Tuesday, November 01, 2016

November 2016

Bush Clinic, UK visit, Kindergarten, Helivida team, Adoption and Furlough
Wamena, Papua, Indonesia
My room for the night next to the helipad.
Because of the mountainous terrain it is very difficult or even impossible for people in some of the villages to reach a medical clinic. Instead, we bring the clinic to them. For this mission I shuttled government health workers to different villages to give immunizations. At the time, there was a big drought and smoke from land clearing burns in the south had caused a lot of disruptions to my flight route. By the time we reached the last drop off point clouds mixed with smoke made a return flight impossible. I ended up staying with the medical team while they conducted the clinic and spent the night in a honai (traditional hut) along with all the men, sleeping around a fire. I was served a yummy meal of rice, egg, and pear squash cooked over a fire. After the men talked late into the night, the pastor shared a bible story and we went to sleep. This was my first experience sleeping in a honai, I wasn’t used to giving up my soft bed for a hard floor! The next morning I was able to use the sat phone to get a weather report from Anisha and make it back to Wamena.
Health workers meeting with the village patients.
Cooking the dinner and heating water on the fire, also our central heating at night.  At 6600ft it gets cold up here in the mountains.  My "bed" for the night was on the other side of the fire.
Enjoying lunch in the back garden.
In May/June we received news that Granddad England (Ben’s dad, John) suffered a minor heart attack and was in the hospital. It’s quite shocking to be far away and receive such news. With the blessing of Helimission leadership we headed back to the UK to support and spend time with family. While Joyce (Ben’s mum) knew we were coming, John did not and we enjoyed surprising him in the hospital!  Lots of jokes ensued over the wisdom of surprising a heart attack patient, but he survived! After several more weeks in the hospital, then open heart surgery, and a couple more hospital weeks, John was sent home to begin recovery. The surgery was a success and John is back to walking, cycling, and even swimming again. In all we were home in the UK for 2 months and so glad to be able to be there.
Isaiah is in Kindergarten/Year 1!
Four days a week Anisha home schools Isaiah and he joins a sports co-op on Tuesday afternoons and a Kindergarten co-op on Wednesday mornings. Although we originally planned to continue home schooling through elementary school, Isaiah very much wishes to attend the international school and we plan to enrol him next year. He is such an extrovert and very socially motivated. A big praise is that recently Indonesian children Isaiah’s age have moved into our neighbourhood! They all spend most afternoons outside together running up and down our street playing tag and riding bikes.
Our team is currently made up of 5 nationalities.
When we first joined the team here in Wamena there were two pilots and two mechanics working with the helicopters.  Now we have 6 pilots and 5 mechanics.  As you can imagine big changes happen when a team grows and we are learning to adjust and find our places. Tom, our original Base Manager and Chief Pilot, will retire in December after almost 20 years in Papua. Ben will help with maintaining flight status of the pilots, which primarily involves looking after pilot training for our bases in Indonesia. Our colleagues, the Weber family, will start a new base serving the more north western part of the island. And our colleagues the Sigrists are expecting a new baby!
We're adopting from which country?
About this time last year we told you we started the adoption process again, this time for a 0-2 year old baby girl. With a lot of excitement we considered different countries and had settled on Uganda. Unfortunately, the country then shut down all international adoptions and we were left back at square one trying to determine where in the world this little girl of ours is! We finally settled on China and are finishing up the home study. We hope to submit the China dossier from the UK in the Spring, be matched with a child, and Autumn/Winter next year go pick up our girl! Please pray the paperwork goes smoothly. We’ll need to apply for grants as well so prayers for that process.
4 aeroplanes and 22 hours in the air and we will be back.
March next year will mark 3 years of living in Indonesia.  In some ways it has been a long time and in other ways it seems so quick that we are approaching the end of our first term. We haven’t booked tickets yet, but here is the general plan:
March 17 – June 17: UK (we’ve rented a house in Redbourne through Pilgrims' Friend Society)
June 18 - September 16: USA (Florida/Texas)
We’ll plan to do a bit of travelling around and let you know more once we have firm plans as we’d love to see you before we return to Wamena in September!
Help the cause
You can help us bring spiritual and social help to some of the world's most remote people. For information on how to give click the box below.
· Changes within our team
· Safety in town as the number of aggressive drunks is increasing
· The adoption process

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Hom Sweet Hom, Full Circle, Anisha's Writing, Adopting Again!

