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.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

What a Year 2010

Seasons greetings to each of you,
Wow another year is just about over and new one is almost here!  What a year this has been for us here in Guyana!  As we reflect back, we have seen God work in so many ways to accomplish His work.  We had our friend, Dr Larose McCluskey, come down twice this year with two young people to help her give free medical care, eye care,  glasses and do evangelism. They went to 4 different locations in  remote areas of Guyana.  They treated 100's of patients and about 200 accepted Christ as their Savior!!  
Our Bible workers (that we have been supporting with stipends and supplies), have worked very hard this year and have led many to Christ, also. The amount of church supplies we fly out each month grows every time.  We now take out boxes and boxes of printed materials and lots of Bibles.  People are thirsting for the Word of God.  What a pleasure to fly plane loads of supplies out.  The churches are growing and new ones are starting up.  We just don't have enough Bible workers to go to all the places asking for help.  We are getting requests for dentists and medical doctors to go into remote villages, as well.  
We have done lots of medevacs this year bringing the sick and suffering out to Georgetown for medical help, and then returning many of them to their villages after they have recovered. This is all done at no expense to the patient.  Unfortunately, we have had to fly a few bodies this year as well, so they could be buried in their villages. We are looking forward to the day when Jesus returns and there will be no more sickness or death!
We still supply food and school supplies to our school in Paruima and others, as needed.   There are students and volunteer staff to fly in and out.  Toni is really busy sending and receiving emails for those who do not have access to the internet in the bush.  There are all the finances to keep track of, and she has been able to practice some of her nursing skills this year to help the suffering ones of Guyana.
The maintenance bills for the plane have been really high this year with the engine needing to be replaced.  We have flown the new engine over 500 hours already since it was installed in late March.  We are praying that soon we might be able to get a Cessna 182 that will fly faster and haul bigger loads, as the Maule is having a hard time keeping up.  It has done well, we just need something bigger and faster.
Despite the large bills this year, the Lord has multiplied the monies that you donors have sent and all of the bills have been paid!!  We are so grateful. You are getting a very high return on your investment for the Lord.  Heaven will show you just how much. Thank you for your support and prayers. May God continue to bless you in the new year to come.  He has promised, that if we put Him first, He will take care of all of our needs.  Sounds like a win: win situation to me!  He is faithful, we have seen it over and over again this year.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Poems written and sent to us by 2 very young missionaries that served here in Guyana last year.

Isn't That The Little Red Maul I See?
With a captain at it's wheel it starts to fly,
The Little red maul up into the sky.
Flying over Jungle, Land, and sea,
Isn't that the little red maul I see?
Yes it is with a very dear Captain named Gary,
And Captain Gary is a Missionary!
          by Jessica Mandigo

  May God richly bless you above and beyond all He has blessed you before. 
  May He bless you with the strength and health you need every day.
  May He cast over you the protection of His angels and may you feel there presents ever with you.
  May He continue to guide your feet in His paths of righteousness.
  May you understand His will for you each and every day.   
  May your days be filled with Joy and your nights with peace.
 And may He bring you safely to our home with Him above!
                                                                                        by Victoria Mandigo

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Moving Forward

                                             Dr Larose McCluskey and James Wilson returned to Guyana again this month. They were here in the spring as well.
They went to two villages deep in the interior of Guyana and held medical clinics and then gave a seminar on the Sanctuary of the Old Testament and how it shows us about God and Heaven. They had the whole sanctuary set up at each place.

They saw hundreds of patients and did eye testing as well as gave out dozens of glasses.  People walked for days just to some see the doctor who was willing to come to the bush.

Over 100 people committed their lives to Christ after listening to their seminars and the Holy Spirit speaking to their hearts.  Many Bibles were given out and more are being requested.

Our van that we use for doing purchases here in town and hauling supplies and fuel to the airplane had been impounded since mid July over a mistaken identity problem with the hospital here. Yesterday after going to a second hearing with the judge, he finally ordered it released back to us.  It took all day to get it, but at closing last night we finally got it, even though they could not find the key.  It is so good to have our own transportation again after using taxis and buses for the last 4+ months.  That really took a lot of time and money.
In the month of November, we flew over 75 hours plus all the other work.  We are tired but excited to see how the Lord is leading here in Guyana to spread the message of His soon return.

