SmythsInPNG's Weblog

June 27, 2009

June 27, 2009

Filed under: Missions — smythsinpng @ 10:17 am
Highlands - Helicopter gets new tail boom

Highlands - Helicopter gets new tail boom

Life in PNG is getting back to “normal” now. 

The weather was beautiful for the flights returning the Akolet missionary team to their tribal homes.  These two young families had flown to Hoskins to participate in three events all happening in June: our annual Islands missionary retreat, a team translation workshop with two men from the Akolet tribe, and to have a language acquisition evaluation with more experienced fellow missionaries.  They were encouraged with their progress and eagerly look forward to the day when they will be able to teach God’s word clearly in the Akolet language.   May the Lord strengthen them as they seek to bring the message of salvation to the Akolet!

After landing in the Akolet tribe some people from the local clinic came running up to the aircraft.   An expectant mother was in distress due to a breach baby and the clinic did not have the personnel or equipment to meet her needs.  While I loaded the passengers, Diana tried to communicate with the hospital that we’d need an ambulance.  She is such a big help to me while I am flying.  Communication that we take for granted in the USA can be difficult in PNG.  All land lines and cell phones were not working.  Diana radioed to our aviation base in the Highlands, 300 miles away, and requested they call our nearest hospital to send an ambulance to meet Randy when he landed.   Thankfully the Goroka phones were working.  They successfully called our local hospital.   The ambulance arrived about fifteen minutes after we landed back at the main airport and transported the expectant mother to the local hospital.

There were five flights into the Mengen tribe this week. A work team of Canadian college students had gone to Mengen to assist our missionary co-workers there with desperately needed construction.  Now they were returning to “civilization” – the Islands regional support base, which initially seemed so primitive.  How grateful we are for the labor of this and other volunteer teams who accomplish so many needed projects for the team of career missionaries serving in PNG.  

The Mengen missionary team also flew to “civilization” for a much needed break from tribal living. The flights went well with only minor incidents.  Three flight instruments failed, but thankfully they were not essential for visual flight.   A baseball-sized spider exited the air vent shortly after takeoff and landed on my hand. It’s a good thing there were no passengers as I’m sure the aircraft made some unusual moves as my hands and feet made several semi-voluntary convulsive moves and my training screamed in my brain “Aviate! Fly the airplane!  Aviate!”  My skin sustained no injury but I must say the spider didn’t make it to 500 feet above ground level. 

 Diana and I are rejoicing that several large gifts were given enabling us to pay the remainder of Diana’s dental expenses!  We have several not so large medical bills coming due in the weeks ahead and the remainder of our moving expenses from 2007 yet outstanding, but there are indications that God is moving to resolve those burdens as well.

The anticipated work team for repairing the hangar will be coming in a little over two weeks.  Although we had initially talked about a large work team coming this year, we can see now that we would not have been able to adequately prepare for a large team.  The hangar the work team includes two men and a woman for two weeks. There will also be two men who will be visiting for six days and flying with me around the country to get a glimpse of missionary aviation.  The skills and effort of these people will be much appreciated!  We had several more experienced and willing workers but they did not have the funds to buy tickets for this year.  This parallels the recent message we heard about Gideon. He had 32,000 men to fight a Midianite army of 135,000.  God told him he had too many men. Gideon sent home 22,000 men who were timid or afraid.  God told him again that he had too many men, so 9,700 men were sent home, leaving only 300 men to fight against 135,000 Midianites.  God gave them the victory.  So, since this is God’s work, we are eager to see how God will use these few men to accomplish the work this year!

The Lord willing, we will have two, or more, larger work teams next year to finish the work in and around the hangar.   We will need someone with construction experience to come a month in advance to prepare for the work teams, organize and lead the labor. Please pray with us about these needs.

We are so appreciative of you who pray and encourage and support us as we work toward bringing Papua New Guinea people to faith and maturity in Christ!