Wamena, Papua, Indonesia

Click the images below to view the videos:
Join us on an EMS flight to the village of Mobiangama where we bring out a patient to the hospital in town.  After landing initially we had to relocate the helicopter to pick up the patient who was unable to walk up the steep path to the heli pad.
Every year the team here does search and rescue training with winching and rappelling.  This year I was able fly for the training mission.

Hom Sweet Hom:
January 2016

At the beginning of November we passed the one year mark living in our Wamena home on Hom Hom street. It has been so nice to really unpack and finally turn a house into our home! We’ve painted, hand built furniture, sewed curtains, and planted veggies in our garden.

We’ve found our routine and after the last three years of constant change and relocation it feels wonderful to settle into even the most mundane days.
While Ben is out flying, Isaiah and I home school and look after our two dogs, two cats (+ new kittens!), and 7 chickens. We shop at the market, cook, clean, visit friends, and receive plenty of visitors at home too.
On Tuesday mornings I host a Pre-School Story Book Club at our home with 6-8 children and their moms. We read stories, do crafts, and play.  It’s a lot of fun! We finished off 2015 with a Pancakes and Pyjamas Christmas Party. Everyone is looking forward to starting the club back up in the New Year.

Full Circle

The last time we wrote, Ben was flying with the Chief Pilot for training/familiarisation before starting any solo missions. These days he’s come full circle and is now putting his Flight Instructor Certificate to good use flying those same training/familiarisation flights with our team’s newer pilots.
Of many very memorable flights, one highlight was flying the very first Wano missionaries.
Here’s the story…
With support from the Helimission helicopter, in 2004 missionaries moved into the village of Mokandoma to learn the local language and culture.  Their goal to teach chronologically through the bible and introduce the Wano people to Jesus, their Saviour. After many years of helicopter support, the village eventually completed work on an airstrip and could be served by aeroplanes. The Wano people did receive the gospel and a church was started, but they initially didn’t see the need or feel the desire to share the gospel message with surrounding villages. However, after several years of discipleship the Wano believers caught the vision for missions and with training from missionaries decided to reach out to two villages where the people spoke the same language. As one of the villages could not be reached by plane, Helimission was was called upon to fly in some of the Wano missionaries. What a privilege to be a part of the gospel not only arriving to the Wano, but to now serve the Wano as they reach out to other villages!
(Mike from New Tribes Missions introducing the new village to the local Wano Evangelists)

Anisha’s Writing

The Papuan life stories project continues. Once all the stories are written we plan to publish them here locally and create a website for the English versions. These stories are special because the Indonesian versions are written in everyday language. Most publications here are written in high/proper Indonesian making them difficult to understand as the majority reading comprehension levels rarely exceed third grade level. It was so encouraging to give the stories a test run with a friend and hear him describe them as excellently written, moving, and challenging to his faith. We’re praying that God will use these stories to encourage believers and to reach out to unbelievers, both here in the Baliem valley and the English versions on-line.
Although the website is yet to be created, here’s a life story sneak peek:
Danika's Story

Also, this summer I joined the team of monthly writers for the missions website A Life Overseas. It’s been a wonderful privilege to write for a large community of missionaries and overseas workers.
Posts on A Life Overseas:
So This Is Christmas
The Anchor and The Hurricane
If I’m Perfect
Posts on Nama Saya Mommy:
Love Thy Neighbour (unless they’re obnoxious)
Sometimes Ministry Sucks: Theology for Wounded Hearts

We’ve Saved the Most Exciting News for Last: We’re Adopting Again!

We’ve started the home study process for a second adoption! We had thought adopting while we live in Indonesia would be next to impossible, so were thrilled to find out that there are agencies who work with expats. We also met new friends who live out in a tribe our helicopter supports and are themselves adopting internationally. After watching their adoption process, spending months researching agencies and countries, we’ve made the leap and started the process! We have until the end of the home study process to decide on a country. We’re hoping to bring home a 0-2 year old daughter in 12-14 months.

Thank you for your encouragement, prayers, and support. We couldn't do this without you!


Ben, Anisha & Isaiah


· Continued language acquisition

· Visa renewals - This is extremely challenging at the moment, with several families affected - us included.

