Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Base Jumping- Part II

Some people take the plunge (base jump) like this...

For us, we're moving our family's base (get it?  "base jumping"?  Har har), from where we've been living the last 5 years (Libreville, Gabon) to Yaounde, Cameroon, in a bit more methodical way.

Why we are moving reason #1: Our aviation program is growing!!!

As you already may know, we have a second pilot/mechanic that has joined our program, whose task is to make us lean and mean for the future growth that we anticipate.  As the program matures, I, as program manager, also need some "lean and mean" treatment by spending time a the SIL-Aviation base in Yaounde to understand their protocols and processes.

Our intention, in Gabon, is to comply with the same operating procedures that guide them.  They are a "subscribing organization" of JAARS Aviation, one of the largest mission aviation organizations with the best safety record.   Pray for us as it will be a long road to learn systems and then work toward program compliance.  So, very often during the week, you will find me at the SIL Aviation hangar in Yaounde.

Rob, our new teammate, will be the chief pilot/mechanic, keeping the Bongolo aviation service alive and kicking.  My title will become "Program Manager" and I will provide the oversight it needs, mostly from Yaounde, with an occasional visit to Gabon throughout the year.

Why we are moving reason #2:  Serving as Dorm Parents!!!

As you know, one challenging (and sad) aspect of our work in Gabon is that our children attend school at The Rain Forest International School- a boarding school.  It has been a wonderful experience for them, however, had you told us, 6 years ago, when we were moving to Gabon that we'd be sending our children to a boarding school, I don't think we could have done it!  However, we came to see, after much praying and investigation, that this would be an environment where they would be nurtured in their faith and educated to a high level of excellence!

So, last school year, the dorm house where our three kids (Joe, Meg, and Sam) live with 9 other students, started asking around for who would be able to be the dorm house "parents" for the next year.  With our
background in working with student ministry, we started to wonder if the Lord would make a way for it to happen.  We informed the committee that we would love to do it, but that we would need to pray and reflect upon how it would all be possible.  Certainly, we shouldn't leave our aircraft parked.

So, with the provision of a second pilot, and the work that I need to do at the aviation base here, we saw that our prayers seem to have been answered. We will return late in July to gear up for the new year that begins on August 7th!  (Alace's Birthday!)

Those were the big reasons, but here are some others...

USE IT OR LOSE IT:  We sense that, although we will be very busy, the dorm home "parenting" will exercise some of our giftings and skills that we haven't in a long time!  It will be something very much shared by Alace and I whereas, in Gabon, our work was somewhat separate.  Mentoring and discipling young people used to be one of the core elements of our work together and now it will be again.

CHILLAX:  Also, being so engrossed in the start up of the aviation work for Bongolo Hospital, I can confidently say that I need to check my perspective and take some inventory of how my personal pace in all of this is going.  I'm not a young whipper-snapper anymore and, if I'm to keep a good pace for the long haul, my times of intensity must be balanced by a change of pace and in variety as well.

FOCUSING THE BIG PICTURE:  Lastly, I plan to have the time to reflect upon some big picture items.  We are moving through the "viability" phase into a "sustainability" phase where we have questions to ponder.  The national church leadership in Gabon is moving forward with plans for a "social works" campus on the outskirts of Libreville that includes an airstrip.  The bulldozers are already moving on the campus!  They are affirming our work in Gabon and asking for it to continue and expand.

So, with the blessing of the local church leaders in Gabon, I'm easing into an investigation on the history of the aviation training efforts at mission aviation bases around the world.  I intend to catalog the information and review it in light of our work in Gabon.  Could aviation training (dispatching, maintenance, logistics, piloting) be a possibility in Gabon leading to an aspect of program viability for the future?  Is this an aspect of what is to happen at this new airport base?  So, yes... big picture stuff!

That would be one of the biggest "base jumping" experiences for us on this journey!  Thanks for your prayers and encouragement.  We can't do this without you.  Thanks for standing with us.

1 comment:

  1. Great to hear all that God is doing. Praying for you guys as you begin this new chapter of your life! Miss you guys!