First Flying in Papua

It has been refreshing to be here in Papua and back into the world of aviation.  For many months during language school flying seemed to be far off, a distant memory.  But now that we’re here in Sentani I’m working with MAF airplanes every day in the hangar as I continue my maintenance orientation.  Before I start the flight orientation I will ride along with experienced MAF pilots a handful of times on what are called observation flights.  This gives me a chance to sit back and take it all in as I observe the normal operations of everyday MAF flying.  I recently rode along on an observation flight to a mountain village called Bime.  It was a great feeling to get back into the airplane and see firsthand the ways in which MAF makes an impact here in Papua for Christ.  I took some video of our takeoff at Bime and have posted the link below.  I hope you enjoy it.

Video: Takeoff from Bime
https://vimeo.com/122873142

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We’re in Papua!

A lot has transpired this February month of 2015.  We graduated from our Indonesian language studies in Central Java and said some heartfelt goodbyes to close friends there.  Then we spent a few days in the Indonesian capital city Jakarta where I completed my annual aviation medical exam.  I took a blood test and got an A+, I didn’t even study! 😉  After Jakarta we flew across the country to Papua at the far eastern end of this island nation.  Here in Papua we’ve been getting to know the MAF team of pilots, mechanics, office staff, teachers, and others.  I have begun my MAF maintenance field orientation/checkout process.  After arriving I was assigned to fly the Kodiak, an awesome single engine turboprop airplane perfectly suited for the flying environment in mission aviation.  I’m super excited to get to fly the rugged Kodiak.  Mindy is happy to have unpacked all our stuff, including the belongings sent via crates from the U.S. that we hadn’t seen in nearly 18 months!  She is busy setting up home here and loves having all her own kitchen tools again.  Olivia and Hudson are all smiles each day when they run out to play on the playground here on the MAF property.  Front door to playground is about 100 feet or so…they’re in heaven.  We are in the town of Sentani where we will be for the next year or so while I complete the orientation/checkout process both in maintenance and in flying.  After that we will move to another city that is yet to be assigned.

These pictures omit Mindy mostly because she’s usually the one taking them.

House in Sentani

House in Sentani

Playground

Playground

Our Stove!

Our Stove!

In the Hangar

In the Hangar

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10 Months in Indonesia

We are now approaching the 10 month mark in Indonesia.  We left California in February and arrived in Salatiga, Central Java, on March 1st.  The primary focus of our time here in Java has been to study and learn the Indonesian language and culture.  We have been blessed by the teachers at the language school and somehow by their expert teaching and God’s good grace we have just completed unit 8 of the 9 units in our study program.  Unit 9 will end on January 30th and we will move from Java to Papua in February.

These 10 months have included all kinds of new experiences for our family.  We’ve been through some culture shock, some embarrassing moments as we stumble through language learning, some challenges with daily life, some rich new friendships, and lots of grace from God.  In fact, perhaps the greatest fruit of these challenges has been a deepening realization of our absolute dependence on Christ.  I wish I could say that we’ve learned to turn to Him and trust in Him with every challenge  from the onset, but we often find ourselves frustrated and tired before remembering to surrender such challenges to the Lord.  I pray that God continues to impress upon our souls the ideals of Phillippians 4:4-7, “Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say again rejoice.  Let your reasonableness be evident to all.  The Lord is at hand, do not be anxious about anything but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.  And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” ESV

The dry season is over, thank God for the rain!

The dry season is over, thank God for the rain!

Family trip to Bali

Family trip to Bali

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New Things in Indonesia

Well, we have been in Salatiga Indonesia for just over one month now and I’m happy to report that we have settled nicely.  Over the last few weeks we have been getting acquainted with our new home and some new ways of doing things.  Here are some picture to show a few of the things we now use that we didn’t have in the States:

 

Indonesian Electrical Socket: 220v 50Hz (110v 60Hz in the U.S.)

Indonesian Electrical Socket: 220v 50Hz
(110v 60Hz in the U.S.)

 

Voltage Regulator, Protects electronics from surges

Voltage Regulator, Protects electronics from surges

Our Clothes Dryer

Our Clothes Dryer

Jungle Behind the Backyard

Jungle Behind the Backyard

Clean Water for Drinking

Clean Water for Drinking

All Tile Flooring

All Tile Flooring

Transportation: 125cc Yamaha Xeon

Transportation: 125cc Yamaha Xeon

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In Indonesia!

