Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Merry Christmas from Australia

We trust this post finds you all well and enjoying this special time of year.  Our Christmas was very different for us in that we spent it not in Uganda or Scotland but in Australia.  God was gracious in that we got to spend it with some "African" friends.  Some we knew by name as they were in MAF Tanzania and Kenya and the other family, the Cousleys we had spent more than one Christmas with in Uganda as well as holidays together.  We had a lot of fun talking about our African experiences and the kids had a blast reconnecting.

It has been quite the month for us and are thankful we have made it through.  After leaving Switzerland in November the race was on for Simon to pass his exams so we can proceed with paperwork for our more permanent visa.  Thankfully, after many hours of study he passed both the flight and written exams.  We give thanks for his diligence, patience and perseverance through it all.

Whilst Simon was busy the kids and I kept searching for a house.  We finally found one and we moved in last week.  Our belongings from Uganda will hopefully arrive in January so at the moment we are camping in the house but it's working so far.

Simon and the kids left Uganda with, what we believe now, was whooping cough.  It was a rough time for them and it hasn't left simon completely yet.  Joshua also managed to pick up an ear infection and also got bitten by something.  So its Jurassic Park 2 - Joshua 0.  He came out in a extremely itchy rash over his torso and his legs.  The pharmacist knows us well now as we have tried a few potions to relieve some of the symptoms. Thankfully it is much better and he is sleeping through the night.

Thanks to all of you who continue to keep us in your prayers.  We are thankful for them.  Don't stop :) We have seen God provide for some big needs in a short space of time and we are thankful beyond measure.

I did promise folks I would post some photos but that might have to wait until we have Internet in the house.  Don't worry I haven't forgotten.

We will continue to keep you updated when we can.  Much love and blessings from Down Under!

Friday, 16 December 2016

Making Progress

It has been three weeks since we moved to "Jurassic Park".  It has been a sharp learning curve on various levels but we are making progress.  We have two pieces of good news and answers to prayer in that Simon passed his written exams and we found a house.

Simon has been studying hard for his exams and sat them on Wednesday.  We haven't seen a lot of him in the last couple of weeks as he has been busy with his nose in the books.  However, it has paid off and he passed his two papers on Wednesday so there was much rejoicing when he came home.  He might be able to fit in the flight exam next week and then we can make progress with our visa status.   We need to move to a different visa than then one we came in on and so the sooner the application goes in for the more permanent visa the better.

While Simon has been busy studying and figuring stuff out at the flight school the kids and I have been running around Cairns and the surrounding areas navigating where things are and also looking for a house.  We have seen some weird and wonderful ones but on Wednesday we went to visit a house not too far from the guesthouse and we all knew it was the one.  I spent time filling in all the paperwork with Simon and put our application in for it.  Thankfully it was accepted and the agent called us and said it was ours.  God has answered our prayers beyond our imagination.  The following day we picked up the rest of the paperwork and went through the finer details and also collected the keys.  We will be living on minimal things until our container arrives from Uganda.  It is scheduled to arrive in Brisbane on the 9th January where it will clear customs and then hope to see it in Cairns sometime after that.

The kids and I went shopping for some of the basic items today to make it work for a month or so.  We gave the house a bit of a clean although it didn't need much as it is in good condition.  We had the fans going on in the house to get some air but we were all dripping by the time we left.  Wow it was hot today.  It is exciting to know that we will be moving into a more permanent place soon although the guesthouse has been a blessing to us. 

Thanks to all of you who have been praying for us, many of your prayers have been answered.  It has been a busy time but we are looking forward to a bit of a rest over the Christmas period.

Once I get a minute I will take some photos and put them on the blog.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Jurassic Park

This morning as I sit outside our door having breakfast overlooking the sugar cane fields I felt like I was in Jurassic Park.   The noise of the birds was incredible and some of them are the size of China (okay that is an exaggeration) but you get the point.  Not too far from me is a smaller version of a turkey scratching in the dirt.   The colours of the birds are amazing. We have parrots in the tree not far from our room and cockatoos are readily flying around. The other day we had a spider outside our door.  It was also the size of China (haha). Thankfully it was not of the poisonous variety.  Then there are the rhino beetles that really do look like their namesake.

In this part of the world the sun shines 360 days of the year and the temperature is the 30's every day.  It is a bit warmer than Uganda but the humidity is higher.  On some days it feels like the sun is out to get you (haha).

