Friday, 14 December 2012

A quick random summary

The last month has been a bit of a whirlwind for our family.  Since the MAF Congo team evacuated out of Congo it has been full on but never dull :)  We had one lady stay with us for two weeks before she headed back to Congo for a brief time before then heading onto Kenya to visit some family with her husband.  We had some good fellowship together as we have known this couple for a number of years.

I was called upon to do some de-briefing with the families of the team so that was spread out over a two week period and there have been subsequent follow-ups.  Two families are back in Congo and the remaining ones are still in Kampala.  The situation in Congo is being monitored and the families with young children will return at the "right" time.

Simon's back is doing much better and he started flying again last week.  He still has some pain in his bottom and lower leg but the physio said it will just take time to go away.  We are grateful that life has returned to almost "normal" for him and he can resume his flying duties.  Thanks to all of you who have been praying for him.

On Wednesday night Simon was baptised.  He had been baptised as an infant but felt it was right for him to be publically baptised as an adult giving an outward sign of his commitment to Christ.  The baptism was held at the University pool.  6 other people were baptised that evening also.  I will upload photos when I get the chance.  Joshua and Zara also came along and it was good for them to see and learn what baptism is all about.

The last couple of days I haven't been feeling too well and so finally went to the doctor.  I have been diagnosed with giardia and amoebas and need to do another test for bilharzia in a months time.  The bathroom and I are best friends at the moment :)  The medicine should do its job in a couple of days.  I would value your prayers that I recover well and that the rest of the family don't get it.

Joshua and Zara finished school today for the Christmas holidays.  They had a fun day with class parties and then were able to go swimming with friends afterwards.  They are excited about their Granny arriving on Sunday and have been counting down for some time now.  It will be good to spend time as a family during this Christmas season and have some rest and relaxation.

Tomorrow there is an airshow at Entebbe airport.  MAF is involved in this event along with other operators.  There will be static displays of aircraft as well as opportunities for people to pay to go on a flight.  There will also be some parachustists jumping and some aircraft displays by the Ugandan military.  Simon will be helping at the airshow by answering questions people have regarding MAF or the aircraft that is on display.  There might be informal opportunities for people sharing their faith also.

On Sunday our church is having their Nativity service.  Joshua is a wise man and Zara is going to be a donkey.  The Pastor said that its going to be a Nativity service with a difference.  We will let you know how that goes. :)

Well that about covers the last couple of weeks or so but hopefully it won't be too long before I post another entry with some photos etc.


Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Evacuation

Please pray for our team in C*ngo who are evacuating out of B*nia today.  There has been unrest for a few days now and the situation has escalated in G*ma in the south.  Roads were blocked to the airport but fortunately the families were able to leave their houses and make it to the airport this afternoon.  We will be hosting one couple and the rest of the families will be spread out.  Please pray for these team members as its not easy to leave in times like this especially when their C*ongolese friends have to stay behind.  Its an unsettling time and there is no definite time to return.   Pray for those that have been through this before as this is not the first time for a few of them.  Pray for the memories that it can generate and the losses that happen during these times.

Pray for wisdom for those making decisions that God would guide them clearly.  Pray for a spirit of unity during these days and that MAF Uganda will be a support to this team!  I will keep you updated.

1 Peter 5:7

Monday, 19 November 2012

Blessings in the midst of difficulty

Thanks to all of you reading this who have been praying for Simon.  He is greatly improved and the pain in his back is negliable.  He is having pain down his leg still which is related to the trapped nerve from his back.  However, that is easing over time so we are grateful for that.  He doesn't have to attend the doctor this week although will need to go for a check up next week.  He is hoping that he can return to flying next week even in a limited capacity but time will tell on that one.

Because he is able to stand comfortably and work he has been working on some wood projects for the hangar and the terminal building.  This has kept him busy along with his safety officer job.  However, sitting at the computer for long periods of time hasn't been easy so he has had to limit the amount of time he does but it is getting better and better.

For the past week we have had guests staying with us.  Zane McCourtney and his family have been living in Kitgum and ministering to the people in that region of Northern Uganda.  However, in recent months Summer, his wife, had to return to the States because of ill health.  Her health was so bad that she is not able to return to Uganda.  This has reversed their plans of living in Uganda for many years to come.  Due to the fact that they are in the midst of adopting 11 children Zane has had to remain in Uganda to see this adoption process finalised.   It is not a straight forward process and requires a lot of patience and perserverance.  You can follow their lives at their blogspot http://www.fromglory2glory.blogspot.com/  Zane has been down in Kampala this week trying to get paperwork done.  So we have been a family of three adults and 5 children. 

God has a way of working things out and so with Simon "grounded" and me still having to be out and about on occasions he has been able to watch Zane's children so he can go and run around visiting all the official offices.   I guess if you look hard enough you can find blessing in every circumstance. :)

Having said all that we would still value your prayers for Simon that he would make a full recovery and get back into flying again.  Also if you think of them please pray for the McCourtney family in this time of separation and as they navigate the adoption process in Uganda and the States.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Simon update

Thanks to all of you who have been praying for Simon.  He is doing much better and is now only going to the Dr. for treatment every other day instead of every day.  Progress is being made :)  He is off the MAF flight schedule for a further two weeks unless a miracle happens and he recovers fully within that time.

He is more mobile thankfully and is able to spend some time standing (he cannot sit for long periods) in the wood shop making picture frames for our new MAF hangar.  He continues with his "office" job of Safety Officer and was able to hold a meeting for that this week although he had to stand for most of it and the meeting went for 4.5 hours and they say women talk too much :)  Anyway we are glad he is doing better as it hasn't been fun at all watching him suffer in this way. 

We appreciate all the emails, facebook messages and sms's you have sent with your thoughts of encouragement and your prayers.  We look forward to the next two weeks and the progress he will make. :)

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Prolapsed Disc (Slipped disc)

Some of you have been asking how Simon is doing.  He is still not doing well and has been diagnosed with an acute prolapsed disc so he won't be flying for a while.  MAF has taken him off the flying schedule for three weeks but, if a miracle happens (always possible), then he can resume his flight duties again before then.

