The last couple months have been busy and fulfilling. Since we last wrote we have been to Mindanao for about 5 weeks then back in Luzon for about 6 weeks and we are now back in Mindanao for a few weeks. (See map below with yellow stars where our 3 airbases are located.) Yes, we spend a lot of time in home “quarantine” but we’re so thankful that we can still travel and that we’re able to stay at home instead of having to go to a government facility! (We’ve had some close calls, but God knew we weren’t ready for it yet! We’re thankful for the good relations that we’re developing with the authorities near our bases during this time). There is always plenty to do on site at our various bases- like building projects and maintenance of aircraft, vehicles, and equipment, and office/computer work etc. So at least we can continue our work for the most part even during our times of quarantine. It’s easier to handle the inconveniences of not being able to do our own shopping and errands or not being able to go to church, when we remember that things could be a lot worse! We’re so thankful for God’s guidance and protection on us during these unsettling times.
We were finishing up the airstrip improvements at our base in Luzon which took a couple months, and were looking forward to leaving within a week to head back to Mindanao when it became apparent that we would need a grader and compactor to finish the job. We were planning on leaving on Thursday and we started looking for a grader and compactor on Monday. It seemed like a long shot to get it done and still be able to leave that week. Things like this can take weeks to arrange. But we prayed and started asking around and tapping all our connections. Through God’s providence we were able to get a grader to work on Tuesday and then a compactor to come on Wednesday! It rained hard Tuesday night so it was not until mid morning that it was dry enough for the compactor to work. They were able to finish it up on Thursday and we were able to leave Friday morning for Mindanao! It seemed impossible to get it finished that quickly but God answers prayer! It’s such a blessing to have the airstrip wider and safer now and easier to maintain!
Water System for Luzon
Our time in Mindanao was spent doing the annual inspection on the Cessna 206 and overhauling the engine on the Cessna 180 and a few other things with retrofitting the containers for housing. We were making plans to return to Luzon when I got a report that the water system there was not working for the past two weeks. It had been very dry there for the past six months and we have had issues with the water system off and on so it wasn’t surprising. Water is gravity fed from a spring about a mile away and when the level gets too low it stops flowing. As I was pondering this problem I off handedly mentioned to Jerry, our missionary expert welder, that maybe he and his family should come back with us to Luzon and he could build a water tank and tower to solve our water issues. He talked with his wife and 3 children and they were all excited about the idea! Jerry and family flew with us back to Luzon and he got to work on the water tower project right away. This was a huge blessing as it was a big project and I thought I was going to have to do it myself and it would have taken me a long time with all the other distractions that come up. After a month we had the tower and tank completed at the spring with solar panels that run a pump that pumps into the tank then gravity flows to the hanger. It is a huge blessing to have water and good water pressure now at the hanger and for the other missionary housing. It ended up being a blessing for Jerry’s family as well, and they were encouraged in their missionary work with us as they were able to see more of what PAMAS is all about. The aviation work is not yet developed at the Mindanao project as the base is still in the last stages of being established and we have not had a full time pilot either. Most of the region is very mountainous as well, and the helicopter is necessary, but it’s needing overhauled before we can fly it long distances. Jerry’s family was encouraged as they experienced first hand what was going on in a more developed project like Luzon. They were especially touched seeing all types of patients being transported every day back and forth from remote areas to receive better care regardless of their economic or social status. They saw how the aviation ministry worked hand in hand with the local pastors and missionaries in the remote regions to reach more souls for Christ. We praise God for missionaries like Jerry’s family who are just as necessary for this kind of work to continue as are the pilots and nurses!