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

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Next Stop: Wamena!

October 2014


It's hard to believe language school is already coming to an end. Three more weeks of classes, a final evaluation, and then the move to our new home and area of service in Wamena. Once in Wamena, we'll take some time to settle and then Ben will begin with flight and maintenance training to become familiar with the operation.
We recently put together a video of our daily life here in Sentani. All this will change again very soon, but we are glad to be able to share with you a bit about how we've been getting on. Click on the picture to view the video.  Enjoy!

Difficult Days

The last several months have been full of difficulties. Most of this, we are sure, is simply part of the process of adjusting to life in a new culture and language.

I (Anisha) have been repeatedly sick with some sort of tropical stomach bug, and just two weeks ago Ben and I both contracted Typhoid (yes, we had the vaccine before coming out!). Thankfully Isaiah has stayed healthy other than a persistent case of ringworm.

Learning to live in a new country is challenging on the best of days, but adding illness into the mix and it can quickly start to feel downright impossible. We've so appreciated your prayers and encouragement. You really do sustain us in difficult days! Recently I wrote about some of our experiences and how we are learning to hold tight to Jesus through it all. Click here to read: The Raging Sea

Mercy Floats

As a 19 year old I (Anisha) spent two remarkable years living and working on-board the Mercy Ship M/V Anastasis and sailing the western coast of Africa. I met Ben on-board and fell in love not only with my future husband, but with a life spent in service to the poor.

Mercy Floats is an e-book of letters and stories sent home during the ship's outreach in Benin, West Africa. This book is a testimony of God's grace, love, and mercy for all the world.

To download the book click the book cover. Mercy Floats is given freely, please feel free to share it as well. May these stories be an encouragement to you and all who read it. 

Visiting Paradise

Recently Ben's youngest brother came to visit us. We had a great time showing Thomas around our Island home. Papua really is a tropical paradise! Check out the video by clicking on the picture and plan your next vacation to see us :)

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


Ben, Anisha & Isaiah

· The transition to our new home/work in Wamena
· Friendships and a feeling of being 'home'
· Health for the three of us: Body, mind, and emotions

Friday, May 30, 2014

Finally Here! Settling in Papua.

Sentani: Our New Home

June 2014

Greetings from Sentani, Papua, Indonesia! Over the last two and a bit months we have been settling into our new home, meeting neighbours, learning our way around town, and getting into the language school routine. We will live here in Sentani for the next 5 months or so, learning the language and culture, before moving to Wamena, our final location.


Learning Indonesian

Monday - Friday we attend an Indonesian language class in the morning with afternoon practice out on our own in the community. The second unit in and we are pretty good at greetings, introducing ourselves, chatting with neighbours, shopping at the market, and getting the taxi.

As expected, learning a language is hard work! But we were quite encouraged recently when on one of our afternoons out for a walk in our community we met Papuans from the island's interior. After learning that Ben is a helicopter pilot and that we will go to live and work in Wamena they told him, "Thank you for coming to Papua!" What an encouragement that was for us!

Visit to Wamena

At the end of unit 1(month 1), we took advantage of the one week break to visit Wamena. We saw our future house, met colleagues, and spent time at the airport. It was great to see the operation and to know that soon we will be a part of the team there.

During the visit Ben was able to join a pilot that was returning home to Switzerland for his final flight. The flight included three medical evacuations from three different villages. Bringing along his trusty GoPro Ben attached it to the front of the helicopter for this incredible video! Just click on the photo below to watch:

Nama Saya Mommy: Anisha's Journal

Throughout our time preparing for and now adjusting to life in Papua, I (Anisha) have been keeping a journal on http://namasayamommy.blogspot.com/. I recently wrote about our puppy being stolen and the miraculous return, our time visiting Wamena and envisioning life there, raising a "third culture kid", and envying my husband's future work. You are invited to stop by and check it out. There is also an option to subscribe and have each post delivered via e-mail.

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


Ben, Anisha & Isaiah

Thursday, March 06, 2014

A New Adventure Begins

March 2013

London to Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur to Jakarta to Sentani. Tomorrow afternoon we start the 55hour journey to Papua where we will begin learning the language and culture of our new home.

Nearly 10 years ago we arrived in Florida with the crazy dream that one day we would serve in missionary aviation. Today, as we finish packing and ready ourselves for departure we are profoundly grateful to all who have cheered us on, prayed, and given financially to make this journey possible. We are well aware that going is a privilege, one we would not have without the support of so many.

On arrival in Sentani there will be paperwork to complete, jet lag to conquer, luggage to empty, and a new town to find our way around. Language and culture study begins on March 17 with morning tutoring and afternoon homework/practice. We hope to grasp the language well enough that in 8 or so months we can move to Wamena, where Ben will serve as a pilot/mechanic.


Returning to Service in Madagascar

Recently we spent a week at the Helimission HQ in Trogen, Switzerland. While there, Ben put his mechanicing skills to work and together with three others disassembled and loaded a helicopter returning to service in Madagascar. Ben created a time lapse video of the work. Once in Madagascar this helicopter will be used for medical evacuations, missionary transportation, and more. We were quite excited to be a part of sending off this "Angel of the Air". Click below to watch:


Stories from the Field

Thank you for your interest in receiving our e-mail newsletters. There are a couple of other ways to hear about Helimission and our work in Papua. First, Helimission sends a quarterly newsletter by mail with stories from pilots and mechanics serving at each location. If you don't already receive this but would like to please e-mail us your mailing address. Also, we will share more stories of our personal experiences in Papua on our blogs and Facebook. Links to the blogs are in the sidebar and please find us on Facebook too!

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


Ben, Anisha & Isaiah