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A heart is set on the goal of helping bring the gospel to tribal people.

Training to be a missionary pilot

Brian Helmuth is enrolled in a training program for missionary pilots. Several months back, NTM Aviation’s training center in McNeal, Arizona, welcomed him into their nine-month training program.

“I am learning how we operate, do maintenance and fly with specific mission aviation procedures,” Brian explains. “I’m maintaining aircraft here, and preparing one to be sent overseas.”

God has been working on Brian’s heart about missionary aviation for a while now. I asked him about the kinds of influences that God used in his life. Brian responded that a friend suggested to him at the beginning of his college years that he should consider being a missionary pilot.

“I thought it was a great idea,” Brian says, “and I’ve been pursuing it ever since. … I have heard testimonies and have seen the impact that aviation has on missions. Several missionary pilots have encouraged me along the way and have shared stories of how aviation has impacted tribal ministry … how it speeds up the work of presenting the gospel.”

I asked Brian if he ever gets discouraged in the journey of preparation. He told me maintenance on a Cessna 206 can seem downright painful at times. “It seems like everything on an airplane takes way too long to fix,” he admits.

He remembers a day when he had spent many hours over a bin of cleaning solvent scrubbing wheel parts for that airplane. “Why am I here?” he asked himself.

But then God reminded him why.  

“Wow,” he suddenly remembered, “these wheels are going on an airplane that will be sent to Brazil to do mission work. If I don’t do a good job, the wheel may break and the airplane may be grounded. I need to do a good job now so the airplane will perform well in tribal mission work and will be part of spreading the reach of the gospel!”

God also encourages him through His people, Brian told me.

“People definitely encourage me. God seems to know when I am going to need encouragement and He prompts people to write or call or email me at just the right time. … God has also been surprising me with financial ministry partners. Praise God for His provision,” Brian shares.

 Two verses that have meant a lot in Brian’s life are Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

“I really like to stop and read this slowly, because it reminds me to trust God and not use my own understanding. I have remembered this when things were not going as I planned; that it is not my understanding that I should lean on,” Brian explains.

So Brian is eagerly leaning in to God’s plan for his life. “I’m so excited to be a part of what God is doing all over the world in reaching tribal people!”

NTM aviation training teaches missionary pilots like Brian to guide aircraft safely to challenging bush locations. Missionary pilots have an active ministry in encouraging and supporting church-planting teams who work in remote areas. Since these missionaries have limited access to services provided by doctors, pharmacies and hospitals, missionary aviation provides a vital service in providing this access as well as in routine ministries like delivering supplies and mail to missionaries.

Tags: Aviation, Mission News, Prayer
POSTED ON Dec 09, 2013 by Cathy Drobnick