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Jay | Susan | Alex | Beth | Samantha
June 22, 2015 11:12 am
Published in: Uncategorized

We (Susan and I) were talking with Barry King at Central Region’s conference the other day, and as often happens, we started tradiing stories. Barry’s are better than mine, so he graciously offered to share them.  He emailed the following to me the other day…

Barry – After spending three years setting up and running the AIM-AIR base at Zemiozemio hangar C.A.R., I finished my term of service with AIM-AIR in the summer of 1983, and returned to the USA with my wife Jennilu and two boys Virgil and Stephen. Being a bit out of touch with life in the USA, and lacking any good options concerning employment for me in aviation, we decided to spend a year doing charitable work, as resident managers of the FISH guest house in Albany, OR. FISH was a shelter facility for battered women. The situation let us live near Jennilu’s parents.

As our year at FISH was winding up in 1984, I decided to take my family north to Alaska in our battered old station wagon and a trailer. My father-in-law (concerned for the welfare of his daughter and grandchildren) asked me: “Do you have any work lined up there for when you arrive?” I said, “No.” He asked, “Do you know anyone in Alaska, or have any contacts there?” I said, “No.” He said, “Do you have any money set aside as savings?” I said, “No”. He asked, “What are your plans?” I said, “I’m just going up there to have a look around and discover what opportunities may exist.” It was a short and unproductive conversation.

We arrived in Fairbanks in early September and came out of our tent in the morning to find our roadside campsite covered in snow. I drove into town and bought a copy of the local paper at a gas station. There was one help-wanted ad in aviation: Olson Air of Nome was looking for a pilot. I put coins in the pay phone and placed the call to Nome. I got the late David “M.O.” Olson on the line. M.O. was half Swede and half Inuit. In time, he was to become one of my best friends, but  when I placed the call, he was a complete stranger. I gave him a short version of my life story on the phone.

After I had talked for a couple of minutes, M.O. said, “Hang on a minute…” and then, “What did you say your name was?” I told him, and he said, “I think I have someone here who knows you.” I said, “I really doubt that, I surely don’t know anyone from Nome.” He said, “Hang on a minute…”, and then, “It’s my new pilot Mike Cannata. He says his Dad was a missionary doctor in Ethiopia (Dr. Sam Cannata, who worked with the Baptist mission.) He says in 1977 his Dad was imprisoned for two weeks during the Communist takeover, and the rest of them under house arrest, then they were all driven to the border at Moyale and released into Kenya. Mike says that you were the pilot who showed up in an AIM-AIR plane and flew them all to safety in Nairobi. Is that right?” I said, “Yes, I did that, and I remember Dr. Cannata and his wife, but I don’t really remember the kids.”

M.O. said, “Well, Mike remembers you and he says you are a good pilot, and that I should hire you, so I will.” Thus began our four years as Alaskans. It turned out that his flight from Moyale to Nairobi with AIM-AIR in 1977 inspired Mike’s interest in becoming a bush pilot, and that after a few years of training, his first job was working for the Olsons in Nome.

Moral of the story: when I write my book about How to Get a Job as an Alaskan Bush Pilot, Step 1 will be: Start by rescuing missionaries fleeing into Kenya from Ethiopian communists.

May 5, 2015 4:07 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.  For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.  For in fact the body is not one me caravan in south sudanmber but many.  1 Corinthians 12:12-14

Mundri South Sudan … lush with recent rains, plants and trees surround the airstrip.  I dropped off the team there for a week and got back in the caravan to start home to Arua, finishing a long week of flying in both South Sudan and Congo.  Up at altitude, autopilot set, I start working on the paperwork so I don’t have to do it at home that night. The HF radio crackles, Susan is calling from Arua…”Go t.  … mbek.”  What?  “Say again” I shout into the microphone.  She tries again.  “Go to Rumbek. Medivac.”  Staticy, faint, but got it.  I get turned to Rumbek then start trying to get details.  Go to Rumbek, get fuel and call Chris when you get on the ground.   It takes Susan and I about ten tries to get all that through given the poor radio reception that day.  On the ground in Rumbek I call Chris before I do anything else.  The medivac is for a family I helped move into South Sudan, so I get fueled for their location and launch to go get them.

