Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Returning home

Wamena, Papua, Indonesia

Heading Home

October 2017


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 his arrival.

 Furlough Recap

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, Missouri.
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.

What’s next?

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!

With love,

Ben, Anisha & Isaiah


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 these expenses.

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.

For information on how to give, click here:

On time flights and that we’d all make it without losing any luggage.

· We would all be healthy and well (Anisha has a bit of a cold at the moment).

· Our home would still be ok and not need many repairs.

· Isaiah would settle in quickly and comfortably at school.

· Getting back into work and life in Wamena.

· The remaining adoption paperwork, and specifically for the citizenship process to go smoothly and quickly.

· Positive responses from the grant organizations we’ve applied with. We have some big adoption related expenses coming up soon.

For the latest news:

Anisha's blog: www.namasayamommy.blogspot.com
Family blog: www.benhop.co.uk
Copyright © 2017 Ben & Anisha Hopkinson, All rights reserved.

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
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· Changes within our team
· Safety in town as the number of aggressive drunks is increasing
· The adoption process