SmythsInPNG's Weblog

December 21, 2008

December 21, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — smythsinpng @ 10:12 am

 

Drum Roll

Drum Roll

Tribal evangelism and church planting does not occur without investing a lot of time, sweat and teamwork. We are thrilled with those who have placed their faith in Christ this year and we continue to work that they might go on to maturity as fruit-bearing Christians. 

 

 

 

Our part in the teamwork these past two weeks has been mostly what we call “grunt work.”  Logistical planning and preparation are necessary to maximize the efficient use of the aircraft and helicopter to keep costs down for each missionary family involved.

Propane Push

Propane Push

 

Loading Dump Truck

Loading Dump Truck

 

 

We had helicopter shuttles to move timber and propane bottles to the tribal locations and to position fuel for the future use of the helicopter.  The fuel had to be ordered, transportation arranged, loads calculated to ensure that aircraft were not overloaded and that sufficient aviation fuel was placed on each site prior to the arrival of helicopter to keep it operating.  In this case we were able to hire a dump truck to move the propane and fuel to within ten miles of the final destination. Some missionary men rode on the truck to the shuttle site and some flew with me in the Cessna to the nearest airstrip to assist with receiving the sling loads. By using a truck to move the fuel as close as possible and shuttling by helicopter to the final destination we can cut the cost of fuel placement for the helicopter in half. The down side is that in terms of time it cost eight missionary men two full days of work.

 

Mengen People

Mengen People

After all the helicopter shuttles were completed I was able to take several of the men back to the Islands support center. The weather was too poor for the helicopter to make it back that day.  Rain showers are like mud puddles in that you cannot tell how deep they are by looking at the outside. Perhaps the men I took would have been less excited if we had also spent the night in the tribal location.  The return home required punching through some rain showers which left my passengers a bit shook up. In this tropical area even small rain showers can give passengers in a small aircraft quite a ride, so we avoid them when possible. We had some nice close-up views of lightning and a rain shower roller coaster ride. The end result is we have some more serious prayer partners petitioning the Father for aircraft safety and they know more than before that I’m serious when I say we need to go before the weather deteriorates. 

Talking between helicopter and Cessna flights

Talking between helicopter and Cessna flights

The cleanup comes after the flying is completed. Our helicopter pilot had the most work to do with drying out the nets and ropes used for sling loads, washing the mud out of the interior of the helicopter, greasing those moving parts and preparing the aircraft for a short time of inactivity.  After the flying, my work is supportive in getting the generator running so that the water pump will work, bringing out hoses and buckets, charging batteries for various carts and moving passengers to and from the airport. The generator fuel hose wasn’t as long as the fuel tank was deep so I will have to figure out how to bleed the air out of the injector pump before we have electricity again.  Also, the years of ocean salt finally ate its way into the water pump housing and created a major leak so I’ll be looking for a new pump and will get to play plumber for a day or two.

Missionaries waiting to board

Missionaries waiting to board

When not flying, one of my responsibilities is to meet our other aircraft to assist with refueling, unloading and loading of passengers and cargo. It is also an opportunity to see people we have not seen for a while and spend a few minutes “catching up.” One of our favorite things about flights from other areas is the fresh vegetables such as lettuce and carrots brought in on the flights.

Slinging Fuel Drums

Slinging Fuel Drums

 

Helicopter shuttles also keep Diana busy with many more hours of vigilence listening to the radio, preparing meals and sandwiches, passing on communications and praying for those involved.

Thank you for praying with us for the people of Papua New Guinea!

Propane sling load

Propane sling load

 

 

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1 Comment »

  1. Thanks for taking time to make this blog. I am working towards missions aviation and your posts have been motivating. May God bless you as you serve Him.

    Comment by Brett Wright — January 6, 2009 @ 10:06 pm | Reply


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