I have to say it has been a bit of a rough week.  Simon was in a lot of pain on Tuesday so much so that even the doctor, who is a man of very few words, said he is suffering alot.  He suggested an injection of morphine to help him manage the pain.  It did help and he has been able to move around a bit more.  Since then he has been attending the clinic for massage and manipulation each day.  Please pray with us that he would find relief soon and also that he would be able to sleep better at night.  The lack of sleep is catching up :)

Thanks for those of you have been praying.  We know God allows these things to happen for a reason so we are trusting Him for the days ahead.  With that in mind let me leave you with some verses that have been very helpful in recent days from Romans.

Romans 8:28-37

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

More Than Conquerors

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to lifeis at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[b]
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[c] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Stuck in Bundibugyo

Two weeks ago Simon flew to Bundibugyo.  This town is located to the West of Uganda on the border with Congo on the other side of the Rwenzori mountains.  It was supposed to be a quick flight and a short day for Simon.  However what you plan and what happens in actuality is sometimes very different.

There had been a lot of rain in that part of Uganda in recent days and had rained the whole night before Simon arrived.  This meant the airstrip was very wet.  The following photos will show what happened better than I could explain :)

One stuck plane!
Sweeping the loose grass aside which added to the problem
Thankfully there is always somebody around to help you out a tight spot
Thankfully more help came....
The 4WD vehicle did the trick and Simon was able to get the plane out the mud and loose grass

Malaria and back problems

If you have been wondering why it has been a bit quiet with the Wunderli's it has been because we have been battling on the health front.

Just over a week ago I had the symptoms of a bad flu which turned out to be malaria.  Due to us being out of Kampala for one night it seems likely that is probably where I picked it up.  Thankfully I am on the right side of it now and there is no more of it in my system.  Praise the Lord!  Not something I want to repeat although I still think I had milder symptoms that Simon did when he had it :).  I have to say I am grateful that is was me that got it and not Joshua or Zara.  Don't wish it on anyone.

Last week Simon was loading a plane for his trip to Congo and hurt his back in the process.  It is most likely a trapped nerve or slipped disk.  He went for treatment for it three times last week and will go again this coming week for another three treatments.  Fortunately or unfortunately, whatever way you want to look at it, he is off on holiday this coming week so it doesn't interfere with MAF's flight schedule.  However, our health issues did interfere with a prospectus holiday out of town for a couple of nights.  We will play catch up at some point :)

If you think of Simon please pray for healing.  Pray also that the doctor would have wisdom in the treatment that he gives and that Simon would find relief from it soon.

Friday, 5 October 2012

"Hurtling along on the edge of chaos"

The title to this post came from a sermon that was preached at our Church.  You can listen to the sermon series on their web page which you can access on our side bar under Freedom Church.  The sermon series is entitled "The Great Locomotive".  Sometimes our lives are like that here in Uganda where we feel like we are on a fast moving train.  This is not necessarily a bad thing and we are enjoying what God is doing in us and through us.  However, it might be the reason you haven't had a blog post in a while :)

I started a new season in Bible study in September.  It has been amazing how God has led in these studies and the things that are coming out of them.  With the two National Ugandan groups we are going through the book of Exodus, chapter by chapter, verse by verse.  We are learning a lot from the life of Moses and all that he had to deal with in his life from growing up in the courts of Pharaoh to tending sheep owned by his father-in-law, Jethro to then being the leader of the Israelites.  God has incredible plans for our lives if we give Him the freedom to reign.

In the International group I have ladies from all over the globe with different backgrounds and stories to tell.  We are currently going through "Lord, teach me to study the Bible in 28 days" by Kay Arthur.  This enables us as ladies to have the tools to study the Bible at a deeper level and to glean the nuggets of gold that are for everyone to find if we take the time to dig.  During this study we will dig deep into Jonah and the book of Jude.

A good friend of mine here in the MAF Uganda programme, Marieke Verboom, has joined me on this fast train ride in teaching the Bible.  She has a passion for God's Word and to see ladies thrive in that.  Before the summer I asked her if she would be willing to take on one of the groups and lead it. At the end of the summer, after some prayer, she decided to take on the MAF office ladies group.  Yesterday was her second time to teach on her own and she did a great job.  We are a good team and she also facilitates one of the groups in the International Bible study (yes its growing and needs to be split into two groups :))

I had a "dream" for these Bible studies at the beginning of September but only the bare bones.  This past week I added some meat to them as the Lord led.  I share these with you below.

  •  I want to develop these Bible Studies further – stretching people further than they have gone before
  • I want to develop them deeper – no surface studies but digging deep
  • I want to increase our numbers – because of this people are encouraged and it widens our learning because of hearing other people’s experiences.
  • I want more accountability within the group – praying for each other at a deeper level….sharing the good times and the bad times…..relationships that are deep enough that there is always someone you can be open and honest with whatever it might be and be corrective when necessary.
  • I want people coming with an expectant heart of what God is going to say to them, - Is this happening?  Do you hear God’s voice?
  • I want lives that are going to be changed because of proactivity, - When God speaks what do you to do with it? Are you living in obedience or are you shying away from God and His leading?
  • I want peoples’ faith increased – Do you trust God more because you have an increased knowledge of Him?  Do you have a passion to see your faith increased?  Are you being proactive about it? 
  • I want peoples’ dreams realized in their own lives. – What is your dream?  Have you realized it?  Are you living it?  Write it down and work with all your heart to achieve it even when there is obvious opposition.
If you think of it please pray for these Bible studies that, not only, will we have head knowledge but that it will become heart knowledge and it makes a difference in our lives.

