Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Carts, Horses, Airplanes, & Faith

The cockpit of the Cessna I've done recurrency training in.

The pace of life activity, as we know, is a balance of making sure our actions don’t move faster than God’s provisions.  Moving too fast leads to the proverbial “cart before the horse” situation- out of balance.  So, as Alace and I restart the aviation service for the national church in Gabon, at the Bongolo Hospital, we feel our cart and horse are getting to be about neck and neck… it’s time to check that our pace is in balance.

In order for us to move ahead, at this time, we need additional provisions.  Without this, the airplane will be parked for a time, most likely in the capital city of Libreville, Gabon. 

The needs:
-       Aircraft maintenance, upgrades, and repositioning
-       Immigration and residency
-       Bongolo Hospital Airfield reopening
-       Annual Flight Permits

After a lot of hard work, I did it!
  Approved by some of the top mission
aviators on the planet! (Scott P. from AIM
AIR @ JAARS Training)
The biggest need:  we are asking that you team up with us in prayer about these needs.  This is an exciting part of the journey where our faith is stretched and we see how God will provide.  We can't wait to share with you how these needs will be met!

If you are moved to participate financially or know of anyone interested, please follow these instructions:

ONLINE GIVING:  visit www.cmalliance.com/give and scroll down to "Select International Worker/Special Project" and enter "Gabon Airplane" (note- the entry will not come up as an automatic selection, but it will still work).

BY CHECK:  Send your check made out to "The Alliance" and write "Gabon Airplane" in the memo line.  Mail to: 8595 Explorer Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80920

Once the program is up and running, many of these needs will be provided for through contributions that are a natural part of the operations.  However, for this “restart” period, our reservoir of funds is quite low.

It has been so encouraging to see the impressive faith of those that have given to this program- in prayer, finances, and even going to Africa to pitch in!!!  Recently a team of four, hard-core aviation friends traveled to upgrade and inspection the Gabon Airplane.  See their work HERE.



Sunday, October 6, 2019

Airplane Pictures and More Pictures!

The work on our aircraft is taking place in Cameroon at the SIL (JAARS) hangar.  Ours is the second aircraft in the picture.

The first project was to install some new avionics to take the place of some older "dial" gages.  Our friend Ben, from the US,  (a fellow LeTourneau Univ. grad!) generously gave of his time and expertise, to join in this project.

Doesn't it look great!  Our 37-year-old cockpit has never looked better!


Next on the scene was Doctor Drew (on the right) from Bongolo Hospital, who was joined by the full time director of aircraft maintenance in Cameroon, Matt (left) and then Dan (middle) came all the way from JAARS, in North Carolina, for another round of taking care of 7FD.

Dan's recently earned the honored level of "Inspection Authorization" as an aircraft technician, giving him authority to sign off the annual inspection for our aircraft.  It will be his very first sign off!  We are very honored for his generous gift of time and expertise in this important work.

Dan's eagle eye caught a small crack in one of the "stringers" in the tail section (see top photo).  A repair stringer was laid over top and you can see the expert repair in the lower photo... even stronger than before!

Next on the scene was our good friend, Dale, from MMS Aviation in Ohio- an organization that has had a long connection with the Gabon work, dating back to 2008, when we purchased it and sent it to MMS for getting outfitted for Africa!

MORE PHOTOS!!!














Our work has only continued through teamwork like this.  So many have been a part and it's an honor to be a part of it all.  I was slated to be part of this current maintenance work on our airplane, but we got a GREAT opportunity to partner with JAARS in new, significant ways.  So, that required some last minute changes, which meant that we changed our tickets to Africa for one last trip back to the US for some important partnership work... a portion of which is some flying!  More on that soon.

Thanks for your support!!!  We've gotten this far, but things will literally come to a halt in the next month, if we don't see funding continue to grow and cover some one-time costs.

Please partner with us in this work!  Please pray for our PEOPLE and PROJECTS... and consider PARTICIPATION through a generous gift to this important work.
Yes- there is an airstrip there!

ONLINE GIVING:  visit www.cmalliance.com/give and scroll down to "Select International Worker/Special Project" and enter "Gabon Airplane" (note- the entry will not come up as an automatic selection, but it will still work).

