Tuesday, December 26, 2006

I just checked out our blog and realized I never let you know that 660, the airplane Garry was working on in Lada is now in Puerto! Garry took a van to Lada at the end of last week and came back with the airplane. It's pretty amazing to have it here!

Over the next while Garry will be finishing more paperwork for 660 so he can begin flying it. There are also several little things that need work-- the tailwheel (I think!) and we need to install "tip tanks" to give it a longer range. There is also some kind of battery box modification... ok, I think I shouldn't get into this kind of stuff without Garry here to steer me right. So, I may have to update this later if I'm totally out to lunch!

Have a great day and blessings to you and yours...
Christmas fun!

We did a lot of fun family things in the long weekend we had off work! One of Kevin's gifts was for Garry to take him to a large field on the outskirts of town and let him ride the motorcycle for a little while. Kevin did amazingly well and seemed to enjoy himself!

Another day Kevin and Kaleb went to a motorcross track and rode their bikes. After a rather nasty fall, Kaleb looked pretty done in! Not to be discouraged, he got up and began riding again!

This week we've been getting ready for our annual field conference. We'll be travelling to the island of Luzon and enjoying some time with missionaries from the three different islands on which NTM works.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

While many of you are finishing up your shopping, things here are already closed and the town "shut down" for Christmas! This year we've enjoyed some treats from home and cherish the quiet of a long weekend, but we've also spent much time talking about the people who surround us who have so little. It's heartbreaking to see people suffering, and this time of year many of the poorer folks from around the island come to Puerto to beg on the streets, often hauling young children around town with them, their plastic cups or hands held out in silent plea for help. Of course, like everywhere else for some this is just a good way to get a little extra at Christmas, but for others extreme poverty is a sad way of life and Christmas, with the lights and decorations, is a bit of beauty to enjoy.

On of the things we did this year was make plates of cookies for the many people who serve us throughout the year-- airport security folks, tower control personnel, those who sell us fuel, truck drivers that deliver our fuel down south, and so on. It was fun to take pretty plates of cookies around and wish them all a Merry Christmas. Most of them, like the girls who work in our home, could never afford ingredients to bake cookies at home, and if they could get ingredients they wouldn't have an oven to bake them in.

Asians seem to love their Christmas decorations, and lights! I need to get a picture of some of the tricycles driving around town with nativity scenes, santa claus, or greenery on them. Garry saw a huge Christmas tree from the air one day, and we went to the port to see it from the ground. At over 100 feet tall, it is reported to be the tallest Christmas tree in Asia-- actually, this picture doesn't really do it justice, but it does give some idea of the size. Of course, it isn't a real tree, but chicken wire, greenery, and ribbons!
Gospel Hall Christmas Cantata

We really enjoyed being back in Lada for the Christmas program at the church we attended while there before. At this small church they do an amazing job of producing a cantata every year. Children's choirs take part, as do numerous other individuals. In fact, the cantata this year was from 8-10 pm, and was followed by "merienda" (sandwhiches and juice) for everyone who attended.

We also enjoyed connecting with a few friends at church! It's amazing to hear about the ministry different people there are involved in and the ways they reach out in their community.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

I have been having trouble with my internet connection and also discovered a virus on my computer after we arrived back in Puerto nearly two weeks ago. So, I'm finally posting a few more photos of our time in Lada.

I'll just make another post to catch you up on some of the happenings here in Puerto since our return! For now, enjoy!

Ate Linda, our Filipino co-worker, made bamboo stars with Kevin and Kaleb. They really enjoyed spending time with her and her daughter Gracia.

This is Kevin climbing a tree with his ingenious invention of sticks and rope.

Many mornings in Lada we woke up to find our bananas had been enjoyed by the gecos there-- there wasn't a place to "hide" them very well!

Getting ready to go... what will happen? How will it work?!

The reason for our being in Lada was to see this happen-- RP-C660 flying again!

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Here are a couple of shots of the guys at work... I have been having trouble with photos, so think I'll just post these two in a separate post!