Today Simon left early for Mareeba which is about 1 hour from here to study for his exams in 2 weeks.  This is where he will be based when he starts his new job with MAF. I am sure he would value your prayers as he hits the books again.

Last week we went on a tour round the school that Joshua and Zara will be joining in January. We had a good first impression of it with people being friendly and helpful and keen to help Joshua and Zara fit in.

We have visited 2 churches since arriving and have enjoyed the friendliness that we found at each one.  We will try out another one next week and then see where we settle.

We are making progress in that we bought a car this past week and hope to pick it up this week.  We opened up a bank account which was amazingly easy.  We have also been driving around looking for houses.  We will look at more this week.  There is still a bit of confusion as to whether we can sign a contract on a house with the visa we are on so more investigation needs to be done on that.

Thanks to all of you who have been praying for Simon, Joshua and Zara in the health department.  They are doing much better and coughing less.  The second round of antibiotics seem to be doing wonders.  It has been a rough time for them but glad to see improvement.

The kids and I are off to do some more exploring today so I am sure there will be more stories to tell soon.

Thanks for praying for us in this new stage of life.  It's definitely been a massive step to take but God continues to be faithful and we are thankful.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

In transition

The last few months have been quite the whirlwind as we prepared to uproot from our home in Uganda and make a new one in Australia.  I would love to have said it has been a easy process but that would be far from the truth.  It has been a challenge in many respects but we also knew it was the right decision so we pressed forward.

We left Uganda on the 8th November and flew to Doha, Qatar and then onto Switzerland to be with Simon's family for two weeks.  Before we left Uganda Simon, Joshua and Zara had bad coughs.  Joshua being the worst at that stage and any medication we gave him didn't seem to be shifting it.  On our arrival in Switzerland the coughs got worse.  Thankfully a friend of Simon's in Switzerland is a doctor and so he was able to check out Simon and the kids.  He put it down to atypical pneumonia and put them all on an antibiotic.  To cut a long story short they are still coughing but not quite so bad anymore.  However, we have a MAF friend here in Australia who is also a doctor and she has put them on the antibiotic for another week to try and kill it once and for all.  I think the moral of this story is to make sure you have friends who are doctors in different parts of the world (haha).  We would appreciate prayers for health and strength to return.

We did enjoy our time in Switzerland with Simon's family despite the health issues.  The kids were able to see some snow and enjoy it for a bit which was a big request of Zara's.  A friend of mine from Scotland, Sharon Hook, made a quick trip to Switzerland over a weekend to visit with us which was really special and we had a great time.

After two weeks in Switzerland we embarked on our journey to Australia leaving one week ago today.  We flew from Switzerland to Hong Kong and then onto Cairns.  We are living in a guesthouse for the next couple of months until we get permanent visas sorted out and can locate a house.  As I write this post I look out over sugar cane fields and rainforests with an ocean view in the far distance.  It is quite the picture.  We had a city view when we lived in Kampala and now we have a country view in Cairns.  God knows we love a good view.

This past week we have been running around getting orientated as to where the school that Joshua and Zara will be going to, looking at houses and cars and buying bikes.  A big ask of the kids was that we would get bikes not too long after we arrived in Australia since we weren't taking their "Uganda" ones with us.  Yesterday we had a bit of an induction in the MAF office to meet with different people and today we head to Mareeba where the flight base is to do the the same.  Now to remember all the names!

The nice thing about being in MAF for so long is that you meet a lot of people along the way.  A few faces here are familiar due to meeting some of these folks when they have travelled through Uganda. This will definitely help us to settle in and get adjusted.  Thanks to those who have been very practical in helping us, we are grateful.

One thing  we need to get used to is that the sun comes up early around 5am.  Combine that with jetlag and 3am seems like a normal time to start the day.  Thankfully in the last couple of days we are now sleeping longer although it is difficult for me to stay awake past 7pm at night.  All takes time to adjust and there are many thing to adjust to including high temperatures and high humidity.  Although some of you in Europe might be glad of a bit of heat right now.

I will keep you updated as time goes on but will leave it for now.  Please do pray for Simon and the kids to recover from this coughing.  Pray that we learn to slowly adjust to our new home and settle in time.  Thanks x

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

On the move.....finally!

