Under Construction

Under Construction

Proverbs 10:17:  He who heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.

Seven weeks in Canada, 17 communities and 17 VBSs,  4,000 miles in the air and 5,000 on the ground;  I was ready to go home.  After I was finished with a speaking date in northern Minnesota, I was anxious to get on the road to Kansas City.  As you would expect, I chose the quickest Google-maps route: I-35 through Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri.  Unfortunately, I spent more time dodging traffic cones, jersey barriers and construction equipment than I did on cruise control.

I’m not sure exactly where on the drive I realized this, but navigating construction zones was emblematic of what Holy Spirit is doing with every one of us that calls ourselves Christian.  We are saved, or Justified, by faith, but God wants us to be transformed from our sinful old self into His son or daughter.  The “churchy” word for this process is Sanctification, and it requires conscious effort, realigning our thoughts, words and deeds away from self and toward God.

How does sanctification occur?  Going back to my trip, sometimes it means following the boring “Google maps” route at times, and at others navigating an unexpected “God detour.”  Following the speed limits keep you from hurting yourself or others.  Let’s not forget that our fellow Christian travelers are also on that road, so accepting discipline, forgiving each other’s trespasses, and encouraging each other are key if we are all to reach our destination.  Finally, if we don’t accept discipline or are not willing to “call out” a fellow Christian who is driving recklessly, a wreck could ensue.

I would encourage you to think about your Sanctification journey.  Are you speeding?  Are you driving outside the lines?  Or, are you going down a road you shouldn’t be?  Do you have a flat tire or out of gas?  Wherever you are on your trip, be assured the Lord always responds to 911 calls, the road is never closed and there are fellow Christians there to help.

Dave Smith – LAMP Pilot


“Spring” in the North

“Spring” in the North

April. Most folks in the U.S. and southern Canada think it’s a month where the snow is finally (or almost) gone and it’s time to make sure those summer shorts still fit. Should be a perfect time to go up to Canada to visit First Nations communities, right?

Dave and Andrew on their way to Flin Flon

I arrived in Edmonton, Alberta on the 2nd of April. Even though Andrew [Anstey–LAMP’s Director of Flight Ops]  and I were delayed a day in our attempt to fly the Lance to Flin Flon, MB  due to a cold front, I completely expected relatively warm, clear skies during the week ahead so we could visit our VBS communities as planned. Turned out the only days it was clear enough to fly, the temperature was 5 below zero – Fahrenheit! (Air-­cooled airplane engines don’t like to run or put off any heat to the cockpit when it’s that cold.) The other days it snowed. We were so thankful to have a 4WD truck. So, our easy spring trip turned into a slog through the snow. I’m thinking the Lord’s sense of humor borders on the ironic…

Andrew and I met some great folks while stuck in Flin Flon, MB, and will be happy to base there this summer. In spite of the weather, we surprisingly made it to more communities than we thought we would. We were able to visit Sandy Bay, Deschambault, and Pelican Narrows in Saskatchewan and Lac Brochet, Cormorant, Moose Lake, Easterville, Grand Rapids and Thompson in Manitoba.

Possibly the “last picture” of the Northern Store in Pelican Narrows, SK, as it burned down less than a month later.

We met with many great people in these First Nations communities – school principals, clergy, lay people – all excited to have a VBS this summer. Despite the challenges they face (weather, fires, poverty, suicides, etc.), I was humbled and encouraged by the persistent, patient faith of these Christians. It made me wonder who the missionary was! (A little sidebar for the teams and partners out there in blogland: yes, you are making a difference!)

Dana Naumann (left), team leader visited Lac Brochet, MB in April

After finishing up with community visits, Andrew and I traveled to the LAMP Canada annual meeting in Winnipeg, MB. We had the chance to hear from several First Nations leaders concerning what the people of the North need from LAMP. The conversation is on­going, but I can tell you exactly what I told the folks at St Paul’s Lutheran in Steinbach, MB: “above all else, prayer.” God hears prayers and He answers them – albeit in His time and in His way. One caution, though, don’t be surprised if “His way” is through you. Andrew and I are headed back up to Flin Flon at the end of May to visit the communities we missed. Please pray that God provides rain in Alberta to douse the fires and that the rest of northern Canada receives rain, also.


Heading 360 degrees w/Dave

God’s call is quite an amazing thing. After retiring in Omaha, Nebraska, from a 20-year career as a US Air Force pilot, I thought I would fly for the airlines or get into a high-paid government contracting job; little did I know God had a different track for me.   Instead, He gave me a job teaching at a university in Omaha, which gave me summers off.  I thought it was all about spending time with my wife, Melanie and our two children, Heather and Daniel.  However, after finishing a Lay Ministry program at church, God called me to go on a Vacation Bible School mission to Big Trout Lake, Ontario, with Lutheran Association of Missionaries and Pilots (LAMP).

Four years later, when LAMP needed an experienced pilot, God pointed me in that direction and I ended up volunteering for three summers with Rev. Bill Ney, one of LAMP’s Pastor-Pilots.  God then put me on the LAMP Board of Directors.  This past summer, we moved from Omaha to Leawood, Kansas, just south of Kansas City (Go Royals!!!), and God called me to be with LAMP full time as a missionary pilot.  Quite a transformation, huh?

It may sound strange, but there are some real similarities to LAMP’s mission and a military operation.  We have a commander (Jesus), we have a critical mission (the Great Commission), resources (VBS curriculum, airplanes, etc.) and have a motivated team (LAMP volunteers, staff and supporters).  The biggest difference is that the war is already won – Jesus died on the cross and defeated death for all time.  Now we have to wage the battle to bring the Good News to the people of the North.

This may be your first time on the LAMP website.  If it is, then I hope this mission touches your heart like it touched mine and you contact us.  (If not, then I pray you find another way to be of service to Our Savior.)  Keep in mind there are many ways to serve LAMP: prayers for safety for the teams and communities up North; prayers for success in spreading the Gospel; volunteering on a VBS team; supporting VBS teams; contacting mission-minded individuals and congregations; and financial support. Regardless of how the Holy Spirit moves you, remember Jesus is the real Commander-in-Chief!