Wednesday, December 6, 2017

December Newsletter

Prayer Requests

  • Please pray for Bonnie’s extended family. She recently lost her aunt to cancer.
  • Please pray for our family’s healing, for Anya’s relationship with the Lord, and for supernatural wisdom as she prepares for adulthood

Broken & Hurting
Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved. (Psalm 55:22 NKJV)
As many of you know, and many more will be dismayed to learn, Anya’s living situation has changed. We are blessed by the Lord through All the King’s Horses Children’s Ranch in Benson, Arizona, which has generously allowed us to place her there until her 18th birthday in May. She seems to be very happy there, where the rules and discipline are very similar to our home, but where she doesn’t feel the pressure associated with being part of a family. Her ability to trust, connect, and build relationships was wounded in her formative years, making the last 3 years difficult for her and for us. 

Anya, 2012
We are very broken over all of it. We hope that some day in the future, she and we will be able to form a loving relationship based on truth and mutual trust. We believe that God knew 3 years ago how this would all go, and prepared the Ranch to help us and Anya when the time came. 

The Ranch’s direct cost for Anya is $1400 per month. She is their only private placement, and the Ranch is being very understanding with us. Nonetheless, we need to fully support Anya’s stay, and this presents an opportunity for you to help us and her.

If you pay income taxes in Arizona, you may already know about the tax credits that are available to you, which essentially allow you to control how your income taxes are spent.  The process is this: you donate to an eligible charity, up to a certain amount, and you can claim that amount both as a deduction on your Federal taxes, and a credit on your Arizona taxes.

Consult your tax preparer, lawyers, accountants, and next-door neighbor, but I think most people will see a dollar-for-dollar credit on their return, which means they’ll get refunded that same amount they donated (if they calculated right, and donated only as much as their tax liability).

 So, that’s how that works, and Anya’s caretaker organization, All the King’s Horses Children’s Ranch, is one of the charities that qualifies for this credit (Source: CertifiedCharities2017.pdf - this link also contains the mailing address of the Ranch). This means that you can donate up to $400 as an individual, and $800 as a couple, to this organization, and it counts as an Arizona income tax credit. If you write “Anya Ledford” on your check, the Ranch will know it’s coming from our friends, and that will help us.

 If you’ve already donated to other eligible organizations, and want to take full advantage of these credits, make sure you don’t donate more than your total tax liability. If you don’t care about how much you get back on your refund, and just want to help, may God bless you! Thank you for understanding the hurt this broken relationship causes us, and for your compassion for Anya.

In October, we got to host two gymnasts from Viborg Academy in Denmark, Michael and Sebastian. Sebastian is studying journalism and Michael has great hair...and is a welder and works in a shipping company. 

It was so much fun hosting them and playing Pictionary with them. It was also sad at the same time, because my sister Anya had just left to live with someone else.

On their last night with us, we got to see them perform their routines at Pueblo High School. Their style of gymnastics is a lot like dance, only more vigorous. I especially liked the routines that had the girls dressed like cave women.

Dad was able to share a little of the Gospel with them, when they asked about our religious beliefs and how often we go to church. I think they didn’t know how to process his answer “it’s not about going to church - all my hope for life and eternity is in one Person.” 

Keep praying for the 
UIM Aviation helicopter project!

In September, Gabe had the opportunity to get “back in the saddle”. After 6 years, he finally piloted a helicopter again, this time with an instructor from New Tribes Mission Aviation in McNeal, Arizona. Gabe spent a week training in the Robinson R66 turbine helicopter, evaluating its potential as UIM Aviation’s solution to the transportation challenge in the mountains of Mexico.

Friday, September 8, 2017

September Newsletter

Prayer Requests

  • Please pray for the helicopter program - there are many people in Mexico who will hear the Gospel for the first time when a helicopter brings a missionary to them, and others who will see Christ’s love in action through our service 
  • Please pray for our sending church during a difficult time of transition 


The greatest blessing for us on our summer ministry trip was the hospitality God lavished on us through so many people! Hebrews 13:2 says: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some have entertained angels without knowing it.” I think all our friends, acquaintances, and family members know we aren’t angels, but I sure hope the Lord blesses them for the hospitality they showed us!

A big THANK YOU to:

Juanita Fike in Flagstaff, AZ for hosting our family for two nights, adding to the hundreds of other visitors she has ministered to over the years.

