Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A great picture!

Michael's co-worker just sent a picture he took today, and I had to post it. It's awesome.

Christmas Trees

Michael has moved into flying Christmas trees and it is very challenging work! Check out the videos below when you're done reading. Each load weighs between 700-1,000 pounds and consists of 10-15 trees. The trees are cut out in the tree farm, bundled together, and then flown to a landing site where they can be loaded into trucks. It requires Michael to be very precise, often having to thread the bundle through standing trees or other obstacles. Time is of the essence for each load, because the farmer is paying for the helicopter per hour and the the longer it takes the more costly it becomes per tree. Michael has proven to be very quick and efficient, almost always completing a cycle of pick-up and drop-off in less than a minute. All of his farmers have been very happy so far!
Michael leaning out to check the load - notice the red line hanging down
It is cold and rainy, and Michael has to regularly lean out the window to keep an eye on the line and the load. Yesterday he came home exhausted and sore (and wet and hungry!). BUT, he loves doing this! It is extremely valuable experience, and definitely could help him on the missions field someday. Not to mention he just loves a good challenge, especially in flying.
It is really nice to be home, in Newberg, for awhile. Most of the tree farms are within an hour of here. In fact, Oregon sells more Christmas trees than any other state, between 6-9 million each year! Check where your tree came from when you buy it this year. Michael may have flown it!
This will last through December 11th, and then we are headed to Florida. All four of us are SO excited. Not only will we be able to spend Christmas with almost all of Michael's immediate family, but Michael and his twin brother, Jess, will be able to spend their birthday together on December 14th. That is a rare treat for them.
The kids and I continue to plug along in our school work each day. They are fantastic learners and I am also getting a whole new education. It has been challenging the last couple of weeks, staying on task with the daily things, when we have some big things coming in the near future. We want the big things now! Patience truly is a virtue.
We hope you have a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving. The deepest joy comes from being grateful.






Monday, October 29, 2012

Big Progress!

Things are coming along, and God is moving! We have officially submitted an application to Helimission to be full-time overseas missionaries. We have never been so thrilled to hit the "send" button as when we sent off that email! We have been praying and waiting for 8 years to do that! It really reminds us how far God has brought us. When we first moved to Oregon a little over 4 years ago, for Michael to start flight training, we had no idea to what extent he would be trained. He is scheduled next week to take the last of 14 checkrides. FOURTEEN! He has received so much valuable training in both helicopters and airplanes, and we are so grateful. This week, my brother, Traber, spoke of reading in 1 Kings 8 when Solomon was dedicating the temple he had built for the Lord, and while praying he remembered from where and what the Lord had delivered His people. He spoke first and foremost about how God is faithful and merciful to us, and brings us along so far. Let us never forget to look back and be grateful for what God has done for us!

Adria reading "More Than an Adventure" - the story of Ernie Tanner, founder of Helimission
We still have much to do in this journey and we have a lot of steps to complete before we would actually be placed in the field. The next step is rather exciting for us, as we have been invited to Switzerland in June for Candidate Decision Camp. This is a week-long event, formatted in camp-style, at Helimission headquarters. It will be an opportunity for us and the director of Helimission, Simon Tanner, and other HM staff to pray and seek God's will for us. We will do service projects together and take hikes and worship together, along with up to 10 other potential HM missionaries. If both parties decide that it is God's will for us to be placed in the field, we would then proceed with the next steps: cultural training, a term at Bible College, language training, etc.

Please don't stop praying! We are just getting started! We are asking for all of our friends and family to pray for us to first love God above all else, and then love His people. We need His wisdom and direction, and truly want to be abandoned to all things of the world. Thank-you!

A recent flight over the Oregon coast

Blessings from beautiful Oregon!



And may God richly bless your "harvest", whatever it is!



Michael and Fawn


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

In Action

Here is Michael in action. He's practicing long-line water drops.