Your prayers and financial help are making a big difference here in preparing souls for the kingdom of God. Thank you so much for being partners with us in our work here in Guyana. God will richly repay you as He has us.  The blessings we receive are greater than anything we can give. God Is So Good!!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Giving Thanks

The last couple of weeks have been very busy here and the Lord has been very merciful to us.  Volunteers brought down over 200 Bibles in their luggage and were not charged for the additional bags!  The Dr./Evangelist that has come from the US held a series of meetings and clinics at a government boarding high school deep in the bush and over 90 people gave their lives to Christ! The village she felt God wanted her to go to for her second series remained closed in that we could not get permission for her to go there.  The day after she finished the first series, the door opened and permission was granted with open arms and we flew her in the next morning!  Over one half of the bibles have been given away or asked for already! I would guess that the rest will be gone by the end of this month. It was so neat to see God provide them just when we needed them and more than we planned on!!  Oh what little faith we have sometimes.
The weather has been changing to what appears to be the start of the rainy season again. That means the weather has been very unpredictable and changing all day long.  It has left Gary facing some very ugly weather at times, when out in the bush.  Each time the Lord has opened a way through, it is neat to see the Lord part the storm clouds.  It even shows up on the NASA site sometimes. What an awesome God we serve!  It has been said that God is pretty much "unemployed" in the North America since everyone has insurance and can take care of all their own needs.  Well here, He is not "unemployed"!  We keep Him very busy all the time and it is so rewarding to see Him work on our behalf!!
We have done lots of flying this month. feeding people, housing them etc. but the Lord has continued to make the money stretch, even to the point of villagers in the bush providing citrus and bananas for us so we have fresh fruit for us and our guests!
We want to thank each of you who have had a part in God's program here in the jungles of Guyana. The needs are great, but our God is greater and it is a joy to work with Him and you as we share the Good News of Jesus.  May you be blessed as we have been.  The Psalmist says "my cup runneth over" .  Does yours?  Some days are a real struggle, we will admit, but looking at the bigger picture, we see God's hand at work.
So much to be thankful for, how about you?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Windows of Heaven

Have you seen the windows of heaven open for you lately?  Have you seen God's blessings poured out more than you expected? Has God you shown you that He knows the desires of your heart? God is willing and able to do all of these.
The last couple of weeks we have seen God open the windows of heaven again and again. We have been showered with blessings!! A family arrived over a week ago to do volunteer work here at the schools. They asked what we needed or would like. We told them of our need for Bibles for the people in the bush and what foods we liked and missed down here. We had hoped for 2-3 dozen bibles and maybe a few nuts to eat.  Well, when God opens the windows He does a great job of it. They showed up with 160 Bibles!! and cans of nuts and some cans of veggie meat, corn chips, and some tools we need for working on the plane. More than we ever dreamed they would have room to bring. They had more than the limit of luggage, but they were able to bring them all at no charge!! We were overwhelmed at Gods goodness to us and before we even recovered very much God sent another set of volunteers and the blessings continued. They brought more Bibles, many more cans of veggie meat, and other goodies to eat that we hadn't even mentioned to anyone that we miss. You see, God likes to give us the desires of our hearts, even if we are willing to go without sometimes.  He lets us know He cares, understands, and loves us!!!  Then a letter was delivered by the volunteers from former volunteers.  We thought it was going to be a letter from some very special kids who lived down here last year. We opened the letter and out came a $100 dollar bill!  This is from a family that is struggling financially right now, as we read the letter, it was from one of the kids who  had just celebrated her 15th birthday and instead of wanting gifts, she asked for money for missions and bibles. What a selfless spirit! Jesus said as we become as little children..... There were some very wet eyes after reading her letter.  The Bibles she collected and sent down with the other volunteer have already been requested by people living deep in the bush and will go out to them this week! God just ask us to be conduits for His blessings to flow through, the more we give of what the Lord has given us, the more room He has to give us more. We can not out give the Lord!
October and this first week of November have been extremely busy, but the blessings have been so great. We still don't have our van back yet which makes travel much more complicated and expensive, but the Lord knows the need and the desire of our hearts.
It has now been over 3 years since we left the US to go to Venezuela and then here to Guyana.  My how the Lord has blessed way beyond what we ever dreamed. Thank you so much for your prayers and support to help make it all possible as the Lord multiplies it for His cause. We are asked over and over, how is it you receive no pay and charge nothing for your flights or supplies. God provides by touching people to help and He does the rest!
May each of you experience Gods blessings too.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Working with RAM in Lethem

On Sunday Oct 10 I flew with Terrance and Julie Trap (Remote Area Medical coordinators) to Lethem, a small town on the border with Brazil.

 They have a new hospital there with some fairly good equipment.  I was fortunate to be able to stay in the Government Guest House--in one of the two rooms that has air conditioning.

The staff there were very nice and helpful.  There was a team of doctors and nurses--most of them from the U.S.  One was from Scotland!  I did all the pre-op and recovery work.  The second week, I did have a local nurse (a different one every day) help me.  Only one of them was a registered nurse.  They didn't know much about pre-op and post-op care, but were willing to learn and do what they could, and were a big help to me--in spite of disappearing when I needed them most--sometimes not even returning.  Most of them could start IV's, do vitals, shave patients, etc.  The shaving was done with blunt scalpel blades!

We did approximately 45 surgeries in the two weeks that I was there, plus held clinic most days to see many more patients.  I was usually at the hospital at 7:30 in the morning and left between 8 and 9 pm in the evening.

 We did women's surgeries the first few days, and general surgeries-- several on small children the rest of the time.

