November Prayer Letter
December Prayer Letter
“…they say it might even snow.” “It’s September. Impossible!” I reply.
In our last update, we explained that now that Frank’s helicopter training was complete, God has made it clear that it was time to move up to Spokane, WA to be close to our sending church as we work on next steps toward overseas ministry.
In conjunction with this time in Spokane, Frank is also volunteering part-time at Moody Aviation, where he trained to become a missionary pilot himself. Just to be clear, we are still missionaries with Ethnos360 but are able to be “loaned” to Moody Aviation where Frank can help train future missionary aviators and keep his head in the aviation world.
After arriving in Spokane, we set out to start looking into housing. We had every intention of renting a house. In fact, if you had asked us how likely it was that we would buy a house instead, we would have replied, “Impossible.” However, after seeing the surprisingly high rent prices, doors started opening up for us to buy a house instead – a far more financially responsible option in our case. Plus, when we come back to the US on home assignments, we’ll have a home to live in and a familiar place for the kids to anticipate. So to make a very long story short, God has provided a place that we’re excited to call our own, while we’re here!
Please pray for us as we finalize the purchase of our new home. There are plenty of repairs to do so this will be a crash course in home maintenance for Frank!
In our last update, we showed a video of the Menya tribe responding to a clearly communicated gospel presentation – the birth of a new church! But evangelism is just the beginning. Discipleship is ongoing. We’d like to share with you some of the testimonies given at the first Menya baptism. Understanding these truths is impossible without the work of God!
“Sin enslaved my body, speech and thoughts. By God’s grace, He sent Jesus Christ. He took all of my sin as if it were His. Through Jesus, I am pure in God’s eyes.”
“I was living under sin, Satan and death. Only through the work of Jesus — His blood that was spilled on the cross — He set me free, and now I am alive with Him. Now Jesus is my King.”
“The Bible says, ‘You can’t follow your ideas.’ You won’t get to heaven that way. Only through the holy blood of Jesus Christ can you get to Heaven.”
A dear friend of ours was able to visit the Menya church recently. She later wrote:
"I was sitting with my brothers and sisters. People that God has redeemed. People from a “remote, middle of nowhere” people group in Papua New Guinea. A people overlooked by mankind, but not by their Creator. A people who now are a part of a new family that God is creating in Christ Jesus. The sweet [Menya baby] I held in my lap is among the first generation that will grow up in homes with parents that know and follow Jesus. Parents who have been redeemed and made new and now have truth to offer their children."
This month, please be praying for the Menya church as they continue to grow in their understanding of how God’s love impacts every area of their lives. Your prayers and support directly enable us to serve on this aviation team. Our aviation team directly enables the missionaries to live in the Menya tribe. God can use you to accomplish the impossible around the world!
An Unexpected Move
Although Frank has mostly been instructing some of our coworkers as they transition from an airplane to a helicopter, he’s also been in the student’s seat for an advanced gross weight/mountain flying course. One scenario they train for is flying down in a canyon with clouds covering the ridgetops, and then coming up to a dead end – an airplane pilot’s worst nightmare. Fortunately, this is not so for the helicopter pilot. When the instructor unexpectedly brings in simulated weather that restricts flight along or out of the canyon, the student starts circling, studying the terrain, identifying the ground most suitable for landing, planning the best approach to that spot, then sets it down to “wait until the weather clears up”.
Frank has now successfully completed this final course! This training has been very valuable in both practical mission flying techniques and in honing existing skills.
In our last update, we asked you to pray for us as we continue to seek wisdom concerning our future ministry plans. Now that Frank’s helicopter training is completed and he’s built up the required flight experience, what’s next? It was looking like we would continue serving in Arizona while we worked out details of serving overseas (specifically some health related questions and how they impact overseas ministry). However, God has made it clear that this is not what He has for us. And so, we are making a sooner than expected move up to Spokane, WA to be close to our sending church as we work on next steps.
Of course, while we are thrilled to be heading back “home”, the sudden transition has had some challenges as well. The last few weeks have provided a torrent of emotions and adrenaline. God has encouraged us and blessed us with help from many generous friends who have cared for our kids, brought us meals and deep cleaned our house with us for the next missionaries to move into. The trailer is loaded and we are ready to move.
Currently, we are in Gilbert with family and will begin the trek up to Spokane next week. Once we arrive, we will stay with some friends and begin looking for housing. Please let us know if any housing options come to mind!
Overall, the kids have been handling the transition very well. However, tears and other emotions have not been a stranger to us in this season. Please pray for wisdom as we shepherd our boys through this significant life change for them.
