyward felt like we were floating on a cloud and the nose pointed forward and tilted down slightly and we were off.

Getting a view of Coshocton from 1,000 ft. above was breath taking. We worked our way south looking at our houses and worked our way back north to around Newbedford along the Amish coun- try and then back to the hangar. As we made our approach there were families eagerly anticipating their ride with smiles on their faces and children dancing about wondering when it was their turn.

As we hovered over the taxi-way and gently touched down in front of hangar A it was time for us to give up our seats and let the next family have their turn. AS we touched down we were greeted by Mike the mechanic as he had his warm Swiss smile and opened the door to help us out. These are rare but wonderful opportunities when we get to actually fly in one of the projects from our hangar.
A view from above the hangar

Coshocton from 1,000ft. above

A couple of happy passengers enjoying the flight

A view of the approaching hangar

Mike as he is helping the passengers into the helocopter


The Mercy Air crew Mike, David, and Matthias

Here is the Helicopter today getting ready for shipping to South Africa