Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Trouble On Final Approach!

 What do you do when a palm tree is in the way of

the final approach to your runway in the rainforest?



The closer we got, the larger we understood 
the tree to be!!!


Solution?!? Call your friends! 
Aviation is blessed to be just one of the departments 
of the Bongolo Hospital. One of the other, most active
departments, is the maintenance department! 
They were so helpful to help us clear Final Approach
to the runway.

It truly takes a large team to show God's love at work. Our international team of Jesus Followers connect as parts of a body... and we thank you for playing your part as well! As we say in Gabon, "On est ensemble"- "We are together!"


Please consider partnering with us in this important work to SHOW and TELL about God's Love.

OPTIONS TO CONTRIBUTE:

DONATE THROUGH THE ALLIANCE (C&MA) (click here)

OR:

PAYPAL THROUGH THINGS ABOVE PROJECT (click below)









Wednesday, May 15, 2024

The Beat of a Different Drum!!!

As you may know, we have to import ALL of our Aviation fuel (known as "Av Gas"). It either comes from Poland or South Africa in a 20 foot shipping container which holds 80 drums- each 200 liters (53 gallons).

Look closely... a departing airplane appears to be striking me in the forehead!!! Yes, that is Henricka, our aviation intern, assisting me, fueling from one of our DRUMS.

 From time to time, we recoup some costs by selling the empty DRUMS. However, with much of the population suffering from lack of water service, we supply the empty drums, free of charge, to needy communities for rain water collection.

The Alliance church in the Libreville suburb of "Avorbam"
is one such church that suffers from water supply. Alace and I 
were able to worship there recently.



Our dear friend, Pastor Sangoye, leads this congregation, and 
told us that our empty drums would really bless the community
there, by collecting rain water to be used for their bathrooms.

Thank you for your teamwork! It's not about aviation... 
It's about being part of a family of believers that blesses others
in an effort to share the Love of God!!!


Did you know...
Pilot Steve used to play in a Christian rock band 
in the '80's called "The Bananaheads"?!? True story.
"DRUMS" continue to be a big part of my life!!!

Please consider partnering with us in this important work to SHOW and TELL about God's Love. If you would like to specifically assist with one of the above needs, please let me know with an email to "Gabon.Pilot@gmail" and follow the giving instructions below. Merci Beaucoup!

OPTIONS TO CONTRIBUTE:

DONATE THROUGH the ALLIANCE (click)


PAYPAL THROUGH THINGS ABOVE PROJECT (click below)




Monday, May 13, 2024

UPDATE: N207FD Refurbishment Journey!

Last June, in Africa, we loaded up N207FD, our very first airplane (Cessna 207) serving in this work in Gabon- for the start of it's journey back to the US for refurbishment. Here is the link to that story: CLICK HERE


From arrival in the US to now, we had friends in Virginia
make a T-Hangar available for storage. Now we have a
plan for the next step! 



We're blessed by two board members and some friends from 
York Alliance Church who traveled to get it loaded up
and moved.


After prayer and reflection, we've decided to fully refurbish
"Seven-Foxtrot-Delta" at MMS Aviation in Ohio!


We are so blessed that, as a small organization, with no 
"headquarters" or full time team of employees in the US,
we have a STRONG team of churches and friends, all 
volunteering to be people of blessing!


Refurbishment will be several months long and
include avionics upgrades, interior updates, paint, 
and engine work. More details to come!


Last item in is our engine!
Thank you to the team that made this all possible!

Please consider partnering with us in this important work to SHOW and TELL about God's Love. If you would like to specifically assist with one of the above needs, please let me know with an email to "Gabon.Pilot@gmail" and follow the giving instructions below. Merci Beaucoup!

OPTIONS TO CONTRIBUTE:

DONATE THROUGH the ALLIANCE (click)


PAYPAL THROUGH THINGS ABOVE PROJECT (click below)




Friday, February 16, 2024

2024 Projects & Sponsor Invitations


As a one airplane, non-profit operation, serving the faith community in a small region of the planet, we are dependent on YOUR SUPPORT in prayer, encouragement, and financially. At times, our users can make a contribution, but only by adding the subsidy funding that YOU provide, can we continue.


In 2024, our "NEW-to-us" (1981 model) Cessna 207 has started serving WONDERFULLY, but we have a list of needs. Will you pray for us and consider sponsoring one or more of the needs below as a way to collaborate with the church in Gabon? Thank you for considering this! We are so grateful.

2024 CRITICAL NEEDS:

Pilot Training (early year) - $1015 SPONSORED!

