- Saturday at 1am: David and I (Allison) arrived at the Port Columbus, Ohio, airport and bunked down for the remainder of the night. We picked up a rental car at the airport at 9am and drove 1 1/2 hours to Coshocton, Ohio.
- The MMS Aviation HR director and his wife, Dan and Juli Pottner, met us at Stalter House, a house owned by the mission organization. We ate lunch, shopped for groceries, and settled into the house MMS Aviation had arranged for our accommodations. We contemplated exploring the neighborhood but settled for a 4 hour nap instead.
- Sunday morning: David and I attended a local Christian and Missionary Alliance church and worshiped with the church body there. We were warmly welcomed.
- Sunday afternoon, we explored the local historic village and enjoyed a tour about an antique toy collection from the 1900s. We managed to stay inside shops each time the pouring rain ensued. After our adventure to the past, we returned home for another nap and enjoyed an evening walk around the neighborhood which included the county fairgrounds.
- Monday morning: David arrived at the hangar in time for devotions with the staff and apprentices and began a three day work evaluation. David helped with an annual inspection of a Diamond DA40 plane. During this time, he measured the cable tension and ROM of the rudders. I (Allison) enjoyed a prayer meeting and potluck with some of the staff wives and learned a lot about their lives, challenges, joys, experiences, etc.
- Monday afternoon: One of the staff wives provided me (Allison) with a very thorough tour Coshocton and the nearby Amish country. The best part of the tour was arriving in Berlin, Ohio (not Germany sadly) to sample cheese at Heini's, one of the local cheese markets. Heini's is renowned for its cheeses, fudge, free samples, and Amish heritage. David helped disassemble an engine block to replace O-rings and then reassembled the engine block.
- Monday evening: David and I were only slightly lost finding the way to dinner with the Director of Training and his wife, Bob and Lisa Schwartz. We spent a delightful evening learning about Bob and Lisa, their missionary experiences, MMS Aviation, and being tactfully interviewed. Bob Schwartz has a degree in Biblical Studies, Counseling, and maybe a few other things. You can definitely tell how much God has developed a caring shepherd's heart in this man. We spent quite a bit of time with the Schwartz family over the course of the week.
- Tuesday morning: David returned to the hangar for the 7:30-4 work evaluation. David worked all day removing paint from an airplane's wings so the exposed metal could be assessed for damage. His afternoon was filled with drilling out rivets and removing damaged sheet metal. I enjoyed a quiet morning writing some thank you notes and cleaning up at the Stalter house. Lisa Schwartz joined me to share some leftovers for lunch and we talked a long time about family background, Bible college, mentoring, and what my (Allison's) role as an apprentice wife might look like. Lisa shared a lot about her life as a single missionary and, later, a missionary wife. Lunch lasted into the afternoon but there was just enough time for some email communication before David arrived home.
- Tuesday evening: Dinner at Dwight and Rena Jarboe's house, CEO and President of MMS Aviation. We enjoyed a home cooked meal again and the graciousness of hosts we had barely met. We also enjoyed learning about their mission experiences; Dwight is a wonderful storyteller. Our evening wrapped up with a playfully competitive game of Phase 10. You may guess who the winner was but the answer will not be David. He was a good sport about it.
- Wednesday morning: David began his day at the hangar with a devotional about shepherding your wife. The guest speaker, a local pastor, asked each man at the table to share who he was and how long he had been married. The expression on the pastor's face indicated he was a little surprised when he started with David and learned we had only been married 10 months! :o) That morning, David began the process to install protective rubber boots on the horizontal stabilizers (the small wings at the back of the plane). These boots help protect the leading edge of the stabilizer from rocks and other debris kicked up on dirt runways. I arrived at the hangar around 10am for an impromptu meeting with Bob and Lisa Schwartz to discuss everything from finances to ministry roles.