  Most of the children vomited, and I had to keep them in recovery a long time.  This made it difficult with the pre-ops and other patients I was trying to recover, but God gave me the strength to do what needed to be done.   I also had to prepare the pre-op medications and antibiotics and give them for anesthesia.  It was quite a feat using mostly very long and flimsy needles.  The IV  tubing was extremely difficult to put into the IV bags. 

I had 5 beds in the PACU--only one of them worked (as far as being able to move it up and down, head up, etc.).

 There were 2 monitors--one of them worked.  I finally figured out that the plug didn't work that the one monitor was connected to, so after asking that it be moved a couple of times, with no results, I used a small pair of bandage scissors (the only pair of scissors in the whole area) to unscrew the monitor, move it and screw it back down where I could plug it into a plug that worked!!!  So, I had 2 monitors for the second week.  Unfortunately, part way through that week, the first monitor quit working, and I got somebody to help me get an extension cord to move the plug where it worked again.
I did have my own manual blood pressure cuff, stethoscope (which broke the last day there), and small oximeter--which the local nurses and I used a lot--when we had no monitor available!

I was getting pretty tired by the weekend.  Fortunately, for me, we ran out of oxygen and couldn't do any surgeries on Sabbath.  I was able to rest, read, and walk and enjoy the Sabbath.  The last day we were there, they were changing over the electrical system, so we were only supposed to have 4 hours of electricity--then however long the generator lasted.  The generator had been cutting off quite frequently, and wasn't reliable for long periods of time.  Gary was bringing three patients down to have surgery, and wouldn't be able to arrive until about 2:30 pm.   Meanwhile, the medical director of the hospital was trying to negotiate with the electric company.  God intervened, and they allowed us to have electricity until we were done with surgery--even though the other part of the town had been without electricity for over 24 hours and was supposed to have it instead! Gary was delayed in leaving Georgetown as he had to wait out a rainstorm, and they closed the airport because the president of the country was coming in, but he made it to Lethem about 3 pm--and we still had electricity!  We were able to take care of the patients, and then have the electric company turn off the power.  We had no air conditioning that night, but we were thankful we had electricity in the OR earlier!

We brought the anesthesiologist and her daughter with us to Georgetown and took them by Kaiteur Falls on the way home--for a special treat to them.

 The doctors and nurses were all very dedicated, caring medical professionals--from all over the world (one came from Scotland).  There were a couple of teams who went out to many villages to hold clinics and help people, as well as the surgical teams.  Several of them were vegetarian, which was a big plus for me!  The administrator and staff of the hospital were very helpful and pleasant to work with.  I was busy and stressed, but enjoyed using my nursing skills again--thankful that I haven't lost them yet!!!!  Since I got home, I've been getting the accounting, laundry, cleaning, emails, and other things caught up around here.  I hope I can go help next year with RAM.  It was truly a blessing to me.

Friday, September 24, 2010

September adventures

The rainy season was suppose to have been over some time ago.  We are more than making up for the long dry season we had.  The rainy season has made for some awesome waterfalls out in the mountains.   Some pictures have been posted on our face book account and some on our blog site, also.   All the rain has left some airstrips a mess to land and take off from.  It makes it hard to keep the plane clean too.  We spent several hours scrubbing it this week just to get down to the paint again.
Although, I try to carefully keep the Maule in good working condition, sometimes there are things that baffle  everyone.
A couple of weeks ago, I noticed the engine was backfiring once in awhile when idling after start up.  The mechanics thought it was a fuel mixture or timing problem.  Those seemed to check out OK . Then I felt the strong urge to do a compression check on the cylinders.  One out of the four cylinders had zero compression and the other 3 were excellent.  Wow, how long had I been flying with only 3 cylinders!  My angels are so good to me!! Two different mechanics checked the compression and couldn't believe it was zero.  We pulled the cylinder off (you can do that on an aircraft engine) and it looked perfect inside since it only has 300 hours on it.  We put a replacement on it and only got 25 lbs when it should be in the high 70's.  We discovered the lifter was stuck.  A couple of good adjustments with a hammer fixed it and the compression came up to where it should be.  It has been working great ever since.  There is always something new to learn and to realize anew how much God looks out for us even when we don't know it!
With all the weather issues we have been having, It still amazes me how God seems to open small pathways through the storms for me to pass through or delays me just enough to miss a storm like yesterday, I was diverted by the control tower due to other traffic and when I got closer to home, I realized the diversion spared me a large storm with lots of lightning etc.  God saw where it was and guided me around it.  We always check the nasa weather in the area I am going to fly, and ask the villages on the radio what it looks like out there.  The weather changes here very fast. It can be great on the flight out to the interior and be totally different by the time we return, and there is no way to know what the weather ahead is like except to look out the window.
We still have no progress on getting our Toyota van returned and that has made it time consuming and expensive to get around using taxis, but somewhere in all of this, God still has His finger on it.
Your prayers on our behalf are being answered every day and we are so thankful to have friends like you who pray for us and up lift us before the King of the Universe!!  Please keep sending them heavenward.
We have received several requests in the last week alone for more Bibles and DVD's to use in outreach to unentered areas.    They especially want DVD's showing Bible stories and children's songs for the children's ministry.  There are very few resources like that here in Guyana.   We are out of supplies at present, but trusting God will provide all of our needs according to His riches in glory.
It is rewarding to fly in patients so they can get medical help to save their lives, but really neat when we get to fly them home afterwards.
May God bless you as He blesses us.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sunday service

