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Jay | Susan | Alex | Beth | Samantha
June 5, 2012 1:59 pm
Published in: Ground

This might also have appropriately been titled “The Gypsys” or perhaps “On the Road Again,” or “The Great Migration.”  Do you get the impression we’ve been traveling?  April was up and down the east coast, arriving in Omaha in May.  May was pretty stable. We stayed in a furnished apartment here in Omaha while getting re-acquainted with the area and especially with all our friends in the area from church and the aero club at Offutt.  A common thought pretty much throughout May was “I know that person, but what’s his name?”  Susan kicked off the rounds of talking to Bible study groups and the church in general by talking to the United Methodist Women the day after we got to Omaha. Figuring out what to say to groups like the UMW and other studies is tough, and what to show them. It’d be easy just to go through picture after picture after picture.  Boring. Both for us and for the people we’re talking to.  Picture are certainly valuable. The trick seems to be find a few pictures that tell the story of what it is we do.   A picture of the front yard of the house in Entebbe allows us to talk about our living conditions.  The picture let us tell the story about Susan and our neighbor Renee helping one of our guards’ wife through the delivery of their daughter, and talk about Sam doing her homework on the roof of the guard shack.  A picture of the caravan parked at Banda was a good segue into talking about weather and flying conditions and what a typical day of flying entails.   A picture of the village gathering to welcome home a boy and young woman who’d escaped the LRA gave us an opportunity to talk about the LRA and to ask for prayer.

Of course, our time in Omaha is also taken up with other things.  Alex and Jay went to the Appleseed shoot in Grand Island NE.  Alex also received his real 16th birthday present, a Ruger 10/22 rifle, which was put to good use at Appleseed.   The gift and the shoot pretty much made Alex’s month.  Today he’s off at (egad) driver’s education.  Yep, we got him his learner’s permit when we got to Omaha and he’s learning to drive.  Alex and Jay drove down to Lincoln (Jay drove, to be specific.  Alex has to finish the course first.) Monday to find out about ROTC. One of our supporters is the AFROTC commander at University of Nebraska, Lincoln.  That was a good visit, they learned lots and it looks like a strong contender for Alex’s next move after finishing high school.

Beth has been preparing to start at Rift Valley in August. She’s pretty excited about it, in her low key way.  She’s enjoyed the shopping involved with getting ready for RVA, and spent the other afternoon sewing name labels on clothes.

Samantha has been flitting around, as normal. It took her about a day to find friends in the apartment complex when we got to Omaha. Today she’s off to the Omaha City Parks summer program for kids: a day of mine field, soccer ball frisbee, ladder golf and balloon volleyball.

So…home assignment goes well. We’re looking forward to getting back to Uganda and what comes next…a move to Arua and opening an AIM Air base there to serve the missionaries in Sudan, Congo and CAR.

August 11, 2011 6:21 pm
Published in: Ground

It used to be that the refugees from the Nuba mountains who had fled to South Sudan’s Unity state had only seen bombs falling from airplanes.  On Sunday the 8th of August they saw lentils, sorghum, beans, and rice fall.   It was really exciting to be a part of getting that food to them.  I wasn’t on the DC-3 shown here (the picture is from Samaritan’s Purse).  I was flying one of AIM Air’s caravans in support of the airdrop, taking Samaritan’s Purse workers to the airstrip nearest to the refugees, along with two quad bikes, several drums of fuel, tents and other supplies.  The airstrip was only 9 miles from the refugees, but it was still about a 5 hour ride on the quad since the “road” was mostly under water. 

I’d started in Congo on the 2nd, a fairly routine flight (and it sounds strange to say a flight into Congo is routine).  On Friday we started working on the food drops. I flew from Aru to Bunia and traded airplanes with another of our pilots. He finished my flight on Satuday, while I flew to Juba, Sudan. Saturday I took a load of food up to Unity state to start helping set things up for the air drops.   Sunday the first drops began as the DC-3 arrived.  We loaded it with almost three tons of food and a pallet of plastic sheeting for shelters.  Meanwhile I flew out with the deputy governor of the state, the assemblyman, and the minister of roads for the state to survey the roads and the drop zone.  We watched from a mile or so away when the DC-3 arrived, and dropped the first load of food.

The airstrip I was flying into wasn’t as bad off as the road, but it was still pretty mucky.  The SP guys kept laughing and saying you could even go four-wheeling in an airplane.  It took all day today to get the airplane clean. 

Normally we don’t fly on Sunday.  Christ asked in Matthew 12:11 : “Then He said to them, “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out?  Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”   It was exciting to be part of doing good on the Sabbath.

Please pray for the refugees.  Pray also for the people still in the Nuba mountains. We learned this morning that the government of north Sudan had resumed bombing.

July 14, 2011 5:04 pm
Published in: Flying,Ground

Airplanes get them too.  My last day working for Suburban Air Freight in Omaha, in fact, I got to fix a flat tire on a Caravan at Omaha’s Epply airport, in the freezing cold. It was early December 2006, and in the single digits Fahrenheit.  I had to get in the truck every few minutes to warm my hands back up.

