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Jay | Susan | Alex | Beth | Samantha
December 7, 2013 9:45 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

Today I have a plane full of Sudanese pastors who’re going home.  We’re at 13500 ft above sea level and the air is clear and smooth, a brilliant b20131109_175022lue above white clouds.   A couple weeks ago as I was driving to the airport the sky was grey and overcast.  “Cleared flight level 120 to the TMA boundary, statehouse departure, squawk 1074,” I read back to the tower.  On takeoff we fly over the Nairobi game park. “Look for zebras” I tell the passengers.  I’m busy turning back to the airport…crossing overhead runway 7 I turn to 290 and fly 13 miles out from the Nairobi VOR, then turn on course.  As we come over the runway we go into the clouds and the world goes grey.  A few minutes later we break out on top of the clouds and its clear and blue and beautiful.  Like today.

The plane is very full: twelve adult pa20131125_114509ssengers, three lap-babies, and all of their luggage. I have stuff crammed all over the plane.  Passenger briefings take on new meaning when the passengers don’t speak English.  The briefing is more like charades.  I even wave at the doors like cabin staff on an airline.   At the village there’s a big welcome.  Relatives rush up and hug the men and women as they step off the plane.  I have to be a bit of a wet blanket and move people back from the stair so that the passengers aren’t at risk of falling off the plane into the crowd. Crowd surfing must have originated in Africa.

Tomorrow’s flight is a repeat of today.  There are 41 students to get home in the next two days.  AIM Air’s other caravan is coming tomorrow to join in the flights.  The distances are….long.  Today’s flight took me over 930 miles and about five and a half hours of flying.  The alternative for the students would be as much as two weeks of ground travel, maybe more.  I was doing a flight a couple weeks earlier, when I took two ladies back to their village.  They had walked over 60 miles, most of it over flooded roads under as much as three feet of water, to get to the training session I was flying people back from.  They were very grateful for a plane ride home.

There’s a hunger for the gospel and God herein Africa, especially South Sudan it seems to me.  One of the men on the flight today is going to walk back to the Nuba mountains, he told me.  North Sudan bombed those mountains a couple years ago to drive the Christians out.  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Matthew 5:6 and 10.

August 7, 2013 5:06 am
Published in: Uncategorized

I’ flew out of Arua last Saturday, the 27th of July, down to Entebbe to pick up the body of a Congolese pastor.  He’d gone to Kampala for medical treatment but in the end succumbed to his illness (I never did learn what it was ).  Sunday I was to fly the body and the brother-in-law to Bunia and then on to Kisangani.  Saturday night, however, I got a call from the brother in Law.  “I am at the mortuary, they will not release the body until we pay the rest of the fees.  We’re getting the money wired on Monday.”

We arranged to do the flight on Tuesday, since on Monday I was flying to  South Sudan.  So, Sunday after church back up to Arua. Monday off to Sudan and back.  I ended up back in Entebbe so we could get an early start on Tuesday (it’s a long way from Entebbe to Kisangani).   Loading the casket took about an hour and a half…it almost didn’t fit in the plane.  We made it to Bunia, and there we stopped.  The weather, as the song goes, “was frightful.”  There was a huge system of thunderstorms across central DR Congo.  No one was flying.  MAF had a plane go from Bunia to Nyankunde (15 miles) and stop there, unable to go on and unable to return.  I parked the airplane.  We made arrangements to meet the following day, and I went to find some where to spend the night.

The weather wasn’t great on Wednesday but it was far far better than the previous day.  The flight to Kisangani went smoothly.  It took an hour and a half on the ground to get through everything…the flight back to Bunia was smooth also, but about an hour on the ground to get the paperwork done.  Then home.  So on Wednesday I finished the flight started on Saturday.

It always takes longer than it takes.

June 27, 2013 5:47 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

Years.   I was along from Lokichogio to Nairobi on Wednesday the 26th with Denny on his finis flight, finishing a 33 year career as a  missionary pilot.   A few weeks ago, very close to the destination of his first flight as a missionary pilot Denny flew his 10,000th hour.  Words fail me in trying to capture the impact of a life of service such as Denny and his wife Sue have had.

We chatted about this and that on the flight, about the weather, about how the particular airplane flew compared to our other caravan.  Denny talked about how he and his wife had over 30 of their informally adopted sons and daughters in their house last Sunday, and how  God has used Denny and Sue to minister to those young men and women.

I wonder what the next 33 years have for Denny and Sue.  One thing is sure , they will serve God.

