All photos and text are property of Dave Forney and may not be used without express permission.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Nepal

I was asked last night, to go to Nepal to help with the ongoing earthquake relief efforts there.  Today is very busy as we get all of the things together for both my leaving, and for Joy and the kids survival here while I'm gone.  I'll probably be gone for between 2 to 4 weeks.  I appreciate your prayers for my Joy and the kids here in Uganda while I'm gone, and for me and the other MAF personnel who will be working and coordinating with other NGOs to help the rescue and relief efforts in Nepal.

My e-mail accessibility and blog updates will probably be sporadic while I'm gone, so if you respond or write, please don't expect a quick reply. :-)

Many thanks!
Dave



Here is an MAF update sent out this morning regarding the efforts in Nepal:

Subject: Communications: MAF Disaster Response in Nepal - Team go in to assist with logistical support - 2 May 2015
Date: May 2, 2015 at 10:31:51 AM GMT+3

Communications     
MAF DISASTER RESPONSE IN NEPAL - TEAM GO IN TO ASSIST WITH LOGISTICAL SUPPORT – 2 MAY 2015 

Dear all

Following on from my last message, the Disaster Response Team on the ground in Nepal have now conducted their initial needs assessment on how MAF can be involved.

At this time we are not planning to send in any MAF aircraft but it has become clear that there is a real need for logistical support which MAF has the skills and experience to provide. It has therefore
been agreed that MAF will now join the relief effort in a logistical capacity in the first instance to work at Kathmandu airport to assist airport authorities and organisations like the World Food Programme and UNHAS 
with ramp management and planning, cargo handling and helping smaller NGOs with warehousing logistics and co-ordination.

There also appears to be an increasingly urgent need for a co-ordinated light helicopter response. This would potentially be aimed at providing a passenger service for humanitarian relief workers
especially to get them out to the more isolated and higher altitude communities which so far many agencies have been unable to reach. The Disaster Response Team are assessing the possibility of setting up/co-ordinating a light helicopter response facility. Initial discussions have indicated it may be difficult to bring in external helicopters to Nepal but that it may be better to commission local helicopters to do this work. The team will continue to look at the options and feasibility of this and we will keep you updated.   The team have already arranged their first set of flights for the UK government DFID (Department for International Development) to enable medics and an international search and rescue team to get out to a location which was only 20 nautical miles from Kathmandu and did not initially look that remote but the situation out there is absolutely desperate and it would take 3.5 hours of driving and 8 hours trek on foot. 

Daniel Juzi will continue to lead the MAF team in Nepal along with Alan Robinson, and they will be joined in the next few days by Pilot Brent Palmer coming in from Nampa and Pilot Mike Bottrell and wife Jennifer from the Timor-Leste programme, all arriving on 3 May and Pilot Dave Forney arriving from the Uganda programme on 4 May. As many of you are aware, Dave assisted with the Philippines relief effort in 2013 and he is also a great photographer so we hope he will also be able to supply some imagery to reflect the work the team are doing. Other MAF staff are also being made available to join the effort over the coming weeks too and we will update you as that information is confirmed.


Please pray for the whole MAF team as they respond to the Lord’s call to this important work in Nepal. Pray for safe travels for the Bottrells, Brent Palmer and Dave Forney as they make their way to Nepal. Please pray for Daniel and Alan that the Lord will continue to give them wisdom, strength and energy to continue the important set up work they are doing. Pray that our whole team will be able to make a real difference with the logistical expertise and support we can offer agencies and authorities at the airport. Please continue to pray for those who are grieving the loss of loved ones – with over 6,000 people confirmed dead and thousands still missing or unaccounted for. Pray that God would reveal himself somehow to these people during this crisis. Let them feel the warmth of the Lord’s love at this time and know His peace.


Hillsong

Last week I had the privilege of flying and accompaning a group of lead pastors from several Hillsong UK churches, while they visited some of their Compassion International projects here in Uganda.  Here's a shot of the group.  Dallas, another MAF pilot who flew the other plane, and I, are second and third from right.


We initially flew them to Kasese in far Western Uganda, just along the border with Congo.  Hidden behind those clouds are the Rwenzori Mountains, with the highest peaks reaching above 17,000' and snow-covered year around.


This is a very fertile area, and since we're now in rainy season it's nice and green.  


The first day, after landing, we drove about an hour and half to a small village (below) in the mountains, where we spent the rest of the day seeing the Compassion project there, meeting with the kids and leaders, and doing some home visits with a few of the kids.