1st Quarter Aircraft Insurance - $1500 SPONSORED!

Engine Analyzer Unit Replacement - $1500

Spare Alternator & Misc. Parts - $1165

Parts Shipping - $200 SPONSORED!

Pilot Training (mid-year) - $5800 SPONSORED!

Visiting Technician for Annual Inspection & Training - $4950

Visiting Tech for Equipment Recertification - $3550

Roof on Fuel Storage Container - $2000 SPONSORED!

Generator / Solar Building Completion - $1000 SPONSORED!

INTERN On-Line Spring TUITION - $4990


If you would like to contribute to a specific item above, 
please email me (gabon.pilot@gmail.com). 
Otherwise, contributions will go to "where most needed
at that time. With your prayers, encouragement, 
and financial teamwork, we continue to express God's love! 

Ways you can support:

OPTIONS TO CONTRIBUTE:

DONATE THROUGH the ALLIANCE (click)


PAYPAL THROUGH THINGS ABOVE PROJECT (click below)









Sunday, December 24, 2023

Bongolo Friends Update!

 From Dr. David Thompson!

Hi Friends! Next to me is a recent graduate from the nursing school
at Bongolo Hospital. During the month of June, I helped out
while some of our IW's were on home assignment. 

Many changes have taken place since June, but first I want 

to tell you that Bongolo Friends was able to provide the hospital 

with a grant of $80,000 to help the hospital order medicines for 

the coming year. This was because the government owes the 

hospital almost $500,000 in insurance payments! 


 Every year, Bongolo Hospital spends more than $160,000
on orders from Asia for medications and medical
supplies. This is
one fifth the cost of purchasing
medicines and supplies in Gabon's capital city,
and allows the hospital to serve all who need help.
 


Other News: Since June, IW's who have returned from home
assignment 
in the U.S. or are newly arrived include
Dr. Renee Valach, Dr. Wendy and Eric H. and their three children;
Dr. Zack and Jen O. (both general surgeons); the Team Leader
and nurse Amanda and IT tech Christopher E., Dr. Alicia S. (OB/gyn);
and pilot Steve S. and his wife Alace. New arrivals include
Dr. Stephen S. (Family Medicine) and Dr. & Mrs. David
S. and their two young children (General surgery).
Dr. Kristen (ophthalmologist) and Dr. Peter (general surgeon) will join the
Bongolo team May '24. Pilot Rob and his wife
Dr. Bintou P. and their son are expected to return Jan 2024.
 
This amazing list does not include Bongolo's five PAACS surgery 
residents and their spouses, or the many outstanding African 
leaders serving on Bongolo Hospital's administrative team. 



Bongolo's three chaplains are extraordinarily active and have a 

deep love for patients who come, either as outpatients or inpatients. 

Their goal is to share the gospel with every patient that comes. 

Recently a man who after cataract surgery could see clearly said, 

“I just don’t have the words. I see really well, and all of my 

expectations were met. I’m just really thankful!”



Patients who hear the gospel message from our chaplains and 

turn to Jesus during their stay are encouraged to attend churches 

nearest to them, like this one in the photo. Our chaplains contact 

by phone the pastors nearest a new convert's home and encourage 

the pastors to contact them. At the hospital's joint mission/church 

board meeting in October, the chaplains' reported that during the 

previous seven months, a total of 457 patients prayed to receive 

Christ. Of that number they were able to connect 404 new 

believers with the pastors of churches nearest them, and verify 

they were "integrated."

During my visit, I learned that a church in the U.S. had shipped two large TV screens to Bongolo Hospital so the chaplains can show Christian programming in local languages in the waiting area, including the Jesus film. They hope to get that set up soon. 

Over the past 12 months the hospital has treated 23,000 outpatients and more than 3,000 inpatients. What an amazing opportunity to respond with compassion to the sick, and to proclaim to them God's good news! 

As you and you celebrate this Thanksgiving and Christmas season with your family, would you consider sending a gift of any amount to Bongolo Friends? In doing so, you will be helping us ensure that this ministry will continue to thrive. 

Please check out our website online at BongoloFriends.org, and donate online. If you have questions, call me at 530-395-6286 (I'm on Pacific Standard Time). If I don't answer, send me a text, and I'll reply asap! 

Dr. David Thompson 




Thursday, November 30, 2023

Did You Miss our Thanksgiving Update?

If you missed our Thanksgiving update, you can see the full version by clicking this link:

CLICK HERE

Here is a preview...  


CANCER FREE!!!

 

At the end of the summer, Alace's mom, Barbara
had surgery for cancer and then came four rounds
of chemotherapy that finally ended at the end of 
October. She lives near Cincinatti.