Sunday was one of those days that started very early.  I flew  several bags of cement (doesn't take too many to reach gross wt.) and some food supplies out to a remote village that is building a church. Then I picked up 2 health workers from the hospital out in the bush and flew them to 2 different very remote villages where they gave vaccinations to the villagers. They started with the babies, giving them several vaccinations depending on age and weight. Then they moved up to the adults giving vaccinations for "swine flu" and "yellow fever".

 As they were finishing up in one village, we had a downpour of rain for 30 minutes.  As many as possible stood under the wings of the plane trying to stay a little bit dry.  After everyone was vaccinated, and when the rain stopped, I returned the health workers  to the hospital. Then I proceeded on to another village to bring in a lay worker and her family as she needs an ultra sound.  It was an eleven hour day with 5.5 hours in the air. The weather was great (except for the downpour), and over two hundred people received vaccinations.

We still don't have our van back yet. We're still waiting for a court date. School starts here next week, so there will be lots to do flying students and supplies to the different schools.
Thank you so much for your prayers (they are really needed) and your support.
Gary and Toni Lewis

Monday, August 9, 2010

Blessings & Trials

We have just returned to Guyana after our trip to the States to visit family and friends.  It was good to see so many of you and many more we wish we could have seen and visited with.  Won't heaven be great, when we can visit as long and often as we want and travel will be free?

Our family surprised and blessed us by flying our daughter and granddaughter from Hawaii to see us for a week!! What a treat and blessing that was to us. Something unexpected, but God knew the desire of our hearts to see all of our kids. We had a great weekend with all 3 kids and Gary's sisters, and Toni's mom.  Toni got to spend a week with her sisters and dad in Florida and that was special for her. Then friends provided airfare for us to visit friends in San Diego for a week. Toni was also able  to attend a wonderful women's missionary retreat, due to the generosity of friends.  Our cup runs over with blessings sometimes 
The Lord knew we needed some things taken care of which we knew nothing about. Two serious medical issues came to light near the end of our stay and thanks to some very kind and considerate doctors in Asheville, NC, they worked us in on short notice and corrected the problems and then greatly reduced the fees and one even provided the services for free!! Oh the God we service is so kind to us. It was a little stressful though trying to get it all done at the last minute, it even looked like we were going to have to postpone the return trip at great expense, but here we are in Guyana again.
When we returned here we found our house smelled very strong of mildew-- bedding and clothing were green and damp.  One computer won't boot up and .......   We are making progress on the war against the mold, though, with bleach.  The washing machine didn't work so that we could wash out the mold, but we were able to fix it today so now we can wash this stuff away!!

While we were in the States, the other pilot here was driving the Toyota van that we use to make all of our purchases with and haul fuel to the plane and cargo. It was confiscated by the authorities under mistaken identity of ownership. They thought it belonged to another organization here that has an outstanding judgement against it.  They were shown that we are not connected or a part of them, but it is locked up and now someone will have to go to court to try and convince the judge.  In the meantime, we have no wheels to do our work. 
So many of you have been so faithful in your support and prayers for this project down here.  We don't know how to say thank you enough, only that your reward will be waiting for you in heaven.  We continue to ask for your prayers as we meet the challenges before us . Our God is Faithful and He will see us through.!!