The next morning we awoke to this view at the foothills of the Rwenzoris.


Then we got back in the vehicles and headed the opposite direction to another location up in the foothills.  The roads are tiny dirt paths carved into the sides of the steep terrain.  


As before, the older children were all there dancing and singing to greet the Hillsong team.  These are kids that have been sponsored through Compassion, so they've been getting schooling and basic food, medical, and sanitary needs met.  They also get training in taking care of animals, gardening, sewing, and other things that can lead to an income when they're older.


These kids were watching from nearby, sitting on a pile of home-made bricks.


Here's a few more of the kids.






At the end of the second day we flew the team to the far Eastern side of Uganda near the border of Kenya, where they spent the next two days at some additional Compassion projects.  The weather was typical for this time of year--beautiful, but with heavy, isolated thunderstorms along the way.


Here's the airstrip where we dropped them, and then picked them up again two days later.  We were blessed and encouraged to see and hear about the lives and communities being impacted and changed through the investments of Hillsong UK and their partnership with Compassion International and local church and community leaders.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

This and That

Here's a few pics from the past two weeks.


Last week on Friday night MAF got a call for a Medevac flight for a S. Sudanese pastor who had suffered a stroke.  Since Greg and I were both already scheduled to fly on Saturday anyway, we just tag-teamed the medevac flight first, and postponed the charter flights till we got back.  Here's a few screen grabs from some video I took of Greg in action.



It's full-on rainy season here in Uganda.  Every day it seem like we gets showers or storms.  Everything has turned lush green, and the skies are a brilliant, deep blue.  The weather is constantly changing, with storms developing at all times during the day and night.  Some are quite massive, with lots of thunder and lighting.  This was just a tiny one from a few weeks ago when rainy season was just starting, but I thought it had a nice shape.


Here's a shot of Murchison Falls National Park, just East of Lake Albert.  Just a few weeks ago it was totally brown.  In fact, much of this area was black, where it had been burned.  This shot was taken about two weeks ago.  Now it's even greener than what it is in the picture!


Here's a shot of Mt. Kadam, on the way over towards Amudat.  It reaches up to 10,065' and is very rugged and impressive.  One day I want to spend some time exploring this place.


Two weeks ago we went out to the Entebbe Botanical gardens for a few hours.  In its hay-day it must have been quite an amazing place.  Even though it's a bit run-down and overgrown now, it's still a nice and cheap escape from the city, with lots of beautiful trees, flowers and birds.  Here, Hannah was doing a painting of the scene around her.


Last week was the biannual MAF Day of Prayer, so we closed the office and didn't fly.  Instead, all of the staff and a bunch of our family members gathered in the hangar for some praise and worship, teaching, and prayer time. This time we also joined up with EMI, with whom we are currently building a new, joint office building out at the airfield.  Here are some random shots from that day. 






This week I had the privilege of flying a team from Hillsong UK to visit some of their Compassion International projects around Uganda.  I got to spend a couple days with them, and see what they're doing and the impact it's having on the children, families, and communities.  It was a really encouraging time.  Next week I'll share some photos from that.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Karamoja Trip

We're back from Karamoja and it was an incredible experience!  I had every intent to write a big story to share with you last week about everything we did, but it's been so, so busy since we got back.  I didn't even have time to do a blog post last week, and now it's Sunday night again (after another week) and I still haven't written anything.  


So the really quick version is that we visited many different lay pastors in their remote village locations, listening to their hearts, hearing their concerns, and challenges, and triumphs, and learning how our church in America can assist them in future pastoral training seminars.  Then we spent some time praying with and for each one.  It was a blessing to be a part of that.  Many times it was heartbreaking to hear about all of the trials that these amazing families face each and every day--things that we so often take for granted in the west.  But even more than that, it was sobering to see the challenges that the pastors and their families face as it relates to the exploding growth of the Church, and the opposition that they frequently face in these places that are steeped in very strong animistic beliefs and traditions.

Unfortunately I only have a few minutes right now, and this is another very busy week, so I need to leave it there for now.  I'm just going to throw up some quick photos for you to see.  They include, among other things, a shot of our little team that travelled around, the beautiful Karamojang people, one of our flat tires, praying with the pastors, the Karamojang cows and scenery, and other stuff.  These are just a few of the many hundreds of photos I took.  In fact, I haven't even looked at all my pictures yet--been too busy.  I'm sure at some point I'll share some more with you. :-)  Enjoy.