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.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

jungle trek

Just a quick note on the latest here. Tomorrow we are going into the interior of Guyana for a few weeks to help out at one of our schools. They need some help with their garden so they can raise more food for the students. There are some construction projects that might get some attention also. Toni will be helping with some of her nursing skills at the school and along the river. She may teach some classes, also. We are not sure just what all we can do to help--but help they want, so here we come. They have wanted us to come before, but we weren't able to squeeze it into the schedule. While there, we will not have Internet, so please hold back on some of the forwards for a bit. Please continue to send the personal emails though, as we really enjoy them. We will be coming into Georgetown from time to time for supplies and to check our email, etc. This adventure will provide more stories and experiences for us to share. It will be a 3 hr bus ride followed by a 12+ hr boat ride to get there. They don't have electricity except when they run the generator a little here and there,because gas is very expensive.

Thanks for you support and prayers.
Gary and Toni Lewis
Guyana Air Ministries

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A Glimpse in the Life of a Volunteer Missionary in Guyana

The sun rises at almost the same time every day, since we are so close to the equator. Sometimes we have to get going well before dawn as we need to take off right after sunrise. Here you can only fly from sun up to sundown--not a minute either way. It keeps us from being in the air all the time!

The weather is never predictable here--except that it is always changing. You can fly out in one kind of weather, and return in a couple of hours in very different conditions. There is no weather service here to get a forecast from, either. You take it as it comes. Many days are made up of flights to the opposite end of the country from Georgetown, which is on the Atlantic coast. We fly over very interesting landscape. Some parts of the country are flat and near or even below sea leve; then there are other areas with mountains and beautiful waterfalls. When we are in the interior, we make lots of short flights between villages. In 4-6 hours of flying I might have 10-12 landings and take offs. That means loading and reloading cargo and passengers. Many of our flights consist of taking students from deep in the jungle out to a school. There are also many medical evacuations for very ill people that need to get to the hospital. We have had to return bodies to some villages when the patient didn’t make it even after taking them in for medical care at the hospital. We have flown in snake bite victims (they usually have 2-3 days to live without treatment), broken bones, bleeding wounds, cancer, etc. There is a lot of hurting and suffering in this old world. We need Jesus to come soon to end it all! The medical care here leaves a lot to be desired of, even when we fly them in. Sometimes we wait for an hour or more for the ambulance to arrive, even after we have called in a hour before landing requesting one. It is always rewarding though when you get to fly a patient home again after they are feeling better.

We fly over very interesting landscape. Some parts of the country are flat and near or even below sea level; then there are other areas with mountains and beautiful waterfalls Some you will only see from the air. Most of the country is covered in jungle, some with savannah and lots of rivers. The rivers here are very dark, but clear, a dark reddish brown in color.

When we aren’t flying, we are out shopping (ugh) for our workers out in the interior. We buy anything from groceries to parts for equipment to household supplies. Then we fly these supplies into the village the next time we go there. It is very expensive to have everything flown in by the local companies, so we try to help out as much as possible.
We have found 2 distinct cultures here, the Amerindians that live outside of Georgetown in the interior, and then the East Indians and Blacks that live in Georgetown. They are very different and interesting.
In the interior, most villages have no electricity except maybe a generator at a “store” for a couple of hours at night or solar panels for lights at night for a short time. Most rise and sleep with the sun. Think of all the electric items in your house you that you would have to be without if you didn’t have electricity. Then there is no running water except the river in most places. No internet, cell phone or cable TV in the interior, either. It is so quiet there at night and dark--the stars really glow. Sounds like camping huh?
The plane is always appreciated and every one comes running when you land to see it and what you have brought or who you will fly out.

Thought you might like some pictures to go with the stories. Thanks for your support, enjoy hearing from you. I flew over 60 hours in September!