Monday, October 25, 2010

The helicopter has arrived

Thank you to all of you who have prayed for the safe arrival of the helicopter. Your prayers have been answered. These pictures were taken during this past week by Helen Johanson.

The truck containing the helicopter crates arrives at the flight center.

Roger, a friend of missionaries in Luzon, owns a tractor and offered to help with the unloading. Thanks, Roger! (Nice job on your tractor re-build.)

I'm not sure what the pilot in the back of the truck is saying but it probably means, "Go slowly! We don't want to drop this."

I guess there is more than one way to fly a helicopter.

Brian, our pilot, has waited months for his helicopter to arrive.

First landing at the new flight center.

Some assembly required
The funny thing is that although the aviation guys are always busy, every time I offer to help them with their work they can't think of anything that needs to be done.
Please keep praying for these guys as they work to get the pilots licensed in this country, get the helicopter registered, and make test flights to our mission stations.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Different paths

During the past two months I worked to get the first half of the book of Mark into rough draft form so that it would be ready to check with my language helper during the first week of October.

Because we don't have any flight service into our village, I had arranged to meet Malana in town. When I arrived, I waited for news that he was also in route, but didn't hear a thing. Our village has no telephone service, so there was no way I could contact him.

Fortunately I had other things to do. Our mission is in the process of setting up a new support center and I arrived in the middle of a major step. A team of Austrailian construction workers were on our center building a house that will serve as a house for the center manager or pilot and also double as a guest house for traveling missionaries. The team was also pouring the concrete landing pad for our helicopter flight program. By the time you read this the landing pad should be finished.

The helicopter has arrived in the Philippines and is working its way through the government paperwork. We are praying that within a very short time it will be in the process of being assembled on our new center.
With no news from my language helper, I looked at my "to do" list and saw that I was long overdue to visit our newest outreach on northern Luzon.

David Johanson generously offered to give me a ride to the trail head which saved me hours of trying to catch jeeps going the right direction.

Our trip took us along those golden streets. A lot of rice and corn was being dried on the roads.

We finally arrived at the drop off point. I was told, "Just follow this trail. Turn right at the top of the ridge. You can't get lost."

So, off I went. I saw very few people as I hiked along. I turned right at the top of the ridge, but 3o minutes later I came to a fork in the trail and wasn't sure which way to go.
Fortunately Christina was on her way to meet me and guide me to the village, so after pondering for a bit she came along. (I had tried asking a three year old for directions, but that hadn't worked.)

When we arrived in the village I visited with some of the locals and then went down to see the Talbots. They were at the end of their first two months living in the village as a family and were in the process of finishing their house.

They were also working on building relationships with their neighbors. In this picture Shannon was weighing a baby. One of the babies there is malnourished and the Talbots have been trying to help her gain weight.
I helped Chuck hang shutters so that he could secure his house and also helped a bit with the homeschooling and some other tasks which needed to be done as they prepared to leave for town. In the evenings and at lunch time I played games with the kids.

One afternoon I went with Chuck an looked at a possible landing spot for the helicopter.

After two days it was time to hike out. Some of the family rode on water buffalo. Going up and down the steep parts of the trail proved a little difficult as it is easy to slide off the wide back of a buffalo. I ended up carrying Sophia for during those difficult times

Most of the trail wasn't too muddy, but some sections were. At one point I was trecking along and all of a sudden my boot stuck and my foot kept going. I stepped right out of the boot and into the mud.The people had started loading the water buffalo sleds at 4:30 am. We left the village at 5:30 and arrived at the waiting shed just before 8 am. We loaded cargo into a small van and made it into a small town just before 10. We were a tired and muddy group, but we found a hotel where we could get showers and a good meal. The Talbots and Christina planned to stay the night, but I went ahead with their cargo to the mission center.

The next morning I found out that my language helper had just arrived in town; only a week late. I met him and made arrangements to work with him in January when, Lord willing, I can fly to the village on the helicopter and check the whole book of Mark. I met with him and his companions and found out that they had been unable to come earlier because they were still harvesting.
The Isnag are praising the Lord for the crop he has given them. Last year's crop was destroyed by a typhoon and many of our friends in the US and Australia gave gifts so that we could buy rice to help them through the year. The year of famine is over and everyone has rice again.
I arrived home late Saturday afternoon. It wasn't the trip I expected to make, but it was good.