Tomorrow we board the first of 3 flights
that will take us home to Wamena over approximately 30 hours of travel.
There’s always a fair bit of uneasiness during transition, but mostly we
are emotionally ready to get back. At the moment, there is only one
pilot in Wamena and we’re especially looking forward to being able to
provide some relief for him.
Getting back will also mean the start of first grade for Isaiah. We’ve
been home schooling up to this point as the school in Wamena doesn’t
begin until first grade. Like most new students he’s a bit nervous (his
parents more so!), but he has a lovely class and teacher eagerly waiting
We left Wamena in March, making for 7 months away. The first stop was
England where we celebrated our arrival with copious amounts of
chocolate, curry, and tea.
Ben and I then went to France for a week
long debriefing retreat. Especially over the previous 6 months in
Wamena, we knew something had broken in our emotional health, but
weren’t sure what it was or how to fix it. France provided a much needed
safe place to process everything we’d been through.
Following on from France we headed to
Helimission’s HQ in Switzerland where Isaiah came to join us accompanied
by Grandma and Grandad England. After meeting with leadership we signed
up again! This time for an ‘indefinite’ period of time and look forward
to continuing to serve with Helimission for the foreseeable future. And
of course we also made time to enjoy amazing Switzerland!
Coming back to England we were excited to
share with everyone about the work we do in Papua and made the rounds to
many small groups and speaking in the service at City Church. It was a
great time to reconnect with everyone.
Sharing at City Church St. Albans.
In July we left England for Texas. Anisha’s
brother got married and we enjoyed a family reunion together in Branson,
We spent August in Florida and soaked up the
time reconnecting with our friends and church family, sharing at small
groups, and at Crosswalk.
In September Ben attended pilot and mechanic courses at the Bell and Airbus factories.
We returned to England for our last two
weeks before we head home. The leaves are changing colors and the air is
crisp enough to enjoy a few log fires. Ben did make one last trip to
Switzerland, but we’re all back together again and winding down before
the big trip tomorrow.
The BIG News
Four days ago we were officially matched by China for the adoption of a
beautiful 3 year old little girl! There is still a fair amount of
paperwork to take care of before we can actually travel to China to get
her, but we’re hoping for the new year. In the meantime, you can join us
in oooing and ahhing over all this cuteness.
Right now we’re trying to focus on getting stuck back into work and life
in Wamena. However, this will only be for a few months as we’ll travel
to China soon for the adoption. We’ll need to then return to the States
to process her citizenship, passport, and obtain a visa for her for
Indonesia. We aren’t sure exactly how long this will take, but hope to
minimize the time as much as possible.
Thanks so much for supporting and praying for us. It really means a lot!
Ben, Anisha & Isaiah
HELP THE CAUSE
Over the next several months we have some
big financial needs, specifically for adoption travel and airfare. We
would love for you to consider donating a special one time gift towards
Also, with the addition of a new family member, our monthly
living costs are increasing. We'd love for you to consider joining us as
a monthly sponsor.
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.
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
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
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· Changes within our team
· Safety in town as the number of aggressive drunks is increasing
· The adoption process