Tuesday, October 12, 2021

New Airplane Update- Visiting Mechanic

As you may know, we're retiring the Cessna 207 that's been with us for many years, here in Gabon- N207FD.  As we say "au revoir" to that aircraft (we'll share more on its journey soon), we say hello to N207BH- another Cessna 207, slightly "younger" in terms of hours in service.  It is in Nairobi getting outfitted and some new decals.

Terry, Dan's colleague at JAARS, dropped everything
to make sure the tail number was ready to go.

We are so thankful for the help of volunteer Dan Snow, from our friends at JAARS, in Waxhaw, NC.  As I write this, he is traveling from the US to Kenya for two weeks of work.  

Dan, working on the tail logo.

Thank you for your support of this work to keep critical transportation services operating, serving the church, in Gabon.


Dan at Charlotte Int'l Airport, starting off to Africa!

   Standby for more pictures from Dan and updates on the work.


Sunday, August 15, 2021

PK27 Airport Construction Update

The Aviation Task Force met to "Prayer Walk" the future runway at PK-27

Here in Gabon, the national church and its partners have been working many years to develop a 60+ acre parcel of land on the outskirts of the capital city of Libreville, known as "P-K-27".  

EMI- Engineering Ministry Int'l has visited the site multiple times and prepared the plans

Many that read our updates are familiar with periodic work that we do to assist in the airstrip planned there, among the many school buildings, medical clinic, job training, and other ministries that will be based there.  It takes quite a while for us to put together the week or two-week long thrusts of activity since we are using largely volunteer church workers.
The Aviation Task Force are a highly talented group of Gabonese believers- all with other full-time positions such as administrators, accountants, program managers, and students.

The 2800 foot-long runway is clear of large trees. Next step- leveling & compacting.


The Task Force gathered on Saturday morning to pray, sing, and encourage one another in our work of expressing God's love and care in the world, together.


 VIDEO- As you watch the video below, you'll see the new airport construction. The runway is outlined, in the following photo, in yellow, so that you know what to look for in the video.





VIDEO: Fly-by of the PK-27 Property last year 
when the airstrip was more freshly bulldozed.


Below is another flyover, this one coming from the other direction:




About 8 months ago, someone started to contact the land title department of the government to try and steal this property from the church.  The church has appealed with the help of our attorney who tells us that the church has all their paperwork in order and all the laws support our case to have this attempt to take the property refuted.  Please pray- the next step in the appeal will be in one month. 


Join us in the adventure!  We are looking for more prayer support, financial support, and visitors to team up with our local teams.  Email Gabon.Pilot@gmail.com for more info.


Friday, August 13, 2021

Vision Restored!!!

 Another update from the Bongolo Eye Clinic (story from Dr. Wendy H.):


Meet Suzanne- a recent eye clinic patient.  She is a 63 year old widow. 

After she went blind, her husband died and her children abandoned her. She couldn’t get to church anymore because of blindness, and in depression she also fell away from God.  She was living alone in her own personal darkness in a remote village, eating ants in her food because she couldn’t see them to tell they were there beforehand. 

Then she came to Bongolo, had cataract surgery, and now she can see well again! Plus she can work, eat without ants, and go to church.  

Praise God for changed lives! 

We are blessed to be able to help widows.



Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Aviation Mentorship LAUNCH!


This month marks the start of the "ALPHA" mentorship group!  Henricka, a young Gabonese woman (some of you know her story) is now being mentored by Cornelia, an American who is in Libreville due to her work assignment.  Cornelia is studying to become a pilot and has already soloed, however, Gabon lacks the flight instruction she needs to continue at this time (see my recent post about the need of a Certified Flight Instructor intern!).

They are using an online teaching tool developed by a former mission pilot in Kenya, Barry King, who is now investing in the lives of new aviators online and at Blue Ridge Community College.  He already has two young adults from Africa in a higher, on-line certificate-level program- one which Henricka may qualify for down the road.

Sharing aviation magazines with Henricka in 2012

Our family first met Henricka about a decade ago on our visits to the Hope House- a home for at-risk children in the capital city of Libreville.  She made it clear that she'll be the next pilot for our program! 

