Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Catch up time

This past month has been a busy flying month for the pilots due to some away on training or giving training.  This means for the ones remaining in the programme they have their fair share of flying to do.  We also saw our Operations Manager leave for furlough which leaves a hole that needs to filled by different people.  So all in all there is no room to be bored :)  Pray for those in leadership to make good decisions.

Joshua and Zara are doing well.  They had their report cards last week from school and all is good in that department.  Joshua is in his last year of primary which is difficult to believe and Zara has two more years after this one.  They sure grow fast!  They are planning to be in the next swimming gala at school so Joshua is planning to practice every day this week as long as the rain stays away.  Thankfully, for the most part, its warm rain :)

Simon is busy with his flying schedule as well as in his MAF Safety Manager role.  When he gets time you will find him in our garage working on some wood project. Last month he made a table for a new family that arrived in the programme and this month it is shelving.  You never know what is going to come out of the garage next.

I have been busy with three Bible studies and some meetings regarding Member Care.  I have also completed a debrief with someone who went through a significant trauma as well as some unofficial debriefs - giving people the chance to unload a bit on some pressing matters.

Tomorrow I fly to Kenya for the annual Member Care Advisory Board meetings.  It is a bigger team that is meeting this year so will be great to see what comes out of our time together.  We will be looking at Member Care in terms of Uganda, South Sudan and Kenya.  For those who have not come across the Mobile Member Care Team before here is a description of what it is all about.

"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."

Please pray for this time that God would direct and lead our discussions and guide us for the next year to come.

Please pray for Simon, Joshua and Zara at home that God will protect them and that they have fun together. :)


Thursday, 10 October 2013

Nasir Trip in photos

Two planes went up to Nasir, South Sudan.  One with all the team members and the other one with the supplies.  Part of the supplies was a motorbike and a wee dog....I wonder what he thinks of it all :)

There are no places to buy supplies up in Nasir so everything had to be carefully planned. These supplies will, hopefully, keep them going until Christmas when they will come out for a break.

Now the fun begins...all the unloading.  All these supplies were loaded onto the back of a donkey cart.  (You can see that in one of the photos below) I think it took 4 trips to get all the stuff to the compound.   Walking one way takes 45 minutes.  It was quite the operation.

This strip is notorious for being a hazard when wet.  Thankfully the rains let off enough so there was a period of dry weather.  It is not often you see green grass either. :)

The white patch on this part of the airstrip is crushed concrete.  I guess someone thought it was a good idea to fill the holes and ruts with their left over concrete.  :)  Not ideal but could be worse!

Monday, 7 October 2013

Planes, NO TRAINS, NO AUTOMOBILES but Donkey Carts

Simon and another MAF pilot flew a team from Every Village up into South Sudan last week.  This team will be spending time learning the local language, evangelism, ensuring the Chr*stian radio station continues to broadcast,  community health projects amongst other community service ministries.   I had written a report up about it but just found out that Kerry Henderson, Every Village Director who flew with Simon had produced an account of his journey there so here it is.....

 Dear MAF Partners,

 Nasir Team on the Ground!!!

 First of all we want to thank MAF for all your hard work to get these missionaries to South Sudan!  It was a group effort from all of you to make this happen, from Ops, to Pilots, to mechanics, to finance, to Kajj help, prayers from all of you, and we appreciate all the extra time you all took to make this happen, you all are such a blessing to us and all missionaries working here in Uganda, Congo and South Sudan!!

We were able to leave the ground in KAJJ early Friday morning to head to Nasir.  We received a favorable weather report from Nasir (the plane can't land or take off if the airstrip is wet due to the sticky cotton soil)  and the team cheered with excitement to be headed to their new home!  Simon and I went on the cargo plane and left first and then the team left shortly after us.  After a stop in Juba Simon and I landed in Nasir which was dry on the runway with a covering of grass but the rest of the area was still covered with scattered puddles.  We began unloading the plane while we waited on the team to get there.  I was able to organize three donkey carts to carry all the supplies which would eventually take them two loads each to get it to our compound.

Once the Team arrived, it was a celebration for me and them as we knew they had finally arrived.  After over a year of fundraising and training they were finally on the ground where God had called them.  Although they were very excited there was still floods of emotions, anxiety, uncertainty, but they still had a peace that God had called them and He would work through all the emotions and struggles to get them up and running.

We loaded the donkey carts while Dallas and Simon stayed with the rest of the luggage and planes and we started our trek to the compound.  It took about 45 minutes to get to the compound as we had to walk a zig zag course dodging the puddles  and lake Nasir on the way!  We finally reached the compound and they were able to see their homes for the first time.  I know they were excited but also stressed that it would take a lot of work to make them into homes, but again they were encouraged by God’s calling on them.  I was able to stay for a little while and look through all the houses and all the supplies that you all had hauled up for us over the past months.  It looked like everything was there so I gave them hugs and headed back to the planes and we headed back home.

Saturday after I arrived home I was able to communicate with them and they said that they were doing good but it was just a struggle to get everything done.  Jared said it took some time to get their phones up and running and to get the motorbike back to the compound so they didn’t get beds made until 11pm Friday night.  He said they had all prayed together that morning and they all were encouraged that every day would get better and better. 

I talked with them again on Sunday and they felt much better!  They had gotten a lot of things sorted out and were working to get the solar up and running as we spoke.  They had been able to worship together as a team that morning and everyone was in good spirits.  He continues to say that as each day comes it will only get better and better!!

So thank you MAF for all you have done for this Team!!  Please continue to pray for them.

-Pray they will continue to settle in well
-Pray they have all their supplies and if not we can get them up quickly
-Pray for language studies
-Pray for relationships to form
-Most of all for them to feel the Peace of Jesus resting on them all, knowing they are exactly where God wants them to be!

Thanks again and blessings to all of you!!!

Kerry Henderson

Country Director
Every Village

You never know what a day brings....

Over two years ago a MAF worker's wife had complications in her pregnancy which resulted in the baby dying in the womb.  Another MAF colleague and I visited the wife in hospital during that time.  Once the baby was delivered arrangements were made for the baby to be buried.  Due to the family being from C*ng* they did not have land where they could bury him.  However, after making a few phone calls land was found and a hole was dug.  A friend and I, in our car, along with whoever could fit in it drove with baby David to the burial site.  He had been placed in a card board box.  Due to us being white we couldn't go to the "funeral" as the land that had been arranged and paid for would have gone up in price.  We waited in a dimly lit room whilst the funeral service took place.

Tomorrow I have the pleasure of visiting the family again as they had another baby boy since that tragic time and have named him David also.  I have seen a photo of him and he is a cutie.

However, this week another baby died in yet another tragic story.  This family work up in Northern Uganda and are friends of some MAF colleagues.  The month old baby girl developed a bacterial infection which resulted in many tests and the discovery that she had two holes in her heart.  After a brave fight she died and went home to be with Jesus last week.  At the weekend we met the midwife who had delivered the baby and who had helped to look after her during the time in hospital.  These are not easy days for all those involved especially the family. 

I tell you this story because Simon had a phone call on Saturday asking if he would be able to put his woodwork skills to use by building a coffin for the baby.  This is a first for Simon but as I type he is hard at work putting it together.  I will be sure to post a photo of it once its complete.

Please be in prayer for this family as they work through the grieving process and come to terms with the loss of their baby.  Also for those nearest and dearest to them as they endure grief and also work out how to support this family the best way possible.