Monday, 10 September 2012

A day trip to Sudan



Two weeks ago Joshua and Zara had the opportunity to fly with Simon before they headed back to school. They had the chance to go to Sudan in the 206 (6 seater).  This was their first time in Sudan and as Simon only had one passenger up and one passenger down there was plenty of room.  Sometimes we hear people say "oh your kids miss out on so much with living in Africa".   I think the opposite is true.  There are not many children who can say they flew to a different country for the day and their Daddy was the pilot :) 

Gun shot and malaria

Simon was doing the Northern shuttle flight this morning.  He had a plan for the day but as is normal things can change...read on to see how is day actually went...


I was supposed to have a “quick northern shuttle” flight with only two stops which is unusual in itself. I missed the fact that I was to refuel upcountry but luckily we had one no-show passenger which made it all work. On Sunday I had already received a text from our Operations Department (OPS) regarding a joining passenger from Matany hospital. Just before landing in ,where we were dropping an eye-surgery team, OPS called to ask if I could pick up an additional patient who needed more treatment in Kampala. There were plenty of seats so once we landed and unloaded I took on the two extra people. The gentleman had his right arm all cast up to his shoulder and he could hardly make it in-between the isle of the back seats to sit on the rear seat but with some maneuvering he finally managed. Just before landing in Moroto (supposedly second and last stop) OPS again called to see if I could stop in Amudat to pick up a malaria patient who needed treatment in Kampala. Being only another 20 minutes away that also worked out fine. Whilst waiting in Amudat for the vehicle to arrive (they had a 40 minute driving time to the airstrip) we got talking to the guy who had his arm in a cast that we picked up in Matany. His story was an eye opener and showed why we fly so regularly around northern Uganda.   He was on a motorbike heading from Matany down to Soroti driving slowly in high gear because of the terrible state of the road when not too far from him he saw four guys. They all had AK47’s and the first one lifted his gun and fired. The bullet hit him in the upper right arm shattering bone and immediately rendering the arm completely useless. He fell off his motorbike and was sure that they would now “finish him off”. Instead they came and stole USH 270’000 (all his cash) from his wallet along with his bottle of water and walked off into the bush. Luckily nearby people had heard the gun shots and reported it to the nearest army post.  The military then came with a vehicle and loaded him and his motorbike up and drove him to Matany Hospital. There they were able to clean and disinfect the wound but he will need extensive surgery to set the bone as it is completely shattered and there is also no feeling in his hand as it seems the nerves were damaged as well. This happened on Saturday afternoon between 3pm and 4pm. On Sunday two more people were killed during ambushes. Though we hardly hear of these incidences here in Kampala and don’t even read about them in the newspaper they are daily occurrences in this area. Some local people on the ground who had joined our group in Amudat, while waiting on the malaria patient, said that they could easily be LDU people (Local Defense Units) which were set up during the Kony war. They now work with government but can supposedly easily switch from uniform to the local wrap-around and commit such ambushes before slipping into uniform again. As one can imagine it is hard to near impossible to find the guilty culprits.
If these people come to your mind please pray for them.  Pray for a full recovery and for the finances to meet their needs.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Please pray for the McCourtney Family

Summer and Zane McCourtney with their 13 children are going through a difficult season in their lives.  We have know Summer and Zane for many years and till now their hearts and lifes were forever going to be in Uganda.  However, God has a way of changing things and so I have copied a part of their blog post to our blog so you can see what is going on.  If you would like to keep up to date with their progress to move back to the US then you can visit them at www.fromglory2glory.blogspot.com  please pray for them with regards to their adopted children.  They are working through the minefield of officials and government offices in two countries so that the family can live all together in the States.  This is a complicated process and, as far as we know, has never been done before.  Thankfully we serve a Heavenly Father who has all the keys to make it work.  I leave you with their blogpost from 23/7/12 to give you a bit of a insight into the situation.  If you think of them please pray!

What I can share.

What I can share..."this was not the plan." Summer being in Oregon while Zane and eleven of our thirteen children remain behind in Northern, Uganda. What we thought would be a short term separation has turned into something much more. The Lord has not revealed all of the details, but we would ask for your prayers and intercession. Mountains, huge mountains, are going to need to be moved. The cattle on a thousand hills that God speaks of in Psalm 50:10...well, he just might have to sell about 100 head.

What I can share...hearts will need to be soft towards our families unique situation, from the High Court Judge to the children's living relatives.

What I can share...it was determined, through a series of new blood tests, that Summer does indeed have Lyme's Disease as well as Vitamin D deficiency. There is also suspicion that she is still being plagued by parasites. Right now she is taking two different antibiotics and high doses of vitamin D. Side effects are common. In three weeks time Summer will return to the Naturopath for yet another drug to be introduced, this one is meant to target the Lyme's Disease spirochetes. Would you please pray for Summer's body, she is very weak and frail.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Back to normal....what is that?

After a busy two weeks in Scotland visiting with family, friends and some supporters I am now back in Uganda.  It was good to see people and touch base with our home church at Wester Hailes Baptist church.  Thanks to all of you who made Joshua, Zara and I most welcome and who continue to be interested in our life and work with MAF in Uganda.

Joshua and Zara enjoyed their time in Scotland and were, of course, enjoying the delights of many things that came their way including being spoiled by Granny, Aunties, Uncles and the list goes on.  One thing they really enjoyed was to go out on the street and play on their bikes with friends they have made over the years when we have been on furlough.  Not having to specially arrange play dates but having the freedom just to go out was fun for them.  It was also fun for me because I didn't have to organise the logistics of the play dates either :) 

Thankfully Simon took a week off on our return and it has been great catching up with him since we were gone for two weeks and a couple of weeks prior to that it seemed like he was more in the sky than at home.  Thankfully these times pass and things settle back into a normal routine.  Joshua and Zara have just over a week of holidays left before the new school term starts.  I picked up new school uniforms for them today and the school is abuzz with preparations for the new term.  I was just wondering how all the construction projects that are underway will be finished on time.  However, there is nothing like the pressure of time to get a job done. :)

The first week of September I will be heading to Nairobi again for some meetings with MMCT (Mobile Member Care Team).  If you are wondering what MMCT does then the following statement from their website says it very well.