Chris and Regina Forward in Longview, WA for letting us stay in their tiny house and crash their farm and just generally being such wonderful, real friends.

Gilbert and Michaele Trujillo in Eatonville, WA for sharing their AirB&B room, pool, and yard with us and welcoming us back into their family and lives.

John and Sylvia Mensonides in Graham, WA for allowing us to stay in your beautiful home before you even moved in yourselves! You fed us and spoiled us and blessed us beyond measure.

Carol and Howard Ashley, for welcoming us back into our neighborhood with lemonade and encouraging conversation.

Kent and Christine Gilge for a wonderful dinner and evening at your home and allowing us to share in your ministry.

Renee Fortier, for picnicking with us at the splash park after church. So simple a thing, but only a true friend could pull off making it seem like no time has passed.

Dietrich and Diedre Baker for inviting us out to your family campsite for a fun evening on the river, dinner, and baseball. We love hanging out with you guys!

• The whole Evangelical Reformed Church family, for hosting us and loving us once again.

Dan and Theresa Hoffman from Eatonville Baptist Church, for hosting us in your church and home, blessing us with food and art and love.

• The Eatonville Baptist Church family, for allowing us to share with you and welcoming us.

Becca Long, whose life-long dream of becoming a mermaid had us all in stitches. You make Washington fun!

Dan and Jeannie Mulkey at Trinity Aviation Academy, where all this began. Thank you for keeping a welcome space for us in your home and lives.

Tad and Hope Henry at Trinity Aviation Academy, for a wonderful 4th of July picnic and bonfire and renewed friendship.

Baysun T. in Spokane, a classmate of Gabe’s, who welcomed us openly for the few hours we could stay.

Alexander and Naomi Yaste in Spokane, even though we missed seeing you, for your willingness to host us!

Roger and Ann Koopman in Bozeman, MT. Yes, they’re my parents, but also wonderful hosts. AND lent us their tent trailer! We love you!

Frank and Maryann Kelly, you warmed up the tent trailer for us and were gracious when we had to change our plans and couldn’t see you.

Justin and Tiffany Keesling, God put you in Colorado Springs the same time we were there, just to lift our spirits with your friendship. Thank you for always being there.

Simon and Felisa Palfery for having us in your home and sharing your lives with us again after 12 years! How wonderful to meet your kids and see all the Lord is doing through you.

We have you all in our hearts.Thank you for partnering with us in ministry and being our friends. Your love means more to us than you will ever know. -Bonnie Ledford 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Presenting Logistics as Missions?

The mission of UIM Aviation is to establish native, local churches by providing logistic support to missionaries and native pastors who are ministering to the remote tribal people of North America.

White guy (and girl), dark faces, brown
huts, and lush green jungle
It’s been difficult for me to explain what I do in terms of “missions,” because, I think, the traditional view of missionary work brings to mind the image of a tall, white preacher surrounded by a sea of dark faces with a backdrop of brown thatch huts and lush green jungle. What does not come to mind is the vast army of the Lord’s servants who enable the evangelists, translators, preachers, and church planters to do their part.

Allow me to invoke a military parallel. Sun Tzu (The Art of War) wrote “The line between disorder and order lies in logistics.” Without the myriad of clerks, quartermasters, troop transports, medical staff, training personnel, and so on, the battlefield would be a mass of disorganized, self-destructive chaos in a state of constant collapse. If the soldier firing his M4 Carbine in the midst of a firefight is the tip of the spear, the rest of the weighted spearhead and shaft are the bits that get him there.

It’s also been said that an army moves on its stomach, meaning, if the beans and bullets can’t get to the front line, the front line is forced to withdraw to where the beans and bullets are. Therefore, if you improve the means of moving and supplying the warfighters, you suddenly jump in your ability to wage war. The same is true, to a great degree, in mission work.

Betty Greene, MAF Pilot
 From the humble beginnings of mission aviation in a 1933 Waco closed-cabin biplane to the Samaritan’s Purse 4-engine DC-8 cargo jet, the goal has been to leverage technology to logistically support the Great Commission: going into all the world, teaching Christ and making disciples for the glory of God.

