Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Unplanned Landing

"Air Calvary's Cessna 207 aircraft, based in Gabon, Africa, experienced a loss in engine power and made a forced landing in the village of Owendo, just south of the city of Libreville. No one on the ground was injured and neither were the two pilots and one passenger participating in the training flight. There was minor property damage and the aircraft also incurred structural damage. A detailed report will follow."

Friday, March 12, 2010

We're in the News!

The website of the Christian & Missionary Alliance (USA) has posted some news about the project, here in Gabon.

CLICK HERE to read the posting.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

"Hope House" for at-risk children

Please remember to pray for the Hope House.

On our most recent visit to the home, Pastor Israel described the situation of "Naomi", a girl whose parents have both died, most likely from AIDS. Now, the uncle is refusing to care of her. the school where she attends has contacted Hope House to see if they can take her in. Before this would happen, a meeting will take place with the uncle to pressure him to do the right thing and care for Naomi.

The uncle's wife despises the young girl- the girl is often sickly (probably due to lack of attention and care) and the wife thinks she will infect the other children.

Pray that Naomi receives the care and that her uncle and wife grow to cherish her. pray for the uncle and for the culture here that is only one generation removed from a time where children were buried alive in the same grave when it was the last parent that died. Care for orphans is not always a given in this culture.

Praise God for the example of the nation church through Hope House. Pray for strength to carry on for the directors, Pastor Israel and Natalie.

Blank Check!!!

We are really blessed that each of our kids are sponsored by an Alliance Women's group in the states. From time to time, they each receive care packages from the states. Megan's latest package was full of treasures!!!

... A really cool photo album...

... A great assortment of skin care products...

... A nice top in her favorite color...

... She put the lotion to work right away...

... Best gift!?! The blank check! What an incredibly generous group of ladies!!!
Megan is now on the travel websites planning out her trip to Tahiti!!!

Bongolo Hangar

Stats from Jan/Feb Flights

Here are some stats from our first couple months of flying... But FIRST! ...here are what some people are saying:

"Can you believe it? I has a relaxing morning with breakfast and coffee, checked on some things at the hospital, ate lunch, caught the A.M.B. (Air Calvary) shuttle to Libreville, and here I am eating dinner!"

"Thank you for bringing our sensitive eye equipment! We used it right away"

"What a comfortable flight!"

"Without A.M.B. (Air Calvary) it would have been tough to get the equipment without too much jarring- but everything worked just right"

"May God allow you to keep up the good work! Thanks for everything."

"Your takeoff and landing were amazingly smooth"

"The whole trip- the flight, the treatment by the team at the hospital; everything has been a testimony to me."

23 Flights

69 Passengers

300+ Pounds of Medical Equipment

100+ Pounds of Medications

33 hours of flight time

Passenger breakdown: 30% Bongolo Team, 30% Visitors, 40% Patients

Stateside Visit

We'll be in the states in less than a month! Wow... time is flying. Here is a rough draft (not complete) of where we will be doing some presentations during our time home:

11 (AM) Bethel Community Church, Hamilton, OH
(PM) Wilson small group, Centerville, OH
18 (AM) State College Berean Baptist Church, State College, PA
(PM) Lewistown C&MA Church, Lewistown, PA
20 Lancaster C&MA Alliance Men & Women, Lancaster, PA
21 Spring Grove C&MA Church, Spring Grove, PA
25 Mountain View Alliance Church, Jersey Shore, PA
27 "Prime Timers" Breakfast, State College, PA
29-May 1 Eastern PA District Conference, Williamsport, PA

2-7 York Alliance Church, Global Connection Week, York, PA
5 York Alliance "Evening with the Straw's", York, PA
9 Henry Chapel of the C&MA @ Chapel Pointe, Carlisle, PA
12 Chanceford Alliance Church, Felton, PA
15 Brunch at Hillside Church, Armonk, NY
16 (AM) Community Alliance Church, Harrisburg, PA
(PM) Paintersville C&MA Church, Paintersville, PA
19 Alliance Gospel Tabernacle, Coalport, PA
23 The Alliance Church, Elizabethtown, PA
30 Pine Glen C&MA Church, Lewistown, PA

2 1st Alliance Church, Harrisburg, PA
5 "REV FM" Radio Interview (FM 89.1), State College, PA
6 State College Alliance Church, State College, PA
11-12 DALLAS, TX area (Straw@aircalvary.com for details)
15-17 LONGVIEW, TX area (Straw@aircalvary.com for details)
20 ValleyView Alliance Church, Hellam, PA
22 Orville Alliance Church, Orrville, OH
23 Glenview Alliance Church, Glen Rock, PA
30 Cassels Alliance Church, Manchester, PA

More dates will be announced soon. We hope we can see most of you during our time in the states.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Concerns... (aka. "Scare Package!?!")