April 20, 2013 6:16 am
Published in: Uncategorized

“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, — go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!” — Samuel Adams

“I have a perfect horror of words not backed up by deeds.” – Theodore Roosevelt Oyster Bay, NY, July 7, 1915

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.” —  Theodore Roosevelt Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

“It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.” — George Washington

“If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” — George Washington

“Make sure you are doing what God wants you to do–then do it with all your strength.” — George Washington

“There is love in the red letters. There is truth in the red letters.” — DC Talk

“Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.” — Jesus

“I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father but through Me.” — Jesus


February 9, 2013 4:16 am
Published in: Uncategorized

You might get it.  AIM Air and Samaritan’s Purse separated their flight programs, SP standing up their own flight department here in East Africa. (The split was friendly, both organizations needed to grow and couldn’t do it while joined.)  Since SP accounted for about 1/2 of our flying we were more than a bit worried what would happen to us financially.  Don’t let the scientists fool you, airplanes fly on money; the physics are totally secondary.  So SP stands up their own flight program, takes three airplanes with them….

So we prayed.

We’ve never been so busy in our lives.  November I flew 50 hours in about 2 1/2 weeks.  December 52 hours in 3 weeks, January was 53 hours…. And that’s just li’l ole me.  The guys in Nairobi have been equally busy, and there’s more of them.  And we’re flying groups that we either had rarely flown in the past or not at all.  It’s very exciting to see more missionaries out there.

Arua was a big mystery as well. Will it work, will it better serve the missionaries and church…

So we prayed.

See two paragraphs above about busy.  But also we’ve gotten some help!  Tim and Deb Carpenter  came over in January. Tim is a pilot mechanic, though he’s not flying any more, and is helping with maintenance and admin and everything else.  He was down in Entebbe week before last arranging a fuel shipment, this week he’s supervising the painting of our container at the airfield.  Plus he and Deb are two of the nicest people you’ll meet anywhere.    And we’re getting more help!  Mike and Ana Palmiter are moving in March or April to Arua.  Mike is our newest pilot/mechanic, and will be helping with the flying.  I can’t wait.  They’re coming out to Arua at the end of February to house hunt.

We’re not done yet though.  So keep praying please!  Pray for:

  • Hangar at Arua
  • Situation in Central African Republic (rebels, unity government, flight permissions, LRA)
  • Situation in DR Congo (flight permissions, stability)
  • LRA (end as a threat, and for individuals to repent and come out of an evil organization and return to their homes)
  • Church in CAR for maturity and growth, and outreach to the Mbororo
  • More pilots and mechanics for AIM Air – we’re still very short staffed
  • Fund raising for a 3rd C-208 Caravan – we have 2 and are in desperate need of a 3rd

And since I can’t finish without at least one picture….Here’s one from a trip in late December in Sudan.  I had a problem with the brakes in Pieri….I heard a

Audience in Pieri

Audience in Pieri

bzzzzzz as I landed. Hmmm.  It’s not supposed to make that sound.  On inspection we (Jim Streit was there with another plane at the same time) found that one of the pins holding the brake caliper in place on the right main gear had sheared off.  On the phone to maintenance while Jim starts re-arranging things to at least get all the people where they need to be, since it’s clear this plane isn’t flying until it’s fixed.  So…our Chief Engineer, John Mosby, puts together a rescue package of brake caliper and a main wheel assembly and sends it up with Chris McMichael on our Cessna 210.  Chris and I swap out the brake caliper and main wheel assembly and I’m on the way.   The picture is after the repairs are complete and we’re getting loaded back up.

And God took care of this too…I spent the night unexpectedly at Pieri.  MSF was there, fortunately, and gave me a place to stay and a meal.  Timing was perfect, they are only in Pieri a week every month and we hit it when they were there.  Likewise we were able to rearrange the schedule so that one caravan and a 210 and a 206 did the work of 2 caravans for just the cost of a flight from Nairobi to Lokichogio in the 210.

God is good.

December 25, 2012 1:50 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

The gospel according to St Luke, chapter 2, verses 10 and 11:  Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

What else do you say about Christmas?  What more need be said?

We’re celebrating with a quiet day…Mom’s “cherry goo” (Bohemian coffee cake) for breakfast and roast pork and speatzels for dinner.  We spent the weekend at Murchison falls, an early Christmas present for the family, at a safari lodge on the Nile.  Very nice.  Nile HippoLots of hippos, there’s a couple, a few elephants, lots of birds, a few crocodiles.  There were some Aussies in the river boat with us. Their reaction to the crocs was funny. ‘Those tiny things are crocs?’   We did finally see one 5m croc, on the way back from the falls. They allowed as how that was a real crocodile.