With thanksgiving,
Gary and Toni Lewis

Monday, June 7, 2010

Stuck in the Sand

It has been rainy season here which has made flying in the mountain areas of Guyana a real challenge. Along with the rainy weather, of course comes wet airstrips, bad weather, awesome waterfalls and the bugs.  A couple of weeks ago I was flying health care workers, Bible workers, medical emergencies and supplies, all in one day.  At one short strip, as I was taxiing to take off with 3 people on board, I suddenly found myself stuck in the wet sand. We had to shut the plane down and push it out. Everyone got out and some villagers came to help.  While I was up front trying to pull and steer the plane I noticed some oil on the front of the engine cover right behind the propeller. I looked on the other side and there was more.  There is not to be any oil in that area at all.  I knew I had a problem on my hand and a prayer went up asking for guidance.  We got the plane out of the soft sand and I taxied it back to the other end of the strip so we could get it off the runway.  As soon as I had it off the runway, I took the engine cover off to see where the oil was coming from.  Earlier that same day, I had been at this same strip and a local commercial plane came in with supplies and left. They usually come in there only once or twice a week.  While I was looking for the oil leak, the people said here comes another plane.  It was the commercial plane coming back to pick up some more passengers.  It's very unusual to it come in twice.  With the top cover off, I could see oil all over the front of the engine and that it was running down inside the front cover as well.  It looked like the front oil seal had blown out of our new engine.  I knew it could not be flown until fixed, and I was 200+ miles from home in the bush.  I went over and asked the other pilot if he had room to take me out as my plane was grounded.  He said was full, but  made room for me.  I hurried and closed the plane up, and climbed on board for the trip home.  When I got to Georgetown, I asked the 2 airplane repair shops if either of them had a front oil seal for my engine.  Neither of them had one, and there were none to be found in the whole country, plus it would require special tools to install it.  Now what Lord?  I have lots of people needing flights and the plane is stuck in the bush?  No worries, God already had it planned out.  He had already gotten me back to town in an expedited way.  I called my friends at AWA and they said, "Hey we have an airplane mechanic leaving Canada in 2 days.  Get the part number and he can bring it."  I raced home and got the numbers and emailed them to him.  This was Thursday evening.  He got the part on Friday, and left Sunday, arriving here Monday morning with the part.  AWA flew me and the mechanic straight out to the bush to work on the plane.   When the mechanic saw it, he said, "You are right, looks like the front oil seal."  So we removed the prop and engine covering etc so we could access the seal.  When we got it opened up, we discovered the seal was dry and there was no oil on it.  Where did the oil come from?  There is a little oil pressure switch on the front of the engine and it had oil on it so we started the engine, and sure enough, out spurted the oil.  The mechanic said, "For some reason, when I packed last night, at the last minute, I threw a 1/4 inch plug in my bag--not knowing why-- but just in case".  It was the exact size and thread we needed.  We installed it, and we were ready to go. 

If I had not gotten stuck in the sand, I could have lost all my oil out over the bush, and not known it, until it was too late. It could have caused engine failure with no place to land except on 200 foot tall trees.  God is so Good!   He provided the ride out, and  the mechanic coming in at the right time, with the right part.  What an awesome God we serve.
We are so grateful for your prayers on our behalf.  God does hear and answer them!  Without them, we would be in real danger.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

urgent need

That time of year has arrived when we say a lot of goodbyes. We say them to students who have graduated and attended our schools this last year.  We have to say goodbye to our wonderful volunteers who have given so much to spend time this year here in Guyana answering God's call to "go tell the world about Me".  Is God calling you to put aside some time to answer His call to service? Maybe 9 months to a year or longer?  The harvest is ready, but where are the reapers?  All 4 schools here, need staff for the coming school year.  Your help can be anything from the cook, to the dean, to a teacher, to a gardner, or builder.  We need people to help share their love of Jesus to the children of Guyana.  You can even do it in English.  School starts in early Sept. so we need people to start planing now.  If you think you might be interested or know someone who might be, please contact us and send in an application to Gospel Ministries International. You can do that by going to http://www.gospelministry.org/ and filling out a volunteer form online. If you come for 9 months or longer, it will change your life forever. That is a guarantee you will not regret. The paycheck is out of this world.  Will you answer the call? If you can not come physically, please be a participant with your prayers and  financial suppor. Without these, those of us here can not do our jobs.  We crave and need your prayers each and every day.  Let us know you're praying for us.  God is faithful and hears  those prayers.
May God guide you as you seek to do His will,

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Before we ask

It is great working for a Boss who knows what is going to happen before it does and plans things to be ready when the need arises! We see it quite often here. Today we got an urgent call from one of our volunteers in the bush asking for bandaging supplies to make wound care kits to send out into remote villages. Just this week we had received a box of those very supplies-- wondering why the person in the States had sent it to us a couple of months ago. Today we found out and the supplies were delivered!  Yesterday one of our other mission pilots here in Guyana left us his house keys as he was going back out to the bush so we could take care of some matters for him while he was gone.  This morning we got an urgent call from him asking us to go to his house and get a set of tires for his plane and a tire pump. His other pilot had a flat tire out in the bush and needed a replacement. Since we had the key (first time in 2 years) we were able to run over, get the tire and send it out on another plane going that direction.
In the last month, we were given the equipment to set up our own internet service here in the house. We have been using the neighbors, as they were kind enough to share it since they know we are volunteers and do a lot of emails for the ones out in the bush.  We accepted and hooked up our own service, even though we didn't like having to pay the bill each month. Then just a week later the service we had been using was no longer available to us. So by the friends offering us their equipment and then getting our own service, we were able to keep online without interruption or the expenses of buying equipment. God is So Good!

Gary and Toni

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Another perspective

This was written by one of our volunteers (Loren Mandigo) who has been serving with his wife and 4 children this year at our school in Paruima. Thought you might like to hear what we do from another persons perspective.  Gary

Guyana Bush Pilot

"That is what we call broccoli and cauliflower." Gary's voice crackled through the headset as I peered down at the scene passing below the little single engine plane.  "From up here the jungle looks like broccoli and the clouds are the cauliflower."  I nodded, smiling in appreciation as I thought of the times I had enjoyed a steaming plate of broccoli and cauliflower back at home in North Idaho.  It would be a long time before I would see either of these vegetables where we were going.

