Posted by: Donna Douglass | Thursday June 17, 2010

the solidity of pigs

A cloud of dust trailed the little airplane as it struggled to become airborne before disappearing below the curve of the hill. Wind drowned out the engine for a long moment before the trusty craft reappeared, skimming above square patches of Idaho farmland. Tim, Dave and their trusty 6-seater Cessna 206, the backbone of mission aviation around the world, departed in much the same way as they had arrived: out of sight beyond the lower end of 1300 foot-long airstrip that rose nearly 100 feet up the side of this sagebrush-covered hill. The only thing cooler than watching an aircraft vanish on approach and departure was landing on the strip myself, powered up and with only sky visible over the nose as the wheels settled in close beside tall grass.

Daily before flying we thank God for the opportunity to do what we do, landing on such beautiful airstrips as Garden Valley, an inviting grass runway paralleling a picturesque mountain stream, deep in the mountains of the Boise National Forest. Only a fraction of the world’s population are pilots, and of those who are, only a fraction get to fly into the amazing places missionary pilots fly. But the real treasure is this: that flying in beauty beyond description is only icing on the cake. The true thrill is having a front row seat to some of God’s most amazing miracles. (Rather than fill your inbox with them, I’ll simply post them on my blog.)

A fellow student in my missionary flying class brought with him years of field experience (he was training to be an instructor of the course). So I listened closely to the deadly serious discussions about the solidity of pigs, dogs, trees and rocks. Apparently pigs rank up there with rocks in ability to damage aircraft. Who knew!

As I left the Air Force, I remember being concerned that life outside the military was going to become boring. With each passing day, I’m more convinced that the best is yet to come: the stories I’ll witness in the coming years with be laced with a wonder, with a depth of meaning that bridges eternity with an individual soul in a moment of time, and with the unmistakable fingerprints of God Himself. I can’t wait!

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