Sunday, September 30, 2012

ATP!!!! and Adventures of Fall

We have fantastic news! Michael has earned his Airline Transport Rating (ATP) for helicopters. This is the highest rating a pilot can earn and is highly regarded in the industry. He's worked so hard and has been carried by God's grace the whole way. When he started flight school 4 years ago, we had no idea how far our God would take him. It brings to mind the verse in Ephesians: "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." (Eph 3:20-21) Thank-you Jesus!

Now that we are at the tail-end of flight school (ATP multi-engine airplane is the next and last rating) our vigor for overseas aviation missions has been refreshed again, something we know is of the Lord. We have started filling out paperwork for a missions agency we have been in contact with for a few years, and expect to turn it in soon. Please be praying with us that we trust God through the process, and are attentive to His leading. So many of you have had a crucial part in our journey, and we ask you to continue partnering with us in prayer. It is our goal to be full-time missionaries wherever the Lord will take us, for however long He will use us that way. We are convinced that our lives and our gifts and talents belong to Him, and that using them for His glory is the most satisfying life possible.

Adria's soccer team - Palto helps coach

In regards to current, daily life, as we have officially moved into fall, we've had some familiar favorites (homemade applesauce, soccer, and crisp mornings) and some new adventures (living in RV parks and moving every couple of weeks). Here in Oregon we are enjoying a late summer with beautiful, warm, sunny days. We'll take 'em! We've enjoyed some time near Newberg over the last 10 days. Now, we are near Coos Bay, OR for a fire standby contract. Obviously we don't want forest fires to start, but if they do, it will be great experience for Michael! We'll probably be here for a week or so; and we are excited that my (Fawn's) mom is coming for a visit. The Oregon coast is one of her favorite places in the world, and she couldn't resist when we invited her to come for a bit
Beach time with Palto

Pacific City, OR
Just before school started for Palto, we all got to have a weekend at the beach. It was sunny and beautiful, and we had a wonderful time. He is still full-time at Portland Community College in pre-nursing. He has just finished his CNA course and is looking for a CNA job. He is living with some dear friends of ours and is loving it. Please keep his family in prayer. Recently, one of the big tents that their church body meets under blew down (again) and was destroyed. They need anothe one to be able to reach out to the community around them with the love of Christ.
Headed Out of Newberg

Thank-you for continuing to participate with us as we embark on this new journey and season in our lives. We love each and every one of you, and always want you to be a part of our lives, no matter where we are. Blessings!


Monday, September 10, 2012

School! and an Eternal Perspective...

The air is crisp, the soccer cleats are out, and school has started! We had our first official day of home school today and had a great time! We love doing school in our new classroom in the 5th wheel. It is cozy and roomy at the same time. We all agreed that we are in for a great year.

First day of school
Our Heavenly Father has been speaking to our hearts lately about a certain theme; having an eternal perspective. This morning I read in Luke and John about the disciple James, and three noticeable things about him. The first thing that struck me was that he was short-tempered and the second was that he was selfish. His short fuse was shown when the Samaritans didn't approve of Jesus coming to their city and James and John wanted to call down fire from Heaven to kill them. In my own understanding, I imagine Jesus to have been quite frustrated with this, in His patient, gracious way. He rebuked them, basically saying "You have no idea who I really am, or why I'm here if you want to do that." (And this is after they saw Jesus glowing on the mountainside during his transfiguration, while God's voice came from the heavens to declare who Jesus was/is.)

Their selfish natures were exhibited when they asked Jesus to promise them each a special place in His kingdom, thinking only of an earthly kingdom. They had enjoyed being in Jesus' special group of disciples and could see enjoying that to an even higher degree for the rest of their lives, being "high-ups" in the greatest kingdom on Earth.

See, James and John couldn't understand what Jesus' long-term plan was. The most they could imagine was that He was on Earth to free Israel from the Roman rule, which was, in their minds, their biggest problem. They never could have imagined that glorifying His Father and billions of souls (mine, yours) over thousands of years was what was on Jesus' mind and heart. They didn't understand that eternity and an eternal, spiritual kingdom was what motivated Jesus.