Work on the airplane is coming along really well!
The men (Garry, Kevin, & Kaleb) are busy and the inspection is moving ahead. There seems to be a problem with one of the parts, so Garry may not be able to fly the airplane to Puerto this week-- he may have to go get parts first. However, he often comments how nice this airplane is. It has flown less than 100 hours since being rebuilt after an accident several years ago, and the mechanics did a great job. Everything looks great! (I have tried multiple times to upload picture, but I'm having trouble with my connection. I may add some later!

Nellie is one of the blessings of being here in Lada. Her smile is always close to the surface and she is a great cook! We are so thankful that she is willing to come help us out for a week, doing laundry, cleaning, and cooking.

Another b;essing here is going to town and being recognized. NTMA has been at Lada for many years, and many people in town have been friends with different of the pilot families. Besides that, there aren't many foreigners in town, so we are easy to spot. Although greatly limited by our lack of Tagalog, we enjoy our intereaction with folks in town. It's also nice not to have to wait in line-- stores here are not crowded like they are in Puerto!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Things are moving ahead here on the inspection! We got permission today to fly the airplane to Puerto as part of the return-to-service flight after the inspection. We are thrilled about that as it is the easiest way to ferry the airplane to Puerto. Once there, Garry will do some more work on this airplane before he begins flying it sometime in the new year.

I was reading this morning how Jesus told his disciples that the kingdom of heaven belongs to those who are like little children. May we each be child-like in our faith!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Yahoo! RP-C660's engine ran today! Garry finished the inspection on the engine yesterday and received the parts he needed last night on a van. So this morning he installed the new parts, and the engine ran well! We were all so excited to see if it would work, so we were all outside for the event. You can see the smoke pouring out of the exhaust-- that is the remainder of the preservative oil burning off.

This is the boys watching the run-up. Actually, much of the time they were holding their ears because it was terribly loud!

Now Garry is working on the airframe inspectiong... checking brakes, wheels, and controls. He hopes to do a return-to-service flight later this week or next week.

This evening, Ungar and Linda, our Philipino co-workers here are coming for dinner. We will have pork adobo with rice, mungo beans, and coleslaw. I brought some cookies with us that I think I'll serve for dessert. It's been fun to be here again and catch up a bit on what's going on in their lives.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Home in Lada! Well, sort of... since we moved out last February a lot of "critters" have moved in to the house. We are busy killing ants and bees and trying to reclaim the house! All in all, it's wonderful to be back here, great for the kids to be able to work with Garry, run and play, and build a new tree fort, and amazing to have Garry right next door all day. All in all, we are incredibly thankful for this opportunity to be back in Lada for a week!

What's Garry doing to the airplane? This airplane has not flown for over 4 years, so a thorough inspection of both engine and airframe is in order. The engine has been preserved with a special oil during this time, and it looks like the preservation worked-- things look great so far! Garry decided to do the work on the engine first, and it's coming along well. Surprises always seem to occur with maintenance, and this time the surprise was some missing parts. Thankfully our friend on another island was able to located the needed items and is sending them to Palawan!

We pray that you have a blessed weekend.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Kevin...

the afternoon we played some badminton then had cake, ice-cream, and presents after supper. Kevin got to choose the meal, and he choose pork medallions, mashed potatoes, andOkay, so yesterday wasn't actually Kevin's birthday, but we did celebrate yesterday! We enjoyed going out for coffee as a family in the morning, then the boys went to help Garry in the hangar. In green beans. Then we had his favorite cake-- a chocolate cake with cream cheese and chocolate chip filling.

Kaleb gave Kevin a yo-yo, so the boys are busy learning string tricks! They are also trying to get their things together for Lada-- a good assortment of music, books, and tools. For my part, I'm trying to get a menu thought out and school stuff put together. Garry's working on getting the paperwork for the airplane organized.

Our plan is to leave early tomorrow morning so we'll arrive in Lada around noon. We are really looking forward to being there!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Good afternoon! This morning was a "business meeting" to set priorities for the next while and makes plans. Much to our surprise, the morning ended with a decision to go to Lada on Thursday or Friday. A flight came up that we'd like to do, and it seems that making the trip to Lada earlier is our best option. So we're off to packing and planning... we'll only be gone a week, so there isn't a lot to do!