We have delayed in writing an email regarding our progress with our move to Australia as it has all been up in the air up until yesterday.  Just last Friday there was a chance that we would have had to wait another few months in Uganda due to visa issues.  However, God worked it out and we now plan to leave next week.  It is all going very fast now.  The packing company come in on Thursday to pick up our belongings that will be shipped to Australia.

Simon and I have been busy pulling the house apart the last few months.  It is amazing what you collect over a 15 year period despite doing clear outs once in while.  However, thankfully we had the presence of mind to start early so that we didn't have to do it all at the one time.  It has been a gradual process.

Our plan is to head to Switzerland next week for two weeks before heading down to Australia. We are looking forward to seeing family again as well as Simon's Dad's fiancĂ©e to be who we haven't met yet.

We would value your prayers as we say our final goodbyes.  It still hasn't sunk in that we are leaving Uganda for good just feels like a furlough year.  However, I am sure that will sink in soon enough. Pray for Joshua as he has a chest infection and not getting enough sleep because of it and Zara starting coughing this morning.  We have all had our exit medicals to check for parasites etc.  Simon and Zara were the only ones that tested positive and took some medicine for them.  Joshua and I were bug free :)  However, do pray for good health to return to Joshua and Zara.

We will keep you updated as and when we have a date for leaving.  Thanks for lifting us up in prayer we appreciate it.  The title of our sermon series at church is "Pray First".  Definitely been a good reminder during these days.  If you are interested check it out at .http://www.freedomchurch.cc/

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Zara in the swimming gala

Zara loves to swim and here she is in action at the school's swimming gala.

Photos courtesy of Nadia Dick

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Just another day in the Uganda "office"

 What is not to love about the African landscape....enjoy!

Look what you see out the window of this office......approximately 90 elephants

When the fuel pump is broken then it is time to improvise.....a fuel drum, a bucket and a ladder should do it.

Photos courtesy of Simon Wunderli and Dave Forney

Friday, 30 September 2016

Quick update on our visa

Things are moving along at a faster pace now.  This week, amongst other things, we have been gathering paperwork for our visa to enter into Australia.  We managed to get it all together and send 70mb worth of information through cyberspace.  The application went into the relevant authority yesterday so we are praying that everything is there that they need and we have no surprises.

At the end of October Simon needs to sit an English proficiency test.  They won't take his one from his FAA license so needs to do another one.  Thankfully this test should be pretty easy unless he puts a "Scottish" slant on it :)

We are still in the process of packing up the house.  Most things that we need to get rid of are sold and so this has been a blessing.  We have also found a home for wee Sox which was a concern.  It won't be easy to say goodbye to her.  She has definitely become part of the family.

We will keep you updated as we hear more.  Thanks again for interceding on our behalf.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Thank you for praying!

Thank you to all of you who have prayed for us and are continuing to pray as we transition to Australia.  One of the biggest hurdles we have faced is having Simon's aviation medical approved by the Australian CAA.  Simon had all his checks done via a doctor in Nairobi who is certified by the Australian CAA but one of the tests wasn't in the right format.  There was a chance that if it wasn't accepted then Simon would need to fly to South Africa or Dubai to have the test re-done.  However, thanks to those on the ground in MAF Australia, prayer and God working it all out we now have the certificate in hand.  Now time to jump through the next hoop.

Just yesterday I was reading about a Pastor who was preparing a sermon about the parting of the Red Sea.  The Israelites made it to the Red Sea but could not see a way through out of danger from their enemy, the Egyptians.  However, God had a plan that only He could deliver.  God parted the Red Sea and the Israelites made it to safety.  Simon's medical felt like a Red Sea moment.  It was going to take God to make it work and He has and we give thanks to Him for it.

You will need to read it sideways as it keeps changing the format on me.....At least its not upside down :)

Sunday, 18 September 2016

A special gift

Yesterday, Simon had a flight to Mweya, Queen Elizabeth National Park.  He was flying a group there from Switzerland who had been doing some ministry with a school a couple of hours outside of Kampala.  The group was led by a couple who are friends of Simon’s Uncle and Aunt back in Switzerland whom we had met on a previous trip.  It was fun to catch up with them and the rest of the team.

I was able to join them on the flight.   Simon and I spent a few hours at Mweya Lodge with the team before flying back in the afternoon to Kampala.  This trip was special to me since it was the first lodge we ever went to with guests 14+ years ago.  Many memories flooded back of all the people we had enjoyed fellowship with in that area. (You know who you are!) It was a true gift to make this short trip before, God willing, we head to Australia. 

