Tags: Alaska, Canada, SEND North, Story

Our chief pilot recently shared this picture with the caption, “It’s a beautiful VFR day”.   This aviation term is familiar to those of us who do ministry in Alaska and Northern Canada.  It stands for Visual Flight Rules.  It means what it sounds like, the rules for flying when you can clearly see everything around you.  

We all want VFR days.  We like to see where we are going, don’t we?  Clear vision is necessary, especially if you are a pilot!  However, we want all of life to be this way, and it often is not.  We certainly desire ministry to be like this, but it rarely happens.  Now, there is nothing wrong with wanting a certain level of predictability in life.  In fact, our brains are wired for it right along with the need to grow.  This growth we need means embracing change and change is uncertain.  While we want VFR every day in our ministries, the reality is that we mostly experience IFR days.  Instrument Flight Rules are for conditions when one can’t see and must fly by the plane’s instruments alone.  So much of our ministry is by faith and not by sight.  We have to fly by our instruments (Bible, prayer, Godly counsel) when we encounter situations that take us beyond our abilities.

Dr. Rempel, in his final State of the Mission Address, reminded us that God opens more doors as we step out by Faith into the unknown.  There are opportunities out there which we will never encounter if we play it safe.  (For an excellent example of this, check out our last article covering SEND North’s new urban ministry initiative.)  Many times, not playing it safe means embracing unexpected interruptions as opportunities.  One of our teammates summed this up well:

"I don't have time for THIS today, but THIS is happening anyway." How many times has "THIS" showed up at the door, called on the phone, popped up in a text, completely directed by God? Just a constant reminder that God is not bound by our time and plans, and for that we are thankful.

We are so thankful that we serve a God that is hard at work building His Kingdom when we can’t see what is next.  We appreciate the VFR days in ministry, but we know that IFR is a way of life!

It is like Oswald Chamber said, “Jesus rarely comes where we expect Him; He appears where we least expect Him, and always in the most illogical connections.  The only way a worker can keep true to God is by being ready for the Lord’s surprise visits.” 


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