“WHEN I LANDED in Dagi a hundred things were going through my mind. The folks in Korapun had asked if I could do two flights from Dagi to Korapun to fly in the produce and pigs needed for the big celebration. This language group of the Mek tribe was receiving their first completed translation of the Bible! And the party would be huge! As I got out of the airplane in Dagi I asked how many kilos of local cuisine they had for Korapun; they had enough for three trips! I told them I could take 380 kilos and they quickly started to help load the plane with sweet potato, corn, pigs, chickens, and some veggies I had never seen before. I noticed one man struggle as he lifted a bag of veggies into the airplane; Papuan men and women are very strong and this man should have no problem lifting the 18 kilos into the plane, (at least that’s how much the tag said the bag weighed.) I asked to weigh the bag using the fish scale we always carry in the plane. The bag came up to a hefty 32 kilos! If all the bags were like this, that meant that I was probably 100% too heavy! Even though the airstrip slopes downhill 15%, I would still be touching trees at the bottom of the hill as I tried to take off! So, with the weather moving around us quickly in the steep, tall and tight valleys, I asked the good people of Dagi to help me re-weigh all of their cargo, which took about 20 minutes. In that time, the fairly open valley system turned a nasty grey, and the clouds began their death grip on the mountains. By the time I got my plane loaded and secure, the wind had kicked up and the weather was closing in fast. I knew I could take off and immediately return to Dagi if the valleys ahead were closed with cloud. Korapun is only a total of 3 minutes away by airplane. I ACCELERATED down the Dagi airstrip quickly and leaped into the air with one passenger (alocal pastor) and the right amount of cargo. I tried to climb a little but ran into the bottom of the clouds. You don’t go into clouds in Papua because mountains are lurking everywhere. I tried to turn right to go to Korapun but that was blocked, so I circled sharply back towards Dagi, to climb above the strip through a hole, but the hole only led to more clouds. I was trapped with Dagi as my only ticket to freedom! “Lord I need help now.” Just as I made another tight turn to set up my approach to Dagi, God answered with a hole big enough to safely get to Korapun. Two long minutes later I was over the airstrip and thanking God for moving the clouds enough for me to land. Yes, I was definitely back in Papua!!”
Story From Isaac Rogers MAF pilot serving in Indonesia
I will from time to time start sharing a story from someone that is on the field. Giving you an idea what is a head for our family as we look forward to serving there ourselves, and creating stories of our own. But till then we will borrow stories from those that are already there.
Greg & Julie Dole