While I’m fueling and paying landing fees at Rumbek, Chris and the folks in Nairobi have come in on Saturday afternoon to prep 5KS, AIM AIR’s newly arrived Caravan to fly from Wilson to Arua to meet me. First operational flight of the new plane.  The family’s youngest child is having issues with malaria and they need to get to Nairobi for treatment.

Susan and Megin Elkins meanwhile are putting together some lunch for the family to take along from Arua to Nairobi, since there will be no time for food in Arua and it’s a 3+ hour flight from Arua to Nairobi.

The family is waiting for me at the airstrip.  I land, get them on board and get going, climbing fast to get out of the heat and dust and bumps into the cooler more comfortable smoother air aloft.  Dad’s holding the little one, Mom looks worried.

The flight’s smooth. Not real fast, I’m fighting headwinds.  I get Chris on the HF after a bit and we’re chatting. He’s definitely going to beat me to Arua.  At Arua everyone’s waiting…we transfer the luggage to the other plane while Megin (a nurse) checks out the little one and reassures Mom a bit.  They load up and off they go…  Landing about 10pm at Jomo Kenyatta in Nairobi.

Two pilots, a linesman in Nairobi, two linesman in Arua, three wives, and several people flight following.  It’s a team effort to get the family to where they can get medical treatment.

We’re the body of Christ.  That Dad can’t fly a plane.   I can’t do what he does. I get to help him stay in a remote place, with assurance of support when his family needs the help.  “Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.” 1 Corinthians 12:27   Said another way, also by the apostle Paul in the same letter, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.” 1 Corinthians 3:6.

August 26, 2014 3:45 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

You might get the idea we’ve been doing some travelling from the title of the post.  I could also add in nine states, but that didn’t fit in with the nice 3-4-5 progression of the title.  Why all the travel? The start of new cadet week at college for Alex at VA Tech.  He’s the fourth generation of the family to go there and both his Grandfather and Great Grandfather were cadets there.  Grandpa was even in the regimental band, which AlexNew Cadet is doing.  “It’s the most fun week I never want to have again,” Alex told us when we picked him up for the one night break before starting classes.

I suspect we’ll hear more in the weeks ahead about difficulties, so please pray for Alex as he adjusts from being a senior at a very very good and very very small school run by our mission to a freshman and, arguably, the lowest form of life in the military universe (new cadet) at a HUGE school (VA Tech is somewhere around 30,000 students).

 

June 15, 2014 1:46 pm
Published in: Flying

We carry all sorts of strange things in the airplanes.  The last three days in South Sudan it was 50kg sacks of sugar, salt, 10kg bales of tea and 30kg bales of flip-flops.  That’s a LOT of flip-flops.  They’re called pata-pata here.  Mike and I flew from Arua on Thursday to Juba where we picked the first of four such loads we were taking from Juba to Jaibor, way up north of Juba.

We loaded the plane and checked the weight and balance, all good, so we got in and flew. I’m in the right seat these days, helping Mike with his 20140530_113230Caravan checkout, so I watched while he ran checklists and prepared the airplane to fly.  The flight was straightforward, with no issues, and we spent the two hours talking about airplane systems, standard operating procedures, emergency procedures, and the like.  Unloading at Jaibor was quick…put the tailstand on the plane, open the cargo door, unstrap the cargo net, and then haul the sacks and boxes to the cargo door.  The villagers unloaded from there, eager to get the supplies.

Back to Juba for another load, and again and again.  Juba is a very busy airport, lots of people trying to talk to the one controller in the tower.  It can be very hard to get a word in.  The controller scolded us, “You call 50 miles out, not so close in (it was 20 miles when we finally got through to him).  “We’ve been calling since 50 miles.  This is the first time you have answered,” I say back.  While we were fueling, a Russian IL-76 landed.  Still nose high his engines ran up to max, a deafening shriek from the four old turbojets.  I thought he was going around, then I saw the thrust reversers deployed.  Stopping.  He still rolled to the end of the runway and had to turn around and taxi  b20140614_095408ack.

The first three trips to Jaibor went very well. The fourth, Saturday morning, was a bit in question. We had word that they’d had rain the night before, about 30 minutes of heavy rain.  ‘The runway is wet but landable’ we were told. The soil in Jaibor is  mix of black cotton mud and sand.  Very sticky, very slick.  On arrival we did a couple of passes over the runway. There was still standing water but it looked doable.  We landed, and sprayed the plane liberally with mud.  As we slowed Mike added power to keep us rolling in the muck, and the torque from the engine made the plane twist, and we skated sideways in the mud.  Finally, some firm ground.  We straightened out, and taxiied to the parking area and shut down.  I unloaded while Mike washed the windshield.