What does this photo have to do with a scare!?!

When we receive items that the postal service here thinks may be "taxable", they slip a green card into our postal box and we must go to a special office, pay a handling fee, and then open the package in front of them. This is followed by discussion
of what the object is, its' value, and how much we should fork over. If you are patient and good natured and drop the name "l'Hopital de Bongolo" a lot, you may get out of the office paying nothing.

Recently, we received just such a green card and made the trek to the special office- about a 7 minute drive down the raod. Since we pick up a lot of mail for the team, down-country, at the hospital, we are familiar faces in the office. Our first stop was to pay our handling fee, about 5 bucks. After proving our identity and handing over the 2,000 central African francs, the postal worker walked over to the organizational cubby holes lining one wall to find our package.

There is a reference number on each of the green cards that seems to indicate that our package has been carefully tracked and kept in a particular bin at the post office, however, what often follows at the post office is a search starting at one side of the bins and continuing until the package is found. There have been times when the worker has just plain given up and asks us to come join the search. Sometimes we'll find packages of our friends and we're able to fork over the $5 and take them with us. They are very nice to allow us to do this.

On this particular day, the package was addressed to Sam and it turned out that it was from the woman's group from the US that prays specifically for Sam and sends along care packages from time to time. Sam was with me and was excited to find out what was in the care package. We are so
grateful for these expressions of care for our family and how it brightens up our kids lives to have the connection back to the states. However, on this particular occasion, things took a dramatic turn!

So, we paid our $5, the package was
found, and we made our way to the next step- into the adjacent office where we opened the package for evaluation. Sam was delighted to find that the package contained 3 Nintendo DS video game cartridges!

As expected, a discussion followed among the 3 office workers, surrounding what these cartridges were, and what their value was. This was all normal. Then, one of the postal workers said something like, "You know... secret groups use game cartridges like this to communicate to each other." I said, "A
h bon!?!" (Oh really?). He went on to say how these groups were very smart to use kids games- it was very stealth. In fact, he remarked, we should actually leave the package there, go home and retrieve the Nintendo game player, and return to show that these were, indeed, real video games and not secret communiques in disguise.

Not helping matters was a photo included in the package (see 1st photo, top). It was the family of Susan, the woman that coordinates the program with Sam. In the photo is one of her family members with a full head of hair and full beard. Now... let me just say right here that I'm not one to "profile" and make judgments regarding just what a members of secret groups look like, but I was beginning to think that perhaps the people on the other side of the desk were!

So, it was that time again... time to do some "name-dropping". I said, "You know, we work with the Hopital." Then one of them said, "Yeah- you've been in here before. You're the pilot, right?" To which I said, "Yes, that's me." I told them that they had nothing to worry about, this package was for my son, whom I have never seen demonstrate harmful attitudes towards others, indicating that he may belong to a secret group or have associated traits. Also, the photo was of the sponsor of the program in which ladies from a church pray for children of missionary families and send them gifts from time to time. (I could see that they were starting to soften up at this point) Then I said, "Plus, there really aren't that many left at the hospital that still belong to secret groups. Most of them have left." At this, they all laughed, backed away from the counter and started making motions for me to pick up the package and be on my way.

I was only too happy to do so.

We are blessed to have a great relationship with the people here. We sure are glad they are, indeed, doing their job to carefully monitor items coming and going.

Thank you to all those that pray regularly and send us care packages. We are so grateful. These things make such a great "pick-me-up" for our children... and mom and dad too!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Alace's "aLIFE" Magazine Article

Check out this great article Alace wrote about the aviation program, here in Gabon.

Click Here