The Mobile Member Care Team (MMCT) is a  multidisciplinary, inter-mission team whose name says it all:  We provide a range of MEMBER CARE services like training workshops, consultations, brief counseling, psychological assessents and crisis response for missionaries.  And we're MOBILE, providing these services right where misionaries live and work. 
Proactive, compassionate member care like the kind provided by MMCT can build resilence among missionaries, prevent burnout and promote the resolution of team, interpersonal and marriage conflicts.  MMCT's services can also help missionaries remain in effective service when they pass through crises like civil war, kidnappings, car jackings, armed robberies, assault and other traumatic events.
Our staff, all missionaries themselves, have backgrounds in personnel development, counseling, pastoral care, training and leadership in cross-cultural settings.  Strengthening the missionary community for healthy, loving service in the midst of challenge, change and crisis is our passion. 

I  have had the privilege of being on MMCT East African Advisory Board for the past year and have been asked to be on it again.  This is a great honour and blessing to work with some very special people.  We will be planning for the future which will include when and where to host various training courses like SYIS (Sharpening your Interpersonal Skills) and MCMC (Member Care while Managing Crisis), looking at what was achieved in the last year and brainstorming new ideas for the future.  Pray for us as a team that we would be obedient to what God has called us and MMCT EA to for this new year and that hearts, souls and minds would continue to be touched through this ministry.

Thank you for your continued support of  our family as we serve Him in Uganda.  It has been an amazing 10+ years and we look forward to continued service with MAF and partner organisations.  If you or your Church would like to know more about us and what we do then please do not hesitate to contact us with your questions at simon.wunderli@maf.org or pam.wunderli@maf-uganda.org



A week in the life of a MAF Pilot - Simon

A few months ago Simon was asked to write up, for MAF, how a day shapes up for him in the Uganda program.  He actually wrote up how a week can turn out.  This story was to give supporters and MAF enthusiasts a clue as to what happens on the field.  The following story was published in the Life and Work magazine of which I had hoped to copy and paste in our blog but was unsuccessful.  For those who are on our blog notification list you will have received the Life and Work edition to your personal email account.  However, for those not on our blog notification list I found Simon's first copy of it and have posted it for you.....enjoy the read!


Where do you sweat in 50°C temperatures without actually sweating whilst easily drinking 6 litres a day? Sudan in the dry season! I just recently spent a week with AidSudan (now Every Village) to install their satellite dishes for live radio broadcasting.

Meeting Kerry, Kerrie-Jean and Wayne early Monday morning at MAF’s home base in Kajjansi I first did a detailed pre-flight inspection before loading up 1050 kilos of hardware, tools, food stuff, medicines and bags. Every remaining kilo was used up by fuel. Weighing just over 4 tons we took off into the calm morning skies. A quick stop after 1.5 hours flight in Arua (northern Uganda) to do immigration and refuel and the same again after 2.5 hours flight on the other side of the border in Wau (South Sudan) brought us to Malualkan after just another quick 30 minute hop. Steve who works with “Kush for Christ” was waiting for us on arrival there.

A short ½ hour drive took us to their compound on which the radio mast and studio are built. We immediately went to work running electricity out to the dish and connecting the computer and the receiver. Our techie Wayne had come all the way from Canada to assist AidSudan to get a signal lock on the satellite to enable live streaming from Texas where AidSudan is headquartered. After some trial and error things were looking good with the satellite locked on and receiving a good signal but we still couldn’t get the music streaming. Kerry phoned Canada to get advice from the company’s help desk and we soon found out that despite being told that all settings were preset they were not the settings that were required. So we continued fiddling with settings until we were all hungrily summoned to dinner. It was a lively dinner catching up with the Kush for Christ folks and having a laugh and a muck-around with the kids who were soooo excited to have visitors. After dinner we returned to the site to start cementing a 1.5 m pad for the dish which had up until now been sitting on the sandy ground. Just before 10 pm we finally finished mixing and shoveling cement and after a refreshing shower dropped into bed and a fitful sleep. In the morning we bolted the sat dish to the pad, reconfigured the settings and when we had done as much as we could do we repacked everything, loaded the car and said good-bye to our wonderful hosts.

Before loading up the plane we enjoyed a quick lunch of goat stew and chapati at the local market. A short flight of 40 minutes found us landing in Tonj. There “In Deed and Truth” run a hospital and a radio transmitter is soon to become part of that ministry. Just after we arrived at the hospital we witnessed an intake of patients with bullet wounds from nearby cattle rustling. Sadly this is all too common. As the beds were full the doctors were performing surgery outside on the cement walks.  We then spent the rest of the day assembling the sat dish before heading off to dinner and an early bed. The next day we did the same as in Malualkon – bolting the sat dish to a stable base, locking on to the satellite and trying to get the streamer to work (again without luck). Just before dinner we had everything set up. At 5 am in the morning we visited the site because of high winds from a near-by storm. Despite our fear of finding the sat dish gone everything was where we’d installed it. After a few more hours rest we again were in the ambulance driving out to the airstrip to load the plane.

We left Kerrie-Jean, a bunch of equipment, medicines and food stuff in Tonj. Kerrie-Jean is a nurse and is currently spending a month helping out at the hospital before returning with the next flight back to Uganda. From Tonj we flew to Rumbek to load up on fuel before continuing to Nasir, the third radio transmitter site. In Nasir we had to wait some time before two donkey carts showed up to carry all our equipment. From the airstrip we walked about 45 minutes to the AidSudan compound where we set up our camp. From there it was another half hour walk to the radio transmitter. We got there only to find that the preparation work had been done but needed improved. I immediately got to work bracing the base tower on which the sat dish was to stand and then proceeded to bolt down the dish while Wayne ran all the cabling into the generator house and transmitter room. Kerry started measuring out and marking the boundary of the new compound which is now being built around the radio station. Night came too soon and by torch light we finished the set-up and were overjoyed when we even got the first live stream working. Sadly we were missing a connector to hook everything up to the radio tower for broadcasting but that will be a small thing to do on the next trip. Completely worn out we walked back to our camp where our cold dinner of beans and rice was waiting. A quick wash out of a 20 liter jerry can helped wash away a bit of the dirt and grime before I crawled under my mosquito net and fell asleep on a mattress sitting on 16 radio receivers boxes we had flown up on a previous trip and are awaiting to be distributed to the local population through the local church

In the morning the donkey cart showed up on time and before long we were again sweating whilst loading the plane for the last time. But we were soon able to cool down at our cruising altitude of 12500 feet for the 3.5 hour flight back to Entebbe.