Highlands - Our Cessna 206 aircraft get rebuilt about every 7-10 years

Highlands - Our Cessna 206 aircraft get rebuilt about every 7-10 years

Here are stories from some of the missionaries Randy transported in the aircraft these past few weeks.
Tobo: http://www.ntm.org/news/9731
Mengen: http://www.ntm.org/news/9699
http://www.ntm.org/news/9707
Akolet: http://www.ntm.org/news/9686

June 21, 2009

June 21, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — smythsinpng @ 8:04 am

Here in the Land of the Unexpected life is rarely dull. One surprise encounter this past week was with bees.

Two families from the Akolet tribe had finished their two week introduction to assisting with Bible translation and were ready to go home by airplane.  As I began my preflight inspection of the aircraft, the men began talking excitedly and brought my attention to some bees.

Here in the tropics insects flying around the aircraft are routine. The bright red paint of the aircraft attracts beautiful butterflies and “mud-dauber” hornets like to build their dirt nests in the aircraft’s many holes around hinges and air vents. But this was unusual.  I could hardly believe what I was seeing!  A large mass of bees was attached to the leading edge of the left wingtip fuel tank.  The swarm was about six inches wide, four inches thick and nine inches long. You will please excuse me if I didn’t actually measure the swarm!

Bees?!

Bees?!

I appreciated the warning from these men because my normal preflight inspection routine might have brought my hand or my nose within a threatening distance of the swarm before my mind comprehended the peril. 

Now what shall we do?  The Akolet men suggested that we just get in the airplane and fly. The wind stream would blow the bees away and we would suffer no harm. The thought was tempting but prudence prevented it.  If the clump was actually a nest instead of a swarm of bees, would it fall off or remain and affect the wing aerodynamics?  What if the bees were also in other hidden parts of the aircraft?  I needed to inspect the entire airplane before flight.  I didn’t know if the bees might actually swarm the aircraft cabin when disturbed and I certainly didn’t want to be trapped in a tiny aircraft cockpit along with one or two hundred bees.

 

Bee Swarm

Bee Swarm

The day before we had flown to a muddy airstrip and the aircraft had a thin cover of mud on one side.  I was planning to wash the airplane after the flight anyway.  Perhaps I could wash the bees off with a pressure washer, I thought.

We pulled the aircraft out of the hangar.  I was hoping that the hot sun would encourage the bees to move elsewhere. They stayed.  I laid out the power washer, hoses and power cords, then checked the fuel, water, oil and started up the electrical generator. I sprayed a heavy mist of water around me then pointed the wand of the pressure washer directly at the swarm. Sure enough! Wave after wave of bees made a bee line for me!  I was able spray them with water as they approached.  The swarm on the wing persisted. I got closer.  About half of the bees now moved to the propeller and the rest came after ME!  The mist of water around me as I waved the wand wildly at the oncoming bees seemed to affect their navigation and I escaped their malicious intentions.  Most of them returned to the propeller. The rest moved to the leading edge of the RIGHT wing tip tank.  This is not working! Time for another course of action!

Nest or Swarm?

Nest or Swarm?

I hopped in the van and drove the mile back to the Tribal Supply pantry. I bought two cans of bug spray and returned. So armed, I returned to my assault on the two swarms of bees clumped together on the propeller and the right wing. With one can I sprayed the swarm and with the other (or both!) I defended myself against the armed forces. Eventually the bees departed.  I continued washing the airplane with the pressure washer, checking every opening for more bees and beating back the few bees that persisted in their attempt to return.

Akolet Assistants

Akolet Assistants

I completed the preflight inspection, loaded the aircraft with cargo and passengers and departed with only an hour and a half delay. 

No bee stings!  Praise the Lord!

Spring 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — smythsinpng @ 6:55 am

We left PNG with a bang for our short medical trip to the USA. It was a shotguns fired kind of bang, though not aimed at us. Some “rascals” with masks, shotguns and bush knives tried to rob one of the passengers waiting for the aircraft.  But a quick-thinking missionary accelerated the car out of harm’s way and down the runway. That’s about the time I arrived overhead in the airplane. I wasn’t sure what was going on, so circled overhead while watching events unfold. As I made a low approach to the runway, I realized one of the guys standing in the middle of the runway was not chasing pigs off the runway but tracking the airplane (me) with a shotgun, so I banked the aircraft away from the runway before we were within range of the weapon. Meanwhile, the car and driver, having run out of runway, turned around and chased the rascals off the runway. Shots were fired at the car and later at the home of the intended victim.  There is nothing like an unexpected event as an appropriate send-off from Papua New Guinea, which is known as “The Land of the Unexpected!”

