Tag Archives: jungle flight

The Eyes of… February?

God’s timing didn’t allow for the great title, “The EYES of March” (get it? 🙂 so I took a bit of literary licence to fit the month. We’ve often thought about the amazing gift God gave our friends and brothers and sisters in the village and talked about it lots in these last weeks so I’m saving my eye a bit of over work and re-posting this one for our new readers and those who want to praise the Lord again for this special time in our village.

History being made!CATARACT SURGERY – JUNGLE STYLE  God has wonderfully restored the sight of so many of our brothers and sisters in Christ here! Hearing the praises to the Lord for all He has done for them has been heart warming and we join our praises to Him for the answer to all the prayers and preparation for this rare event in the middle of the jungle.

 

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THE HUMAN TEAM EFFORT (Tribal and Missionary)

  • prayer
  • months of planning and adjusting schedules
  • countless emails
  • funds and medicine
  • preparing and fueling generators
  • purchasing equipment and supplies
  • planning and scheduling meals
  • flying the team of administrator, doctors, and nurses
  • flying in all the medical equipment
  • preparing rooms for the medical team
  • transferring the dining room into an operating room
  • adjusting the beds to operating table height
  • draping off a ‘waiting room’ and ‘shower’ outside in a covered area
  • attaching netting and laying brand new tarp in the room to make it as bug free and clean as possible
  • scrubbing all surfaces with bleach
  • screening patients for surgery and clinical checkups
  • preparing and serving the meals for the whole medical team and missionary team
  • the pre and post operative care
  • the surgical procedures
  • flying the medical team and equipment all out again
  • returning the OR into a home

GOD’S GIFT
SIGHT!

It has been thrilling to hear how appreciative our friends are of this amazing and historical event. They have praised the Lord for His wonderful gift and allowing them to have restored sight. Their comments have drawn us into praise along with them and true rejoicing! God gave them spiritual sight and a relationship with Himself.  He has now restored physical sight and a visual relationship to their world again for so many. Again, we marvel that God allows us to be a small part in His work here among the Banwaon!

The day after surgery, a dear older man sat down beside me and with a twinkle in his eyes, said, “That dog there of yours sure has nice hair. Yesterday, I couldn’t even see the dog!”

One patient had congenital cataracts since birth and she described what she saw through clouds immediately after surgery. Then, on the third day, she gave a trembling smile as she could see for the first time in her young life. She is 15 years old and from another tribe living nearby (at least nearby in the jungle sense.) We all tried to imagine that moment when she opened her eyes and could see for the first time clearly. My guess is we won’t even come close until heaven!

Praise God for His alone is worthy!

A Christian news interview made about the surgery and can be found here:

http://www.mnnonline.org/article/10607


Jesus in His Eyes

I’m having a problem with my right eye and it’s making it almost impossible to continue long stints at the computer. It requires surgery next week, but more on that later. I’ll be sharing phenomenal updates from our co-workers until my eye heals enough to get back to blogging.

So, the eyes have it this month. I’ve been given permission to share this wonderful update from NTMA Pilot Joel Davis posted after he flew into our village. A link to his blog is at the bottom so be sure to check it for more.

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We have all had times when you met someone or even saw them at a distance and without a word spoken, you could see Jesus living through them. These are two of the older guys in one of the tribal villages that I fly to on a regular basis.  Today I flew this guy in the blue bandana out and before we left our missionary snapped this photo of these two guys and sent it to me and it struck me….the stark contrast between these two guys’ eyes.

The one in the red bandana is a respected chief in this tribe, a solid believer and he is also becoming a friend of mine.  He always greets me when I land and even took me and my family out to one of his farms for a tribal picnic the last time I stayed there.  Our missionary told me that the guy in the blue bandana is still an animist, still lives in fear of the spirits, and so far has not accepted the truth of the Gospel. I am always so encouraged when I land in each of our tribal locations and look around and see Jesus all around me in the eyes of my brothers and sisters.  The Gospel has truly changed these tiny little corners of the earth and you can see it even in the eyes of those around us. It is always so evident to me that Christ lives in and through them but even more so when I see the eyes of those that don’t have the Light.  Please keep praying for the Gospel to keep flooding these dark corners of the earth and drawing people into the Light.