How would you like to heat water for your morning coffee over charcoal?! I love the smell of cooking outdoors, and we love cooking over a fire when we're camping. However, if I cooked like that every day I think I'd get rather tired of it. Yet this is how many Filipinos cook all their food, heat their water, etc. The cheapest charcoal here is made from coconut husks and apparently works quite well.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Saturday = Project day...

... At least at our house! Garry and the boys have been working on getting the shop here at home set up. They've built a tool cupboard and are now organizing their things. Kevin and Kaleb spend a fair amount of time in the shop, so organization is a great blessing!

We enjoyed American Thanksgiving with many new friends this year. Some of the ladies organized a traditional Thanksgiving feast, complete with turkey, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie! There were nearly 100 people there, many of whom we haven't met. We were surprised at how many missionaries there are in town, and also at the number of foreign business men living here.

In our yard we have a number of fruit trees, among them banana trees. This stalk was cut earlier this week, and although the bananas look green, they're actually ready to eat. (What exactly makes the bright yellow bananas in North America?!) What a blessing to us and also to our helpers who enjoy them with us!

What's your favorite way to eat a banana? We enjoy fruit salads, peanutbutter bananas, and banana bread. The girls also enjoy boiling them, although I'm not sure if they boil the smaller bananas or only the larger ones. Deep fried bananas are a local treat, available in the open markets and at stands beside the road.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Another flight day... It must be that sitting by the radio reminds me to blog! Somehow our days have gone zipping by and it seems that I haven't accomplished much.

Garry had two flight planned today, but he is currently finishing up his third flight! While he was in the air we got a call that someone had cut off the tips of two fingers and needed medical attention. (If you were the missionary in that location, what would you do?!) Thankfully, Garry was on the south side of the island close to where the patient lives, so he was able to go pick them up.

Many days have surprises like this, and it's always interesting to see how everything works out. We have an airplane that is stored at a location to the south of the island, though we had planned to bring it to Puerto over a month ago. This morning when the cargo arrived there was more than anticipated, and since Garry didn't have any passenger flights planned, he left the seats to make better use of the weight. When our friends called for the emergency flight, I wondered what he could do. AHA! the other airplane has seats, which he simply took out and put in the airplane he's flying. Thank you, Jesus, for working it out!

When Garry gets home the boys are going to the hangar to help him wash the airplane and clean it inside. They'll also fuel it so it's ready to go whenever it's needed again!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Christmas is coming! Kaleb is excited for Christmas to come this year, so he has talked us into setting up the tree already! Jason and Jen lent us their Christmas tree, so we are enjoying it already. It's the prettiest tree we've ever had, though the real tree we enjoyed one year in Canada is a close second:).

In fact, Kaleb is so excited for Christmas to come that he has begun making, and giving!, gifts. His first gift was to his brother.

Garry is flying today, so I am sitting by the radio teaching school and working on some office projects. One of my favorite things today is high-speed internet that allows me to do on-line business quickly. No more waiting five minutes for a page to load!

Do you ever wonder what fills up the airplane time and time again? Today Garry's load was three passengers going to visit a tribal location, ashtmas medicine for a lady who is on her last inhaler tablet, fresh vegetables, unleaded gas for running generators and lawn mowers, propane gas for stoves, dogfood, groceries, and paint. In fact, when everything you use has to be flown, it isn't hard to fill a flight with 470 kilos! (Just think of everything you haul in your car and add supplies for things that come to your home like propane or natural gas, electricity, and mail!)

Monday, November 13, 2006

God is up to something! He is up to something here, and He is up to something there, wherever you are! We have been thinking and talking about that lately.

It's so easy to focus on externals, to compare ourselves with one another, to try to do all the good things that come across our paths. In the end, though, what God requires of us is incredibly individual. He promises that His burden is light and His yoke is easy. Yet He is a jealous God who wants all our devotion and will not share His glory with anyone.

So these days my thoughts are focused on God's individual calling, which for us right now is this flight program and the people that God brings across our paths. It is so tempting to WANT to meet all the needs around us-- the needs of the poor, the hurting children, the lonely people, and on and on. Yet what God is asking us to do means that we leave the rest. And He says we can do so in peace!