Alace's biological grandmother, whom Barbara
(adopted as a baby) had just connected with over the 
past year, was also able to join for the first part of this 
journey! She's from East Texas. Do you like the matching 
Support Team outfits?!?


Joe, our oldest, lives in Chicago, and is also pitching
in on "Team Gram" through treatments and recovery


A week after her last treatment, a scan and bloodwork
revealed that Barbara was CANCER FREE!!!
It was time to PRAISE GOD and have a nice 
meal at Panera Bread!



Alace shares...
My mom has persevered courageously through 4 chemotherapy
sessions and 9 supplementary infusions and so many doctor 
appointments, as well as taking anti-nausea meds around the clock
to combat the severe nausea that worsened with each treatment!
She prevailed through so much misery and finished well! Her CT
scans show her to be CANCER FREE!!! 



Thank you all for your prayers and wishes! She is still regaining
her strength after such an intensive course of treatment. Hopefully
soon she will regain pre-surgery/treatment strength and once again
be able to engage with normal life rhythms!





Thursday, August 24, 2023

LAST DAY OF REPOSITION... Kinda...

Today was our FINAL and BIG day with two flights: Obo to Bangui, then Bangui to Libreville, the capital of Gabon.

I was up at 4:30am for a small bite of breakfast, instant nescafe coffee, preflight, and blast off around 5:15am with the daylight. It was a 4 hour flight from the mission base of Obo, in the far east of Central Africa Republic, to almost the opposite side of the country to the capital of Bangui.






Arrival in Bangui. The air was a bit tense- there was a referendum vote and security at the airport and in the city was ramped up. 




For the first 3 legs of the flight, since there was no AvGas available at Bangui, I had 12 jerry cans (63 gal.) along for the ride. It was nice to get the fuel out of the cockpit and up into the wing reservoirs! I was on the ground for about an hour to do the fueling and formalities. It went surprisingly smooth and I was finally launching for the FINAL LEG  of this reposition mission! 


Here's a short video on climb out from Bangui with a nice view of the Ubangi River on a southern heading. Soon I'd be turning more westerly and continuing up to 10,000 feet for about 4 and a half hours to Libreville... or so I thought...
At 10,000' I had a nice tailwind and soon I was passing the corner of Cameroon, Congo-Brazza, entering into Gabon... and then...


The "Low Voltage" light came on and, sure enough, I verified that my battery power was dropping off- typically a sure sign that I had an alternator issue. I turned off all non-essential electrical equipment but determined that, even though I was just ONE HOUR from our destination (Libreville), it'd be best to make a precautionary landing and check things out.


I communicated my intentions to the Libreville approach controllers and then landed at a nearby airport called Oyem, where I've been several times previously. It was about 4pm and I was hopeful to open the engine cowl and simply find a broken alternator belt that I could replace easily. However, the belt was fine and all the connections looked fine, so, the problem was likely internal to the alternator and we'd have to get a new one. 

Being on the "home turf" of Gabon, I was able to make a couple of phone calls and, voila!, my rescue team from the local Alliance family was there to help! The regional superintendant, Pastor MOUETA, with his wife and friend, picked me up and took me to dinner and to a nice hotel- they insisted to cover all costs! How great to be in God's family and experience such generosity!

The next day, other friends joined me on some troubleshooting efforts, but nothing worked. So, we ordered a new alternator from the US and a teammate arriving from the US to Gabon soon agreed to put it in their luggage! 

For the time being, we secured the aircraft on the ramp, put the window coverings in place, and bid "adieu" to "Seven-Bravo-Hotel". Pastor MOUETA says he'll be keeping a close eye on it for us.

    We are so blessed to have "Three-Tango-Mic" through the end of August, on loan from our key partners, SIL Cameroon. Within two days of having one airplane "grounded" (Cessna 207), I was back in the air with our loaner aircraft (Cessna 206- in this picture).

In Summary, our Cessna 207 is IN GABON! It's not exactly the way we had in mind, but soon enough, we'll have the part and be able to install it and get the aircraft to Libreville where civil aviation will inspect it and issue the permit for flying in country for the next year!

Please consider partnering with us in this important work to SHOW and TELL about God's Love. If you would like to specifically assist with one of the above needs, please let me know with an email to "Gabon.Pilot@gmail" and follow the giving instructions below. Merci Beaucoup!

OPTIONS TO CONTRIBUTE:

DONATE THROUGH the ALLIANCE (click)


PAYPAL THROUGH THINGS ABOVE PROJECT (click below)