The weather was amazing and we just enjoyed God’s creation as we looked out over the Kazinga Channel and watched elephants and buffalo enjoying the coolness of the water in the heat of the day.  It truly was a wonderful day and I am thankful to God for His kindness to have this experience one more time.  The photos don’t do the area justice but it gives you an idea.

On a side note we got to fly down in “Scotty”.  This caravan was bought with money raised by funds from the Church of Scotland’s Women’s Guild.  This might have been my last MAF flight in Uganda and what a way to end it in “Scotty”.

Our transport for the day "Scotty"

Got to fly with my best friend, what's not to like :)

Mweya Safari Lodge

The marina area where a leopard had been spotted that morning.

 Kazinga Channel where we saw elephants, buffalo and crocodile

Isn't Uganda beautiful?

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Quick Prayer Request

We would value your prayers as we continue the process of moving with MAF to Australia.  We are having some problems with the paperwork for Simon's medical not being in the right format despite everything going through an Australian approved Doctor in Nairobi.  This process is holding up everything else so we would appreciate prayers to know how to proceed and for the staff in MAF Australia who are doing their best to handle things from that end.

Food Drop in South Sudan

A couple of weeks ago Simon was due to fly up to South Sudan to do some food drops for an organisation called MedAir.  Food is scarce in some areas and the only safe way to get food in is via aircraft in some regions.  However, the flight had to be cancelled due to heavy rainfall which made the airstrip unusable until it had dried out (this can take three days).  The black cotton soil on some of the airstrips makes it very difficult to land and take off when it has rained.  It gets very sticky.

Thankfully, last week the flight was able to go ahead so Simon headed up to South Sudan on Wednesday and was able to do two food drops on the Thursday.  The airstrip was located one and a half hours north of Juba.  Below are photos of Simon and some of the MAF team in Juba loading the aircraft.  Simon said the temperature on the ground was around 50c.  Hot, Hot, Hot!!!

The situation in South Sudan is not good.  Two days before Simon got to Juba there was a robbery not far from the MAF compound where a policeman was shot and killed.  Difficult times for many.

Last week I was speaking to a friend whose family live in South Sudan.  He has two brothers and they have 12 children between them along with their elderly mother.  They could not sleep in their homes at night because of fear that they would be attacked.  They would sleep in the bush and return to their homes during the day.  On one particular day it was not safe to go to the market as the r*bel groups and the g*vernment soldiers were in the area.  I asked if his family would try and make it to the refugee camps just over the border into Uganda but he said one of them was already full and it wasn't safe at that point to start the journey to the other one.

Please pray for South Sudan as a country and for its people!!!!

Our MAF Uganda Caravan "Romeo Mike"

MAF Uganda and MAF South Sudan Team Work :)

Photos courtesy of Mark Simmonds

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

The Wunderli's are on the move

You might be thinking as you read the title of this post that that is nothing new for the Wunderli's especially with Simon's job.  He is regularly in EDRC or South Sudan during the week with occasional trips to other parts of Africa.  Even for Joshua, Zara and I this year we managed to travel through Turkey, Scotland and Qatar all in the space of three weeks and then not forgetting a 10 day trip to Zanzibar.

However, this move is more permanent.  God willing in November of this year we will be moving to Australia.  We have been making plans for this for a few months now but nothing was confirmed.  In some ways it still isn't as we wait on paperwork to be processed.  However, time is marching on and we felt it better to let you know our plans before November rolls around.

We will continue working with MAF but in Australia rather than Uganda.  Simon will take on the role of a Standardisation Flight Instructor at the MAF Training Centre in Mareeba (50 mins west of Cairns).  This will be a big change for him considering what he has been doing in the MAF Uganda programme for the last 14+ years.  However, we believe it is the right move for us as a family especially for Joshua and Zara as we look to the future for them.

I made a quick trip home to Scotland in the summer to tell family, friends and our home church of our upcoming plans to move to Australia.  Thankfully, everyone was very supportive although a few had hoped that the changes meant heading closer to home rather than further away. (ha ha)

We would value your prayers as we transition out of Uganda and into Australia.  It won't be easy to say goodbye to friends here in Uganda whom we have served alongside for many years but thankful for modern technology that can keep us connected.  Please pray for all the hoops that still need to be jumped through before we head down under.  Pray for patience during this time as we navigate the laws and rules of Australia in order to live and work in this country.  We have much to learn but thankful that we have friends that have already helped us greatly to figure things out.