Under His Wings,

Joel

Link to Davis Photo Journalhttp://blogs.ntm.org/joel-davis/2012/12/12/davis-photo-journal-jesus-in-his-eyes/


Last Visit into the Jungle (Goodbyes)

Amay Disi prayed for our flight.

The day came for our last flight out of the village before home assignment.

Silently the group moved to the landing and waited on the plane. The time had come. It was time to say good-bye.

Amay Disi, the main Bible teacher, prayed a sweet prayer for our flight.

Tears flowed.

We thank God that He gave us that time with the Banwaon. We thank God for the way He makes us all family. We thank God for allowing us to get back into the village together before we head to America. It’s a standing prayer that He might allow us to return.

Please pray for the Banwaon believers as they continue growing in the Lord and sharing the Gospel all throughout the jungle. Pray that the young ones who never worshiped the evil spirits catch the urgency of their parents’ and grandparents’ who easily remember the bondage, fear and lies of the evil one. Pray for the translation of the Banwaon Bible and for our partners, the Castelijn’s, and the tribal translators, Amay Duduy, Amay Isil, and Amay Tim, as they strive to finish the New Testament.

Pray for us as we make the adjustments back to America. We know there will be moments feeling dreadful loss mingled with the incredible joy of being back with dear family and friends in the States. We are already aware of feeling out of sync in our own culture as our home nation has changed so much.

We are changed.

Our pilot, Joel, was kind enough to take photos and give us these to remember and share. We have to grab a kleenex when we look at them. (Be glad there is no audio!)

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Last Visit into the Jungle (Making Memories)

God fills our lives with good, no – excellent – gifts. They are almost always about people. Well, the best of them are.

This visit into the jungle was squished between all the arrangements of leaving the beautiful country that has become our second home. It’s no joke how packed our time is before the long flight back to the USA. The countdown is on.

List-making Chris has even made lists for me! We have lists to direct us to other lists so we will hopefully not forget anything which might cause our friends here trouble after we leave. We so want to depart with nothing for them to clean up after us. Lord willing, we will finish all our tasks. We appreciate your prayers with us on that!

Here are just a few snapshots of the memories He gave us among our Banwaon Family and Friends.

Part two:

Visits and around the village:

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All Choked Up

Difficult goodbyes in the Village

We are heading into the village for our last time before home assignment. It’s even hard to type. We found it difficult to think about and dreaded it for months. Our throats close up and tears spring into our eyes before we attempt to control them.

Our partner, Albert Castelijn, flew into the village today to prepare for their family’s arrival. They’ve just returned after almost three years of extended home assignment in Australia getting their oldest children settled into advanced education. We began preparing for our visit.

Oh how we can learn from our dear brothers and sisters in the jungle!

We were full on working our plan for the flight when both of our computers loudly squawked that we had incoming messages at the exact same time. Chris was out in town so I ran from his computer to mine trying to quiet the noise. It was Albert. He was sending out a message that our friends took up a collection for a Pogsalamat (Thanksgiving) with us before we leave!

The news stunned us and then sent us into a flurry of activity. Suddenly we had to shop and weigh and pack everything they ordered (and then some) for a big celebration. We were on full tilt! All the plans for our original flight changed and another flight added. Chickens needed to be purchased – FAST. A lot of chickens. Chris heaved heavy sacks of rice into the truck to go in the plane with us. All those carefully laid plans quickly brushed aside for a time of joy and thanksgiving with our beloved families in the jungle!

It is overwhelming. This is a difficult time of the year for them yet it was on their hearts to give and celebrate with us. July is in their ‘hungry time’ before harvest in September. Food and funds are at an all time low during these months before harvest. Their expression of love literally fills us up to overflowing.

This is one of the most wonderful things we love about the Philippine people! A big celebration at the last minute? NO PROBLEM!

It was just what we needed to put a smile on our faces. Saying “good-bye” is the most difficult thing for missionaries to do. It seems we are always saying it to family and loved ones and feeling our hearts rend with each loss.

Please pray for us. We know it will be in heaven before we next greet some of these brothers and sisters of the Philippine rainforest. Pray that we are able to express how much they mean to us and how we carry each of them in our hearts no matter where we might live on this earth.

