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.


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.


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.



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.

8 Weeks

Yesterday we celebrated the return to service for our south coast chariot (PK-MAO).  After spending the last 8 weeks in the hanger in varying stages of disassembly/reassembly we were able to put the aircraft safely back in the sky.  We are thankful for the safety throughout the process for us as well as the aircraft.  The return to service (RTS) flight, went well and we were able to follow that flight up with a currency flight for myself and then a normal operational flight. This large inspection was required due to the age and experience of MAO as it nears the 20,000 hr mark, 19,857.0 to be exact.  This inspection however is now required every 2,500 hrs (approx. 3 years of flying here) from here on in.  So with that in mind we continue to pray for a newer less experienced plane to take the place of MAO.  MAF in Nampa is working on raising the funds for MAO replacement and Lord willing in the next year or so we can introduce a new member to our Meruake team here.

Yesterday, the operational flight was transporting a new missionary that is in the process of learning the local language with the goal of being able to help a long time missionary there with the ongoing work of translating the Bible.  From the same village I also pickup two mothers, one of which needed some medical care in the city.  I don’t know the details other than she had a bandage wrapped around part of her face.  She had also been patiently waiting for us to pick her up as the request had come in a few weeks prior but due to the inspection we were unable to do the flight until yesterday.


28th of March, inspection over time to go home.

DSCF8012 (1280x960)

29th of March, returning home at the end of the first operational flight in 8 weeks :-).  Time for some celebration snacks.

Thank you all for your continually up lifting our family and team here in your prayers.

Smiling Through the Tears

I will admit that this was a hard post to put into words for me (Julie) as it has been a unique week for myself and our family.  I got to walk beside two very different Indonesian families as they held two very different events through out the week.  One of the families was our neighbors that live directly across from us and hold to the faith of most Indonesian. The other family attends our church here and we also attend the same small group every week. Now, normally I would write about each family separately but both events actually happened at the same time and since I walked through both at the same time I can’t separate them.

A few months ago our neighbor came and asked Greg if they could host their daughters wedding in our front yard.  Most people on our street do not have large open areas in their yards besides us and since our houses are almost directly in front of each other it would work very well. When Greg came to share with me this request I just paused for a moment in amazement at how God had just put before us such a unique way to be apart of our neighbors lives. As the weeks drew closer we allowed them to use our yard for parking cars and bikes in as they hosted all those fun pre-wedding events. And our family began to really look forward to the event and really wondered what it would be like.  As every island and tribe will do it a bit differently and we had not attended a wedding in Papua yet.  Sadly, though Greg discovered a couple weeks before that he had to be in Sentani for meetings and would not be here for the wedding.  Now, I will be honest that this news had me more then a little nervous as this meant that I was going to be by myself while this was going on. And that I would be the one that all questions would be coming to instead of Greg. All I can say is man our God is so faithful!!!  As the day approached I found myself more excited and less nervous.

Tuesday morning trucks began to come to our house to drop off all the metal frame for all the different tents that they were going to put up.  This would have been the time if you were looking into my house when you would of found Isaac sitting in his big chair watching with great interest.  He loved watching this process from a safe distance (where no one would talk with him) with a fan blowing right on him.  During the morning I would pop out every so often to take pictures and greet people. This lead to me be invited to our neighbors house to take part with what the ladies were doing (which for me is still a very nerve wracking thing for me to do but I understood the importance of it).  As I walked into the house I found about thirty women spread through out the house working on different things. For some of them it was likely the first time greeting a white women so I will admit it was fun seeing their reactions. After all the greetings were done I found myself seated on the floor drinking and eating with them for about another 30 min.

After leaving the ladies I walked through all the guys who were busy working on tents, chairs, tables, and different task to check on what my kids were up to.  I was pretty sure school lessons were not a top priority compared to what was going on outside at the moment plus Jaclynn was coming down with a nasty cold/flu.  And as I was checking on the kids I received a text message from Greg that broke my heart. One of our church friends had called him telling him that our friends daughter who was approaching her 2nd birthday had suddenly passed away. After confirming the news I had to call Greg (who was already disappointed about missing the wedding)??? that our dear friends were dealing with this tragic loss. Which meant that I would now be trying to show support, love, and compassion to our friends, along side our church family on top of all the wedding events that our neighbors wanting us to attend.