We had first met Gary, the mission pilot, and his wife Toni through a DVD sent to us by Gospel Ministries International.  As we had listened to his experiences of piloting a small plane in the jungles of Guyana my wife Lisa and I had felt that old familiar tug of the heart, drawing us to
another mission adventure.  Our oldest children had been very young when we had last had the privilege of going on a mission trip and now all four of our children were old enough to catch the excitement of traveling to another country to work for God.  When we sent our application to work with GMI in Guyana it was Gary who contacted us and gave us the call to work here.

I was brought back to the present as my stomach pitched and rolled with the little plane.  I shot a glance at Gary wondering if he were ok but instead of witnessing some sort of emergency I saw that now familiar mischievous twinkle in his eye as he looked around the small cockpit to see the reaction he had achieved in his young passengers.   All the excess motion had brought my son Jonathan out of a much needed nap, eyes wide and clutching at his sisters on each side of him.  Gary grinned broadly as he saw the good reaction he had achieved with Jonathan.

"Oh, were you asleep?" Gary's voice rose above the noise of the engine.

"I'm awake now" Jonathan yelled back, a sheepish grin on his face.  "I just dreamed that the plane was crashing."

At this Gary grew sober and said above the noise "I don't even like to talk about planes crashing!"

We later learned that Gary had survived a plane crash while still in the states.  Here in Guyana, however, it is a lot different; when a plane goes down in the Jungle there is seldom any visible trace of the crash site. Downed planes are often never found.   Just the previous year a pilot
friend of Gary's had gone down in a neighboring country and had not been found.

 "We are not too far from Paruima now." Gary's voice came through the headset again. "But I want to show you a nice waterfall that is not far out of our way."  The plane banked smoothly as we headed for a ribbon of water winding lazily through the jungle.  After leaving Georgetown we had flown over flat low lying terrain for over an hour before the ground rose sharply to meet us as we neared the mountainous area that we would call home for the next seven months.  As we circled the falls I aimed my video camera at the beautiful scene.  The river dropped abruptly over the rocky cliff, falling free till it ended in billows of spray on the rocks far below.  Gary held the plane steady as I captured the last of the scene and then aimed the small craft back to our destination.

 "The name Guyana means 'land of many waters'."  Gary said, motioning to the river below us.

"A fitting name." I said into the mouthpiece.  We had already seen several rivers during the flight and I could imagine that there were many more in this tropical region.

A few minutes later we were flying over the Davis Indians Industrial College Campus (DIIC), circling back to land at Paruima's little grass airstrip about one mile from the college.  As we bounced down the rough strip of runway I had hopes of settling down to a comfortable routine at
the school.  I had seen enough over the weekend we had spent with Gary and Toni to know that there would be no settling down for them as long as they chose to continue the work of flying in the jungle.  They had come to Guyana as volunteers with no monthly paycheck.  They depended entirely upon what God would provide through the generosity of those back home who would support the work with their means.  As the demands have increased so has God's blessing.

Little did I know just how much we would depend on the work that Gary and Toni are doing in Guyana.  So far they had picked us up from the airport in Georgetown, transported us to and from our hotel, fed us at their home, taken us shopping, taken us to church and now flown us out to Paurima all at their own expense.  Just after we arrived in the country Gary had flown the body of a young boy out to Paruima just as a courtesy  to the grieving family.   At a cost of about $200.00 US to fly out as far as Paruima the expense adds up fast.  Gary and Toni do this sort of thing on a daily basis month after month.  They fly students to and from schools like DIIC (GMI operates four such schools in Guyana), fly pastors, bible workers, medical emergencies, and just people traveling to and from Georgetown or other villages.  Gary transports letters and packages, flash-sticks with all important emails, even produce.  One of the important services he does is bringing food to the schools like DIIC such as rice, beans, flour, oats, etc.  When someone at the school needs something they send out a shopping list with Gary and then Toni goes around town to fill the list, then Gary brings it out to the jungle villages.  Gary also sits on the GAMAS board (Guyana Adventist Mission Aviation Service) and coordinates the work being done in the four schools.  Each morning Gary is on the radio checking in with the schools and communicating with the various villages determining the needs so he can plan his flight schedule.

"We seldom have any time to ourselves," Gary says "and the work keeps us going constantly, but as long as the Lord supplies our needs we will keep the work going here in Guyana."  So far the Lord has supplied their needs and as their budget increases month by month the donations from God's faithful people increases to meet the increased demand.  Thank God for people like Gary and Toni our faithful mission pilot family.

"I sure am going to miss you kids." Gary says while turning Jonathan
upside down and tickling him till he wriggles free.