· The adoption process

Friday, May 15, 2015

Introducing Wamena:

Wamena, Papua, Indonesia

May 2015

Seven months in our new home and we are settled well. The stress of full-time language learning and the heavy heat of Sentani behind us, Wamena is practically a paradise. Seated a mile up and surrounded by 13,000ft mountain peaks, it’s mildly warm in the day and cool enough at night to sleep under a feather duvet.
Wamena itself is pretty small. I can bicycle from top to bottom in less than 20 minutes, and that’s pulling Isaiah in a trailer behind me. The people are friendly, but the atmosphere is quite a bit more “wild west” than our old home in Sentani. These are mountain people. Hard working farmers with rough faces that are actually quite intimidating until you offer a greeting and their eyes light up and a wide, toothy smile breaks out.
Daily trip to the local market.
Anisha has made friends with many of the Mamas who sell there.

Life at Home

While Ben is off at the hanger, Isaiah and I have our own little routine. Three times a week we head out to a mission compound so I can walk and talk with friends while he and the other boys run around like maniacs. Then home for a snack and school work. Admittedly, home schooling was a bit of a scary prospect at first, but in reality we both love spending the time together pouring over books and asking every imaginable question. The rest of the day is filled up with chores, daily trips to the market, cooking from scratch, and a weekly ladies’ bible study.
In the afternoons, while Isaiah is napping, I work on writing projects. Taking up most of my time is a biography project. The plan is to interview 10-15 Papuans, write their life stories in their own words, and publish a book here in Indonesian. I’ve completed one interview so far and am working on writing the story. Just this week a new friend, Ravita, offered to help me edit the book. She is excited at the prospect of a book of Papuan stories published here. My hope is that the book can be used in schools and as an encouragement to the wider community as well. Although the primary goal is a book in Indonesian as a gift to the community, I hope to also translate the stories into English to share with you.
Danika is the first Papuan Anisha has interviewed for her biography project.
Isaiah exploring his newly finished school room.  Most of the work thanks to Grandma and Granddad England.

Mountain Flying

My time so far has been spent flying with the two pilots here to gain experience with all the different aspects of the unique type of flying in the mountains: Weather trends, local names of places, landing in confined areas, speaking Indonesian on the flight following radio, and trying to understand the ‘English’ from air traffic control. It will be a few more months before I am able to fly on my own here.
Most of the flying we’ve been doing has been medical evacuations for people who are living in the villages who need urgent medical care. Also, Airstrip checks where advice is given on how the villagers should construct their airstrips. As well as, supporting missionary families who live in the bush learning the tribal languages and translating and teaching the bible. It’s been an honour to meet these missionaries who sacrificed life in the modern world to spend their time in the tribes, including local missionaries too who often serve without the support that the western missionaries have. I also spend time in the hanger, helping working on the helicopters.
Sometimes we request help from willing local kids.  Here they are rolling a fuel drum for us.  We have to fly out extra fuel for later use.

My First Medevac...

The first Saturday in January, Tom, the Wamena Base Manager, called and asked if I wanted to accompany him on a medevac flight. Having newly arrived to Wamena, this would be my first one.
A lady had given birth, but could not deliver the placenta. Without any medical care in her village this common condition and what would be a fairly routine procedure to correct in a western country, had put her life in danger.
We brought along Dr Mia, a local medical doctor from Wamena, and after a short half hour flight landed in the patient’s village.
While Dr Mia examined the patient and tried to remove the placenta, Tom went with some of the villagers to inspect progress on the village’s runway project. Everyone appreciated his help and were very interested in hearing his advice.
Dr Mia wasn’t able to remove the placenta so the mother would need to be evacuated to the Wamena hospital. As we loaded the patient, her new born baby, and a helper into the helicopter, a man came and handed me a bag of bananas and passion fruit. Tied with a vine to the bag was a cardboard note reading, “This is fruit for the pilot”. It was a simple and profound thank you for the lifesaving help we were able to bring.
In Wamena the placenta was removed and the mother recovered. A month later we flew her and her baby, both healthy and happy, back home to the village.  Tom then carried out an official airstrip check and was able to share the results with the village so that soon they will be able to have aeroplanes land there.
Dr. Mia holding the new born baby, and mother ready for the trip to the hospital.
A traditional village welcome.  Everyone dressed up for a special celebration.
Ben and Tom, the base manager, receive special head wear for the visit.
It was such an encouraging time when our Pastor John and Elder Neil came from America to visit us, alongside some friends now living in Indonesia.
Thank you for your encouragement, prayers, and support. We couldn't do this without you!


Ben, Anisha & Isaiah

· Continued language acquisition
· Friendships and a feeling of being 'home'

· Helicopter license validation process
· Anisha's writing projects