Sunday, July 11, 2021

Wamena, Papua, Indonesia

Returning home

July 2021

Hello from Papua!

After getting new passports and waiting on visa applications to be approved, we were finally able to make it back to Indonesia.  We were excited to be on our way back home.  It has been a long time away with covid lockdowns between Texas and the UK, and baby Rebecca coming along.
On our way to Jakarta, Indonesia.
Keeping ourselves amused during our 5 day quarantine.
Arrival and pre-release Covid PCR tests.
Finally released to continue our flights to Papua.

COVID in our family

After a week of quarantine and negative PCR tests in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, we flew to Papua on Friday 2nd July. We were thrilled to be back on the island and planned to spend the next few days in the coastal city of Sentani to complete immigration paperwork and do some supply shopping before taking the last short flight in to Wamena.
Unfortunately, all our plans would change on Monday morning when Isaiah woke with a fever and cough. We immediately went for antigen testing. Ben, Cara, and I tested negative, but our suspicions were firmed further with Isaiah testing positive. We began to inform all those we’d had contact with and Ben took Isaiah for a PCR to confirm. As expected, Isaiah had covid.
Thankfully by day three Isaiah was mostly himself again. Symptoms have since then been making their way through the rest of us.
After a couple days of freedom from quarantine, we find ourselves now isolating with covid. Not exactly the start in Papua we imagined! But here we are. I had to laugh when Ben said, “Usually we at least make it home before everything falls apart.” It is so very true. There is always SOMETHING that goes wrong!

COVID in Indonesia

Things are changing fast here in Indonesia as the delta variant sweeps across the country. Flight restrictions and lockdowns are in place in many heavily hit cities. Wamena airport will close on the 12th July for two weeks. As we won’t get out of isolation until at least the 16th, we will have to stay here in Sentani until the airport opens again. As I told a friend, I will never again complain about the normal 36hrs of travel it takes to reach Wamena. With travel, quarantine, covid isolation, and lockdowns it’s looking like this UK to Wamena trip will take an entire month!  

Signal prayer group

We have moved our prayer updates group over to the the Signal messaging app after some privacy concerns with Whatsapp.  If you'd like to be a part of the new prayer group please click the link below:
Signal prayer group

Thank you for your prayer and financial support


We really appreciate your encouragement, prayers, and financial support over the years! We are thankful to be in Papua, and looking forward to getting back to Wamena and the work we care so much about.

Lots of love from our family to yours,

Ben, Anisha, Isaiah, Cara, and Rebecca

HELP THE CAUSE


A big thanks to all who have faithfully supported us over the last 7 years.  It's crazy to think its already been that long. 

We quite literally couldn't be doing this without the team of people who financially support us. 

If you would like to join the team and be a part of this mission, we'd love for you to consider joining us as a monthly sponsor.

For information on how to give, click here:
SUPPORT
PRAYER REQUESTS

- The pandemic would end.

- Our team mates currently in Wamena. They have been running the base alone for some months.

-Our family's adjustment back to life in Wamena.

-Ben's new role as Base Manager (this is in addition to his position as Chief Pilot).


 


 

Monday, June 29, 2020

Keeping in touch, Furlough plans/Corona virus, Wamena riots, Local Indonesian pilots, A surprise


Wamena, Papua, Indonesia

Keeping in touch

June 2020

Hello! Sorry it’s been a long time since you’ve heard from us via a newsletter. We are admittedly pretty awful at keeping in touch this way, however if you want more than the occasional “we’re still alive!” newsletter here are two options:

Facebook page.
regularly updated with ministry flight videos. Click the picture.
WhatsApp prayer group:
Messages sent only for requests/info we would not otherwise post publicly. This group is updated on an as needed basis and will go quiet for long periods. To be added, send us your WhatsApp number by clicking the picture.
Just before we went on furlough, I(Ben) was able to take Isaiah with me on a medevac picking up two patients. After we dropped off the patients at the hospital Cara joined us on her very first helicopter ride back to the hanger.

Furlough plans/Corona virus

We left Indonesia on March 6th for furlough, just as the transit countries around us began closing to international flights. For the last 3 months, we have been under various levels of stay home orders at my (Anisha’s) parents’ house in Texas. While we are very glad to be safe and have a comfortable place to stay, we are of course disappointed over cancelled plans. We were still hoping to travel to our sending church in Florida and also to the UK, but at this time travel and meeting with friends/family is either severely limited or impossible. So we sit and wait, praying for an end to this pandemic.
As for Wamena, the town has had seventeen confirmed cases of the covid-19 virus so far, infections are increasing as time goes on. While it is not surprising that the virus made it into our mountain town, it is devastating. As challenging as social distancing is to achieve in the Western world, it is almost impossible for places like Papua where community living is the basis of the culture. As a response, Papua cities have issued curfews and Indonesia as a whole is shut down to all international and domestic air and sea travel until the earliest June 19th.

Wamena riots

Thinking back over 2019, one major event jumps to the forefront. On September 23rd, our town erupted in riots. Motivated by racial tension, hundreds of shops and vehicles where burned, including the Mayor’s office and many government buildings. Isaiah and I(Anisha) saw the rioters running down the street just before police began shooting and the violence began. Ben immediately left the office and picked Cara up from school, hiding in the classroom with her until it was safe to leave. Throughout that day, we listened from home as gunfire resounded around town with the occasional boom of buildings exploding into flames. Two days later we were able to evacuate out to the coastal town where we waited until it was judged safe to return. The riots left a devastating scar of destruction and death across our town and although rebuilding has begun, there remains the deeper work of healing and rebuilding hurting people.
Smoke rising from burning buildings behind our home.

Local Indonesian pilots

A highlight this year has been the recruitment of our local pilots. Prior to leaving for furlough, Ben spent several weeks training two Indonesian pilots who have joined our team. Getting to this point took a massive amount of work in securing funding to send them for training, as well as approval to provide further type specific training in house on our aircraft. It is exciting to see Indonesians passionate about reaching people in their own country and making big sacrifices to do so. Having local pilots means that if one day Indonesia decides not to renew visas for expat pilots, our work can continue.

A Surprise

2020 just got a bit crazier for us as we recently found out that I(Anisha) am pregnant! Yes, that’s right, after twelve years of unexplained infertility and the honest feeling that birthing children in our family wasn’t meant to be, heaven decided to surprise us. The ultrasound shows a healthy wiggly little person with a strong heartbeat. Hilariously, although this is our third child, it will be our first infant. Baby is due November 28th.
Thanks so much for supporting and praying for us. It really means a lot!

With love,

Ben, Anisha & Isaiah

HELP THE CAUSE


A big thanks to all who have faithfully supported us over the last 6 years.  It's crazy to think its already been that long.

We quite literally couldn't be doing this without the team supporting us.

If you would like to join the team and be a part of the mission, we'd love for you to consider joining us as a monthly sponsor.

For information on how to give, click here:
SUPPORT
PRAYER REQUESTS

-Baby!

-Peace/health in Papua.

-HIS teacher need: our local missionary school is in desperate need for teachers.

-Furlough: Whatever this may now look like.

-Team currently in Wamena.