Back to Juba, for fuel, then on to Nairobi to bring the plane for inspection. We’d run it out of hours, about 20 hours in 3 days.

 

PS:

We’re still heading back to the US in July.  And we still are working on the budget for the trip.  If you’d care to donate to our travel you can go to the AIM International’s website. Their page on giving is http://aimint.org/usa/give  Or more directly, the link for online giving is https://www.egsnetwork.com/gift2/?giftid=BA2CB0A93B314EC  If you go there click on the ‘Search for Designations’ tab and then put Mundy in the search box.  Choose the home assignment designation and continue on from there.  Thank you!

May 25, 2014 4:16 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

I always did like the Neal Diamond song ‘America.’  Our ‘Back to America’ isn’t really the same, but I still like the song.

When we first came to Africa our kids were 11, 9, and 4.  They’re a little bigger now.  Alex is graduating from high school, and we’re moving up our home assignment to get him into college.  Once he’s parked at college we’ll spend several months in the US doing our usual home assignment stuff before returning to Uganda and AIM Air around the 1st of December.

This is all great stuff of course, but our plans have hit a couple of wrinkles.  The problem with coming when we are is that it puts us at the height of travel season for east Africa, and our tickets are quite a bit more, actually a lot more, than we’d anticipated.  We’re almost $4000 short in fact.

So I’m writing to ask for a bit of help.  If you’d care to donate to our travel you can go to the AIM International’s website. Their page on giving is http://aimint.org/usa/give  Or more directly, the link for online giving is https://www.egsnetwork.com/gift2/?giftid=BA2CB0A93B314EC  If you go there click on the ‘Search for Designations’ tab and then put Mundy in the search box.  Choose the home assignment designation and continue on from there.

Our first goal when we get back to the US is to get our eyes uncrossed from jetlag.  Next will be getting Alex to new student orientation and then back a couple weeks later for New Cadet Week.  He’s got ROTC scholarships and will be joining the VA Tech Cadet Corp.  After that?  Visiting friends and family.

We look forward to seeing you!

God bless!

fam

 

May 23, 2014 12:02 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

We’ve had a photographer from AIM’s On Field Media team with us for a few days now.  He shared some of his pictures with me the other day. My first thought was ‘Wow!’  the next was “I wish I could do that”  Ahh, jealousy.  I’ll get over it, but in the meantime I’m enjoying the pictures he took. Heloading1re are a few:

Loading up in the AIM Air hangar at Wilson airport, and doing the preflight on the plane.  Samantha is bored with the process…all of us were ready to get home since we’d been in Nairobi for 3 weeks.  We’d planned to go for the last week of the three for Samantha to go to home school week, now renamed education support week.  Basically it was to get standardized testing done.  AIM Air asked me to come for a meeting the week prior, and then the week prior to that we had a free ride.  So, off we went.

 

jk_aimair-8572

Samantha got a bit more interested once we get on our way.  This is just after takeoff. All the brown roofs you see there are Kibera, the big slum in Nairobi.  We used to live right next to it when we lived in Nairobi.  Every Sunday afternoon we could check the time by ‘Angry Preacher Man’ as we called him.  A kibera church had a really scratchy, and loud, sound system.  The preacher was really into his sermons. The bad speaker system made him sound angry, instead of sounding intense and passionate. Louder is definitely not always better.

jk_aimair-4576

We had a stop in Lokichogio to drop off cargo: several bags of cement and tile mortar, and metal
mesh to tile the bathroom in the pilot house there in Loki.  The Hurds and Kings are getting ready to back to Loki in the case of the Hurds and to Loki in the case of the Kings.  It’ll be a vast improvement to have two families there in Loki.  Way overdue.

 

jk_aimair-4616

 

Finally home, Arua.  Let the unloading commence!  We brought back the red kitchen work table Susan had made in Nairobi several years ago, you can just see it there in the back of the plane.

Home has become a little of a fuzzy concept the last few years.  We’ve decided to define it as ‘home is where the dog is.’  They dogs were indeed happy to see us after three weeks away.

