Recent Medivac Flights Yawimu and Kepi.

Yawimu

Last week I had the privilege of landing in an area that possibly never had an airplane before.  We heard about a local pastor’s wife that was having labor difficulties.  The area where they live has a section of the river that is challenging enough that checkout with an instructor pilot is required.  However, using Google earth, we were able to find a section of river that would give enough margin and similar in length to another post that I had recently been checked out in.   Poepe (-7.662095, 139.662926) is where they were from.  Yawimu where we picked them up (-7.824544, 139.668902) to (-7.821953, 139.661793) landing area (-7.824322, 139.675490) the dock.  The coordinates in the parentheses if copied and pasted into Google maps or Google earth should bring you to the locations.  The larger pictures below were taken with my phone at the dock where we met the mother and father.  Yes, the baby was delivered while they were en-route to Yawimu on the river in a boat or what some people would more likely consider a canoe (likely something similar in the smaller picture or in the webpage header).

Even though the baby had already been born they still requested to be taken to the city for a checkup and since we were there it made sense to do so.  There was no cell service once they left Poepe to cancel the plane after the delivery.  For my sake I’m glad the baby was delivered safely on the boat/canoe rather than in the back of the airplane.  Not sure I’m ready for that yet.  For the mothers though reading this, maybe the back of an airplane would be nicer than a small boat on a river?  Next week I will be taking them back home or at least far as Yawimu, from there they will take the 3 hour boat/canoe ride back to their home.

 

 

 

 

Kepi

During a routine flight to Kepi I recently pickup a young man and his mother from Kepi.  I’m not sure what he was suffering from, it may have been Dengue Fever which had is bad enough in normal circumstances.  If I understood correctly he had been suffering from it for a month by this time, which I don’t think is normal 1-2 weeks typically I believe.  Dengue it’s not fun, just ask my kids (I found out this week that the boy was diagnosed with leukemia, not dengue as was mentioned while picking him up).  Anyway I started out at a mid range altitude 7500′.  However about mid way back (1hr flight) a lot of noise and commotion erupted from the back.  The weather wasn’t the greatest that day either so I needed to keep focused on the flying.  Our non-flying crew member Bobby (so thankful for having him on board) was able to communicate with me that a lower altitude would be better so down we go 5500′ or 3500′ I don’t remember which but anyway things started to settle down a bit after leveling off briefly at the lower altitude, before continuing down for arrival.  It was also a bit of work for Bobby to get everyone involved back in their seats with seat-belts on for landing, again very thankful for having him on board to help in situations like this.  Later I learned that the commotion had started when the boy had stopped breathing.  Thankful for God’s grace allowing us  to arrive back in Merauke with everyone on board still breathing.

Lots of other routine flights being carried out, serving the south coast communities here in Papua.  And a few special flights that were routine in nature but special because of the individuals we were serving.  However to keep this blog from getting too long winded I’ll save those stories of the special guests and their flights for another time.

Esrotnamba

Late last week it finally worked out for me to get to Esrotnamba.  Its a beautiful area of Papua not to far from Nabire.  It’s a large lake located at about 720′ above sea level.  Apparently crocs live there which surprised me as to the elevation and isolation of the area.  The bonus from what I understand is the crocs make for good eating.  And the other bonus besides being incredibly beautiful there are no mosquito on the villages side of the lake.  Verified by other visitors.  The lake is surrounded by mountainous terrain that not only is covered with jungle but also has a profile similar to this picture of a porous rock found on google

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I have no idea how the locals hike over terrain so extreme.  It’s likely why there wasn’t much outside contact until a couple years ago when the float plane first flew in there.  I didn’t get very many photos on this trip but I will be sure to have my gopro ready for the next time in there.  Here are a few good shots from the trip.  looking forward to the next time I have the privilege of flying here and serving the people of Esrotnamba.  The pictures don’t do it justices so you really just need to come for a visit and have me take you there.  I know easier said than done.  Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from our family to yours.