In our last update, we showed a family from the Menya tribe in Papua New Guinea share what they understood of the missionary’s Old Testament teaching. The wife, Rita, pointed out that there was nothing they could do to fix their sin nature – only God could do it. Today, we’d like to share a video showing the day she learned how God did it, after which she makes an unexpected move – getting up right in the middle of the teaching to respond!
The Menya tribe has been waiting countless generations for this moment – what an encouragement to witness their reaction to a clear gospel presentation! This is what we are working towards supporting!
This month, please be praying for us as we work through the high-stress season of moving. Pray that God will use this move to help our boys depend on Him and desire an eternal and permanent home.
Thank you so much for your prayers and support! We continue to enjoy our time serving church planters around the world from McNeal, Arizona.
The kids are doing great! Frankie and Toby are doing well with homeschooling. All three boys have been enjoying the mud puddles we’ve been getting with the unusually rainy March weather, and Frankie and Toby have been working on all sorts of Lego creations and detailed sticker designs on the days they stay inside. Logan is about to turn three years old and Hannah just started army-crawling.
A couple weeks ago we had 1.36 inches of rain in just one day. Shortly after, the valley sprouted huge fields of yellow flowers.
As Frank flew around our area, it was amazing to see how God had brought such intense beauty out of no where – these flowers are not an annual spring occurrence here.
But it wasn’t until Frank flew to Phoenix and back that we realized what a treat these flowers truly are. No other valley had fields full of yellow flowers – and even in our valley (pictured above), it was just our section that was covered. It’s so easy to take for granted the blessings God brings our way, however we are thankful for simple reminders of His goodness and graciousness in our lives.
Frank’s second student, Brent, passed his commercial check ride in the helicopter! It’s been an honor to train him from start to finish. We’re excited for how God will use Brent’s skills to bolster our helicopter program supporting church planters in PNG. …Frank is also thanking God that both of his students have been smart and gifted pilots to begin with. :-)
Additionally, Frank was able to aid in the training of two Swiss missionary pilots as they prepare to join Helimission and Mercy Air.
In our last update, we introduced the Menya tribe in Papua New Guinea. Once the two Ethnos360 missionary families were proficient in the language and culture, they began teaching. A few weeks into daily Old Testament lessons, this interview was recorded where a tribal man and woman share their thoughts about what they’ve learned so far.
What a wonderful reminder of the privilege it is to be a part of what God is doing as he transforms lives all around the world with His incredible message!
Frank was recently able to attend Shepherd’s Conference in California along with several men from both our Washington and Arizona churches. Jacklyn’s good friend Anne came down from Spokane for a visit during Frank’s trip. It was such an encouragement to reconnect with these relationships!
March 28th is our tenth anniversary! We are so thankful for the years the Lord has given us together and are looking forward a short get-away to celebrate.
This month, you can pray for us as we continue to seek wisdom concerning our future ministry plans and as we depend on the Lord for discernment to parent our kids well.
Thank you again for keeping up with us!
…But the Workers are Few
A Waiting Tribe
“It’s just sad; heartbreaking. They live out in the middle of nowhere, and they’ll probably never get the Gospel.” Brent, one of our missionary pilots in Papua New Guinea, was telling me about his first few years on the field.
One of his initial jobs was to be the Flight Coordinator. Anyone in PNG wanting a flight from our mission called his phone. At least once each week he would get a call from tribal people asking for a missionary. “But we don’t have enough to send them… Almost no one that asks will get one… I hated that part of my job.”
Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.”
While we don’t have all the missionaries necessary to reach these tribes, it is still a big task to meet the needs of the missionaries that we do have on the front lines right now. Our team in PNG needs airplane pilots, but they also desperately need helicopter pilots. That’s why they asked Brent, one of their airplane pilots, to learn to fly the helicopter. Frank started training him in October.
A Chosen Tribe
Just a couple years ago, the Menya tribe became one of the few to get a missionary. Located in Papua New Guinea, two Ethnos360 missionary families moved in to live among them. With the goal of a clear Gospel presentation, the families’ first priority was to gain a deep understanding of the Menya language and culture. Once proficient, they began teaching.
This video was taken about a year ago – towards the end of their language and culture training, but before teaching began. They interview a tribal man and ask what his life is like and what he thinks the upcoming teaching might be like.
A Blessed Tribe
As we enjoyed the Christmas season, we thanked God for our own “tribe” and how He has blessed us. The kids are continuing to grow and learn. They love life here and the boys all love their little Hannah. As we desperately seek His wisdom in our parenting, we remember that He is good and worthy of all praise!
We are thankful for you!
