Yes, the backpack below has a rather sad, and yet hillarious story! Inside the backpack were our "precious treasures" of lunch, sunscreen, seasoned salt, earplugs and DJ's tools. Well, we left the backpack sitting on the ground outside the TV station while picking up some tools before heading out to the construction site in the back of the property. While we were inside collecting the tools, a sheepish-looking, unnamed volunteer came up to us and asked if we'd like to look inside our backpack to see if everything was okay, because he had just accidentally backed the Bobcat up and put a wheel right over our backpack. "I thought it strange," he said, "but I figured it was just a hump in the sand!" We all had a good laugh, particularly when we opened up the pack a found what you see below. While it looks like a disaster, it cleaned up pretty well. The bread, avacadoes, and tomatoes that we had for lunch were pretty squished so we kindly asked to eat lunch with the guy who ran over the backpack. Of course he was more than willing to share lunch with us :). There is plenty of sunscreen left, the earplugs were fine, we can survive without seasoned salt for a little while, and the only tool of DJ's that was damaged was his multimeter. "Shucks," DJ said. "It's not that the tool itself is expensive, but Andrews maintenance shop had just calibrated it, which costs like 80 bucks!" Fortunately, calibration is not essential :). Our camera survived the whole ordeal.
DJ is fixing part of the dumptruck, missionary style. Please keep the dumptruck in your prayers. It is a "shared" item in that it doesn't totally belong the the TV station/aviation program. Jeff Sutton put a lot of work into getting the truck, patching the bed of an old truck together with the cab of this new truck and getting it shipped down to Bolivia. However, another missionary who is not directly associated with the TV station/aviation program has put the money into all of it. He is needing more funds for his project in the next town over so he wants to sell the dumptruck. Being able to borrow the truck is a big asset for the TV/aviation programs and losing that privilege would make life a bit harder, but we know that God's plans are best and we pray that He guides this whole situation.
We're in the process of rearranging and organizing the container into an aviation-only container. Below is a picture of us moving the blue container that houses the aviation department's belongings such as tools, equipment, spare aiplane parts, a barrel of oil, etc. This was the process that we used to move the container out to the runway. Helen was driving the dumptruck, DJ was on the forklift, Steve was pushing with the Bobcat, and Jodi was directing traffic. Every few minutes the dumptruck torque-converter would get warm, so we'd have to stop, let it cool off, turn off the forklift to conserve the little fuel that we had on board, and then go again, moving a little farther ahead. The container is now parked out at the runway beside the place where we hope to build a hangar when God provides one.
The current airplane situation is that we are waiting for permission to fly the planes back into the jungle strips and start a branch medivac program in the highlands. Maintenance-wise we are praying that God will provide the aviation program with a hangar that can be built beside the runway at the new property. A generous donor has already funded the beginning of the process by helping get a well put in and electricity run out to that end of the property. Right now most of the planes are sitting outside the open hangar of some kind Baptist missionaries at a small airport called Kilometer 7 which is about 6 or 7 miles away from the property. They have been very kind to share their space with us, but it is challenging to get to the airport from the property with tools and equipment, and it's hard to feel like you're always mooching off of someone else's space. We are excited about the plans God has to obtain govt. permission to approve the runway at the new property, get permissions from customs to let the American registered airplanes fly, and to build a hangar which would further establish the aviation base in Santa Cruz.
Here is a little friendly bat that almost got stepped on in our room. He flew out from under the bed and was very cute!
DJ and Jodi had the opportunity to preach at the small church in Los Batos where we go. This was a first for both of us. DJ preached and Jodi translated from English to Spanish. We thank God for this opportunity to share and practice a new part of mission work that we haven't had much experience in.