Here is a video that was made a couple years ago about the ministry in Esrotnamba.

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Quick Plane Update

We’ve been able to make progress even with being short handed at the moment.  Today we were able to get the floats back under the air-frame which is a big step as we can know carry on with some final inspection items and finish off the repair and begin rigging and testing the different systems we’ve had apart over the course of this inspection/repair event.

These pictures give the plane a bit more hope of flying again compared to the previous ones.  Next week I hope to be able to finish off all the little outstanding details and sign it off as airworthy once again.  Tomorrow I head to Sentani for the monthly manager meeting there which means not much progress will happen until Friday.

Blessings

the dole clan

New Role

Greetings from 8° south of the Equator.

As we return to our routine and life here in Merauke we have noticed that some aspects are the same but some have changed. It was nice to return to the same house, neighborhood, eating at our favorite dining locations, and plugging back into our Indonesian church.  Along with the old, God has added some big differences or blessing  into our lives since we have returned. We have been joined by a new family (they actually arrived here while we were on home assignment while our other teammates moved to a new base). Also I have been given the additional role of base manager along with the flying and maintenance work. This means a bit more paperwork, decisions, and new stresses some days.

In this new role of being base manager I find it a great privilege of leading a this amazing  team.  We are made up of 1 other expat family (mentioned above) and 5 hopefully soon to be 6 national staff.  I liken our team to a well oil machine or a NASCAR pit crew.  Each one knowing his/her job/role and is able to do it well.  This is a huge blessing as I step into the base manager role, which has extra responsibilities but is a light yoke because of the quality of our team here.

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These pictures were recently taken during our AVSEC (Aviation Securtiy) awareness course that Berto pictured in the upper picture lead for our team.  And even though you can’t see it in the pictures, you know its hot when sitting in the shade you are still wiping sweat off your forehead.

During this transitions of roles we find our team here in Merauke neck deep in maintenance yet again.  These pictures were taken a couple days ago when Julie brought the kids to the hanger to do a writing assignment for school.  According to one of the papers there wasn’t much hope of MAO flying again.  Thankfully though with some more hard work and some TLC we hope to up and flying sometime this month.  I leave the finishing date a bit open ended as licensed man power has been a moving target these days.  Since the kids visit we made some visible progress with the cabin almost all back in and the engine area is all closed up.  Just need to get those floats back under her.

 

Faithfulness

While out hiking in the mountains right before we returned home to Indonesia I was on the hunt for something.  At the moment I did not have a clue what it was but I wanted to find something that could represent everything that Greg and I had learned, experienced, and walked through during our furlough and even our 18 years of marriage. As I was walking along the river bank with friends Greg walks over and hands me something and then walks away. When I looked down at what he had given me I just first smiled at the rock that I was holding. For it was in the shape of a heart and next day was to be our 18th wedding anniversary.  I took a couple of steps and then I had to really work at holding my tears a bay since I was in a group of people. God softly touched me and said here is what you were looking for.

As the group and I kept walking along the bank my fingers kept running over the heart shape rock and the word faithful kept running through my mind.  I thought back to our last few months before furlough when God asked us to walk along side our friends as they grieved the loss of a child. I had pictures of the wedding held in our yard for our neighbors daughter. I saw my son Isaac laugh with the specialist that he saw and the joy that I saw slowly return through the months at home. I witness my husband break free from something that has been a struggle our entire marriage.  My breath caught every time I remembered how God blessed my son Franklin by all the opportunities to be apart of his passion for farm life. I remember the feel of holding my new niece for the first time. And saying good by to my beloved grandmother one last time. Pictures of my daughters laughter as she loved on as many animals as she could while home.

Finally, when the day ended with the group and Greg and I were by ourselves I told him that I still had the rock that he gave me.  He was a little surprised that I kept it for he had no idea that I was looking for something to begin with. Or the very special moment that God shared with me while walking along the river that day.  And yes, the rock did travel all the way back with me to Indonesia and is actually right next to the computer as I am writing this blog.  And to be honest there is not a day that has gone by since returning to Indonesia that I have not glanced at it and felt the Faithfulness of my Lord.

