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Good Morning MVC - May 1st

by Kami Wright on May 1, 2020

Good Morning, MVC!

I'm just popping in to say hello as I attend the Orange Conference with NextGen staff, some elders and students. In that conference on Wednesday, I was reminded of a very simple but highly illustrative and coded (if needed in public) way to ask someone the status of how they're doing emotionally.  The question is, "How's the weather?"

If you sit down and teach children about what sunny weather looks and feels like...what cloudy and windy weather feels like...what an F5 tornado looks and feels like...a child who can't quite articulate what's happening in their heart and mind can give you a much clearer glimpse into how they are truly doing.  For adults in passing, maybe you have a friend who you know cares about you when they ask how you are, but out of convenience you reply, "pretty good, thanks!"  What if you could say, "Heavy overcast now, but the chance of sun later today."🙂 So much more was communicated in the exact time span. 

Jesus spoke in parables and that style for making a point really resonates with me, so I'm going to give you a parable about when the weather drastically changed my day in an airplane. Back when I was 18 years old and in the process of earning my private pilot's license, I had to put my university's 4-seater Piper Cadet down on the ground in central Minnesota before I ran out of gas and crash-landed.  

Whoa. This email just became extra. (Joe Phenisee, I listen to your talks.)

My cross-country training flight started off clear with VFR conditions but deteriorated as I moved east. Gathering clouds started to form a wall and virga (rain that evaporates before it hits the ground) coupled with high winds appeared in the sky. I thought I only took a moment to look down at the map and perform some new calculations thanks to the big headwind. But that moment caused me to suddenly end up in what looked like the inside of a ping pong ball.  Too much time spent trying to find where I was and head down in the cockpit studying my map put me in a bad situation.  I looked at my gas and realized I had dipped into the reserve fuel time--by a lot. I couldn't get back home with what I had left in the tank. I felt like an utter failure and was paralyzed about what to do next.  My head cleared and I thought, "all I can do is the next best step."

With Jesus as my co-pilot and an operations manual on my lap, I read (literally on the fly) about how to make a short field/soft field landing on a farm I saw in the distance. It sounds so simple typed out. I was beyond terrified.  The owner of the farm had a cropduster and a single gas pump in a quonset hut on the property. I performed a clean landing on their property and climbed out of the aircraft onto the grass runway. They told me it was ok to cry and to release the fear they saw plastered on my face. After I calmed down and the gentleman assessed if I was emotionally fit to fly, he filled my tank and his wife gave me a Snickers bar. They were my angels that day.

Mr. Anderson gave me a compass heading back to the University of North Dakota and a quick lesson on how to not hit the telephone line to the east. After an hour the weather cleared, I strapped myself in and put the ops manual back on my lap. Full flaps, feet on the gas, full throttle, and take off like a slingshot. I flew back to Grand Forks and when I landed the ramp was closed up for the night. I locked up the plane, returned the keys, and went to my flight instructor's office to get my backpack.  Apparently no one cared that I was late, lost, and in my mind, nearly dead! On his whiteboard it was written, "Kami - You were never alone, we were watching your transponder.  That couple called the school to say you were ok.  You did all the right things. Putting the plane down was not a failure. It was a success. We'll talk about this tomorrow. Get some sleep."

So today I ask, "How's your weather?" and has it taken you by surprise when your head was down doing other critical tasks just trying to stay on track? Do you remember you're under the watchful eye of our Heavenly Father? Have you ventured into conditions for which you're not equipped to fly and found it sapping your fuel dry in the attempt to escape it?  Do you realize that putting the plane down in an unexpected location and receiving help is a success and not a failure? 

I see our Deacons, Stephen Ministers, Pastors, and so many other ministries and members at MVC as my Mr. and Mrs. Anderson. Come to our small runway, you who are lost and running out of fuel. Land the plane as best as you can in the bad weather and let us tend to your felt needs by showing you where the gas pump is located. Receive some encouragement and a Snickers bar. Let the church offer you wisdom for dialing in a new compass heading. Let those who care, help with the best way to proceed if you need a safe place to deal with the sudden change in conditions and headwinds.

When overwhelmed, just take that next best step...even if it's out of your comfort zone and scary. Being a good pilot doesn't mean having a perfect flight. It means having an equal number of take offs and landings -- however that is achieved. May you find clearer skies today.

MVC's Love and Mine,