Spokane airport

Spokane airport

 

We returned to the USA for two and a half months to complete some dental work started years before.  All of our airline flights were conducted without incident. From our PNG home to the capital city was about an hour and a half, as was the flight from there to Australia. We left Australia in a Boeing 747, flew for twelve hours and arrived in Los Angeles the same day; two and a half hours before we departed due to the International Date Line. Altogether we spent about twenty hours in the various jets getting to Seattle.

 

Night Market

Night Market

We spent a few short days in Australia, trying to catch up on some needed rest, correspondence and to scout out the availability of things we need for use in Papua New Guinea.
Aussie Country

Aussie Country

We enjoyed a scenic afternoon drive along an Australian highway. It sure was nice to have pleasant roads on which to drive!

 CIMG7583Rainiersm

We spent two nights in Seattle to try sleeping off the jet lag and to acquire a few basic things like shoes and coats. A mild Seattle snow storm in the morning pressed home the urgency of acquiring coats. The sun came out later in the day and we were able to clearly see the beautiful snow capped Mount Rainier, along with the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges.

We were very warmly received at the Spokane airport by a group from our church bearing large welcome signs and gifts! The next day we were able to give a short presentation in church sharing a bit of what we see God doing among the tribes of Papua New Guinea.

101 Years!

101 Years!

 

 The first doctor visit went well, so while waiting for healing we flew off to Cincinnati to spend several days with Randy’s parents. They teach at a Bible college there. We then flew to Hartford to spend a little over a week with Diana’s family in Western Massachusetts. Her grandmother is over 101 years old. We had the privilege of sharing our ministry in a supporting church there and visiting briefly with friends.

 

Snow!

Snow!

Back in Spokane Diana was delighted by the few lingering snow falls; except the sliding down the road part.  Snow showers remind her of God’s showers of blessings and grace.

Beautiful Snow!

Beautiful Snow!

When most of the snow was gone, the deer grazed in the front yard of the home where we stayed.

Deer in the yard

Deer in the yard

We enjoyed seeing the beautiful colors of the tree blossoms blooming.

No More Snow

No More Snow

We visited doctors and dentists and bought necessities in preparation for our next few years in PNG. We also had the privilege of speaking in several small group Bible studies.

Food & Fellowship

Food & Fellowship

We very much appreciated having a quiet place to live and a reliable car to drive!  The church loaned us a van and a family in the church offered the use of their guest house for the during of our visit.   These give us the mobility we needed and enabled us to have people in our home for meals and fellowship.  Several of our guests are planning to come to Papua New Guinea in July to assist with our hangar repairs.

 

Catching Up

Catching Up

Randy’s brother works in Northern Idaho with GoodSeed International producing ministry materials for effective evangelism. Among many other duties he coordinates translation of books into other languages. Books in many languages are in various stages of completion.  See some at http://www.goodseed.com.

Anniversary Celebration

Anniversary Celebration

 

Randy’s parents came to Idaho for a visit our last week in the USA. We used the occasion to celebrate their 50th Wedding anniversary which is coming up in November when we will be overseas. Randy’s sister and her husband flew in from their ministry in Northern Mexico to celebrate. We are so grateful for parents who love God and have imparted eternal perspectives on life to their children!

Painting

Painting

We returned to Papua New Guinea in May with completed dental work and immediately began filling in the gaps in the flight service.  Since then we have moved a lot of missionary families, tribal translation assistants, building materials and a work team for the various tribal ministries.  The work team from Canada volunteered three days helping with the repairs on the hangar.  We are grateful for the assistance!

Canadian Work Team

Canadian Work Team

We are looking forward to having a small work team from Spokane and other parts come to PNG this year.  The Lord willing, we hope to have two larger teams next year to complete the needed hangar repairs.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.