BY CHECK:  Send your check made out to "The Alliance" and write "Gabon Airplane" in the memo line.  Mail to: 8595 Explorer Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80920

Thank you so much for considering supporting this critical effort to bring health and hope to the Central Africa region through teamwork with the local churches there.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Before & After- TRANSFORMATION!

Not bad for a 37 year old cockpit!

Transformation!

If there was a description that'd I'd love people to associate me with is, "an agent of transformation". 

It sounds really audacious, but I read in scripture that, once that God, through Jesus, does a transforming work in my life (from being dead to being alive), He invites me to move into the flow of redeeming the world around us, by becoming people that love better and encourage others to do the same.  I can team up with the Creator God, Yahweh, and be a blessing.  How audacious... but... what an adventure.  I can't think of anything else I'd rather be doing.

With your help, another transformation is happening with our "tool of blessing"- the Cessna 207 aircraft in Africa.  Phase One of transformation is the avionics, led by the guys at MMS Aviation, who secured the plans and FAA approvals, as well as our friend, Ben, who is putting in some hands-on investment in the TRANSFORMATION work!

Here are some pics, stacked up so that you can see the progression to the finished product:

Kind of blurry- sorry!
TEAM UP FOR TRANSFORMATION!

We have seen the start of a couple of donations towards this effort.  Many more financial partners will be needed.  Will you please consider teaming up with us?  This aircraft will be a critical link in serving the national church in Gabon as it endeavors to continue their great work of being the hands and feet of Jesus to their region of the world, where the aircraft overcomes infrastructural roadblocks to progress.

Please partner with us in this work!  Please pray for our PEOPLE and PROJECTS... and consider PARTICIPATION through a generous gift to this important work.
Yes- there is an airstrip there!

ONLINE GIVING:  visit www.cmalliance.com/give and scroll down to "Select International Worker/Special Project" and enter "Gabon Airplane" (note- the entry will not come up as an automatic selection, but it will still work).

BY CHECK:  Send your check made out to "The Alliance" and write "Gabon Airplane" in the memo line.  Mail to: 8595 Explorer Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80920

Thank you so much for considering supporting this critical effort to bring health and hope to the Central Africa region through teamwork with the local churches there.



Friday, September 13, 2019

Aircraft Work- Upgrades Update!

Our friend, Ben Wigton, is giving freely of his time and expertise to give a facelift to our Cessna 207!  Some instrument dials are getting swapped out for modern screens!  Here are some pics:

The work is taking place at the SIL-Cameroon hangar, where we do most of our aircraft maintenance.  Great partners!





The man, the myth, the legend- Mister Ben Wigton, with a table full of wires and connectors to make it all work!



To put in the "NEW"... first, it's "Out with the OLD!"  A pile of wire and tubes we won't be needing anymore.



Here's the panel and circuit breaker panel (lower left of picture) all pulled apart to make room for the "NEW"...



And HERE is the "NEW"!  Two Garmin G5 units- one to be used as the
Artificial Horizon and the second to be used as the Horizontal Situation
Indicator (HSI).  There will be a lot of other great info displayed on both
screens, and they'll both be linked to our Garmin 430 GPS.  This is a big
step forward and will help with more precise and safe flying for our
important work in and around Gabon.

More of us are on our way to do Even More work on this aircraft.  CLICK HERE to read more about the details!

PLEASE PARTICIPATE!  Pray... Give... Come Visit!


Please partner with us in this work!  Please pray for our PEOPLE and PROJECTS... and consider PARTICIPATION through a generous gift to this important work.
Yes- there is an airstrip there!

ONLINE GIVING:  visit www.cmalliance.com/give and scroll down to "Select International Worker/Special Project" and enter "Gabon Airplane" (note- the entry will not come up as an automatic selection, but it will still work).

BY CHECK:  Send your check made out to "The Alliance" and write "Gabon Airplane" in the memo line.  Mail to: 8595 Explorer Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80920

Thank you so much for considering supporting this critical effort to bring health and hope to the Central Africa region through teamwork with the local churches there.