Once running these radios will transmit God’s Word and Biblical teaching in the local Luer language into the heart of the community. Local broadcasting is already happening in Malualkon and eternity will tell the story of how many lives will be changed through this work and ministry.

Once again it’s been an amazing privilege to have a window of opportunity to experience, see and help one of our many partners in their work in Sudan. Despite all the problems and bad press coming from the newest country on this planet  - South Sudan – God is at work transforming lives and communities.  Would you commit to pray for South Sudan and for MAF as we partner with other organisations like AidSudan in order to tell the lost and the needy about Christ?

Simon

MAF Pilot
(To find out more about the work of MAF across the developing world, please visit www.maf-uk.org)

Thursday, 19 July 2012

This and that....

These past two weeks we had a visit from a friend from Scotland.  I have known Carol for many years and so it was fun to have her come and see our lives in Uganda.  The two weeks went by very quickly as we filled it with different things.  Carol was able to go on a flight with Simon and see a bit of life upcountry. She, very much, enjoyed all the children that flock round the plane on its arrival.  This must have something to do with her being a Primary School teacher :)  I think, in total, they visited 5 different places.  She was pretty tired by the end of the day.

She also got to sit in on the three Bible studies I teach during the week.  It was great to be able to introduce her to so many special people and be involved in the conversations that come up during these times.  One of the Bible studies I teach can be challenging as you never know what questions might come up. They usually are off the subject but we try and deal with them as best we can.  I thought I had escaped this past week but one of the guys came up with the question about the diversity of race and colour and how all that happened from one couple back in the Garden of Eden.  It sure keeps me on my toes.

Our nightguard Moses told us a few months ago that Robinah, his wife, was expecting their 5th child.  The wee baby boy came into the world while Carol was here so we were able to go and visit him a week after he was born.  To describe the setting of where this family live would not do it justice.  We navigated a small stream of sewer water as we wound our way through the one bedroom houses until we finally arrived at Moses house.  He stays with his family in one room which has two beds in it for a family of 7 (although the oldest boy is at boarding school).  We had a good time of fellowship together with them and got to meet the newest member of the family.  Simon and I were given the honour of naming their little boy.  We called him Samuel David.  We named two of their other children also through the years so we feel like we have extended family :)

Carol left early on Tuesday morning to return to Scotland with a lot of memories to share with her family.  I think the biggest challenge is to try and convey what she saw and experienced in words.  Not an each challenge for those who have visited us here.

Our next guests arrive in a weeks time for a few days.  Emma, you might remember, arrived in Uganda at the beginning of June.  She stayed with us for three weeks before moving onto Fort Portal to work with some friends there who are involved in women's ministry and Farming God's Way.  She will come back with Luan (friend of ours whom she worked with in Fort Portal) and stay with us until she returns to the States to start college again.  We pray that her summer experience in Africa has been a rich and enjoyable one.

Two days after Emma leaves I will be heading to Scotland for two weeks with Joshua and Zara.  Unfortunately Simon can't join us because of his flying commitments but we look forward to visiting with family and friends.  The reason for this visit is that we are planning to change the way we do furlough.  For the past 10+ years we have always gone home for two months every two years whereby we spend one month in Scotland and one month in Switzerland.  It proves to be a crazy time for us as we try and see as many people as possible.  Our last furlough wasn't that easy as Joshua struggles with all the change and lack of routine.  To try and accommodate that we will be doing furlough once a year now for a month.  We will start this new schedule next year with a month in Switzerland and then in 2014 we will head to Scotland.  We thought that three years between visits to Scotland might be too much so I will head there in August for a quick trip to help cover this.  We would value your prayers for this time when we are apart from Simon that God would keep us all safe and healthy.  Especially pray for Zara in this time of separation from Daddy.  She doesn't enjoy Simon being away (he has had a few trips away this year already) but hopefully with it being "her" away it will go easier.

Thank you for your continued interest in our lives and for the support you give.  It makes the difference!

Friday, 29 June 2012

A long awaited update

For those of you who think we are "lost" (a Ugandan expression for having not heard or seen us for a long time) since we haven't posted anything for a while we are still here just been a bit busy.

At the beginning of June we had a guest arrive for almost three weeks.  Emma Blackwelder is a student in a college in Missouri, USA.  We first met Emma back in 2010 when we were in Dubai.  We have kept in contact since that time and she asked if she could come and visit us in Uganda and do some ministry with us.  She spent the first two weeks with us as we acclimatised her to life in Africa.   She was also able to go on a flight with Simon and see more of Uganda.  Friends of ours, Luan and George Fellman, who work out in Fort Portal (Western Uganda) had kindly agreed to have Emma out there with them for a few weeks as we have another guest arriving next week.  Anyway Emma is interested in Women's ministry so she was able to attend the Bible studies that I teach and she will see how Luan does ministry with the ladies in the village where she lives.  I am postive she will go home with quite a few tales to tell. :)

Luan also stayed with us for a week during Emma's time with us.  This turned out to be very beneficial so they could meet and chat about what was going to take place over the next weeks.  Luan took her into Kampala on public transport and showed her the delights of the city.  Things like the crazy taxi park, the joys of bartering for things and going to a class on how to make soap (that didn't go quite as planned for the teacher).

They both left for Fort Portal last Thursday on the bus and made it safely there.  We pray that they have a great few weeks together ministering to the ladies in the west of Uganda.