Praise the Lord with us as we trust Him to fill in the gaps, heart to heart, what we cannot express in words.


Airstrip Repair — DONE!

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 We are praising the Lord and couldn’t wait to share this news so you can praise Him along with us! Our partners, Albert and Lynne Castelijn sent out this report just now:

Hi everyone,

The time in Ulanguan was amazing. The Lord wonderfully provided in many ways – plenty of workers (even though it’s typically farming season for the Banwaon), tons of good quality stockpiled gravel at a disused logging company quarry about 1 km away, and a truck to haul the nearly 200 tonnes of gravel to the airstrip, along with enough dry weather to make the trip along the old lagging track possible (with a bit of help by building one bridge and a log-lined creek crossing). On top of all that it was a joy to meet with the Banwaon believers and see how they continue to walk with the Lord and reach out with His love (in spite of some real difficulties they are working through).

Probably the best way to summarize the work is to refer to Joel’s list to me which he made after his first survey trip:

  1. Touchdown zone: side slope removed and minimal to no crown. Done. No sideslope, and no crown from 0 – 150’ mark. Then crowning gradually rises from 0” at 150’ mark to 8” at 250’ mark. 8” crown is maintained for the rest of the graveled area ie 250’ – 750’.
  2. Landslide Area: Rrepaired with drainage pipe and packed down and smoothed out and not encroaching on the useable runway. Done. Airstrip now full 40’ wide all the way.
  3. 9% upslope area: sideslope removed and crowned. Done.
  4. Top area by the waiting shed: smoothed out. Done, and 8” crowning to avoid puddles.
  5. Thin packed layer of gravel. Done. It will be interesting to see if erosion is a problem. I have a pile of gravel stockpiled at the side of the airstrip at the 450’ mark for repairs if necessary. There are some areas near the top of the hill which were mostly rocky gravel which didn’t pack down well. I’ve asked the guys to replace this with better gravel, but not sure if they’ll get to it. They are only fairly small patches anyway.
  6. On the grass side of the runway: Two problem areas closer to the top of the hill. Done. We packed river gravel into the dips to level those areas. For those two areas the gravel extends right across the strip to avoid differential braking problems.
  7. On the grass side of the runway: Fill in and smooth out most extreme bumps and dips. Done. Filled in dips with packed river gravel, dug off one bump.
  8. On final approach: bushy green trees above houses cut. Done.
  9. On short final: Cut back hill as close as possible to 50’ from centre of runway. We dug it back as much as we could without encroaching on the school grounds. There was one section left to dig away which I’m hoping they’ll get done in the next 2 weeks. If not, either Chris can get it done, or I can when I return.
  10. On the go around: Trees on the left side of the runway. Done. We cut down about 10 trees there to avoid a steep turn on go around.

Some additional things:

  1. Fill in and smooth out the remainder of the grassy part of the airstrip. We can discuss what more needs to be done when I return in July.
  2. Trees on climbout to avoid making as extreme a right turn on climbout. We cut a lot of trees while I was there, so I didn’t want to tackle this one yet. We can look at it again in July.
  3. Two trees way out on hill affecting airdrops. Done. We actually cut down about 10 trees in that area altogether. Should really help for airdrops (but hopefully we won’t need airdrops anymore).
  4. Short guyabano tree on final approach. Done – cut short. 

Some other things:

  1. Fence at school – we had to build a fence above the steep bank between the road and the school grounds that we dug away. Shouldn’t be an issue for plane I don’t think.
  2. Fence alongside runway – we have built a fence on the left side of the runway at the touchdown area to keep carabao and bikes off the runway. It runs right alongside the runway from 0’ to about 150’, but we put it in the drainage canal to keep it’s height above runway surface a minimum (about 12”-18” above runway surface). The fence then turns away from the runway towards the detachment hill. The start of the fence is my biggest concern because it cuts across the left hand end of the strip (even though it’s over 50 feet before the touchdown marks). You may want this removed – I have told the guys that that part of the fence may need to be removed for flights. We’ll need to come up with a plan for something permanent that is suitable.     
So please continue to pray for the final check out flights before any passengers are allowed to land on our newly repaired strip. God is so good!

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