Monday, September 2, 2019

Transition to Africa Update

Transition to Africa  


Our Top 5 CELEBRATION Points:
Barbara, Alace's mom, second from the right.
1.  Alace's mother's cancer has stayed small with no growth over the past 6 months!  So... why not have surgery to remove it?  Her doctors have told her that the cancer is likely to remain like this and surgery will only be necessary in the rare case that it starts to grow. 


An example of a 4-seat Zenith 801
2. Trainer-Airplane donation!  A generous supporter has purchased a Zenith 801 aircraft for use as a training platform (mechanic & pilot) in Gabon!  Upgrades will happen at his house (also a hangar) in Florida from November to April. Would you like to help? Email me at gabon.pilot@gmail.com.  A new engine and some avionics will be added.


Making friends during language immersion in France.
3. Language Immersion in France is going great!  With sharper skills, we can better communicate.  Following a conversation, especially when a person is speaking quickly, is one of the biggest challenges.  We finish in France on September 20th.




There we are, upper right, near the fire alarm.
4.  Training Missionaries:  Alace and I had such a good time as part of the ICC staff (Inter-Cultural Communications Course) at JAARS, July to mid-August.  The staff assisted the 35 new missionaries as they worked through the challenging material and are now better prepared to face the unique path of international work- much of which includes scripture translation.   The 4 and a half week event focused on topics such as Worldview, Spiritual Vitality, Language & Culture Acquisition, as well as Partnering and Interpersonal Skills.  




5.  PARTNERSHIP!  God is at work in the West-Central Africa region (Gabon, Cameroon, Congo-Brazza, NW Congo-Kinshasa, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Rep.), in scripture engagement and medical missions, requiring the support of mission aviation for the foreseeable future.  Our work and the work of people trained by JAARS are the main operators in the region- I met with their US-based leadership and a stronger collaboration is developing! 



Our Top 5 Points of CONCERN:

Sam with some classmates from his semester in Korea
1.  FAMILY: Being a long way away from our kids and parents is one of the most challenging part of the field assignments in international work.  As an update:  Sam starts his final year at San Diego State Univ. after a semester abroad in Korea. Also, pray for our other two grown kids and spouses. 


A team of local believers/volunteers who just finished pouring the foundation for PK-27's first medical clinic, August 2019.
2. PK-27 Project- URGENT: Despite the national church having permits and documentation, A gov't leader is threatening to take over the PK-27 property where the social works campus, and our new runway, is planned.  As you know, we've spent a lot of blood, sweat, and tears on the development of this key airport, just outside of the capital city of Libreville.   Church leaders have worked equally as hard, with lawyers, to secure the documentation and have the perimeter of this property clearly surveyed and marked. 



3.  AIRCRAFT UPGRADES:  In September and October, an annual inspection and a few avionics upgrades are planned for our Cessna 207.  We're excited about the new technology and need your support to make it happen.  To make it all happen, four friends are traveling to Cameroon, where the work will be performed, many of them at great personal expense!  They are coming from Ohio, Oregon, North Carolina, and the Bongolo Hospital!  That's right!!!  A doctor at Bongolo is also an FAA certified aircraft mechanic who will be pitching in on this work!  For an overview of all that we're doing and how to help CLICK HERE




4.  LIFE IN THE JUNGLE!  Up 'til now, we've been "city" missionaries. Our new home, at the Bongolo mission will be a whole new world.  We'll be living on the mission, on the small hill above the hospital, pictured above.  There is a small town, Lebamba, nearby with a some sparsely stocked grocery stores and outdoor veggie/fruit market with limited selection.  We hope to enter this new environment with the heart of a learner and servant.  There's lots to learn in regards to how we can best serve our team and build meaningful relationships with new, local friends.


5.  RESTART OF FLYING:  Pray for good relationships with civil aviation in Gabon and for the significant costs of the 1 year flight permit to operate there ($5000).  Once we arrive and get our operations underway, I'll also be looking to build further government relations, as in the past, to seek additional support of our work.  Additionally, as you know, we will be moving towards education opportunities for Gabonese.  Please pray for wisdom and humility as we seek the best way forward.

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement!