When a person dies here in Indonesia there is no funeral home like back home that prepares the body.  And it is the family that takes care of the body inside the house.  With this knowledge in mind I needed to find out were this was going to happen as that would mean about three days worth of special services and visiting with the family.  Through this process I discovered that everything was going to be held at the little girls grandmothers house which is only a few houses down from our house. I was thankful that both events were going to be so close together that I could be apart of both but my heart was so torn. How does a person really go through the process of grieving with a believing family and not only attend but host a wedding in your yard with a family that believes very different then you do while everyone is watching you?

I was standing next to my gate watching all that was taking place for the wedding when everyone instantly stops what they were doing when the ambulance (ambulances are more commonly used as the function of a hurse here) turn onto our road. After the ambulance passes by everyone goes to that house and we watched the family caring the little girl into the house and place her on the prepared table that she would be laying on during this time.  At this point it does not matter what a person beliefs are or if you really know that person. Everyone comes in and cries with the family for a short time.  During the next hour I sat with different church members as we had tears rolling down our faces as we listened to family members cry and scream the little girls name. It did not matter that I could not understand every word as grief has its own language and needs no translation to be understood.  After some people had left I was able to go into the house and hug my dear friend as we cried together. And as I turned to leave their yard and head to mine (where all the wedding preparation was happening) I realized that I was truly walking between two different worlds almost. One was a time of laughter, new beginnings, excitement, and joy. The other was filled with intense sorrow and broken hearts. More importantly though one has a deep faith (even though at the moment there were lots of questions of why) and one did not. I will admit that I was unsure if I could handle doing both the grief and happiness at the same time.

Oh, how faithful our God IS at answering prayers and giving strength to His people.  So thus began three days of going back and fourth from the wedding to the funeral services. I am thankful that our kids were old enough to take care of themselves or they might of gone hungry on that first day. However, I think that Isaac might have just eaten cookies that day with all the cookies crumbs in his room. Franklin really stepped up to the plate with his dad gone. He attended the first service for the little girl even though he was scarred of crying in front of so many people. He even when into the house and shook hands with people as they sat around the little girls body. Then as we entered into our yard all the guys were sitting eating snacks and drinking tea. Most of the guys knew that Franklin loved to eat their small fried snacks just from watching him ride his bike everyday to buy some.  So the guys convinced him to sit down with them to eat some fried goodies for a little while as I went into the house (a couple of the men could speak English).

The day of the wedding was very hot but it was such a blessing and honor to be apart of. Jaclynn was feeling better enough to attend and she loved seeing all of the fancy dresses and flowers.  We laughed when we saw a young dad take his little son (about one) and douse him under our outside water spout. Isaac was pretty upset that I would not allow him to do that during the service as well. However, once the service was over and the eating had begun I allowed the kids to go sit inside the AC rooms for a few minutes.  It was neat to see how the men set on separate sides as the women and they actually had the men get their food from different tables as the ladies. I think that the hardest part of the wedding was the music as it was loud and I laugh pretty good when I went to use my bathroom and the windows were actually vibrating. So you can all imagine that we all breathed a sigh of relief when they turned it off.  Thankfully, the big reception for the wedding was at a hall and not in our yard so it got a little quieter a little faster.  As our family was heading to the reception our neighbor asked if anyone wanted to ride with them in the cars. Franklin jump at the offer but later find himself apart of the wedding party as they walked into the hall.  Jaclynn and I were already seated up front so he just smiled and followed the line of people until he got to us and sat down.  I really had to not laugh out loud when he turn to me and shrugged his shoulders and shook his head in unbelief at what he just did.

After we left the party and got home I found myself switching gears once again as I headed to our friends house.  While the reception was going on there was another service for the little girl and lots of people were still there so I went as well.  While there visiting with people I watched how they carried in her little coffin and how they prepared it before they place her little body inside. It was a beautiful thing to be apart of even though it was such a hard thing as well. For three days family members continue to sit around the body working through their grieve while everyone is watching which makes it is a very intense time for everyone.

Even though Greg did and amazing job of supporting me through text messages and phone calls I was very happy to pick him up from the airport Thursday morning.  Since his plane was actually on time he was able to drop his bags off at home, shake hands with neighbors who were busy taking down wedding tents, and go hug his grieving friends next door. Our neighbors did an amazing job of taking down the wedding tents quickly allowing us to use our yard once again for people looking to park cars and bike for the final service before the graveside service.  Which Greg and I were able to attend as well and then afterwards Greg was able to spend more time visiting with our friends some more and help with a little bit of clean up from the wedding.

And words can not express how grateful I am for you all who saw my post on Facebook and prayed not only for our family but for our friends.  Thank you for helping in this special way as I know that I could not have done this without your emails, text messages, and prayers.