Buried Treasure

By Rachel Greco

God changed everyone’s perspectives about Aviation Pre-Field Orientation (PFO) this year. For the three participants who took the course in a second language in an unfamiliar context, the challenges seemed mountainous at times. But joys lay hidden in the crevices like buried treasure.

Lauro Pasquini, one of three Brazilians taking the three-month course, serves as a pilot-mechanic with our aviation partner, Asas de Socorro.

Lauro had wanted to attend PFO for a long time. He had been to JAARS before, once on a two-week flight project and more recently in 2018 when he and another pilot flew a Cessna 206 from JAARS to Brazil and had heard about the course. “I was looking forward to increasing my knowledge and getting to know other people who are doing the same thing I am.”

Rose, Lauro, and their three children

This PFO course came at just the right time for Lauro and his family. After serving Asas de Socorro for more than 12 years, he and his family needed a break but also wanted to learn a new culture and language. So Lauro talked to his leadership while speaking to BJ Diggins, the Aviation Training Director, about the possibility of being part of PFO. Lauro knew it could help him serve his organization better.

One mountainous obstacle Lauro has faced in the course has been the language barrier. “My [fellow orientees] will experience the process of learning a new language when they get to their mission fields, and my instructors already had their experiences learning another language, so this is my opportunity to face this challenge.” He’s thankful for the willingness of his teammates and instructors to help make his way up this PFO mountain easier.

The online learning portion of PFO, due to COVID-19, was a completely different experience for Lauro. The students felt like they were living far from each other, even though they were actually inside the same campus. Lauro acknowledges that it was hard sometimes for the instructors to teach the flight techniques or show part of the airplane without the students in the same (physical) place. He’s hoping these details will make more sense when they can meet again in the hanger and inside the aircraft.

Maintenance class via the computer

Even with these challenges, the most exciting thing about PFO for Lauro is how God can bring different families, from completely different backgrounds, with different skills and spiritual gifts, to serve in different ways so he can be glorified in many different places. “It encourages us to get to know each family better and hear their testimony.”

When Lauro thinks about returning to Brazil, he’s encouraged to see people at JAARS who are in their eighties and still serving as instructors, volunteers, leaders, servants. “This is such a powerful testimony that missions is not a short-term [career], but a long-term one.”

Lauro hopes to use what he’s learned to become more professional and better skilled to serve his country. As he’s heard from the instructors here—some with more than 30 years of experience—it’s always the time to learn something new and perform a task better.

The pre-field orientees in maintenance class before the pandemic hit

Although God changed Lauro’s and his family’s perspective and plans for PFO and the future, “It has been wonderful to see how God is providing for us in a lot of different ways.” He and his family can see God taking care of even the small details and know he will use all these challenges to help them grow in confidence and wisdom, patience and hope, love and willingness to serve: buried treasures waiting for discovery.

Lauro recognizes this challenging time can develop deeper joy and maturity in him and his family: “Hopefully the time we’re staying in the U.S. will help us grow in maturity and empower us to face the next challenges God will [give] us in the future. We are sure this PFO will have a huge impact in our life and ministry, especially with the extra [challenges] God is putting in this PFO curriculum.”

You can help prepare pilots and mechanics for the challenges they’ll face overseas by giving to our Aviation Training Solutions.