June 2012- Henricka as my co-pilot, going to the dentist in Bongolo.
This young woman does not give up on her dreams!

Thanks for supporting our work!  We are busy translating more courses into French and can't wait to share with you where this goes from here, by God's grace.

CLICK HERE TO SUPPORT 


Aviation Task Force!


On May 1st, ten fellow believers met in the capital city of Libreville to share their hearts on how we can join God's plan for individuals and communities to flourish, first spiritually, and then in practical ways.

Topics discussed: Agriculture, Conservation, Environmental, and Health... all supported by
aviation.  One idea now on the table is a quarterly, mobile equipping event, alternating provinces (9 in Gabon) that touches on all the above topics.  

Also, the group is ready to re-launch the aviation club, called "Aviation Générale du Gabon"!  You can find the group on facebook and read some of my past blogs, like THIS ONE.

Next meeting in about 6 weeks!!!



 

Friday, April 23, 2021

Family Update Time!

 Ok, enough aviation talk... Here's a small update from the family side of life.  It has been said, "the last shall be first"... so, starting off with our youngest, Sam...

Sam with roommate Hayato

After almost a year after his graduation from San Diego State U, and many delays, Sam is finally starting his English-teaching job in Taiwan!  After quarantine, he met up with a friend who he met on his semester abroad in Korea (Hayato- in photo), and they rented an apartment together!



He is discovering his new home, in Taipei, and already has a new faith community he is connecting with.


...on to our lovely middle child, Megan...


Megan and John continue to love life in Chicago!  They just celebrated their 2nd Anniversary!  John works from home for a marketing company and Megan still does some nanny work, but her other job (master barista!) still has her on furlough, but she still gets her benefits!  That means, health insurance and an on-line university scholarship program with Arizona State!  She'll be finishing up her degree in social work in about a year!!!


A pre-pandemic pic from 2019

Megan and John are both small group leaders in their local faith community and are also parents to an adorable and feisty kitty, Xavi.


...On to the blessed first-born, Joe!


Joe and Laura are still chillin' in Chicago, also... just about a 5 minute walk from Megan and John's place, now that they moved to a new 3rd-floor apartment a few blocks over.  They both work full time with Moody Bible Institute, from home.  


Joe and Laura are also on volunteer staff at their church, working with Youth and Worship in music.  Their church has done such a great job of navigating things during the pandemic- using online tools to connect.  I highly recommend you check out their youtube page: click here.


Alace's favorite and largest role, here in the equatorial rain forest, is to be a great friend and, officially, a "member care coach/provider".  It comes very natural to her!  She's done years of learning, being a practitioner, on-line courses, and more.

Painting sesh with friend, Suzanne

Alace and friends organized a kids movie day for the families that live on our station


The morning running club called "Femme du Sport" (sporty women)


So, there you have it, a small update from the family side of life!



As always, we thank you for your prayers and support!  

We rely upon your teamwork to express God's Love.

Please consider supporting us with a donation through the C&MA:

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

NEW AIRCRAFT!

 


Introducing... November-two-zero-seven-Bravo-Hotel!!!

If you're thinking, "looks a lot like that last aircraft", that's because "Bravo-Hotel" is also a 1982 Cessna 207.



Bravo-Hotel has spent almost all it's life flying in Africa in support of mission work. Aviation resources in the country were such that the mission no longer needed the aircraft and made us a VERY sweet deal on the purchase.  


8 Seats and relatively new interior.  The wings are about a foot and a half longer due to the additional tip-fuel tanks.  It's going to be a tight fit in the Bongolo hangar!

To provide an owner for our aircraft, a couple years back, we created the non-profit, "Things Above Project" (TAP).  It is incredible that the TAP board felt led to actually purchase this aircraft, sensing the need, prior to finding out that we would have to retire Foxtrot-Delta!

It has an intercom system for the passengers- an upgrade!

We'll be moving over some avionics and other items from our last aircraft.


As with all Cessna 207's, we've got the large double side doors. A mini-van with wings! We can have all 8 seats or take out seats and have space for two stretchers, side by side.