The flat tire I had last week in Obo C.A.R. was, possibly worse.  We eventually got it fixed, but it was almost a $1500 event.  In the process of patching the tube, which had developed a hole right at the base of the valve stem, I removed and replaced the tire something like 4 times.  After getting the tire patched, I flew back to Zemio (where we enter and exit the country).  AIM Air used to have a plane based there in Zemio, and so we still have some supplies. Including a new old-stock tire and tube of the right size!  So I replaced the tube, changing the tire yet again.

Practice does make perfect. Or at least faster.  The first tire change took me about 45 minutes.  The last one took about 15, not including working the little bicycle pump we use to inflate the tire. The last tire change in Obo took place during a rain storm, I should add.  I got filthy.  Just ’cause it’s an airplane doesn’t mean you stay clean.

If we, and I say we because I was talking to the maintenance department back in Nairobi getting advice on the issue, hadn’t been able to get the tube fixed, the next option was to fly one up.  Thus the $1500 event.  Fortunately, we didn’t have to.

Other than the tire, the trip went smoothly. The tire was quite adventure enough.

January 13, 2011 12:04 pm
Published in: Ground,Video

That’s the AIM identity video.  Five minutes to explain what takes years to do: make disciples of Jesus Christ.  It’s why we’re here, it’s why I fly people to ragged little airstrips in the middle of nowhere.  This is the big picture.  Enjoy!

December 27, 2010 1:49 pm
Published in: Ground

Global warming?  NOT!  We’re working on attempt #3 to get back to Africa.  Our first flight was canceled when Chicago was shut down, along with most of the mid-west, by a massive snow storm on the 12th of December.  The next available flight was the 22nd of December….and on the 21st London was shut down by their biggest snow storm in 25 years and the coldest December in 100 years.  Again our flight was canceled.  God was good, however, as we weren’t stuck with tens of thousands of people waiting things out for days in Heathrow.  Instead we stayed with Susan’s Uncle and got to see all her extended family in Georgia over Christmas, and enjoyed the first white Christmas in Atlanta since 1882.

And now we’re off again. We leave for London on the 28th, and from London for Nairobi on the 30th.  The weather forecast is looking good for now.  We’ll just have to see how we do.

Merry Christmas!

December 13, 2010 2:26 pm
Published in: Ground

The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley.  Or so the saying goes.  True enough this time. Our return to Africa has been delayed by a week.  Everyone in the US, I’m sure, knows that a major winter storm clobbered the midwest.  Our first leg to return to Nairobi was from Atlanta to Chicago, and was one of the 1400 flights canceled.  Ah well.  No worries, we’ll go tomorrow. Well, no.  The first available flight from London to Nairobi isn’t until the 22nd of December.  So we’re in the US for another week.  It does give us a chance to see some more of Susan’s family, which is good, and to take care of a few loose ends like mailing some things.  But it does mean taht we’ll be really rushed to get some things done before Nairobi shuts down for Christmas when we get back.  But for now, we’ll simply enjoy some more time with family.

Merry Christmas!

December 8, 2010 8:27 pm
Published in: Ground

I haven’t posted for a while because, well, there’s not been much to post.  We’ve been in the US since November, going through some training at Master’s Mission for a week, visiting family, and I’ve been getting a float plane rating.  it’s been a good visit, productive, enjoyable, but also coming to a close.  We head back to Kenya on the 12th and get back to work.  Lots of stuff to do with getting moved to Entebbe, getting the AIM Air ministry in central region really working, getting Alex back to RVA, getting the girls going again with home school….the list goes on.

September 23, 2010 5:18 am
Published in: Ground

It’s official, I’m AIM Air’s Entebbe program manager. Now comes the real work…find a house, get moved, get the flight ministry alive and well.  Please pray for us!

September 13, 2010 12:12 pm
Published in: Ground

This post is, as the title suggests, just a bit of a news update.  I thought about calling it ‘random thoughts’ but that didn’t fit. “Random News” might work though.  So…here goes
Rift Valley Academy.  We dropped Alex off here a couple weeks ago to start 9th grade. The house has been a bit empty seeming since.  From the emails we’ve gotten from him, he’s having a pretty good time, and is getting settled in.  There have been a few things that he’s had to adjust to, but so far so good.

Sudan is in the rainy season.  I flew up to Bor, Duk Payuel, Jaibor, and Pieri week before last.  Rain all over the place.  Pieri, my one fuel stop, and the only fuel for about 200 miles, was covered in water.  Fortunately  the airplane was fairly light leaving Pieri, so I was able to take off safely, but it took some real work.

Mr Zebra.  The word we get from Gatab is that Manai is doing well with Mr Zebra. He’s had a couple contracts already, and is starting to understand about running a business.  The old land cruiser is performing well, we hear.

Entebbe. We’re still waiting for definitive word on moving there.  The regional executive  officer is due back this week, and hopefully will meet with the AIM Air director and we’ll get some real, well, direction.

June 8, 2010 9:21 am
Published in: Flying,Ground

Is my new nickname from the Orma people in Daba. I was there this weekend with the Scheenstras. Roger and Sue have been there in Daba for about 20 years now, working with the Orma, and I brought three of their children to visit during the RVA midterm break. I spent the weekend overhauling the brakes on his old (1977) Toyota Landcruiser. Then yesterday I brought all five of them to Nairobi.

Oh, molu, means “bald.” Roger assures me it’s a very honorable name among the Orma. However the lady who gave it to me was laughing…..