Friday, January 31, 2020

2020 Gabon Airplane Focus

By Mid-Year, we literally run out of 100 low-lead AvGas fuel.  Please consider assisting to secure our next batch (80 drums; $24,000) 
2020 Gabon Airplane from Stephen Straw on Vimeo.

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.

HALF THE COSTS REMAIN TO BE PROVIDED!
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 "Gabon Airplane" will still work as an entry).

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, January 10, 2020

Show and Tell

The Bongolo team does road trips!  Many times, our international and national teammates head out to villages in the region to find those that can't travel to the hospital. 

The "SHOW AND TELL" process:
Showing the Love of Christ through medical care...
Telling of the motivation for their work- Jesus...
who loves them and wants to heal them
Spiritually, not just Physically.

From our colleague, Eric:  "We had the privilege to go to a couple of nearby villages to do an eye care outreach.  While there, they found several people who needed cataract surgery but could not afford it."  


"Thanks to the generosity of one of our donors, we were able to offer them surgeries for free, and this past week, Wendy and Dr. Elisee got to operate on them."  


"They sure were happy!"

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Year End Airplane Giving

SPECIAL YEAR END GIVING OPPORTUNITY!

(Note: If you are responding to the E-MAIL and simply want to respond, SCROLL DOWN to "PARTICIPATION"... or keep reading here to get more background on the full story!)

In 2019, as Alace and I moved back to join the Gabon work full-time, we were so blessed to have the teamwork of 4 aviation friends- they took vacation time away from family and friends to sacrificially serve this effort!  From mid-September to mid-October, they prepped the aircraft for return to service.  Then, in November, 3 major donors pitched in to cover about half of the needed re-start costs.  Here are some of the details:

PEOPLE... on the front line:
Dale- I.A. Mechanic
Ohio
Ben- Avionics
Oregon
















Dan- JAARS, I.A. mechic
North Carolina
Dr. Drew- Bongolo Hospital
surgeon and A&P Mechanic


Dual Garmin G5 installation
PROJECTS:

AVIONICS- Need  $3070.00

AIRCRAFT UPGRADES- Need $4808.00

AIRCRAFT REPAIRS-  Need $2228.00

MAINTENANCE ITEMS- Need $3595.00

OPERATIONAL COSTS-  Need $8,667.00

TRAINING COSTS- $13,250.00


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.

HALF THE COSTS REMAIN TO BE PROVIDED!
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 "Gabon Airplane" will still work as an entry).

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, December 6, 2019

Reason Why We Fly

It's rainy season in Gabon and, from time to time (like 2 days ago), this will happen...

The national road between the capital city of Libreville that links it to most all other southern parts of the country.  Click here for the full article, in French.


The jungle will usually have its way... humans may think that they have beaten back the chaos to impose their order, but... it's only a matter of time!



Airplanes are cool machines that overcome things like the above... as well as the wear and tear on the vehicles and people in them as they get tossed and bumped hither and thither while suffering hours of land transport.  




There are other, unique land-based risks that come along with ground travel in a developing country as well.  In an aircraft, those risks are mitigated and, for sure, there are other, new issues to consider- air travel also has challenges to overcome, but, on balance, when faced with a 2+ hour ground trip, a lot of people start taking a look at air travel, which they prefer.

There are a lot of ways that impact why aviation would be an essential part of doing remote operations in the middle of nowhere Africa...

- dangerous road conditions
- numerous and sometimes "complicated" road checks
- time saving for projects and tasks
- health and welfare saving for people
- emergency response for medical or civil unrest issues
- extends the "time on the ground" impact
- and a lot more!



Above:  This video sent to me via friends of friends who got stuck at the washout.

Why do people fly?  I think that's all pretty clear cut.  It's a no-brainer.  However, why do we fly here in Gabon?  For us, it's linked with you and why you do what you do... As God's children, we're figuring out our particular skills and talents, gifted to us from our heavenly Father, not for selfish reasons, but to express His love for others.  

So, directed by God's Word (the Bible!), our community (empowered by the Spirit of God), through daily prayer, we turn our lives (talents and skills) into our Father's hands and follow His leading- simple, but profound, obedience.   As you do the tasks of your day in a similar way, no matter where you are or what you do, we have super-natural confidence that all is for the Glory of God, which is ultimately for our deep satisfaction and enjoyment.

That's why we fly.


A picture between Mouila and Fougamou on one of last week's flights.





Sunday, November 17, 2019

Flight Permits In Hand!

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1otkZ-o2tMh56bwCNKM6vIuSQZ9MKyQM8
Maxi, a worker at civil aviation AND the son of one of our Bongolo Hospital pediatric nurses, Perine, was the one who handed the flight permits to me at the office of civil aviation, in the capital city of Libreville- how cool?!?  

oh... did I mention???  HE WAS BORN AT BONGOLO HOSPITAL!!!  

...and a few years back, I had an aviation booth at the local high school, next to Bongolo Hospital, during their career day... and he's pretty sure he was there for that!!!  ...does anyone know a Hollywood producer?!?  There's a lot of joy in this work- we are always interested to know what the interactions of the day will bring about.

