By Mikhail T. in Far East Russia
God’s sovereignty is not only a doctrine for theologians to wrestle with, but a doctrine which fills the hearts of ordinary man and woman with confidence and assurance that God’s plans will come to pass. With this conviction, two and a half years ago we arrived in Far East Russia. I am not the best at making detailed plans, but with the help of many people, we had a clear and detailed plan for our life and ministry to serve the church here in Russia. Initially our focus was on getting settled in a new place, but soon after the basics of life were taken care of, we shifted our attention back on the main reason for the move. And the reason was simple, to use the skills and experience which God has given us to assist with taking the Gospel of Jesus to the unreached. Aviation is my background and I purposed to help the local churches in using aviation to reach the distant villages of Far East Russia.
By the time we moved, missionary aviation had already become a reality in Far East Russia, and I supposed that I would smoothly blend into the work of the ministry and it would only continue to grow in its effectiveness. Contrary to my expectations, shortly before we arrived, the operation in our local region had stalled. The annual certification had lapsed on both aircraft and we found ourselves in an uphill battle to get the airplanes back in the air. Shortly after our arrival, several significant changes were introduced into the federal aviation regulations. The changes affected the following areas: the classification of our aircraft, the engine and propeller time, and calendar limitations. In short, every part of the aircraft was affected by the changes of the new regulations. What made the new process even more difficult, was the confusion on how to implement these new requirements on the level of the local aviation authorities. Everyone was confused and it took time to burn off the fog of the new requirements.
Two and a half years later, as the dust of confusion in complying with the new requirements settled, we were able to complete the certification on one of our aircraft in October of this year. This was a major milestone in our efforts to resuscitate missionary aviation in Far East Russia. Unfortunately, due to the flooding of our airfield, the next milestone had to wait a little longer, but the waiting is over. The day before Thanksgiving 2020 in God’s sovereign plan, together with the local missionary pilot and my wife as the media representative, we left the frozen runway along with the many questions of uncertainly behind us and circled the airfield. The first flight consisted of mostly take-off and landings and maneuvers near the airfield. The airplane did great; the pilots could do a little better (that is usually the case). With all the legal documentation in order, a decent workshop, and a covering for an airplane (hard to call it a hangar), we are intent on continuing the flights into the winter months. We will begin with shorter flights to familiar airfields and build up our experience for flights to more remote and difficult areas.
It is hard to predict the future in any part of the world these days, but it is reassuring to know the One who controls the future. We continue to rest in the sovereignty of God, as we move forward in taking the Gospel to people in remote areas of Far East Russia.