May you experience that peace today!
I thought I'd share a few more photos of Papua New Guinea, though Garry has been home nearly a week now!

Isn't this a cool picture?! This DC-3 was mounted outside the hotel where Garry had breakfast the first day he was in New Guinea. Actually, he flew all night and enjoyed several hours at the hotel before meeting others and continuing his journey!

The room the guys met in... Mission Safety International presented the seminar for several different mission groups-- NTMA, SIL, and MAF. NTMA hosted the seminar and also organized it. Thanks, NTMA-PNG!

This is the NTMA plane outside of the MAF hangar in Port Moresby. NTMA picked up a load of attendees from here on Wednesday afternoon, and Garry was part of that load!

Today Garry changed the tires on the airplane. He's enjoying being back in the hangar and doing maintenance! Tomorrow he needs to do some office work, not quite as much fun, but necessary.

This afternoon the girls went shopping and brought home a new-to-us fruit. It looks rather interesting, so we'll see how it tastes tomorrow. I was quite surprised to find out the store didn't have any cheese... and there are only two stores that carry cheese (besides Velveeta-type), and the other store is extremely pricey. While this happens occasionally, I had to do some fast thinking today since we were going to use cheese for supper. Dairy products are hard to find here, which has radically changed the way we eat!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Was that the HELLO or the GOODBYE?!

Garry's home! We are thrilled to have him home and hear a bit about PNG. He had a wonderful, profitable time at the aviation safety seminar. In fact, he came home with a list of things he wants to implement in order to raise the safety margin of the program here!

While Garry was gone Jason and Jen left for a fews months in the US. The boys and I said goodbye to them here in Puerto and Garry was able to say his goodbyes in Manila. We are sad to see them go, but thankful for what God has in store for them.

Garry really enjoyed the cooler weather in PNG and the wonderful hospitality of the missionaries there. The seminar was held at this center, but he was also able to visit the school for missionary kids there. He says it is very different there than anywhere we have lived and worked! He also spent a little time at this market in town, and brought us some cool souvenirs. Not to mention the coffee-- PNG coffee is lovely for those of you who have never tried it!

We've spent his first couple of days at home catching on what we've missed in one another's lives, trying to set some priorities for the next months, and enjoying being all together again! Garry has also been busy moving his office out to the hangar and getting things set up out there.

The boys have also had some more badminton lessons... they are getting pretty good already, according to their trainers!

As we move back into running the flight program here in Palawan we are asking God for unnatural wisdom to know what to do and when to do it. The administrative stuff we have been doing is still needing attention as well as the daily running of the program. Garry's glad to be flying again:), and we know that this is what God has for us for this next season. Knowing that, we are trusting Him for everything we need to do what He's calling us to do!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Garry called us! We were thrilled to get a phone call from Garry, more so because we didn't think he'd be able to contact us until his return to the Philippines on Tuesday! He said he's enjoying the seminar and learning lots. He's also enjoying spending time with friends from over the years!

The boys and I are hanging in there. We're quite ready for Garry to be home:). However, we're also enjoying ourselves playing badminton, reading, and just talking. It's fun to hear what the boys are thinking about! Kevin's lettuce is growing quite well, and he's excited to maybe have our first taste of it this week. Kaleb found a "Where's Waldo?" book in the library and has been busy looking for Waldo.

Blessings to you as you serve God right where He's planted YOU!

Friday, November 03, 2006

I stayed up way too late last night, talking on the phone with my mom and then writing some e-mails. It was wonderful to just sit at the computer and "chat" with some of you, and I've enjoyed getting some replies today. Then when I went to bed I started reading a book called "I Told the Mountain to Move"-- what an inspiring look at prayer and its place in our lives!

Those things added up to a late start this morning! We did our chores and headed to the boys badminton lesson. The trainer called and cancelled, about half hour after the lesson was to have begun:), so we just played between ourselves for a while. Then we came home and got cleaned up.

All too soon it was lunch time, then time to finish school. Now I need to spend some time on the NTMA bookkeeping and then I hope to get back to my inbox:).