May 4, 2014 6:46 am
Published in: Uncategorized

I thought about titling the post “BEES!” but decided not to since I think one word titles make the link to facebook choke badly.  Now I’ll just wait and see if some activists come and scale the vertical stabilizer of the airplane….

Enough silliness.  Though the story, in retrospect, is rather amusing.  Routine flight, go out to bees1the airport to get the plane ready to go to South Sudan.  I dumped my stuff by the cockpit door and started the walk around while John, our linesman, went to get the keys to the plane.  I pulled the inlet plug, and alerted by movement, or noise, or something, I practically teleported back about 20 feet as a zillion bees swarmed out of the inlet.

Okay, so it wasn’t a zillion bees, but there were enough of them that I wasn’t going near the airplane until they left.  The next question was, how do you get them to leave?  I had a flight to do.  There are some beekeepers in Arua, so we started calling around to see if anyone knew one that could come out to the airport.  Typically the local beekeepers use smoke from a fire to stun the bees. I wasn’t real keen on having a fire waving around the engine area of the airplane, but hey, if it worked….

bees3Isaac, one of our firemen, had the answer.  He suited up in as much cover as he could get, and advanced on the plane with his CO2 fire extinguisher. If smoke stuns the bees, CO2 should do much the same, and no impact on the airplane.  It even looks like he’s fighting an engine fire!   Best of all, it worked. No more bees.  We swept dead bees out of the intake, cleaned out the little bit of wax they’d started to put down (they were definitely settling in for the long stay, with plans to turn the engine inlet into condominiums). I opened up the cowling to get a look into the rest of the engine inlet area with a flashlight and a mirror.  Fortunately, the squatters stayed to the front of the inlet; there was no evidence of them moving back toward the engine itself.

I finished the pre-flight, and off we went for Juba and South Sudan.  The next morning I had honey on my toast. Three cheers for bees!

April 27, 2014 6:08 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

I spent a week there recently, flying from Arua, Uganda to Obo, Zemio, Rafai and then all the way to Bangui and back. It’s a long way to Bangui, let me say. I thought about doing an encore of the “My Butt Hurts” post, but decided against it. I’m still sitting too carefully to write about such things.

On the map, of course, the trip looks simple. Fly from here to there to there to there. No significant terrain in the way, no air traffic to speak of. When you start planning it out the trip is a bit more complicated. Any emergency landing is going to be a real emergency, as in we’re landing in a clearing in the jungle. There is no fuel available between Zemio, where AIM Air keeps a small amount, and Bangui, over 400 miles away. And with five people in the plane we’re leaving extra clothes and things in Zemio to save weight in the plane for fuel to make it to Bangui.

On the day, the flight was routine except that this was the first AIM Air flight to Bangui in over 10 years. I was excited to get to go, actually. The situation on the ground had me a little nervous ahead of time, but more on that later. The weather was good all the way, and we had a strong tailwind, so the flight was much shorter than predicted. The first real clue we had that things are tense in Bangui was on arrival, the tower directed me to avoid flying over the city. “Follow the river and join a four mile final,” the controller told me. “Do not fly over the city.” I dutifully repeated the instruction and flew along the river, past the hills to the east of Bangui, and turned final. As we landed we could see the refugee camp that had overrun the general aviation portion of the airport, people camping in hangars and under wings of planes in for repair. Heavily armed French soldiers, Sangaris, were on duty at several points along the runway, and more were manning watch posts on the terminal building and around the ramp area. Nope, we’re not in Kansas.

Pastor Daniel and several other members of the church were there at the airport to meet us. I’m not sure how to describe the meeting. One of our missionaries knew several of them already and I had been in regular email contact with Pastor Daniel for some time. Joyous is the best word I can think of, but that doesn’t really capture the excitement and interest of meeting a Christian brother you’ve only known via email. With help from one of the church members who spoke english, Desire’, I got the airplane fueled and tied down while the others headed for our accommodations in Bangui.

We had a tour around Bangui, and visited the AIM affiliated churches there the next day. The city seemed normal except for numerous piles of rubble where shops or churches or mosques once stood, but are now casualties of the fighting. There were lots of Sangaris and AU troops along the main streets, all heavily armed. Mostly, though, Bangui looked pretty normal. Shops were open, people were out and and about and life was going on.