After praying for God's protection for Gary as he flies the group standing at the end of the airstrip waves affectionately as Gary turns the plane and taxis down the runway.  "I sure like it when Gary flies in." says one of my kids.  "Yeah, I wish he could stay longer but he has a long way to go before he can rest tonight."  I reply as the plane disappears in the distance.
Written by Loren Mandigo
Missionary Volunteer

Friday, April 23, 2010

More blessings!

More blessings from Heaven this week!  We had a large bill come due this week. We were visiting with a friend and mentioned that we were concerned about it. He said, "why are you worried, I just sent a check a couple of days ago that will more than cover it". He didn't know about the bill or the amount, and we didn't know he was sending us money, but God knew all about it and took care of it before we knew it had to be paid right away. God is faithful!!  Then mid week we received an email from another friend offering to give us airline tickets to Calif. from their frequent flier miles, if the airlines could find seats to where we wanted to go and when. God came through and we now have first class tickets "never flew first class" to San Diego, July 13-19!!!!  It was a desire we had to go to SD to visit friends there and share what God is doing for us here in Guyana, but didn't see how it would happen. God says He wants to give us the desires of our heart! We are really excited to be able to make this trip. Anyone in the San Diego area like to hear mission stories from Guyana??
This week I also experienced one of those bush airstrip take offs that one only wants to read about, not experience, but my angels who fly with me on each flight came through and provide the extra lift! When one is serving the Lord, you can't have a better boss!!  He is faithful, all the time. So many blessings so little faith.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Friday's blessing

Fridays seem to be the day things will go wrong. It is the day that we all wait for so we can start the weekend but things go wrong to make it miserable. Well today we had to drive our administrator/teacher (granny) who is retirement age down to the border with Suriname so she can start school again on Monday now that spring break is over.  It is a 3.5 hr drive down there from Georgetown if all goes well. Thursday while driving to the airport to deliver another volunteer one of the idiot lights in the van came on, but no one knew what it was for, maybe that is why it is called an idiot light. Today we found out. Driving through a small town a little over half way to the border of Suriname, the clutch suddenly went out while in slow traffic. Granny (Carolyn Parnell) said I have a good friend near here, let me call him. We pulled over and stopped the van, We could not shift into or out of gear unless the engine was off. He was home (amazing at that) and we were less than a mile away and his cousin who lives a few doors way is a mechanic.  We had passed the turn off so had to start the car in gear and then do several left hand turns (remember we drive on the other side of the road here) so we were headed back the other direction. Several times cars started to get in the way but we were praying out loud that they would move so we wouldn't have to shut off the engine and try to restart in gear. Each time the cars move out of the way just in time. We stayed on the phone and drove straight to the mechanics house. He as there and came out and started to work. He went into town a couple of blocks away and was able to get the needed parts for the master cylinder for the clutch and some more fluid in a matter of minutes. That is unheard of here, and they even had the right parts!!! Amazed we were, then we remembered, that for God, no big deal. He worked on it for about an hour, the rain held off the whole time as he was working outside in the muddy road. When he got done the parts and labor was $15.!!  Rare that we get something cheap here. (remember bananas that are grown here cost $0.80+ per pound.). So in about an hours time we were back on the road praising the Lord for His faithfulness to us.  The only place there was someone we knew we could call for help and he happened to know a mechanic who was able to fix it and get the parts, is where it broke.
It has started to rain here again the last 10 days or so, so maybe the rainy season has started early since we missed the last one.
We will be in the States for a little rest and relaxing from July 5- Aug 5 while the schools are out here.  Hope to see as many of you as we can, but this time we will not be driving back and forth across the nation. We need some rest. At this point we will be in the N. Carolina/ TN area, looking at maybe a flight to S. CA but not sure on that as it is expensive. If you would like us to visit your church or youth group to hear about missions, let us know soon.
Blessings to each of you, and thanks so much for your continual prayers (they do get answered daily) and support.

Friday, April 2, 2010

March Blessings!

Wow, what a month March was.  We got back in the air flying the 4th of March with our new engine. We have hardly had time to stop since.  We have put on more than 80 hours on the new engine in less than a month; with almost that many landings and take offs in the bush.  It seems to be doing very well and we are most grateful. Some things we are getting caught up on, and other areas are opening up--requiring more flights.
Dr Larose McCluskey, her daughter Jenny, and another young man, James Wilson; finished up two evangelism series on the sanctuary.  This resulted in about 90 baptisms so far, which is  about 10% of the population in those 2 villages.  We have other Bible workers going into unentered villages now with the story of Jesus and it is wonderful to see people getting excited about the Lord's soon return. Some of these workers have to hike and canoe several days to get to the locations, but when there is an airstrip nearby, we try to fly--since it only takes a few minutes that way.  We have been flying in boxes and boxes of Bibles and religious reading material for them to hand out, as the people are requesting more and more literature. The work is even expanding over the border now into Venezuela, so we have begun to fly in Spanish materials, also.