Here are some of the items we're taking off from "Foxtrot Delta" and putting on "Bravo Hotel"- avionics, an oil cooler modification, a replacement HF radio, and more.  A big thanks to the team of JAARS trained pilot/mechanics in Yaounde, Cameroon for assisting.  These will be sent to Nairobi, Kenya, where other colleagues are standing by for their arrival and the aircraft to begin the work.  Please pray for the many, many details to come together.


Again, we can't do this without a FULL CREW of supporters!
Please consider praying and investing.

Make a tax-deductible donation through the C&MA:


Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Retirement?!?


 
I'm afraid to say that, yes, it is time for retirement...  

Retirement for an airplane, that is, not me!  (I can't believe you would think such a thing!)

Yes, there I am, very happy on what I didn't realize was one of my last flights in trusty, old, "Seven-Foxtrot-Delta"- our 1982 Cessna 207 with close to 19,000 flight hours logged.


This aircraft served much of its life in Alaska doing air taxi operations for Smythe Air, then was refurbished and literally flew across the Atlantic Ocean in 2009, to start serving the church in Gabon.  You're looking at one of only 4 aircraft to ever land at Bongolo Hospital's airport and one of only 2 aircraft to ever land at Bongolo's rest house called "Panga", by the ocean.  Below is one of the most beautiful shots from that landing...

Yes, there is an airstrip amidst all the tall grass.

So, I'm grieving the retirement of this special airplane.  There are so many stories of how this particular aircraft was selected for our first aircraft as well as how God provided many, many people to invest in finishing the refurbishment (with many great upgrades and modifications).


People, some sick, some healthy... some sitting, some on a stretcher... medications in boxes and coolers... medical materials and machines... Over the years, we've packed a lot of people and stuff into this aircraft and expedited them to their destinations, all in an effort of God's people to demonstrate HIS great love for them.  I've been honored to be at the controls for the time that we did, and to tell the story of God's children, all over the world, obediently working together to bless each passenger.



Why Retirement?  During a recent inspection, corrosion was discovered in new areas, below the paint- the nasty type called "exfoliation".  The structure was significantly affected such that this, and the other items needing attention, rose to a level making repair impractical- the time and effort, especially in remote Africa, would result in a "bandaid" and take an excessive amount of labor-hours.  I'm indebted to the team at SIL-Cameroon Aviation (many JAARS-trained pro's) for their teamwork in making this difficult decision.



Thank you for being part of the "heavy lifting" in our work.

As we retire "Seven-Foxtrot-Delta", I'll be introducing you to its replacement, "Seven-Bravo-Hotel"... our next aircraft!  (this is my teaser to stay tuned) We'll be transplanting many of the upgrades over to the new machine.  Soon, by God's grace, we'll be retrieving that aircraft from the other side of Africa and getting it into service.


Please consider helping us to continue this critical work!

Make a Tax-Deductible donation through the C&MA:

CLICK HERE TO DONATE





Monday, January 4, 2021

Raise The Roof- 2021 Focus

Our 20 year old aircraft hangar at the Bongolo airstrip is in need of some major TLC.  

With your teamwork, this year, we hope to find the resources for the following:

1. Replace all the rotted and insect-eaten wood planks 

2. Upgrade our ailing Solar electricity system

3. Expand the roof to cover the adjacent shipping container

4. Extend the cement floor under the new covered area

MAKE A DONATION - CLICK HERE

JOIN A WORK TEAM (when travel restrictions lift)-  CLICK HERE Send an email to be added to the email list of those interested in coming.


If you prefer to give by check through the mail, please make your check out to "C&MA" and write "GABON AIRPLANE" in the memo, and send to:

C&MA, 8595 Explorer Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80920



Sunday, January 3, 2021

2021 Calendar

 


We have collected some of Alace's wonderful photography as part of a 2021 calendar.  We welcome you to consider a donation (you choose the amount) to our airplane account and then email us for a download link of the file.

Step 1:  Make a Donation.     DONATE HERE

Step 2:  Email Request.    REQUEST FILE HERE

Step 3:  Download & Print Calendar

You are free to take the file on a thumb drive to a place like Office Max or Office Depot and ask for them to print out a full size calendar.  Alternatively, you are also free to print it out on your own printer.  This is our first year to try a calendar- thank you for your interest and joining us in this important work!