The reaction of the church in Bangui was particularly encouraging. “Anti-Balaka are not Christians,” we were told. The follow traditional beliefs, witchcraft and spirits. “The purpose of the church in Bangui is to work for peace,” we were told. “We’re trying to provide food, clothes and medicine for people made homeless by the fighting.” The church is having workshops for leaders on forgiveness, and they’ve held at least two public concerts with themes of forgiveness.

Pray for CAR. John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”   Pray for good cheer for the church, and for Christ and His love to overcome the forces of darkness dragging CAR down and drowning it in violence.

March 12, 2014 1:44 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

When we were in Gatab, we found luggage in the middle of the desert.  We were driving from Gatab down to Nairobi and spotted a little laptop case in the middle of a lugga, a dry river bed.  I wrote about it here: http://jsmundy.aimsites.org/2008/12/08/lost-luggage/ .

Well, we found some more!

I was in Juba on Tuesday doing a flight for Christian Mission Aid, and while waiting for passengers and cargo  I was walking around the airplane. In the grass behind the parking area I noticed an ethernet cable in a ziplock bag. Then another one. Hmmm.  Then another plastic bag.  This third plastic bag contained an Outback products Mate, the control head for their inverters and charge controllers.

Cool! I have a spare controller for our inverter and charge controller.  Then I got to thinking.  This is familiar.

Back up to the week before.  I’d brought an Outback inverter, charge controller, hub, and Mate from Entebbe to Juba to give to another charter company to send on to Kapoeta for a missionary there the next day.  I put the equipment in the other company’s truck, and flew off.  My best guess is that during the course of loading the plane the next day the mate box spilled into the grass and went unnoticed, and probably got blown open by prop blast when the plane taxied out, leaving cables and mate laying near the ramp area.

The Mate is on its way to Nairobi in our caravan.  The missionary it belongs to is there for a few days and we’ll drop it off where he’s staying.

God knew where it was all the time, of course.  I parked not 10 feet away, in the only open parking spot on the ramp.  AIM Air – we find luggage because God leads us right to it.

March 6, 2014 2:04 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

I have what could arguably called a very expensive, flying, solar oven.  At least, that’s how I used the airplane yesterday.

Yesterday I flew to Juba, picked up 8 people and took them to Boma, in South Sudan.  The passengers were three bishops, a couple pastors and two soldiers.  The soldiers seemed a little surprised when I asked them to clear their weapons.  They did so readily and without argument, they just seem surprised I knew to ask.

I gave my usual emergency briefing, please keep your seatbelts on throughout the flight; lift the latch to release the belt; four doors two in the back two in the front, lift the handles up to open the doors.  If you start to feel ill get the blue envelope from the seatback in front of you and very important, please use the white plastic bag from inside the envelope, the envelope is too small and not waterproof. There’s a fire extinguisher on my door.  Please no smoking during the flight or I’ll have to use the extinguisher on you.    I got the usual couple of laughs, particularly over the fire extinguisher.  The flight was routine…about an hour and a half at FL115, or eleven thousand five hundred feet above sea level.

The bishops and others went off to their meeting, peace talks of some sort to help bring some reconciliation to South Sudan. I waited with the airplane.  I opened all the doors, put the window shades in, and tried to stay cool.  Really hard when it’s 105F outside.  I put my lunch between the windscreen and the windscreen sun shade.  In about 45 minutes my beef stew wasn’t just warm it was HOT.  Great solar cooker up there.  A lot of times when we’re flying, even though it’s only about 45 F outside, we’re sweating in the cockpit. The windscreen acts like a greenhouse and we get baked.  So it was for my lunch today.

Later I was in the back of the plane, having an after-lunch nap in the open area behind the seats, when I heard a bit of commotion outside.  I looked up. They’re back!  My passengers had finished about a half hour early.  I jumped up and went out to greet them, and in short order we were on the way back to Juba.  This time at FL125, but even that wasn’t really high enough to get us into smooth air today.  We bumped and bounced all the way back to Juba. Fortunately there was a tailwind, so the trip was quick.

I’d like to make a comparison between South Sudan and flying…how it’s smooth in the cool of the morning and everything went well for the country in the first year of independence.  Then transitioning to now as the day heats up and the air gets bumpy, two years down from independence so is the situation in the country.  Instead of going into details of the analogy, I’ll just leave the thought there.  Along with the thought that there are men who are working to try and keep the country united. Three bishops from three different denominations left their comfortable places to go to the village of unfriendly tribes to make peace.  “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God.” Matthew 5:9.