Monday, March 12, 2012

Air Evac- National Park Worker

At exactly 2:32pm yesterday, I received a phone call from a Wildlife Conservation Society who is working at a Gabonese national park named "Lope".  She had a very ill co-working needing an evacuation.  About an hour later, I was in the air, on the way to the park.  

Here is what the "Guide for Africa" website says about Lope:   "Covering an area of 4,910 sq km, Lope National Park was the first protected area in the country following the creation of the Lope-Okanda Wildlife Reserve in 1946. This massive wilderness and one of the biggest National Parks in Central Africa, s situated in central Gabon and has a predominantly rainforest terrain. To the north the park are the last remnants of grass savannas created during the last Ice Age.
Lope National Park’s fauna is typical for central Africa forests punctuated with a few hills and patches of savanna. OgoouĂ© River, running through the north of the park with wonderful trees gently rolling down to the rivers edge, habours a wide range of birds and giant mammals (63 species of mammals)."

The earth/grass runway is along the brush at the center of this photo.
 Landing there, only an hour later, I was met by two WCS vehicles and several of their workers- one of them obviously the one in need of evacuation.  He was very weak and walking slow with assistance to the aircraft.  I had prepped the aircraft for an option of having him lay down, but he preferred to sit.  With he and his chaperone loaded, we bid everyone good bye and were on our way back to Libreville.

Upon arrival at Libreville, a waiting ambulance was granted access to the ramp and the patient was loaded and taken away.

And... that was that!  It was 20 minutes after six pm and I was standing on the tarmac thinking that, for our first emergency medical evac, that went amazingly well.  By the grace of God, with your partnership (praying, giving, encouraging, persevering, etc.), the collective body of Christ moved in a way that has never happened before in this part of the globe.  In under 4 hours, we were able to move a very ill person from, literally, the middle of nowhere to a capital city and a care facility of their choice.  In my book, it was an amazing experience and one that I'll remember for sometime.

We've transported many sick people in search of treatment previously- that's not what made it amazing.  However, we've never responded to a request "outside" the system that we operate- a system of faith-based entities such as local clinics, the hospital, and local churches around the country.  

It's our hope that these type of services can continue to be offered and more so in the future, with more and more local believers getting involved.  It's a unique opportunity to preach the Gospel and live it out for the world to see.  I know many of you do this in your homes, neighborhoods, workplaces, schools, and more.  We're in this together to show the world that there is a God that loves them and wishes to do the impossible through their lives.

What is more amazing than transporting an ill person from a remote place to medical care, is the supernatural transportation that God has done for us in taking us from a place of death to life, through Jesus.  May the Lord grant each of us a role in these types of evacuations often.

I called our patient today, to see how he is doing.  He says he is in good hands and receiving good care- feeling much, much better.  He asked if I can come pray with him.  We ask that you would pray with us as well.

Yesterday, as the sun set and I refueled the airplane, I was filled with gratitude at all that the Lord has done to bring flights like this to reality.  If you've been with us from the start, you know that we've had our share of ups and downs... times when it felt that the blessings were "arriving"; other times when it felt that they were "departing".  We know that, through Christ, we've been eternally blessed and that doesn't come or go, however... yesterday had a vibe that the blessing was definitely in "arrival" mode.  

- Steve

WCS Link

Gabon National Park Link

1 comment:

  1. So guess what- after the year of reading each others blog- i flew in a Cessna to Ghana last week. Ok sort of freaked me out :) But now I know more about the style of plane, what it feels like etc. Will post a blog about the trip soon! But...I am not sure you will get me back into that little 4seater anytime soon! haha!

    Chantelle in Niger