For you see God was faithful in helping us arrive safely with all 15 bags (with none of them opened) to Indonesia. God was faithful when my husband had a landing incident that caused some damage to one of the floats the first time back into a plane. God has been faithful in helping us remove all the rats that moved into our home while we were away. God has been faithful with the start of another school year. Now, that does not mean it has all been easy for I have had to remind myself many times through out the day that God is faithful and I need to let myself truly learn to trust him. Now, when I am faced with something God gentle reminds me that He is faithful and to just be still, rest in him, and not try to fix everything.

I am so thankful for the beautiful treasure that the Lord allowed my husband to put into my hands. And for the gentle reminder that it does not matter what comes my way for my God is FAITHFUL and I can praise him no matter what I am going through.

 

Home Assignment Schedule

We’ve safely arrived back to the Great White North, we want to give a quick heads up as to when we will be in your area.  We hope to see as many as you as we can so please don’t be shy, in contacting us via; (519)-766-3305 (J) (519)-766-8085 (G) gregjuliefij@gmail.com, Skpye, greg.julie.dole or Facebook

 

May 14 – June 19 Michigan & Indian area

May 21 – Moorepark Community Church, Three Rivers, MI

May 28 – Bowne Mennonite Church                          Alto, Michigan

June 4 – First Baptist Church of Oswego                   Oswego, Indiana

June 11 – Trinity Missionary Church                         Constantine, Michigan

June 18 – Randville Bible Church, Randville, MI

June 19 – July 10 Southern Manitoba

June 25 – Cornerstone Bible Church, Steinbach, MB

July 2 – open

July 9 – Vita Bible Church, Vita, MB

July 12 – 15 FEBC Convention                                           Waldheim, SK

July 16 – 27 – Steinbach, MB (Julie & Kids)  Nampa, ID (Greg)

July 28 – August 2 Waldheim Missions Conference     Waldheim, SK

August 3 – September 3  Alberta

August 6 – Bethel EMC, Carstairs, AB

August 13 – Country Fellowship Church, Cremona, AB

August 20 – Innisfail Baptist Church, Innsifail, AB

September 3 – Bergen Missionary Church, Bergen, AB

September 10 – Mirror Alliance Church, Mirror, AB

September 11-18 Return to Indonesia

Return to the Great White North

Greetings from the dole clan,

We what to thank all those that prayed for us during our recent travels from Indonesia back to Canada.  The trip had some strange events but went smoothly non the less, which we are very thankful for.

Departure from Merauke to Makassar on the 21st of April went smoothly.  Second leg was Makassar to Bali where we were nicely seated in the last row of the airplane (personally not a favorite) and shortly after we sat down a tropical rain started to fall.  We boarded using a ladder in both front and back of the airplane neither of which had a canopy.  A bit of panic ensued as people are trying to jam their way into the plane as the plane is the only shelter from the rain.  With the log jam that seems always to occur during boarding there were several passenger that were very wet by the time they got inside the airplane.  Not only were there a lot of wet passengers but due to the direction of the rain (rain doesn’t always fall straight in Indonesia, we have horizontal rain at times), the rear part and probably the front cabin door area flooded quite badly and the poor cabin crew were tasked with trying to clean up the mess with public restroom TP quality like tissue.  It was a mess.

