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.