Thursday, September 29, 2011

Promises and praises

A Bible promise claimed many times since we've been here in Guyana is Habakkuk 3:17-19.

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines,
Though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,
Though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;...

In looking daily for reasons to praise Him, we've noted a few of them to share. May these examples encourage you to look daily for reasons to rejoice and be joyful.

A good working airplane and the ability to use automotive gasoline, which is less than half the price of AvGas.

The first Adventist secondary school in the deep Guyanese interior began on Sept. 19, 2011. This is only the 4th Adventist secondary school in Guyana, 2 others of which are run by GMI mission projects.

A temporary roof is on the GAMAS container at the local airport to begin solving water leaking problems.

Volunteers arrive! A Russian family (2 children pictured), a girl from Germany, a guy from the States, a lady from Canada, and soon to come...the Brooks family.

Oranges from our neighbor, handed to Jodi "to help her skin" when really, we just needed some fruit.

GAMAS' Toyota Hiace "bus" is very close to running... after many hours of undoing local mechanic's work and redoing it properly.

Trips to the zoo. A Guyanese "Tiger" (ocelot).

The chance to leave the city for a week and spend time eating soursop and doing airplane maintenance at the GAMAS hangar in Bethany, a 20 minute flight from Town.

So at the end of every day we should look back and remember what the Lord has done for us in that day, count our blessings, and be reminded again of His great love for us.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Maule Miracle

The Baby Moses of Guyana Adventist Medical Aviation Services (GAMAS).This spring one of the GAMAS airplanes had an unfortunate bath in the waters of the Kamarang River at one of the villages in the interior of Guyana. A wet runway and a sudden tail wind on the last part of the decent to land resulted in a Maule aircraft and the pilot/passengers 10+ feet down over the river bank and into the river. Thankfully, no one was hurt and the villagers came out and helped turn the plane around and pull it out of the water. The plane then became part of the runway scenery for the next few months, waiting for a mechanic.

We believe that this Maule project was part of the reason that God wanted us to spend some time in Guyana. Gary Roberts came from his GMI project in Africa to help, and his 6 years of experience as a pilot/mechanic in Guyana were invaluable. Cliff Brooks also came to help and investigate the idea of being a long term missionary with GAMAS. His prior mission experience showed and we enjoyed his help for the last two weeks of the job. DJ, Gary, and Cliff spent many long days in their little "shop" that they set up with the GAMAS C182 wing and some hammocks and boards. With parts that came down with Gary from the States, borrowed instruments, and some patchwork, the little airplane soon began to revive. New struts, a partial engine teardown, new magnetos, a patched cowling, a new nose wheel support structure, and clean wheel barings made it a mighty fine looking gent.

***(left) A break for lunch with the family by the river.

To get to Paruima, the little village in the beautiful Guyanese interior where the Maule airplane was located, we flew 1.5 hours over lots of broccoli heads. Paruima is a special village due to its heritage (more below). Radio communication is the only form of modern communication technology found in the village and we used it a lot to talk to the other GAMAS projects and to the airplane when it was flying. Many villages in the interior such as this one are only accessible by aircraft and by foot.
Transportation within the village happens by foot or by boat. Here's a picture of one of many trips up/down the river that we made in the dugout canoe that often serves as a pick-up truck. The villagers do a lot of subsistence farming. We were priviledged to share in the blessings of the land, including an abundance of bananas, bokchoy, and green onions.Here is a picture of the Adventist church in this village. It's set up on a hill in the middle of the village where almost everyone can see it. The village of Paruima has a very interesting history that has resulted in most of the villagers following the Adventist faith. They became known as the "Davis Indians" about 100 years ago because of a missionary, Elder Davis. A few years later, they fled from Venezuela into Guyana because of religious persecution. Their story can be read at . Missionaries that came after Elder Davis wrote books about the Indians that are very good including "The Davis Indians," "Destination: Green Hell," and "Jewels from Green Hell" by Betty Cott.
So while DJ, Gary, and co. worked on the airplane and made a few flights in the 182 for parts or checkouts, etc., the ladies stayed on the Davis Indian Industrial College campus working on various cleaning projects. Many hours were spent washing mosquito nets and sheets in the river, organizing medical supplies, and working in the library.

The library was of particular interest and importance because of its chaotic state. All the books had been removed from their shelves in order to spray for termites. While at first the job seemed easy enough - put the books back on their proper shelves - it turned into a two and a half week project. It was actually quite fun.

And back to the Maule mission... After 3 weeks of work we ferried the airplane out of Paruima back to Georgetown - Gary flying the Maule, and the rest of us in the 182. God is good. There were no problems with the airplane during the entire flight.

The plan was then to fly the Maule to the States to sell it as this airplane is not very good for the needs in Guyana. It does not haul very much weight with the quantity of fuel needed to make trips into the interior. We are now looking for another Cessna 182 which has similar fuel consumption to the Maule but hauls much larger loads. However, God had his hand in this Maule project and saved us the trouble of flying it to the States. The day that Gary and his family were going to leave for the States flying the Maule, through a series of God-planned events, a prospective buyer here in Georgetown showed interest in the plane. Less than a week later, the paperwork was signed and the plane was moved a few hangars down at the local airport. We are so thankful and were again reminded that we are working for the Lord and that He has special plans for GAMAS and His children in Guyana. Thank you for your prayers and support in our mission projects.