As we know more I will keep you updated.  Thankful for your prayers in this new season.

For those who have no idea where Cairns is then see the map below.

MAF's flight school is located in Mareeba which is situated to the South West of Cairns.  It is an approximate 50 minute commute from Cairns.


MAF Training Centre

MAF Hangar in Mareeba

(Photos courtesy of MAF Australia)

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

A wee update

It has been a while since I have written anything in our blog due to life just being a bit hectic but hopefully now I can sit down and write a bit of an update.

Joshua, Zara and I were in Scotland for 2+ weeks which ended up being three due to the problems in Turkey and subsequent change in return flight.  Thankful to avoid a bomb attack and being in the middle of an attempted coup.  We enjoyed the time catching up with family and friends without the pressure of a hectic schedule.  Thanks to all of you for making it a fun time.

Simon was not able to join us as he was one of the few remaining pilots covering the Uganda programme during the busy summer period.  He also spent a week upcountry helping with evacuations from South Sudan.  As I write he is currently on an overnight doing some more flights into South Sudan.  We were thankful we got to see him last night before he took off again.  Please pray for the people in South Sudan in these uncertain days.

Friday, 10 June 2016

"FRM and MAG" working together to help some people in South Sudan

Last week Simon flew a plane load of medicines up to Yida which is in the far north of South Sudan. A MAF South Sudan flight also joined him full of medicines.  There is still a lot of unrest in this area with frequent bombings.  FRM (Far Reaching Ministries) work in this area and supplied all the medicines.  Below are some photos taken of the unloading of the planes with the much prized cargo.

MAF South Sudan flight en route to Yida.

Cargo being unloaded from both planes to be taken to where it is needed most.  There have been articles in the news recently of hospitals in South Sudan really struggling to find what they need for all the patients that regularly arrive at their door.  Please pray for this country and for the many needs that there are.

So good to see MAF South Sudan and MAF Uganda working so closely together. :)

Monday, 6 June 2016

Mr Fix it

On a recent flight to Gulu, Northern Uganda, Simon noticed an oil leak coming from the strut on the nose wheel.  After consulting the Chief Engineer on his opinion it was recommended that a piece of rubber tied tightly around the strut would suffice to get him back to base at Kajjansi.  Thankfully, when Simon asked around at the airstrip if there were any strips of rubber available there were.  Below you can see the black rubber strip just above the nose wheel.  Thankful for a practical husband and Chief Engineer that think outside the box.  The plan worked and the plane made it safely back to Kajjansi with no damage done.

Monday, 30 May 2016

An update

This past two weeks has been busy for us.  I have been doing a course called Living Wisdom.  You can check it out at www.livingwisdom.com.au.  It was an intense two weeks and not much got done aside from it.  There was also homework in the evenings as well as time to process the lectures of the day.  My head is still a bit dizzy.

Simon left last Thursday for a trip to South Africa.  He flew the Chadian caravan down to be repainted.  He left Thursday and overnighted in Zambia.  He thought he might need to make a stop in Congo for refueling but thanks to a good tail wind it was not necessary.  From Ndola, Zambia he flew onto Lanseria, South Africa.  He just made it in time before the hangar closed. I guess they shut up shop earlier on a Friday.  He flew back via Rwanda yesterday and made it home safely last night.  Zara was so excited to see him.  You would have thought he had been gone for months. (haha)

Joshua and Zara have three weeks of school left and they are ready for the summer holidays.  The countdown is on.  Pray they have a good attitude to school during the last three weeks.  It is difficult for them to feel motivated now that exams are complete.  Oh talking of exams.  They did well in them so we are thankful for that.

Please pray for Simon and the other pilots.  We are down a few pilots over the summer due to furloughs.  We have one pilot leaving the programme to return to the States with his family this month which also leaves a gap in our Operations Department.  It is going to be a busy time for those remaining.  Pray for endurance and stamina for the MAF team during this time.

Simon doing a test flight on the Chad caravan before he flew it to South Africa.  The caravan had a lot of work done on it the last few weeks including an avionics upgrade. 

The MAF engineering team who made all the upgrades possible.  Well done!!!

The plane getting ready for take off at Kajjansi

"Daddy" Pilot off on his adventures again