☆ Ask God to send more workers into His harvest field ☆ Pray for Frank as he finishes training Brent in the helicopter ☆ Pray for wisdom as we work out the details of a future location to serve ☆ Pray for wisdom to shepherd our children’s hearts to love Him and desire to obey Him! ☆
Frank had an opportunity recently to fly mail in for our missionaries-in-training who are currently living isolated from civilization as an important part of their education at the Missionary Training Center. (You may remember him doing this at Jungle Camp, a similar class at our Canadian training center, last year which we posted about here). Because a helicopter delivering mail is a realistic experience overseas, Frank and two other Ethnos360 Aviation pilots received permission to do a flight and bring both mail and encouragement to the students. We so look forward to doing everything we can on a regular basis to support and encourage isolated missionaries overseas!
Following is the original post by our mission:
Did you know that Ethnos360 has a training facility in Missouri where all of their missionaries, including pilots, prepare for the field? They complete courses that will help them for the task ahead, such as culture and language acquisition, phonetics, and other practical skills.
As part of their training, the students also spend about ten days living completely “off the grid”. They cook all their meals from scratch over a fire (with no refrigeration, mind you), sleep in houses they built with tarps and logs, and participate in classes such as how to tie knots and butcher chickens (that they then eat).
This year we had the chance to participate in this simple living class. Three of our pilots flew the helicopter there and landed in the field in front of their “village”. They got to walk and see all of the students’ houses, hear about the difficulties they were encountering, and encourage them with Ethnos360 Aviation’s heart to lessen their burden by providing logistics that will make their job easier…because living in the middle of the jungle could never be called easy. It was an encouragement to catch a glimpse of their future ministry…for all involved.
We made it! For the last 3 months, Frank has been instructing a fellow missionary pilot, Nathan, in the helicopter. With the increasing need our church planters are having for helicopter pilots, Nathan (just like Frank) was asked to add on helicopter training before moving overseas. After he agreed, Frank was asked to train him. Nathan took his test today and as the examiner put it, “he passed, no sweat!”
This time has served Frank well in building hours and experience – you really get to know something when you have to teach it! It’s also benefited the mission because now we have an additional helicopter pilot!
From Ethnos360 Aviation:
“Congratulations to our newest commercial helicopter pilot! After many years of faithful preparation, this sweet family is one step closer to the end goal: reaching the unreached with the gospel. Time to head home and celebrate!!”
In With The New
We’re on the other side of a crazy season and have found a moment to update you on some BIG news times two!
Introducing Hannah Marie Ruscio
Born at 5:53am, June 7.
7lbs 15oz, 19 3/4″
Everyone is doing well and in love with her!
Big Days Ahead!
Thank you all for the many prayers for us during Jacklyn’s pregnancy. We are almost there and are looking forward to holding our sweet baby GIRL in just a few weeks!!! Sharing the news that it’s a girl with the boys was super fun – all three of them are beyond excited to meet her.
What’s new in the training?
Back in March, Frank took a two-week maintenance course in Los Angeles, CA. This was at the actual Robinson helicopter factory where all their helicopters are produced. Yes, it was BIG! Now that he has successfully passed the course, he is authorized to sign off the required inspections for this helicopter!
The focus of Frank’s flight training over the past few months has been on learning to instruct in the helicopter. This Thursday, May 3rd, is the big test he has been building up to! He will be tested all day both orally and practically (in the helicopter) to add on helicopter to his Certified Flight Instructor rating.
These helicopter maneuvers have been some of the most challenging flight maneuvers Frank has done in all his aviation experience up to this point. Please pray for clarity of mind and a solid focus through the final hours of studying as well as during the test. Pray for agreeable weather for the flight and, most importantly, that his focus through it all will be fixed on the glory of Christ, whatever the outcome.
One requirement to be a helicopter flight instructor is to be able to do “full down autorotations”. We’ve included a video of this below. This is basically a simulated engine failure taken all the way to the ground. At 500ft above the ground, the engine throttle is rolled off and it is no longer spinning the rotor. The pilot uses the upward airflow through the rotor as the helicopter falls to keep it spinning. The helicopter then must be landed safely, in a specific zone, and without the option of adding engine power to ensure a good outcome. You can hear the rotor slowing down at the end as the last bit of its energy is used to set the helicopter gently down on the ground.
In a few weeks, we plan to head up to Phoenix where we will deliver our baby much closer to medical care than we have here in McNeal. When we return, Frank will wrap up some advanced training as well as begin instructing a new student until September. After that point, things have become a little more uncertain and God has been teaching us to wait on Him and trust Him with His great plan that we are yet to discover. Please be praying for wisdom as we work through changes and transitions and seek out what God is doing through them.
Teaming up with Moody Aviation to train the next generation of mission aviators.