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Gary's Faith Walk

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Connected to the world

It was the little flyer thumbtacked to the bulletin board at the back of the sanctuary in Moscow that drew my attention. 

But excuse me, I get ahead of myself. As fall turned to winter, I returned again to Poland and Russia to meet with Orthodox, Baptist, Lutheran, and Reformed church partners and mission colleagues. On that Sunday, I was privileged to worship again at the Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy (MPC), an amazing interdenominational, international, English-speaking congregation in Moscow. For me, MPC is what the gospel message is all about: rich and poor; black, white and brown; people from every continent; refugees, students, diplomats, business types—all gathered to worship the Lord in a community of faith. So as the rousing South Africa hymn “Amen, Siyakudumisa!” sent us out into the world, I walked to the back of the sanctuary. It was then that the flyer caught my eye.

Neatly pinned amidst the announcements of Haitian relief and Christmas plans was a flyer describing the service of Mission Aviation Fellowship, an international mission organization based in Nampa, Idaho. Over the years, I’ve had some contact with MAF as they use aviation skills for evangelism, medical assistance, disaster relief, community development, and local training. It was then that I spotted it, the distinctive silhouette of the Kodiak, the backcountry and utility airplane manufactured in Sandpoint by Quest Aircraft and men and women who are my neighbors in the North Country.

How many times have I hiked the Mickinnick Trail above Sandpoint to look down on a Kodiak doing “touch and go” landings at the airstrip? How many times have I thumbed the glossy postcard of the Kodiak I received at a Quest open house and imagined flying over Lake Pend Oreille in this specialty aircraft?

Forty-six Kodiaks are in service around the globe. Twelve of those are with humanitarian organizations, and of those, six are in service with Mission Aviation Fellowship with four flying in Indonesia.

None of us as local readers of the River Journal should ever think of our home here northern Idaho or western Montana as disconnected from the world. Consider a Sandpoint-built Kodiak and its service in Indonesia: Idaho to Greenland, to Iceland, to the UK, across Europe, Southwest Asia, the Indian sub-continent, to the equator, then finally to the island of Borneo in the Republic of Indonesia. Hands that bent metal here in the shadow of the Selkirks have touched lives amidst the forests and the mountains of this distant land. And, what of the Kodiaks that responded to the emergency in earthquake-ravaged Haiti? Tons of food and medical supplies were delivered to relief workers, missionaries, orphanages and hospitals in an effort to save lives and relieve suffering.

Standing in the back of the Moscow sanctuary, eleven time zones east of my home, I was again struck by the connectedness which we can feel as members of the body of Christ in the world. A little brochure, a picture or two of an airplane, and again I was carried in my mind to an Idaho mountain trail looking down on a Kodiak bush plane.

Long ago, I gave up the notion of “coincidence” in my faith walk. In being reminded of mission service in the world via a small paper flyer while standing in a church in Moscow, Russia, I am drawn again to the service of the leaders and workforce of Quest Aircraft Company. The economic downturn has been hard. The unwanted furloughs have been painful. It is my prayer for this New Year that Kodiaks keep coming off the line to serve the needs of the world and to keep us connected in ways which only the Lord can orchestrate.  

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Author info

Gary Payton Gary Payton is on a Faith Walk that takes him to Russia, Eastern Europe and Sandpoint, Idaho

Tagged as:

Sandpoint, Russia, Moscow, Poland, Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy, Mission Aviation Fellowship, Quest Aircraft, Kodiak

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