Last night, Christmas eve, we went to the annual Arua ice cream social.  Christmas carols, the reading of the Christmas story, and 27 flavors of ice cream.  Superb.

Isaiah chapter 9, verses 6 and 7:  “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. ”

Merry Christmas

October 13, 2012 4:58 am
Published in: Uncategorized

Time does fly. I could have sworn I posted last month, but looking at the blog, I see I did not.  Where did September go?  August was busy, with the move to Arua and then getting Alex and Beth to Rift Valley Academy (RVA).  Alex is in his junior year, back for his third year at RVA.  Beth is just starting her first term at RVA and is a freshman.

Beth’s first email from RVA was classic.  “Mom can you send my game boy and my sewing kit.”   Sounds like “Mom, send money.”  The only complaint we’ve heard from her is that there’s a lot of school work. Well, of course there is.  We just got back from Nairobi and their mid-term break.  We had a good visit with Alex and Beth.

September…I did AIM Air’s first operational flight from Arua in September, flying some folks from World Gospel Mission to Rumbek and Tonj in South Sudan.  Please pray for South Sudan.  They are struggling with what it means to be a new sovereign nation. Please pray for AIM Air as we help other missionaries and the church to minister there.  We are currently struggling with the issue of flight permissions, and getting very conflicting answers from the various officials. The flight to Rumbek and Tonj, though, went very well.

Arua airport.  We’re the first plane based here and the people who work at the airport as incredibly pleased to have their own plane.  They have made it very easy for us, and have been very welcoming. I’m looking forward to getting the Caravan here in November and watching the reactions when they have TWO planes at Arua.  I have to to the airport today and pay landing fees. Our Lokichogio plane was through, and in a rush, yesterday so Jerry asked me to take care of his paperwork and fees for him.  Susan and Samantha and I returned from Nairobi yesterday, in the rain, and found that our usual parking area is a swamp when it’s raining.  I also need to look at a better parking area and talk to the manager about that.

The end of September saw lots of flying.  I flew over 40 hours in the space of two weekends.  The church in Congo and Central African Republic were having a conference to provide trauma counseling training to a number of the pastors in the region.  I got to fly the pastors from the villages to Zemio for the conference.  Arua to Isiro (Congo) to Zemio, and then to Djema to pick four pastors, back to Zemio, to Obo for another four, Mboki for another four, Rafai for four more and Rafai again for yet four more.  Then back to Isiro and return to Zemio with a Bible college student and his family, and then back to Arua. repeat the following weekend, with a trip Banda on the way in to pick up another Bible college student and bring he and his family to Zemio.  I felt rather like a ping pong ball in all that….back and forth back and forth.

September also brought the Uganda flight program some help!   Tim Carpenter came over for about 3 weeks to provide admin and logistics support. He and his wife, Debbie, will be moving here later this year or early next year.  Tim will help with admin, maintenance on the planes, and logistics.  He got an incredible amount of work done while here this last month.  One of the bigger projects he finished was a well made path from our fuel container on the airport to the ramp. We no longer have to take the fuel drums across a four wheel drive track to get them to the plane.  A huge help.  We also started a Bible study at the airport, which Tim took over and ran. The first one was four of us, the next was ten, and the last couple weeks were 15 in attendance. We’re working through Psalms. We start there, then end up all over the Bible…the gospels, revelations, Samuel…. You never know where you’ll end up.


August 22, 2012 6:33 am
Published in: Uncategorized

We moved!  We packed the house in Entebbe on Friday the 10th of August, and we drove to Arua on Saturday the 11th. The trip was smooth save for getting through Kampala, which took about 2 hours. Once we were out of Kampala, however, it was a nice drive.  Some of the way goes through national park which was beautiful, especially crossing Karuma falls.

The truck came Sunday morning and we unloaded.  A few scuffs, one broken bed slat… all in all very easy, just lots of physical labor.   I spent the next several days getting electricity hooked up…we’re running the house on solar power since city power here is notoriously unreliable.  When it’s good you get 6 hours a day, but from what folks say it’s been more than  a weeks since there’s been power.  First was some repair to the wiring in the house, then hook up the inverter and batteries, then the generator.  A local welder built us a rack for our solar panels, and I had them wired in, sitting in the driveway, for several days.  Yesterday Alex and Goeffrey (our watchman) and I put the rack up on the roof and then the panels.  There’s been repairs to plumbing as well.