The third thing that I noticed, and that encouraged me greatly, was that James loved Jesus with all his heart, and wanted to be with Him. He was the first to die for Jesus in fact. Jesus knew this and loved James' heart, even though he had flaws. I LOVE that Jesus chose disciples who were flawed, who didn't always "get it" right away. I have many flaws, and I certainly don't always get it. I have a hard time seeing God's eternal plan and often am only looking at what's right in front of me; at what I think are big problems. But I love Jesus with all my heart and want to be with Him forever. He knows that, and loves it. I prayed this morning that He would help me to see everything in my life today through an eternal perspective. I want to see His bigger picture.

Having a little fun....
We, Michael and I and the kids, want our lives to matter in an eternal way. We want to see beyond our daily goings-on as only that. We want to see them as part of an eternal plan in which we are blessed to participate.

Eternity's already here! Blessings to you today!



Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Timber and Missions

Landing on the Truck
Flying timber, and agricultural flying in general: WOW! When you learn how to fly a helicopter, you never realize where it can take you. Flying timber means spraying a logged area to kill the weeds so that the new trees have a chance to grow and mature. It's very technical flying because the terrain is rough and usually there is tall timber all around. You're also at a high altitude, with hot temps, and heavy with spray and fuel, combined with being "out of ground effect"; all things that make lift harder to achieve.

THEN, on top of that, you need to land on and take off from a truck because there is nowhere suitable on the ground to put a helicopter. This truly is the most difficult flying I have ever done. I feel that this type of flying will prepare me well for the missions field where situations could be similar; high, hot, and heavy over a heavily treed area. I believe that God has all along been directing my flying career path, and this step is no exception.

We're back in the Banks/Newberg area again and I will be flying 1,000 acres of timber over the next week or so. RV living has been comfortable and easy so far. We love not having all the utility bills and still have all of the comforts of home wherever we are. We have a bigger back yard than we ever have (Stub Stewart State Park) and the kids and the dog are loving it.

If you think of it, please pray for my employer and I, that we are able to communicate effectively and that I can be a witness of God's love to him.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Our good friend Ralph recently dubbed us as "gypsies" and we rather like it. We even considered having Michael wear a poofy shirt and a big gold hoop earring for our first blog picture, but that was just taking it too far. Especially if you know Michael very well.

We're officially on the road!

"What?!" you say? "What road?" Well, a variety of roads, really. Mostly in the western part of the country. Most of you know that we've recently moved into a 5th wheel (pictured on the right) and are living "on the go". We've been at it 5 days now and are in our 3rd campground. We are having a lot of fun. All 3 of the parks have been really cool, covered with trails and creeks.

The BEST part so far has been the process of drastically reducing our personal belongings. We went from a 2-story 4 bedroom, 2 bath home in the country (aka, lots of storage) to a 45' 5th wheel and a 10'x15 storage unit, which also houses a small car. We had what Adria called a "humungo" garage sale and sold, then donated, it ALL! What a feeling of freedom and relief. We know the Lord is preparing us for something special. Even the kids have enjoyed the process of cleaning out and passing their stuff on. They loved to see other kiddos treasure their toys and stuffed animals (and it didn't hurt that they made a bunch of money, too!).

Newberg, OR will still be home base, and we will be in and out over the next year. To all of you out there with the all-famous "socialization" question, the kids are still signed up for soccer and PE and school groups, etc. No worries! Over the winter months, we'll be there a lot. Unless we can get to Florida and Haiti. ;) We are now in Eugene, OR and are gradually moving south, while Michael sprays timber (keeping weeds down so newly planted forest can survive easier). We don't know what's next, and we are liking it that way. After all, we're on an adventure!

Homespot #3

Kitchen (the door goes to kids' room)
Living room (door goes to master bedroom)
Washer/dryer! SO cool!