Our time in Bali went well and we managed to keep most of us from burning too badly.  My mother and niece enjoyed the sun a bit more than recommended early on during the week and suffered some bad sun burns particularly my niece.  During our one of our day excursions we enjoyed some physical activity navigating some fun challenging high ropes courses.  After which we enjoyed a leisurely stroll through the botanic gardens there, during which we got caught in a heavy rain again.  Jaclynn and Julie stayed behind as Jaclynn had powered out so the rest of us carried on to retrieve the vehicle and return to pick them up.  However, in the mean time the light rain turned into a tropical down pour about the same time as we found ourselves on a logging type road lost trying to get back to pick up Jaclynn and Julie.  It was quite the experience for everyone including me as I navigated a very steep and narrow road trying to relocate ourselves so we could continue the search for were we had left the two girls.  Fortunately for the girls they had moved on a bit to a better shelter before the heavy rains fell.  We did finally relocate the girls even with their slight change of position after we had parted.  The rain continued to fall very hard, and made for an interesting ride down the remainder of the mountain even on the more improved road (wide enough for 2 way traffic and fewer hairpin blind corners).  Thankfully the Lord’s protection brought us home safely and the vehicle externally in the same condition (not sure about the clutch and brakes though).

Our departure from Bali seemed to be going as planned.  As a couple of months prior I had planned out our trip to coincided with my mom and niece’s travel itinerary.  Early on it was apparent that we would be in Bali one more day than them.  But sometime after that as I was checking things again and I some how got a bit confused and mixed the dates.  So we arrived at the airport Friday afternoon checked our bags and got our boarding passes.  We arrived at our gate and enjoyed some supper.  While sitting at the gate I pulled out our boarding pass and the date all of a sudden stuck out to me.  “Today is the 28th and the boarding pass says the 29th. I looked at my watch a couple times to confirm that it was the 28th not the 29th.  I got out our ticket booking information and yet it says the 29th like the boarding passes.  Our luggage claim tags have the 29th on them as well.  Oh no we are here a day early!!!  I quickly asked the agent at the boarding desk and yep there was a problem.  The airplane was already full which meant that we were not going to be able to board.  I asked about our baggage, at which time we were sent back to the check-in counter to get our bags.  But due to the short notice,  our bags had already been loaded and there wasn’t time to retrieve them.  So thankfully the airline (which had a computer issue and had not pick up the different dates) had seats available for us on a later flight so we could be reunited with our baggage.  I was also able to locate a couple of hotel rooms for the night in Jakarta last minute.  So an unplanned extra day in Jakarta gave us some family time to wander aimlessly around a mall and take in a movie.

Departure from Jakarta on the correct day this time went okay although it felt a bit strange having to go through 4 levels of security non of which were doing a very thorough job.  In my opinion one level of security doing a better thorough job would be much better.  And what’s with not being able to carry factory sealed water bottles to the gate?  I understand non-sealed water bottles, but bottles still with there factory tamper seals I mean come on?

Departure from Hong Kong went smoothly until Isaac and I sat down in our seats in the plane.  With in moments of us taking our seats the overhead luggage compartment started to rain on us.  Apparently someone had a non leak proof water bottle laying on it’s side still attached to their backpack (no it was not ours).  The first flight attendant help out by wiping up as much of the water as he could.  However there was a lot of residual water in the latching mechanism which continued to want to drip.  So he left me with a rag after asking me to hold it for awhile which I happily agreed to do.  However, shortly afterwards a different flight attendant noticed what I was doing and here we go again.  Trying to explain what had happen to them and then listening to their explanation as to what was happening was a bit funny.  They finally were able to tape a cloth on to the door handle which stayed in place the remainder of the flight with no more dripping.

Arriving in Toronto we ended up sitting on the airplane at the gate for about 30 mins before we were allowed to get off the plane.  Apparently there was a long line up at customs.  Not sure what the delay for the baggage claim as one would have thought that the extra 30 minutes at the gate would have given the baggage guys a huge head start but nope about 45-60 mins after we had disembarked the airplane our bags finally showed up on the carousel.  It was also interesting to see a huge pile of baggage from our flight already stacked neatly next to the carousel waiting to be claimed and a large group of people (us included) still waiting for our bags.

Our first night of sleep was sweat and hopefully in the next couple days our bodies will finish adjusting to the new time zone.