I think everyone would agree that certain sacrifices come with being a missionary. The salary isn’t great, friends and family are often thousands of miles away, and the nearest Starbucks requires at least two flights and several hundred dollars to reach. Ask any missionary and we could go on for hours about how hard our lives are. If, however, we are honest with ourselves, we can also share about the joys and blessings the Lord has given us. In our family’s ministry, one of the greatest blessings is our time together as a family. Flying here in Papua often begins with taking off at first light and is declared finished by deteriorating weather around early afternoon. Unless I get stuck overnight in a village because of weather, we are able to share dinner together as a family nearly every night.
My wife and children are also allowed, and even encouraged, to come along on the occasional MAF flight. My son Joseph loves to fly and was excited when I invited him to spend a day flying with me. We woke up early, packed our snacks and coffee/hot chocolate and headed out to see what the day would bring. It turned out to be fairly routine day as we picked up passengers and pigs in Nalca, and passengers and potatoes in Kwijawagi. The angry, squealing pigs caused Joe slight concern but not enough to keep him awake once we were airborne. It was overall a great day of fun for both of us and something I look forward to doing again.
So far I am enjoying these perks that come with being a missionary pilot: the blessings of having extra time with my family and the chance to see firsthand the ministry that God has given us here in Papua.