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Garry is in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea today... at least I hope he is! He will take a flight with NTMA later today to Goroka for the safety seminar he is attending. Since this is his first time in Papua New Guinea I'm sure he's having some interesting experiences:). His hours in Manila were pretty eventful due to the holiday (All Saints' Day) and lack of public trasportation.

The boys and I are trying to get some school done this morning. It always amazes me how much Garry's absense affects them and in what ways. I can just tell they're having a hard time... which makes it hard to decide sometimes what is the best plan-- more or less structure! God has answered another prayer in providing badminton lessons for Kevin and Kaleb. They have enjoyed soccer and are now enjoying badminton, and we recently found out about a personal trainer who will help them learn the basics and proper form. We're all pretty excited about that-- great PE class!

Monday Garry did a flight to the south of the island. He was glad to take some friends back into their location. When he arrived home the boys helped him fuel and clean the airplane so things are in good order while he is gone.

Another recent blessing is some construction guys who are helping with projects in the hangar-- finishing up some work in the office, building a room for storage, and doing other little things that need done in order to have the hangar fully functional. As relative new-comers to Puerto, we really enjoy people who know where to purchase different items and how to get things done.... and these people are just that kind of blessing to Garry!

Monday, October 30, 2006

I noticed I haven't posted for nearly a week... life has just been rather crazy:). I know most of you could say the same thing, so thought I'd at least check in and say we're still here and doing fine. Garry leaves for Papua New Guinea day after tomorrow, so we are trying to finish up last-minute things before he goes.

We had a great, relaxing weekend, doing errands in town and just enjoying being together as a family. One of the huge blessings of this time in our lives is the opportunity to work together, and we want to take every advantage of that these days!

Today Garry went flying then we did a few more errands this afternoon. First, though, we had to have a badminton game with the boys... or several:). We found a badminton court close to our house here, which has been a huge blessing in terms of getting exercise on rainy days!

Blessings to you as you begin your day from us as we finish ours:)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The plans of mice and men are somewhat similar. We've killed a couple og mice lately as well as experiencing some major changes ourselves. One thing that is not changing is that the boys continue to learn and grow. These are school projects they're working on. It's so much fun to to watch their progress!

In the past week we've realized that our partners, the Schwabs, need to go back to the US for a few months. This means that we will be staying here in Palawan and running the flight program. We are hoping to have time to move ahead with some of the administrative-type things that need done, but there isn't as much urgency to them since we will not be moving very soon. We are thankful for this opportunity to stay in the same place for a while longer and will enjoy this job. Please continue to pray for us as we continue to adjust our expectations and plans!

Garry's off flying today. He was on the ground a long time in one location, and I wondered what was delaying him. When he called me he told me he'd had breakfast with the vice-mayor or Palawan! It will be interesting to hear the rest of the story when he gets back.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

IMPROVED TACTICS for taking care of small animals that would like to share our house with us. In Lada we had a number of large lizard-like animals that enjoyed life in the pilot house. We didn't mind sharing the space, except that they didn't know when it was time to sleep and had a habit of waking us up with their loud noises. Eventually we took care of many of them over a period of months. We'd let them get brave enough to come into the open then chase them! I've got a great picture of Kevin "hunting" in the house, but I can't seem to add a photo today:(. Anyway, back to the topic.... we've tried a number of things on the mice in our house here and have finally been somewhat successful in taking care of them with poison. The down side is that they die somewhere and your nose leads you to them!

Today Garry is back in the air, bringing some missionaries to town and taking a couple of loads of cargo in to their location. The cargo he's taking in is pieces for kitchen cupboards for a missionary family who is just moving in to the location. Tim had worked in this location as a single man and is now back with his wife and 2 young children. Tim already knows the language and hopes to help the tribal believers in different outreaches they're involved in.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Some days go as expected, but most don't. Like my request for my housegirl to buy 3-4 sweet potatoes. She explained the size of the bag she brought home as even LESS than the 34 I'd ordered! In July friends sent us a large box, and we've been tracking it online. It's been sitting in Manila since the end of August, and we had despaired of getting it any time soon when it showed up yesterday! It was like an early Christmas finding the things we'd ordered and many special things we hadn't! I'm trying to make yogurt, and I keep failing... I have "milk" in my cooler this evening that hasn't even begun to process (or whatever you call what happens between the mix and the yogurt!)

