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 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 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?


MAF Pilot