The little red and white airplane that could, is doing all it can to keep up. The angels fly with it all the time on missions of mercy. It still flies out medical emergencies, medicines, vaccines and medical personnel into remote areas.  What a joy to serve the Lord in this part of the bush.
Thank you again for your generous support and most of all, for your prayers!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Flying Flying Flying

We are once again back in the air with our little plane.   We have gotten way behind with the plane being down for 6 weeks.   Our pilot friends from Region 1 helped us a lot by making some urgent flights with food and other supplies while we were down. 

 Now we are trying to catch up with the normal flights.  So far, the new engine is working great and we are grateful for it!

Our friend from long ago in Mexico, Dr Larose Mcluskey, arrived two weeks ago with her daughter and another teen to do two evangelistic campaigns and medical work.They are doing a series using the sanctuary, and have a life-size sanctuary set-up.  

 They just finished the first one out in Paruima and 65 people were baptised--8 from our school there. We were privileged to have one of our church leaders (Elder Ted Wilson) from the general conference in the Washington DC area, here visiting and I was able to fly him out to baptize the first 49 in the river. They have now started their second series in Kimbia and we are praying the Spirit will work mightily there as well.

Here the students are getting ready to put a peanut lei on Pastor Ted Wilson!

After so much flying, we had to do an oil change and service on the plane. The time really goes by fast.  I was in the air 6 days last week--hopefully not so many this week.  Fatigue when flying is not safe. The people in the bush are so glad to have us return to the air to bring in supplies, move medical people, and do medivacs again.
Your support mixed with the blessings from above make this all possible.  The large amounts of literature and Bible requests is really growing, People are thirsting for the Word of God. We purchase as much as we can,and  haul it out to them as fast as we can.  The requests for more keep growing!
The weather patterns have not very good for Guyana the last few months.  We missed the rainy season and the dry season that we are in now is drier than usual.  It is becoming very critical in the bush. The "airstrips" of sand are becoming too soft to land on easily, and drinking water supplies are almost gone.  We are praying for rain. Many just drink from the river and it is very polluted--including high levels of mercury from the many mines in the interior. Rain water is the preferred water for drinking, but....
Toni has been super busy feeding, housing, washing etc for lots of visitors passing through our house lately. Then she still has the purchasing, accounting and emails to keep up.
Thank you again for your prayers and support, we are confident the Lord will repay you many times over.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

God Had a Plan

Last week we were once again privileged to see the Lord intervene on behalf of His children. We had been able to finally put together enough cash to pay for the sheet metal roofing and the cost of the plane to fly it out to Paruima for the new school cafeteria.  You can only withdraw a few hundred dollars per day here from the ATM.  We needed several thousand--so it took many days to get enough cash together.  We needed a lot of metal to do the whole roof; so we had to charter an entire Caravan plane to fly it out (approx 3000 lbs). We were not sure we could send it all in one load due to the weight. When we got it purchased, transported it to the airport and had it weighed,  it came to 2500 lbs.!!  I was thrilled because I could now send some other bulky stuff up to 500 lbs on that load!  The morning it was to be sent out, we received an email from the doctor/evangelist who was arriving at the airport in a couple of hours (with 2 helpers), stating that their luggage was over 800 lbs.--plus them.  I had chartered a small Cessna (182) to fly them and their luggage out to Paruima the same day, since our plane was still getting the new engine installed.  The doctor told us the Lord had provided all this stuff to bring down for the meetings and her medical work.  The problem was getting it all out into the bush!  We scrapped our idea of sending bulky things on the big plane, and put her suitcases on the scale until it reached 500 lbs. We then weighed what was left (we had taken 3 suitcases out already that will go to the second location); and after adding the passenger's weights,  it was just the right amount to fill the Cessna 182 limit with 10 lbs to spare!!  So God used our efforts to get the metal out to the school, to also provide a way to get the materials out for the doctor!!!  We all stood there in amazement when we saw the final weights, and  we realized this was something that only God could have done so well!
We got the engine installed and the inspection all finished.  Yesterday we were able to test fly the plane.  After 2 hours of flight all the indicators are good!!!   I made make a couple more short flights today.  Tomorrow I have to change the oil and look for metal etc. then get back to flying in the real bush!  We are so far behind, we don't know how to catch up, but God already has that worked out too.
Thank you so much for your prayers on our behalf and the work here!  They make all the difference. Your financial support has been outstanding and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts!!  God is good all the time.  He has been faithful to provide what is needed and we are so grateful.  May you be blessed many times over.  We just got word yesterday on the radio, that there are 25 people already asking for baptism and they aren't quite have way through the meetings yet!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Our New Airplane Engine Installed!

Taking out the old engine and putting the new one in the Maule!

Paruima Girl's Dorm Bathroom/ADRA project


Paruima new cafeteria


Paruima new solar system

Here is the new solar system that Brandtley Greenlaw just installed--just need to get the batteries for it and get them out there now! 


Thursday, February 18, 2010

rainbow pic

Our AWA friends looking over Kaiteur Falls to see the double rainbow at the bottom! God's special gift to us!

Sunday, February 14, 2010