Peace,

Steve and Alace

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Please consider being part of our team:

Options for a tax-deductible donation:

1.  ON-LINE E-CHECK or CREDIT CARD: Visit “www.cmalliance.org/give/“ and enter “Steve Straw” where it says “Type name of worker”.  Then simply follow the directions (NOTE: there will not be an "automatic" option for the Straw's that appears.  Don't worry- it will work to enter their name).

2.  BY MAIL:  Make checks to “C&MA”, and put “Straw-mm” in the memo.  Send to:  C&MA-mm, 8595 Explorer Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80920

3.  BANK AUTO WITHDRAWAL:  Contact us at "gabon.pilot@gmail.com" to get a form to fill out.

4. BY PHONE:  The C&MA will also help with contributions by phone.  Please call 866-443-8262 (9:30am-5pm EST, Mon-Fri).

If you are joining our team of sustaining supporters (regular donors), we'd love to know.  Please email us at "gabon.pilot@gmail.com", as it is critical to our budget planning.


Saturday, August 17, 2019

2019 Gabon Airplane Projects



As Alace and I move back to join the Gabon work full-time, we are excited to be joined by a short term visiting team of 4 who will give us some wonderful technical support.  It is incredible that these men would take vacation time away from family and friends to sacrificially serve us!  Please help support them by your prayers and donations to this project (see below).  The work will take place from mid-September to mid-October 2019

THE PEOPLE:

* Ben Wigton- from Salem, OR, fellow LeTourneau U grad, avionics wiz


* Dale Coates- from MMS Aviation in OH- has worked on our aircraft multiple times

* Dr. Drew Huang- an American missionary from Gabon, a Bongolo Hospital doctor also certified as an A&P mechanic



* Dan Snow- a JAARS mechanic based in Waxhaw, NC, has worked on the aircraft last December, and previously lived in Cameroon.


THE PROJECTS:

AVIONICS  MODERNIZATION- Need $3070.00
The main tasks will be removal of older style "dial" gages and installation of more modern screen instrumentation (dual Garmin G5 units).  The instruments being upgraded are the Attitude Indicator and the Directional Gyro/HSI.  This also solves a challenge we've been having with other finicky systems that have resulted in not being able to fly into "instrument" (IFR) conditions- into the clouds and through weather that brings lower visibility.
Dual Garmin G5 installation

OTHER AIRCRAFT UPGRADES- Need $4808.00
Additional improvements to the aircraft will be items such as Refueling handholds added to the nose, a more effective tailskid, and switching from an old, HF radio style flight-follow system to a satellite-based system (Spider Tracks).

AIRCRAFT REPAIRS-  Need $2228.00
Utilization of the aircraft always leads to wear and tear.  Some of those items that we'll be repairing are a malfunctioning fuel pump microswitch and the bracket that supports it, a couple exhaust brackets, and some sticky buttons on our Garmin GPS unit.
Spidertracks satellite based flight following 

REGULAR MAINTENANCE ITEMS- Need $3595.00
At set intervals, we change out particular things, such as oil filters, air filters, fuel filters, gaskets, o-rings, spark plugs and more.

OPERATIONAL COSTS for AIRCRAFT-  Need $8,667.00
A first-rate insurance policy, flight permits, parking fees, landing fees, and navigational GPS database subscriptions are some of the items that make up the operational costs we will be facing in these next couple months.

OTHER OPERATIONAL COSTS- $13,250.00
Our largest expenditure for ramping up the aviation service will be the critical items such as the annual flight permits and annual recertification of the airport at the Bongolo Hospital.  Other costs are recurrency flights for the pilot as well as the "return-to-service" flights that are important after the aircraft has been in the hangar for maintenance and repairs.


THE PLAN- PRAYER & PARTICIPATION

Please partner with us in this work!  Please pray for our PEOPLE and PROJECTS... and consider PARTICIPATION through a generous gift to this important work.
Yes- there is an airstrip there!

ONLINE GIVING:  visit www.cmalliance.com/give and scroll down to "Select International Worker/Special Project" and enter "Gabon Airplane" (note- the entry will not come up as an automatic selection, but it will still work).

BY CHECK:  Send your check made out to "The Alliance" and write "Gabon Airplane" in the memo line.  Mail to: 8595 Explorer Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80920

Thank you so much for considering supporting this critical effort to bring health and hope to the Central Africa region through teamwork with the local churches there.