Garry has been able to get two men to help him on some projects in the hangar. They're putting up a wall, building shelves, and otherwise finishing things that need done. They seem to enjoy their work and are doing an excellent job.

Much to our chagrin, Kevin's allergies have returned with a bit of athsma. So far we've been able to keep it more or less under control with meds. Kaleb is also having a bit of an allergic reaction to something... I suppose it's the time of year!

All that to say, not only had I thought I'd get back to blogging sooner, but other things have come up unexpectedly as well!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The past week I've been so busy working with numbers that I've gotten far behind in words. It seems that time has flown by as Garry and I have worked through some financial issues here and I've tried to keep up with school with the boys. We are close to finishing that project now, and I think Garry will be doing most of the work that's left on it:).

Our trip to Lada, planned for this week, has been postponed. There were a lot of things involved, making the timing poor. We are thankful for this unexpected time at home and will go to Lada sometime in November, I believe.

Kody's mange, a gift of a neighborhood dog, seems to be improving. She is nearly a year old now and is a great watchdog and good company. She often sits by the badminton court in our yard when we play and we wonder what the game looks like from a canine perspective!

In the past week not only have I taken a break from blogging, but also from writing letters. If you've emailed in the past week (or several weeks!), I will be getting back to you. It's been wonderful to hear from some of you who have shared the story of God in your lives. Thanks for blessing and encouraging us!

Monday, October 09, 2006

The sun has returned to Palawan! After nearly two weeks of rain (only once did we see the sun for a couple of hours!) we are thrilled to have some sunny days. Jason is flying again this week, so he's glad for the sunshine also.

The boys have been busy working on the yard lately. It seems the jungle is forever wanting to reclaim it! In the process we cleaned up some banana plants. That inspired both boys to build a fort. They each made one, but they've decided to share both of them! It's interesting to see their personalities and ages show through their handiwork.

Garry and I are busy with paperwork this week.... seems that is very common these days as we try to take care of different administrative aspects of the flight program. I am particularly busy these days with some financial issues. We're all looking forward to our trip to Lada when Garry is going to be working on the airplane and I'll have some time to catch up a bit.

Friday, October 06, 2006

While Paul was here Kevin had the opportunity to go along on one of the flights. He really enjoyed the opportunity to go flying again and also to spend the day at one of our locations! Paul and Garry had a profitable time with the team, being mutually encouraged in what God is doing and discussing their airstrip and other flight program business.

We are so thankful for Paul's visit and the blessing and help he was to us. Paul has a real gift for communicating Biblical truths through personal stories and we enjoyed hearing many of these stories. Kevin was particularly impressed with stories of Paul's early days as a missionary using river travel and living in villages with the people he was seeking to reach.

Garry was also able to discuss a lot of technical things with Paul-- maintenance issues, hangar set-up, program finances, and flight-related things. What a blessing to glean from Paul's years of experience! Paul's visit also reminded us what a blessing it is to have relationships that span long times-- Paul has visited us on every field where we've served and we worked together in Arizona. Memories are so much fun!

Since Paul left last Wednesday we've been busy tying up loose ends and making plans for the next few weeks. We are hoping to make a trip back to Lada (our "old" flight base) to do an inspection on an airplane that is stored there. The timing of this is dependent on paperwork from Manila and a trip Garry needs to make to Papua New Guinea at the beginning of November.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

It's another rainy day here in the Philippines. Though it has been drizzling most of the morning, Garry was able to make a flight to one of our locations and pick up two missionary ladies who needed to come to town. One lady has a daughter at boarding school whom she is planning to meet here in town at the end of the week.

There are 3 families that currently serve at this location. (One couple is on furlough for another month or two.) The entire team is involved in language and culture study, trying to understand how the local people think in order to communicate the Gospel clearly. Language study is not most people's favorite thing, but rather a necessary part of doing cross-cultural ministry. We admire these folks who day after day, week after week, keep studying and learning while building relationships with the people. We pray that the day soon comes when they can clearly communicate the Word of God. The team there is also busy ministering to the physical needs of the people-- providing medical help, teaching literacy, and helping them improve their gardens and food supply.