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Well, a lot has happened lately and I know right off the bat that it’s not all going to fit on this newsletter. What I believe most people are curious about is how our trip to Zambia went. It’s impossible to detail it all here (let alone show you all the pictures). I wrote a lengthy blog post full of pictures titled “We went to Zambia (and came back again).” Here’s a summary:
Our work trip to Zambia to help Flying Mission Zambia (FMZ) complete their autopilot install and avionics upgrade went very well. Thanks to all of you who prayed for us! All our COVID tests came back negative. The children traveled well, especially considering we were in transit for thirty hours through many time zones! All our flights were on time and although some of us did get sick, we all survived and our work team was able to get a lot of work done in the hangar. Both airplanes are flying again and Jason Speichinger, the lead pilot at FMZ, reportedly cannot get the smile off of his face because of how well the new equipment performs.
One of the mission operations that Flying Mission Zambia supports is Mukinge Mission Hospital. Mukinge sees 200 patients a day, 200 births a month, and serves a population of 90,000 people. Janice and I had the opportunity to fly to the hospital with Jason one Thursday morning after our project was nearly completed. It was a highlight of our trip!
While we were there we met Dr. Allan Sawyer. Allan is a traveling missionary OB/GYN with World Medical Missions, a sub-organization of Samaritan’s Purse. In 2017, after 24 years of private practice, he was convicted by God to sell his practice and go into full time ministry. Since then he’s served in nine different countries delivering babies, performing surgeries, and training and relieving overworked missionary doctors who otherwise would never get a break. It was an honor to meet Dr. Allan Sawyer, a real life example of the kind of passengers who benefit from the ministry of Flying Mission Zambia. A one hour and forty minute flight saves them over twelve hours of traveling (on a good day) and avoids a lot of dangerous hazards along the way. Missionary doctors like Allan Sawyer are hard to find. The need is overwhelming and so we want to keep these valuable missionary doctors safe, and make them as effective and efficient as possible!
Janice and I barely said hello to Allan before he was inquiring about Janice’s pregnancy. Before we knew it, we were in the ward finding out the gender of our baby! “It’s a boy!” He announced. Two months later the gender was confirmed at Janice’s 21 month ultrasound. We’re having another boy!
Adi must’ve grown from our African experience because one day Janice was babysitting and the kids saw a tiny spider and flipped out. Adi calmly watched the drama unfold and then told the other children, “Don’t worry. Just kill it with your shoe.” She must be listening to our advice more than we realize!
June marked two years since I began my apprenticeship at MMS Aviation! We’re so grateful to all our supporters for making all of this possible.
Recently the TSIO-520 engine I was overhauling has been completed, put on a crate, and loaded in the back of a pickup bound for Georgia. There it will be installed on a Cessna 206 and then flown to Bolivia where it will serve indigenous Indian populations high in the mountains! This engine was a team effort because Josh Adelsberger, the Engine Room supervisor, finished the overhaul for me. Our family was in Zambia and the overhaul needed to stay on schedule!
I also got the opportunity to install rivets on Mercy Air’s helicopter, an Airbus AS350 B2 that is going through a configuration change so it can fly cargo and passengers in support of missions in the southern tip of Africa.
In addition to all that, I’m taking a PT-6 turbine class with Chris Jutte. He served in Indonesia maintaining PT-6s for eighteen years! A Pratt & Whitney PT-6 is a popular turbine engine that’s used on many mission aircraft. They use jet fuel instead of aviation gasoline (avgas). Avgas can be impossible to find in some parts of the world while jet fuel is readily available. This is one reason a lot of missions use these engines.
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