On Thursday the 16th, I flew back to Entebbe on Eagle Air.  We still had a garage full of things to bring up since we’d brought a bunch of AIM Air stuff for the office on the first trip.  I’d arranged with our transporter, Aziz to get those thigsn and a load of fuel.  So Friday morning we loaded fuel and furniture onto the truck and Friday afternoon I loaded three dogs into a crate and the crate into the airplane and flew the dogs to Arua.

That sounds really easy.  I could not have done it without the help of Renee Crane and Lenta Lourents.  Renee did some shopping for us and was going to take the dogs to the airport while I got the plane. But the dog crate was about 3 inches too tall for her truck and its’ camper top. Lenta had been visiting with Renee and one of her company trucks was nearby. She called her guys and they brought the flat bed over. Easy!  Lenta really saved the day, and Renee was very gracious in doing shopping and helping to get everything to the airport. Ladies, thank you!

So, all that to say, we’re moved!  A few glitches here and there. LOTS of sweat.  But really, amazingly smoothly.  God is good!

August 5, 2012 5:29 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

Another month, a bit more history.

The Declaration of Independence (DoI) was initially drafted by Thomas Jefferson over the two weeks between 11 and 28 June, 1776.  The Declaration was an answer to pressures that had been building for some time, including the events of April 19th, 1775 (Paul Revere’s ride), a proclamation by the King of England that the colonies were engaged in “open and avowed rebellion.”  Later in 1775 England enacted the American Prohibitory Act, which forfeited all American shipping and cargoes to the crown.  Thomas Paine published “Common Sense” in January 1776 and by mid May of 1776 eight of the colonies were ready to support independence.

Richard H. Lee of Virginia was instructed, by the Virginia Convention that “the delegates appointed to represent this colony in General Congress be instructed to propose to that respectable body to declare the United Colonies free and independent states.”  He therefore presented the Lee Resolution on June 7th, 1776, which began: “Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.”

The Continental congress debated, and then on June 11th the congress postponed consideration of the Lee Resolution by a vote of seven to five, with New York abstaining, and  then recessed for 3 weeks. The Continental Congress, however, appointed a Committee of Five  to draft a statement presenting to the world the colonies’ case for independence.  The committee of five included John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Robert R. Livingston of New York, and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia.

Jefferson later (in 1823) wrote that the other members of the committee “unanimously pressed on myself alone to undertake the draught. I consented; I drew it; but before I reported it to the committee I communicated it separately to Dr. Franklin and Mr. Adams requesting their corrections. . . I then wrote a fair copy, reported it to the committee, and from them, unaltered to the Congress.”

Congress reconvened on July 1, 1776.  On July 2nd the Lee Resolution was adopted by 12 of the 13 colonies, with New York abstaining.  Congress then began to consider the Declaration.  Congress made a few changes, but the basic document remained Jefferson’s draft with Adams’ and Franklin’s comments. The debate and revisions continued through all of July 3rd and late into the morning of July 4th. Church bells rang over Philadelphia; the Declaration had been unanimously adopted by the 2nd Continental Congress.

The Committee of Five’s work wasn’t over, however. Congress had the committee supervise the printing of the Declaration.  John Dunlap’s printing shop, the official printer for Congress produced the first copies of the Declaration of Independence.  Congress sent copies of the Declaration to various assemblies, and to the commanders of Continental troops on the morning of July 5th. The Congress also placed a copy of the printed version of the Declaration into the “rough journal” of the Continental Congress for July 4. The text was followed by the words “Signed by Order and in Behalf of the Congress, John Hancock, President. Attest. Charles Thomson, Secretary.” It is not known how many copies John Dunlap printed the night of July 4th. There are 26 copies known to exist of that printing, commonly called “the Dunlap broadside.”

July 20, 2012 2:59 pm
Published in: Uncategorized

We made it!  Dale Hamilton met us at Entebbe at 8 in the morning on Wednesday.  He took Susan and a good chunk of our luggage, and the kids and Jay got a taxi minivan and the rest of the luggage. All the luggage made it.  British Air even bumped us up a class to economy plus from Atlanta to London! That was such a great surprise…the extra room in the seats and the footrest make a HUGE difference on such a long flight.

The house was in good shape, though musty from being closed up for two weeks.  The dogs and cat were all very glad to see us, it took most of the day to greet them.  Our workers were also glad to see us, and we them.  John was getting over chicken pox…he’d already suffered through the worst of it.  Other than that all three of them are doing well.

I’m off to Nairobi on Monday to meet with the rest of the AIM Air management and confirm the way ahead for moving to Arua.  Also I have to renew my Kenya pilot license and re-qualify for AIM Air with checkrides. All very routine.

It’s good to be back.