Simon has also been away on a couple of Sudan trips this month.  Thankfully the weather has been kind and he hasn't had any of the repeat of his previous trips of getting stuck in the mud.  Yesterday he just came back from a trip to Nasir dropping off a lot of supplies for the Aid Sudan team.  I am sure I will hear more about the trip over the weekend.  He was away early again today as he had two flights, one to northern Uganda in the morning and then a flight to Congo in the afternoon.

Our MAF programme has shrunk a bit over the last couple of weeks due to families heading out for furlough.  We pray that they get some rest in between all the meetings and visiting.  It can be a busy time also.  Please pray for our programme here, if you think of it, as the workload gets busier for those of us who remain here. 

Next week we have another guest with us for two weeks, Carol Weir.  Some of you reading this post will know her very well.  She was my Bible class teacher when I was a child at Wester Hailes Baptist Church and a special friend.  We are looking forward to her visit and showing her our life here in Uganda.  We are hoping to be able to get her on a MAF flight with Simon and so she can experience more of Uganda than just Kampala :)  We will see how that goes.

Joshua and Zara finished school yesterday and are overjoyed at being on holiday.  They also got their end of term reports this week.  Thankfully they are both doing very well at school and we are proud of them.

The week before last Simon and I were invited to go to school for a special assembly called the WOW awards.  These WOW awards are for achievement, progression and creativity in various subject areas.  Joshua gained a certificate of outstanding achievement in French and also received an achiever badge.  He also succeeded in getting his gold merit badge this week for reaching 150 house points.  He was so determined to get this badge before the end of term as he had already had attained his bronze and silver.  It was definately a week of celebration and made all the hard work worth it.

Thanks to all of you who have been praying for the Bible studies I have been teaching.  We came to the end of our study on Spiritual Warfare a couple of weeks ago.  Our new study has already started on the "I AM| sayings of Christ.  In order to get people to dig people deeper into the Word and because we are using a guided study book for this Bible study I have asked for volunteers to lead it.  Four ladies signed up for it and it has been wonderful to see how much they get out of the preparation time because they have to dig deep.   We will continue Bible study until the end of July and then we will take a break for one month.  The Bible study group in the MAF office will continue for another three weeks as will the new group that started a few weeks ago for day guards and house staff which includes two men :).  It has been a joy to lead these studies and see the women grow in their love and knowledge of the Lord.  Pray as we look at what we should study in September and how it is going to look like.

On a different note please continue to pray for Simon's Mum who had two lots of chemotherapy last week.  She is doing well as far as I have heard but keep praying.  Thanks!

Again, we say thank you to all of you who continue to support us in our work here with MAF.  We know a lot of you pray for us and we value those prayers.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

 Got to love those "donkeys" that carry all the cargo and people...the four legged one and the one with wings.


The solar panels being put on the top of the invertor house


Mud glorious mud unless you are trying to get a plane off the ground.


The work team


Simon hard at it with the man from the solar panel company trying to use every available moment to get the job done in time.

Simon said by the time they got back to Kajjansi Scotty needed a serious bath.




Beautiful South Sudan taken from the top of a mast.

Catch up

I can't believe it has been so long since I have posted something on our blog.  This month seemed to go by at top speed.  It started out with Joshua's 9th birthday on the 1 May and then tomorrow will be Zara's 7th birthday.  We had a joint birthday party for them last weekend with some friends.  There was a total of 16 children and 10 adults.  Wow it was full on but the kids had fun with a BBQ, cakes, sweets and games which included water surprisingly enough.

Simon was away this month for a couple of nights with Aid Sudan.  He travelled to a place called Nasir which is about 4.5 flight hours one way.  It is in the middle of nowhere and very much a"village".  Simon was helping the teams with an invertor system so that they could power the radio for broadcasting chr*stian programmes.  It was a busy time for the team to get it all done so long hours were put in but were very satisfied when everything was accomplished.  They had hoped to come home a day earlier but the planes wheels got stuck in the cotton soil (black mud that is very sticky) and so there was no way they could take off.  They just prayed it didn't rain anymore as they would have been delayed further.   Thankfully the rain held off (answer to prayer) and they were able to get off the ground and return to Kampala.  We give thanks for the Aid Sudan team and for the ministry they are doing in South Sudan.

The MAF Guesthouse closed this month due to economic restraints.  It was sad to see this ministry come to an end but we are grateful that all the staff have found new jobs and that they are all working in the same area so we get to bump into them now and again.  I will continue teaching two of them in a Bible study during their lunch hour so that is a blessing that we can keep up with that.

We had a guest from Switzerland this month, Ruth Stocker, who is from Simon's home church.  She stayed with us for two weeks before heading to the east of Uganda to look at some other ministries.  It was a pleasure to have her in our home and Joshua and Zara also enjoyed all the additional attention that comes with having a guest which included Swiss chocolate and toys.

Next week we have another guest, Emma Blackwelder who is a student at a University in Missouri.  She will be using her summer break to do some ministry in Uganda.  We first met Emma in Dubai when we were there two years ago and have kept up with her since then.  She will arrive in a weeks time whereby she will stay with us for two weeks and then head out to Fort Portal to do some women's and village ministry with George and Luan Fellman.

Some other news is that we have changed churches.  After over 8 years at Calvary Chapel we decided, for various reasons, that it was time to move on.  Over the years we have enjoyed the teaching and worship at Calvary and have gained so much from our time there.  For the past two months we have been going to a church plant called Freedom Church which comes out of the UK.  (www.freedomchurch.co.uk)  They are located in a cinema in the heart of Kampla so the seats are very comfortable. :)  The worship is very different to what we are used to but good for us to get out of our comfort zones.   The teaching and creative pieces they display on the big screen have challenged us in our christian walk and make us think bigger which is sometimes what we need.  Joshua and Zara are loving Boom Town (Sunday School) and also get a lot out of the main event.  For now we will continue at this Church unless the Lord moves us on. :)

We just heard from Simon's parents this week that Simon's Mums' cancer has started to grow again.  We are not completely surprised as we knew that things were not right when they came to visit us in Uganda in April.  However, it is disappointing to hear the news.  Please pray for Bethli and for Fritz as they come to terms with this news and the chemotherapy that is planned for 18 June.  Of course, we pray for healing for her which we know God can do but more importantly we pray for God's will to be done in this difficult situation for them and the rest of the family.