We made it to Jakarta Indonesia!.  Jakarta is the capital city and we are here for a few days to process immigration paperwork and get over jet lag, as much as possible, before heading to Salatiga in Central Java on Saturday where we will study Bahasa Indonesia (The Indonesian language).  The trip was surprisingly smooth.  When we checked our bags at the Sacramento airport we had two that were exactly 50lbs and three that were 49.5lbs…right at and just under the limit.  On the long flight from LAX to Hong Kong Olivia and Hudson slept over half of the 15 hours.  The rest of the time they enjoyed coloring, watching movies on their own personal entertainment screens in the seat-backs in front of them, and playing games on the ipad.  Mindy and I did our best to sleep but we both got only a handful of minutes of real rest on the long flight.  When we got to Hong Kong we were all a bit tired and a little bit stressed navigating our way through the airport to get to our next flight.  Somewhere along the way there in Hong Kong we lost Olivia’s baby blanket.  We didn’t realize it was missing until halfway to Jakarta on the next flight.  In the broad scheme of things a small baby blanket isn’t that big a deal, but to us and to Olivia it was a devastating loss.  We learned in preparation for our move overseas that it is a good idea to bring familiar objects along so the children can have something that they know, that helps them to feel secure, safe, and at home.  There is nothing else even close to the blankie in terms of attachment and security for Olivia.  When I realized that we had lost it I felt as helpless and devastated as at any point in my life.  My precious little girl, on top of having her whole world flipped upside-down, would have to deal with the loss of her most beloved blanket.  The blanket we swaddled her in since the day she was born.  The emotions came in waves, with tears streaming and hearts wrenching.  We eventually got to Jakarta and found our way to a department store where we found Olivia a new pink blanket.  It was helpful as a first step toward moving on.  It’s been two days now since then and Olivia seems to be doing well for the most part, though she still expresses her sadness every now and then.  

I spent some time wondering what it is that we might learn from this experience.  I believe that God is sovereign and that he is able and willing to work in our hearts and our character even in this.  He is working even in Olivia in the midst of this loss.  Perhaps we can remember through all of these transitions that God is our faithful Father, that He will care for us, that our real security is in Him, that we will never lose Him, He will never lose us, that he cares deeply for us in our grief, that our possessions are ultimately just stuff, that there is an increased capacity for empathy gained in the trials of life, that God is our strength and portion forever.

Many people warned us about having too many expectations about this process of moving to Indonesia.  I certainly did not expect to experience such deep emotions at the loss of a blanket.  I didn’t expect this context for feeling the nearness of Christ.  I didn’t expect this kind of brokenness so suddenly in the heart of my little girl.  But there is something that I did expect, and that I will continue to expect:  That the Lord Jesus Christ is sufficient to sustain our hearts no matter the circumstances.  

   Image

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Departure!

travel Pic

We are now only 4 days away from departing for Indonesia.  It is hard to believe that the time to go is now upon us.  I was in my senior year of High School when I began my flight training with this in mind.  That was 12 years ago.  God has been so faithful over the years as we have prepared for this journey.  Things are slowly sinking in as we finalize packing bags and say goodbye to friends and family.

We leave Sunday evening February 23rd and fly Sacramento to L.A. to Hong Kong to Jakarta.  We’ll arrive in Jakarta at 1pm on Tuesday February 25th.  We will spend the rest of the week in Jakarta taking care of paperwork and then on Saturday we head to Salatiga where we will live and study the Indonesian language for the next year before heading to Papua.

Olivia is most excited about her new preschool in Salatiga and getting to ride a motorcycle…(I’m not sure who told her about the motorcycle, but we will eventually get a motorbike…anyhow she’s stoked to ride it).  Hudson is moderately tuned into the changes that are coming with this move, but he seems to roll with it so long as he’s got crackers and toys.  Mindy is planning, packing, organizing, arranging, and preparing like a champ.  Let’s just say that if major life change preparation was a winter Olympic sport she’d be the favorite for gold.  Myself, I’m excited in a subdued kinda surreal way.  A little bit of nerves mixed with a bit of let’s do this.  In all of it Mindy and I are making an effort to say meaningful goodbyes to our loved ones and to take deep breaths of faith in Christ as he abides with us through these tumultuous days.   DSCN3358

DSCN3357

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Goodbye Party

Less than three weeks now until we depart for Indonesia!  We will be having a goodbye party on Saturday January 18th, 1-3pm in the Youth Center at Sunrise Community Church.  8321 Greenback Lane Fair Oaks Ca 95628.