So, on top of all those fun facts...  We now have permission to fly to any corner of the country for the the next calendar year!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for assisting us to build momentum in this project, as we start another season of service.  The next month has additional hurdles to overcome, and we continue to need your teamwork of prayers and support financially.  Thank you for considering this critical effort.



Saturday, November 16, 2019

Refueling- A Journey

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1eamFMp4mIHi7Qykm45Tb8xO34LfyJdHD
It took no less than 5 trips to airport offices, submission of about a dozen vehicle and personal ID documents, and a phone call of “encouragement” from an influential friend- all over the period of a week- and we were finally able to get our aircraft refueled this morning!
No Complaints, though!!!  (KEEP READING BELOW!)


https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1Mkf0NOYvkwVC5bc8jM08M_vSDhWVV6Wf
Our long-time friend, Gustave, gave a helping hand.



https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1uMHKWjtoQ6jZbtLk4Nc0sigjBOqOn6eL
Since this fuel had been sitting for some time, albeit in a sealed container, we did some double-filtering to verify its quality.



https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1v3Qi15hUIUHfnPDBxnSkv8pPEgYpa40W
Looks like AvGas...
Smells like AvGas...
It IS AvGas!
I was pleased to find that the fuel is great quality!  We tipped off the tanks to get ready for our first flights next week.
(I found an old glass cookie jar we left at the guest house)


Although it took a long process to get the aircraft refueled, the pathway to success was paved with wonderful new friends!  Each person that I was able to interact was lovely and, in most cases, they heard the story of our aviation program, about all of you who make it possible, and then these folks became new advocates for its success!  How cool!

Thanks for your support!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Quick Update

We’d love to have your prayers as we serve as Alliance missionaries and team up with the Gabon national Alliance church to bless people and expand the Kingdom!

1. Praise the Lord for the progress we’ve made in getting the aviation service back in operation for the Bongolo Hospital and the national Alliance church efforts!  We arrived on October 31st and much has happened!  We moved into our new home at the Bongolo mission, and attended the annual prayer retreat of the int’l workers.

2. Praise the Lord for a successful aircraft inspection from the Gabonese Civil Aviation agency!  The inspection was yesterday (Tuesday, 12 Nov.) and it went very well.  There were a couple of minor followup details that the inspector said I could take care of via email, which I did later in the afternoon.  So, that process is all done!  Just the paperwork and payment to follow.
Bongolo Airfield- looking good!

3.  Pray for the process of getting the Bongolo Hospital Airstrip certified.  We’ll need to get an airport inspector down to the hospital’s airport to sign that off.  I’m hopeful that we can do that by the end of the week or early next week.  (CLICK HERE to see a VIDEO of the airstrip)

4.  Pray for security clearances to have easier access to our aircraft at the international airport.  I’m working with Clarisse, our business agent, to work out the arrangements of the fueling of the aircraft, which typically involves our pickup truck.  This full process to get a permanent security badge can take weeks, and we need to refuel in a day or two, so we need to get more immediate “temporary” badges, or some other solution.

5.  Pray for great relational connections to church leaders, aviation sector leaders, and other international workers, including dignitaries that we often rub shoulders with.  Today, for example, we are having lunch with some US embassy leaders.  We will be sharing with everyone that we are an extension of the Body of Christ- here, in Gabon, out of obedience to God’s calling, with the teamwork of the our sending US churches (YOU ALL!!!), to be a blessing and a reminder of God’s great love for each person, through HIS son JESUS!  

6.  PRAISE GOD that we’ve already had many opportunities to share about Jesus’ love to over a dozen airport officials in the past two weeks!

Thanks for your support and encouragement!   What a blessing!

Our new team!  Plus some visitors who you may recognize!

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Arrived in Libreville!!!

A few pictures for now on the flight from Cameroon to Gabon... more of the story later.

Pre-flight Prayer with the SIL Cameroon crew



Loading Up!


A parting shot with my Instructor Pilot Extraordinaire- Brandon P.



My Favoritist Co-Pilot Ever!
A quick flight to the Int'l airport for formalities
leaving Cameroon.




We waited on the ramp, in the airplane, for about 3 hours,
until we got the text from Gabon that we had received
our permit to enter the country.  We had 15 minutes left
before we hit our "curfew" for takeoff.  Thank you Lord!






Here's the route on my iPad... a pretty straight-forward,
2 hour flight, but then... 


The weather started getting a bit rough... we had about 15 minutes of some "ups and downs", but nothing too challenging.  As you can see, "FOOL" (the identification for Libreville) was nice and clear!

Overnight, we had an "OK" secure parking location, but yesterday (Friday), we returned to secure the aircraft a bit better with 50 liter barrels of water under each wing and tail.  It was really cool to make new friends at the airport, collect several critical contacts, and tell them about how the worldwide family of God brought us and the airplane there to join the work of blessing people in Jesus' name.  Thanks for being part of this team!



Our lonely airplane!  Pray for civil aviation to do the inspection efficiently next week, so we're free to fly around the country.  Next step... get to Bongolo Hospital and reopen the airfield!




Beautiful Libreville!  Come and visit us sometime!