I am coming to the end of teaching our women's Bible studies on Spiritual Warfare.  It has been a 5 week series and it has been fun to worship and study together with the ladies.  God has given us all we need to stand firm against the enemy (Ephesians 6) and we are grateful for the truths we have learned through His Word.  This Wednesday will be the last week and we will be looking at the lies women believe.  Please pray for us that we would be women who listen to God and His word and not the lies that the devil would like to sow in our minds.

I do hope to add some photos to this blog soon to show you some of the things that I mentioned in this "catch up".  Hopefully in the coming week if the internet stays at a reasonable speed :)

Thanks again for your prayers for us.  It makes a difference in our lives!!!!

Friday, 4 May 2012

Hangar Dedication


The ground being prepared for the hangar structure to go up


Delivery of the hangar in containers....its amazing that this structure fit in a few containers...glad I wasn't the one packing it.



More ground preparation....


Finally a structure


a structure with a back wall and sliding doors being assembled




Offices being constructed



 A view of the new hangar and the old hangar...


The celebrations about to commence with the MAF US team working on a plane at the same time :)

Could this be a future pilot from MAF....one our wee "MAF kids"


This post was supposed to be available last week but we have had some internet/connection issues.  Not all the photos uploaded and it took almost 24 hours to upload these ones :)  Anyway glad it has worked now.
Two weeks ago we had the dedication of our new MAF Hangar.  It was a challenging project from the beginning to the end but we are glad to see it up and in use now.  Together as a team we celebrated with worship, speeches and food.  We pray that it will be blessing to all those who work in it and that our planes will continue to be a blessing to many in the countries that MAF Uganda serves.  If you would like to see the video of the dedication then you can find it at the following location https://www.zeta-uploader.com/1561147595
If you are reading this and you supported this project in anyway then we say a big thank you to you. 

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Nyiragongo Volcano, EDRC

Simon had a flight into Congo not that long ago.  As he was flying to Goma, his destination in EDRC he was able to fly over an active volcano and take some photos.  You can enjoy them below.  Joshua was very impressed.






A visit from the Grandparents

Yesterday we said goodbye to Simon's parents who came to visit us for three and a half weeks.  We had an enjoyable time with them.  Joshua and Zara were on holiday from school for Easter break so we took the opportunity to go away for a few days as a family.  We went down to the South West of Uganda and enjoyed a beautiful part of God's creation.

It is always good to see the country where you live through visitors eyes.  After over 10 years in Uganda the things we see are often just normal for us.  However, the oohs and ahhh's from the back of the car often tell us that something we take for granted as a part of life is not quite what people are used to when they come from the west.  I have included some photos to show you courtesy of Simon's parents.

The photos are a bit random in order due to the length of time it has taken me to download them but the captions should make it self explanatory.

 On our way down to Queen Elizabeth via the Equator.


Joshua and Zara enjoying the boat ride on Kazinga Channel


Saturday must have been "butcher" day as each village we passed through had varying degrees of cut up carcasses for sale


Bricks being baked in hot ovens along the roadside


 Our wee family


A special treat was a leopard sighting.  Unfortunately I didn't have time to change lenses so I could have a closer photo of it.  It slinked away into the bush but it was an amazing sight.  Not one you see very often at all.


J, Z and I on the top of the boat.  You can just see one of three elephants in the background that were walking along the river bank.  Along with elephants we saw hippos, a monitor lizard, crocodile and birds of varying sorts.



On our way home we stopped to buy some fish which were caught in Lake Victoria.  We had them for dinner that night.


These fish were of the tilapia variety.  They have a strong smell so we didn't want them in the car so as is custom here we had them attached to the front of our car.  At one point one of the fish started flapping in the wind so it looked like it was flying.  Thankfully it didn't fly off!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Bits and pieces

The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind.  Simon came home a week past Sunday from South Africa and then his parents arrived for a three week visit the next day.  Simon's training down in South Africa went well but he was glad to come home and have life go back to normal (whatever that is :))

I have just finished teaching on the topic of Prayer for our ladies Bible study.  It truly has been an amazing time with the different groups and hearing how God has been speaking to them through this time of study and personal time on prayer.  I wish I could list all the encouraging things I have heard :)

The plan was to continue in our snail pace of walking through the Bible but God had other plans.  On April 25, after the school holidays, we will begin a new topic on Spiritual Warfare.  This was not what I thought would happen but definitely follows on well from our Prayer study.  Please, if you think of it, pray for this study and for our time together that it will be a time of great learning and encouragement.

I would also value your prayers as there have been some difficult member care issues to deal with.  Not everything goes smooth on the missionfield :)  Pray for wisdom for those involved and that issues would be resolved in a good way.  Thank goodness Simon is a support in this line of work.

On Saturday we are officially on holiday for one week.  Joshua and Zara finish up school on Friday for two weeks.  It will be nice to have a break and to spend some quality time with Simon's parents. 

Thank you to all of you who keep us in prayer.  We appreciate you and glad that you have our backs! 

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

You never know what a day brings.....

Simon left as planned on Sunday morning (5:30am) for his trip to South Africa.  Unfortunately he never did make it on the plane.  When he got to the check-in they told him he couldn't fly because his yellow fever vaccination needed to be at least 10 days old he had just got it renewed the previous week. (this is a new policy of which nobody we know has ever heard about) Well thankfully he was able to sort it all out in a clinic in Entebbe and was rebooked on the next flight out to South Africa on Monday morning.  He made it in time for the afternoon session so he hasn't missed much at all.  Please pray for him over these next two weeks as he completes his instrument training and check pilot renewal course.  He is there with another MAF Uganda pilot so I am sure there will be some fun too.