We’d love to see you and say goodbye.  We are so very grateful for all the support, prayers, and encouragement as we have been preparing to serve Christ with MAF in Indonesia.  Dessert and refreshments will be served.  See you Saturday!

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Looking Ahead

We love Christmastime.  Engaging in all the traditions that make Christmas festive: eating cookies, decorating the house and Christmas tree, watching favorite holiday movies;  These ongoing traditions link the joy of the past to the celebrations of today.  We are remembering again this year what God has done in giving the gift of life in Christ to all who receive it.  We find ourselves not only reflecting on the past but also looking ahead.  We will soon be moving to Indonesia.  We have never lived out of the U.S. before.  We will be adjusting to a new language, culture, and climate.  It will all be new, and perhaps feel strange, even at times daunting.  It seems as we look toward the future we are looking into a fog, unsure of what the future holds.  Yet even in this, we are confident in God who holds the future.  Please pray with us as we near our departure, for God’s guidance in our hearts and minds.

Prayer Silhouette

In The Fog

We pray that you enjoy a blessed season of celebration and family this Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

 

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Backcountry Flying Trip

As the capstone to my MAF flight standardization training I went on a three day trip into the Idaho mountains for backcountry/bush flying experience.  These airstrips combine multiple factors that require the precision use of the tools and procedures that I’ve been learning over the past several weeks.  Each of these airstrips have their own distinct challenges including confinement in canyons, slope up to as much as 23%, grass/dirt/gravel surfaces, obstructions including trees and rocks, “blind” approaches (meaning you cannot see the runway until the last several seconds on the final approach), no go-around or committed points on the approach (meaning you cannot turn or climb away past a specific point on the approach), and wildlife on the runway.  This was the most challenging and rewarding flying I’ve ever experienced.  I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to learn in this environment from the excellent training staff at MAF.  Here are a few pictures from the trip:

At Allison Ranch

At Allison Ranch

 

Wilson Bar

Wilson Bar

 

Yellow Jacket Ranch

Yellow Jacket Ranch

 

Just up the path from our cabin at Allison Ranch

Just up the path from our cabin at Allison Ranch

 

The Fellas

The Fellas

 

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At MAF in Nampa Idaho

Since August 12 we have been at MAF headquarters in Nampa Idaho. I’m going through what MAF calls technical standardization. Basically I’m learning all the ins and outs of MAF maintenance and flight procedures. Years of flying in remote places has led to lots of good practices that help insure a high level of safety.  The past few weeks has been all about maintenance on the PT6 turboprop engine that powers the airplanes I’ll fly.  These engines put out loads of power, weigh relatively little, and burn jet fuel which is much easier to obtain in the remote places MAF operates.  They are also expensive!  Just one component, the compressor turbine, costs around $100k.  Yup, gotta be careful with that one…

Olivia and Hudson have been enjoying playing with some of the other kids here at MAF. (There are 7 families here for standardization.)  Olivia is also enjoying learning to write the alphabet and craft time with Mindy.  Hudson meanwhile has mastered his Razor scooter.  Over Labor day weekend we went to the Boise Hot Air Baloon Festival.  It was too breezy for the balloons to launch but about 25 of them tethered and gave short rides.  Olivia and I went up and she was grinning ear to ear.  I’ve never seen her so excited before, it was great!

Big News:  —We’ve been assigned to serve in the province of Papua, Indonesia.—
In Papua I will be flying turbine powered airplanes like the Quest Kodiak and Cessna Caravan.  After MAF standardization training wraps up at the end of October I will have some more training at the Quest aircraft factory in December.  Then in January we will move to Indonesia for about a year of language study.

Here’s a bit of what life has looked like here in Idaho…

Showing the Kids the Inside of the PT6 Turbine Engine

Showing the Kids the Inside of the PT6 Turbine Engine

The PT6 Turboprop Power Section

The PT6 Turboprop Power Section

Olivia and Macie

Olivia and Macie

At The Boise Hot Air Baloon Festival

At The Boise Hot Air Baloon Festival

Going Up

Going Up

Lots of Fun

Lots of Fun

In The Hangar

In The Hangar

Categories: Our Family, Preparations, The Flying | 2 Comments

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