Samaritan's Purse DC-8 Cargo Plane

We, the Ledfords, are simply servants, our role falling somewhere between the sender (many of you), and the sent. Together, you, we, and they are partners in the Gospel, the great news that the Son of God became a man to reconcile sinners to his Holy Father through his own death and resurrection.

I work 40 hours a week as a mechanic, a program director, a typist, an editor, or anything else that will keep our pilots flying the missionaries to where the people are. Lately, that work has included researching whether a helicopter is the logistical tool that will help us reset our operational limits. We believe it will, so I will be helping develop the program that will greatly expand our ministry to the Hoichol tribes in Mexico.

Hoichol Moms and Kids from a mountain village near Tepic.
God so loved the Hoichol people, that he gave his only Son as
the propitiation for their sin, and ours.
Bonnie is going through the process of re-establishing her nursing license, which we allowed to lapse while we were in Washington. She hopes to support the family a bit through a small income, and to expand outside our current circles of influence as an ambassador of Christ. Please pray as she works hard in correspondence school and local clinicals to refresh her abilities in medicine and patient care.

Hoichol lady in desperate (life or death) need of transport
being loaded into a small helicopter - the only type of aircraft
that could reach her village in the mountains

We’re still trying to figure out how this new lifestyle is going to happen, so please bear with us as we learn the ropes. Every change has meant we learn a new way to live, from leaving our jobs in 2011, to benefitting from the G.I. Bill for a couple of years while at school in Washington, while adding new members to our family, to being Missionary Appointees with UIM International. Later this year, if the Lord wills, we will likely be hitting the road to explain our work and your contribution to the Gospel through your prayers and finances. We believe it is extremely important to have your partnership, and as our partners, you need to know what your work is doing to fulfill Christ’s commission. Please pray that we will successfully magnify God’s name as we do so.

Tarahumaran man being carried to the nearest airstrip for evacuation;
the man and his family have been very receptive to the Gospel
For now, it looks like the best way to support us in your giving is through UIM International, if you want a tax donation receipt, or directly to us if you do not. We have changed the “Support” page on our blog to reflect that. We are working on ways to keep you informed about what affect your contributions are making, how your prayers have been answered, and in what ways you can lift the Gospel work up to the Lord. Please let us know if you have any ideas or questions about our work, or ways we can pray for you.

In the service of the King,

Gabe and Bonnie Ledford

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy 2017!

Holiday Blessings from the Ledford house in the name of Christ Jesus our Lord. It has been a busy year and an especially busy month of December. I didn't get Christmas cards and letters out this year, but have so enjoyed receiving all of yours! So instead, here's the 2016 recap. Enjoy.

February: Fun in the snow on Mt. Lemmon above Tucson. Hoping for more in 2017!

All decked out for the Valentine's Banquet at church hosted by the youth group to raise funds for the summer mission trip. Great food, fun, and service from our kids!

March: Davis Monthan Air Force Base air show playing with Daddy's old Pavlicopter.

Beautiful Sabino Canyon on Tucson's northeast side. Streams in the desert!

April: Easter with Uncle David and Simon. He is risen indeed! Easter eggs in unbelievable places.

Also April: Roper Lake State Park and natural hot springs near Safford, AZ. Amazing Spring Break!

June: Off to a great start with Submerged VBS! Bonnie rocked 3rd-4th grade and Gabe commanded the tweeners in 5th-6th. All four kids attended and had a blast!

June: Sam and Bonnie are off to Puerto Penasco, Mexico for our first mission trip!

And then in July, our whole family spent 3 weeks in Tepic, Mexico visiting another missionary family:

November: Serving at a Thanksgiving Dinner for refugees(and perfecting the chicken dance!)

 Thanksgiving weekend: lovely hike in Ramsey Canyon, southeast AZ. Sam not pictured as he spent the holiday in CA with his aunts and uncles.

Christmas! Spent in Cloudcroft, NM at a great cabin and even a bit of snow. We also had the blessing of reconnecting with our wonderful friends the McNairs while there.

2016 has been a tough year for our family, but we have seen the Lord's hand leading us in all of it. It is truly a joy to be serving Him here in Tucson and everywhere else He's allowed us to travel. May 2017 be a blessed year for you and yours and may you know Him better than ever before. He is the only true Light.

John 1:4-5 "In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness but the darkness has not overcome it."


Gabe, Bonnie, Sam, Ciara, Asher and Anya