Joshua, Zara and I are adjusting to life without him for this time.  Thankfully Joshua and Zara are used to Daddy being away on occasions so its not strange to them although they are still counting down the days till his return.  Thanks to all of you who are praying for us during this time we appreciate it.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Photos from Simon's Aid Sudan trip


From L to R - Wayne, Kerry, Kerrie-Jean and Simon


Walking to the radio station to start work


 Doing the "nightshift" to try and get the work completed


Will it work or not....now its time to test it....with a little help from a wee friend


 Simon's bed for the night...a mattress on top of 6 boxes containing radio receivers...he said he slept well :)

Donkey helping the team out by carrying all their supplies to the plane


This is "home"for this night anyway


A mission hospital in Tonj treating a man who had received a bullet wound from cattle rustlers.


(Permission was granted for these photos to be taken and shown)

This man was driven up to another hospital in a place called Wau.  The journey took 3 hrs by ambulance.  Along with him were two other bullet casualties.  There were only beds for two in the ambulance but somehow they squeezed the third one in.  In Africa there is always room for one more.

All modes of transport are necessary and vital....in this picture a donkey and a "Caravan" all serving a great purpose.

An update from Simon on his trip in Sudan


Where do you sweat in 50°C temperatures without actually sweating whilst easily drinking 6 liters a day? Sudan in the dry season! I just recently spent a week with AidSudan to install their satellite dishes for live radio broadcasting.

Meeting Kerry, Kerrie-Jean and Wayne early Monday morning at MAF’s home base in Kajjansi I first did a detailed pre-flight inspection before loading up 1050 kilos of hardware, tools, food stuff, medicines and bags. Every remaining kilo was used up by fuel. Weighing just over 4 tons we took off into the calm morning skies. A quick stop after 1.5 hours flight in Arua (northern Uganda) to do immigration and refuel and the same again after 2.5 hours flight on the other side of the boarder in Wau (South Sudan) brought us to Malualkan after just another quick 30 minute hop. Steve who works with “Kush for Christ” was waiting for us on arrival there.

A short ½ hour drive took us to their compound on which also the radio mast and studio are built. We immediately went to work running electricity out to the dish and connecting the computer and the receiver. Our techie Wayne had come all the way from Canada to assist AidSudan to get a signal lock on the satellite to enable live streaming from Texas where AidSudan is headquartered. After some trial and error things were looking good with the satellite locked on and receiving a good signal but we still couldn’t get the music streaming. Kerry phoned Canada to get advice from the company’s help desk and we soon found out that despite being told that all settings were preset they were not the settings that were required. So we continued fiddling with settings until we were all hungrily summoned to dinner. It was a lively dinner catching up with the Kush for Christ folks and having a laugh and a muck-around with the kids who were soooo excited to have visitors. After dinner we returned to the site to start cementing a 1.5 m pad for the dish which had up until now been sitting on the sandy ground. Just before 10 pm we finally finished mixing and shoveling cement and after a refreshing shower dropped into bed and a fitfull sleep. In the morning we bolted the sat dish to the pad, reconfigured the settings and when we had done as much as we could do we repacked everything, loaded the car and said good-bye to our wonderful hosts.

Before loading up the plane we enjoyed a quick lunch of goat stew and chapati at the local market. A short flight of 40 minutes found us landing in Tonj. There “In Deed and Truth” run a hospital and a radio transmitter is soon to become part of that ministry. Just after we arrived at the hospital we witnessed an intake of patients with bullet wounds from nearby cattle rustling. Sadly this is all too common. As the beds were full the doctors were performing surgery outside on the cement walks.  We then spent the rest of the day assembling the sat dish before heading off to dinner and an early bed. The next day we did the same as in Malualkon – bolting the sat dish to a stable base, locking on to the satellite and trying to get the streamer to work (again without luck). Just before dinner we had everything set up. At 5 am in the morning we visited the site because of high winds from a near-by storm. Despite our fear of finding the sat dish gone everything was where we’d installed it. After a few more hours rest we again were in  the ambulance driving out to the airstrip to load the plane.

We left Kerrie-Jean, a bunch of equipment, medicines and food stuff in Tonj. Kerrie-Jean is a nurse and is currently spending a month helping out at the hospital before returning with the next flight back to Uganda. From Tonj we flew to Rumbek to load up on fuel before continuing to Nasir, the third radio transmitter site. In Nasir we had to wait some time before two donkey carts showed up to carry all our equipment. From the airstrip we walked about 45 minutes to the AidSudan compound where we set up our camp. From there it was another half hour walk to the radio transmitter. We got there only to find that the preparation work had been done but needed improved. I immediately got to work bracing the base tower on which the sat dish was to stand and then proceeded to bolt down the dish while Wayne ran all the cabling into the generator house and transmitter room. Kerry started measuring out and marking the boundary of the new compound which is now being built around the radio station. Night came too soon and by torch light we finished the set-up and were overjoyed when we even got the first live stream working. Sadly we were missing a connector to hook everything up to the radio tower for broadcasting but that will be a small thing to do on the next trip. Completely worn out we walked back to our camp where our cold dinner of beans and rice was waiting. A quick wash out of a 20 liter jerry can helped wash away a bit of the dirt and grime before I crawled under my mosquito net and fell asleep on a mattress sitting on 16 radio receivers boxes we had flown up on a previous trip and are awaiting to be distributed to the local population through the local church

In the morning the donkey cart showed up on time and before long we were again sweating whilst  loading the plane for the last time. But we were soon able to cool down at our cruising altitude of 12500 feet for the 3.5 hour flight back to Entebbe.

Once running these radios will transmit God’s Word and Biblical teaching in the local Luer language into the heart of the community. Local broadcasting is already happening in Malualkon and eternity will tell the story of how many lives will be changed through this work and ministry.

Once again it’s been an amazing privilege to have a window of opportunity to experience, see and help one of our many partners in their work in Sudan. Despite all the problems and bad press coming from the newest country on this planet  - South Sudan – God is at work transforming lives and communities.  Would you commit to pray for South Sudan and for MAF as we partner with other organisations like AidSudan in order to tell the lost and the needy about Christ?

Simon

MAF Pilot