Friday, March 13, 2015

Bible Translation Support

In a previous post, I shared a bit about how AMB, the aviation ministry, is expanding to support Bible Translation and literacy projects in the region.  Here is a picture and update shared from our chief pilot, Rob:

In December, Pastor Jean-Marc flew with me to Libreville to

teach a class on Paratext, a

 Bible translation program, to 2 language teams. There are

 other language groups that are also interest in starting

 translations too!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Loose Wires & Quick Thinking

Sometimes, very small things can have a HUGE impact.  In scripture, the third chapter of James outlines this with a description about the very small rudder that, although very small, can guide the course of a very large ship.

Back in January, some teammates based at Bongolo, the Hofman family, were ready for a trip on the AMB aircraft up to the capital city of Libreville where they would have a short layover before connecting to an international flight.  

As Rob tried to start up the engine, he had some difficulties.  He asked the passengers to pray as he quickly went into troubleshooting mode, knowing he had a tight schedule to keep to make the connecting flight.  

So, while the passengers patiently waited and prayed in the hangar, he eventually found that no voltage was getting to the fuel pump.  Upon closer look, he found the very small thing that was holding up the flight- a loose ground wire to the fuel pump.  We just barely had enough wiring on hand to make the fix.  

They made the trip to Libreville, arriving at 2:48 pm for their 4pm departure!  

We are blessed to have the great skill of our Chief Pilot, Rob.  

This situation outlines why it is key to have pilots that are also mechanics that serve in mission aviation.  Often times, in remote areas of the world, resources and teammates are in limited supply.  

Highly skilled pilots who are also equally qualified mechanics are the backbone of the mission aviation world that keep programs running and serving important ministries, like those of the Gabonese C&MA church and the Bongolo Hospital.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Lengthy Evacuation

On Saturday, January 31st, while on home assignment here in the US, I received a call from Gabon.  It was Dr. Renee, one of the international workers serving at Bongolo Hospital.  For four (4) days they had been trying to execute a medical evacuation (medevac) for a short term worker that had fallen off scaffolding.  Thanks to a great connection via Skype, I was able to get the story from Renee.

Lavon was working on the roof of this mission house, the "foyer", a building
we use for group events.  This is a picture from 2010, when the US
Ambassador to Gabon paid a visit along with the Deputy Chief of Mission.
The injured man, Lavon, has served annually at Bongolo, on short term trips, for many years.  He and some friends partner with local workers to do some of the larger projects that are a bit too much to handle for our maintenance team that handles the day-to-day stuff.

He was working on the roof of the foyer, on a scaffolding and fell 5 foot to a hard, concrete surface.  His pain was intense and his ability to move was very limited.  Bongolo Hospital cared for him, but soon realized that he would need to be evacuated.

Unfortunately, our normal tool for evacuation, our trusty Cessna, was parked in Cameroon and our chief pilot and myself were both out of the country attending a training course in North Carolina.  So, plan B is typically transportation by car to the capital city- sometimes up to 10 or 11 hours!  Well, Lavon was not able to go over the bumpy route- air evac was the only way.

Gabon teammates, Barry and Paul, taking Lavon from Bongolo to the
pickup site.
Renee and other hospital leaders started reaching out to their connections, but were running out of options.  So, by the time I received her phone call, 4 days after the fall, there was still no solution.  Thankfully, I had my trusty iPhone 3 with all my Gabon contacts.  I put them in contact with an agriculture company as well as a union of helicopters serving the oil companies out by the coast.

Ultimately, ALMOST A WEEK AFTER his fall, he was being loaded into a mission vehicle and driven to a soccer field near the hospital where the Gabon military had dispatched a helicopter.   They took him to the capital city of Libreville where he stayed at a hospital there for an additional 2 WEEKS (!!!) before arrangements were made with a commercial airline to evacuate him from there back to the US, and eventually to Indiana where he lives.

I'm pleased to report that, following successful surgery to fuse 3 vertebrae together, he is at home resting.  Upon arrival in Libreville, a hospital there, thought to be one of the best in the region, did a CT scan and said there were no broken bones.  However, back in the US, it was discovered that he had, indeed, broken his neck in 5 places!

Please join us in praying for Lavon's complete recovery and a return to Bongolo for many years to come!

This event highlights one way that our aircraft plays a critical link in supporting the Gabon team.  Thankfully, our aircraft will be back in action soon.  Thank you for your prayers and support!

Monday, March 9, 2015

March Update

Click this link to read our March update:  CLICK HERE

Friday, March 6, 2015

Snowstorm Thor... my apologies (maybe)

So, a year ago, Alace and I were in Cameroon checking out all the Facebook photos from our friends in the "Snow-pocolypse" or "Snow-mageddon" back in the US.  It was then that we prayed for a similar experience for the coming year when we would be in the US for our home assignment.  It's been 7 years without a winter for our family!!!

 Well... I think our prayers have been answered!  Here are some photos from the day around our house, next to a church...

So, for you kids enjoying the "snow day", you're welcome.  For all of you hating the snow and inconvenienced... soo sorry!!!