Mission Bush Pilot and Nurse

After spending three years in Guyana, South America, we have now moved to Bewani, 50 Km south of Vanimo, Papua New Guinea. We have started a new humanitarian aviation ministry here. In visiting with health officials and church people here, the need for an aviation program to reach into remote villages became very apparent. We are taking health workers and medicines/vaccines, into remote village airstrips and bringing out critically ill patients to the hospital. We also fly in educational materials for schools, as well as take in Bible workers. Toni is helping with the medical end of things, while Gary takes care of the flying part. We have several local lay missionaries we sponsor and we do ground transport for patients as well. We are volunteers here to serve our God and the unreached people of Papua New Guinea. We have a great need for more people to join in this effort.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Our House

We´ve moved into our temporary residence. It is much better than we expected. We have a decent mattress on the floor, bathroom and kitchen with stove, fridge, and washing machine that floods the floor.

We arrived at the airbase Wed. pm. Thurs. I was to go on a flight to take patients home, at the last minute 3 government officials needed a ride to investigate a situation. So, I got bumped, and waited in the airport. The pilot, Bob, was to return in an hour. An hour and a half later, I received word that he had crashed. No one was hurt. He got a gust on his tail and couldn´t stop by the end of the runway. The plane hit a log and flipped over. So, we are without wings at the moment. I´m thankful that I wasn´t in the plane--for a second crash in 15 days. God is good! Tomorrow, I´m going to the city to work on getting my Venezuelan pilot´s license. The plane that crashed was a Cessna 182 that we hope to start taking out of the jungle in a couple of weeks to get it repaired. What we really need is a Cessna 206 to really be safe here. That´s what everyone else flies. So we are praying for a 206. In the meantime, we are doing some of the projects that there isn´t usually time for. Toni is trying to get food and supplies from town and get our place cleaned and fixed up.

We´re enjoying our time here so far. Yesterday we took a hike up in the mountains in the jungle. It was a great view of the school, and the waterfall was beautiful. It´s the water source for the small village near where we are living. We hope to get internet at the base soon.

Coming to town to do it is difficult. Bob (the other pilot) is trying to work on his computer. His motherboard went out. We´ve only been able to get on about once a week. It´s great to hear from you. Things are expensive here, and the money is going faster than we anticipated, but we´re doing ok. The exchange rate is about 4,000:1--makes it fun to count the money. Reminds us of Bolivia!

It´s warm and humid, but a little cool at night. We´re still waiting to get our missing duffle bag. A taxi driver friend in another city was able to get it from the airlines--so, we hope to get it one of these days. Gary only has the jeans he wore--no other pants. Fortunately he has some shirts and underwear. Hope to get it this week. Most of the missing cooking stuff we´ve been able to borrow for now.

Please pray for a Cessna 206. Thanks for your support and prayers on our behalf.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

We Arrived!

We arrived in Puerto Ordaz last night and got to our hotel by taxi in Cuidad Bolivar at 11:30 pm. The Nortons had arranged the taxi and reserved the hotel for us. We met up with them this am. Unfortunately, one of our big duffle bags was lost in Miami or Puerto Ordaz. It either contains most of our clothes or our cooking stuff. We filed a complaint, and hopefully we will get it back. They said it would arrive on today´s flight, but now the flights for today are cancelled. We are way in the interior already, so I hope we can get it. Please pray that we'll be able to get it back. We are thankful to actually be here and have a safe trip. Thank you for your prayers and support. We will wait here to finish the 50 hr. check on the airplane, then we'll probably fly out tomorrow or the next day to go to the airbase in Santa Elena. Hopefully, we can get our bag before we leave here . . . We'll write more later.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Plane Crash!

We are finally ready to depart on our mission adventure to Venezuela. We have been preparing for this for a long time and after several delays, we are finally set to go. It is amazing how the Lord has led us to this point. The devil has been working extremely hard trying to discourage us with major financial set- backs and even tried to kill Gary last week. But when you are committed to serving the Master, these set- backs become His problem to deal with and He is able!!

The book of Job has taken on a more personal meaning in the past few months. Job had no idea why he was going through his ordeal yet he trusted God and refused to "curse God and die". We know that the devil doesn't want us to go, but God has said, "Do you trust me; are you willing to follow me no matter what"? Our faith has faltered at times, but it has grown as we keep reminding ourselves that God is still on His throne and still in control!! Praise the Lord!!

I was finishing up my night flying requirements in Prescott in August, on a very dark night flight over desolate areas of Arizona. We were trying to find a time to fly in between the monsoons. We discovered the next day that a value had stuck and we were flying on 3 of the 4 cylinders and didn't know it. Oh the love of God! That is why we always ask the Lord to fly with us, but didn't realize at the time that the angels were working overtime so that we didn't have to land in the middle of nowhere that night. We had a buyer come the next day for the plane, but he backed out when we found an oil leak, and discovered that we would have to have it overhauled. That was an expense and delay that we didn't plan on. But knowing that the angels fly with us is a tremendous strength.

Last week, I went to Prescott to do some flying in our plane, since I had some extra time and still needed more hours. I needed to finish my check ride for my commercial rating, also. It was the first time that I had flown the plane since it had been overhauled. The maintenance shop had flown it to Phoenix for me to pick up there. On Wednesday morning, Oct. 10, I took off from there, heading to Prescott. When I was northwest of Prescott, the engine suddenly lost power and made lots of noise. I radioed the airport and told them of the problem, but I was still 8.5 miles away. I tried everything I could think of to bring the engine back to life, without success. The wind was gusting a lot. I had to set it down in a rural area NW of town. Unfortunately, I lost altitude too fast and it bounced and flipped. A passerby helped me get out of my seat where I was hanging upside down. I have no memory of the crash or getting out. I was life-flighted to Flagstaff Medical Center. After CAT and MRI scans, no broken bones or long term damage was found. Praise the Lord!! After seeing pictures and talking to those who saw the wreck, they can't believe I'm still alive, let alone was able to walk away. My angel was working very hard to spare my life that day. I was in the hospital only 24 hours. Toni flew out to help me, and we had a car to drive around, thanks to my sisters. Our friends in Prescott and Phoenix were a tremendous help, in many ways. I have a lot of soreness and stiffness yet, but am very grateful the outcome was as good as it is.

Monday morning, Oct 22, we leave for Venezuela. Things aren't looking too good right now in that country for doing medical aviation or gospel flying. But God is still in control. If He wants us there, He will provide a way to do it. If that door closes, there are several other countries where we can go to serve in the same way. We just are trusting that the Lord will lead us day by day to accomplish His will.We want to thank those of you who have been praying for us. Prayer is a powerful tool against the fight with the devil –"for we fight not against flesh and blood but higher powers".

Those who have supported us with your time, your homes, help and donations have been greatly appreciated too. Thank you so much!