- 2 hours later.... I (Allison) headed to the home of an apprentice and family for a lunch meeting the MMS apprentices' wives' held in my honor, so to speak. Several of the current, past, and future apprentice wives gathered together to meet and welcome me to the group. We did not have an invitation to join the mission organization yet but it did not make a bit of difference in the warmth, friendship, and fellowship I found among these women. Two of the staff wives organize and co-lead the bi-monthly meetings for apprentice wives to mentor and help prepare them for the mission field while their husbands go through the training program. Meanwhile that afternoon, David replaced a vacuum pump on one of the planes in the hangar. This required removing ducting and contorting his body to reach two of the bolts. It was a good test of creativity and persistence. David also completed a test for mechanical aptitude that afternoon.
- Wednesday evening: David and I enjoyed the hospitality of our Human Resources director(s), Dan and Juli Pottner. Technically, Dan is the one who earned the job title but we could easily tell how crucial teamwork was in this couple's life. They shared about the neat experiences God has used in the past couple of decades to prepare them for the HR role at MMS Aviation. Dan originally was invited as a mechanic's apprentice in 2011 but the mission organization later realized God was providing Dan to fill a much needed position in HR. We stayed pretty late at the Pottner's house but stopped to admire the beauty of the stars over Coshocton on the way back to the Stalter house.
- Thursday morning: David enjoyed sleeping in a couple of hours. David and I appeared before the Selection Committee at 9am for our final interview. The committee was comprised of the CEO/President Dwight Jarboe, Director of Training and wife, Bob and Lisa Schwartz, and Human Resources Director, Dan Pottner. Since we had visited with each of these staff members throughout our evaluation, there were relatively few questions remaining to be asked. We each explained verbally our personal testimony of faith in Christ and how we have grown in relationship to him as singles and as a couple. We discussed briefly the current life situation and what obstacles are yet to be addressed as we pursue ministry in missions. (The Selection Committee had already reviewed each of our applications as well as the evaluation forms submitted by each staff member with whom we interacted from Monday through Wednesday.) We were asked to wait outside the office while the committee discussed their decision. When the President welcomed us back into his office, the committee at MMS Aviation invited us to join the mission organization and offered David an apprenticeship. Our orientation began immediately afterwards.
- Thursday morning and afternoon: We sat down with the CEO and the Human Resources Director to look over the training handbook that will be our resource for partnership development or deputation. As we build relationships and grow a network of people to partner with us in this ministry, we will be seeking churches, businesses, and individuals to support our ministry both financially and in prayer.
- Thursday evening: David and I were invited to dinner with another couple who is serving at MMS Aviation and gaining work experience. Joel and Abrielle Braxton are Moody graduates training to serve as a pilot/mechanic and a nurse on the mission field. They are in the application process for long-term service with another mission organization and raising support. We had a lot of fun hanging out with peers and fellow servants as we ate Thai food, talked and played a card game together.
- Friday ensued with more orientation, some photo opportunities and lots of laughter. The mission is intent on providing the best support and encouragement for our faith, our marriage, and our ministry as we pursue our goal of joining the apprentices and staff in Coshocton, Ohio and beginning the apprentice training program as soon as possible. David and I left Coschocton Friday evening with full hearts and tired bodies.
- Saturday morning: We were grateful for the rest God had provided although our 8am flight required much too early a wake up call. David especially felt the time difference later in the day when we realized that we rose at 3am MDST. Our flights went well and we arrived at DIA in plenty of time to check with lost and found about Allison's missing ID. No results.... Pray it remains "secure" at the checkpoint and not in the hands of someone untrustworthy. My (Allison's) mom and sister escorted us home by way of Chipotle and the grocery store. Thank God for food! We had time to shower and head out to the family gathering to celebrate our niece, Cadence's, 7th birthday. I have the dinosaur hat to prove it!
Playing on the monkey bars with my younger niece and nephew.
Did you know dinosaurs came in pink?
You can find more information about MMS Aviation and how to support what God is doing through their ministry on our page titled Did You Know?.