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

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Ride-a-Long

On Thursday I got the chance to do a "Ride-a-Long" to observe a typical MAF flight day here with MAF Uganda.  I accompanied MAF pilot, Dallas, on a day that took us on a few stops up through Uganda and into South Sudan and back.


After meeting at the MAF office in Kampala and then driving out to the hangar in Kajjansi, the first thing was to go over loading stuff and paperwork with the local MAF staff there.  I'm sure I'll come to greatly appreciate all the great work and effort these guys put into the operation.


Then it was time to preflight and fuel the aircraft.  This is an MAF-owned strip so it's all MAF staff doing the fueling, runway upkeep, everything.  Again, they seem to do a great job!



Nearby, another MAF Uganda pilot, Rembrand, was pre-flighting the Cessna 206.



Here's one of the strips we landed at during the day.  Uganda only has three paved airstrips, and I'm sure South Sudan is similar.  So most of the strips are some form of dirt or gravel or grass.


And here was one of our cute little passengers--the little girl, not Dallas.  They were on their way up to South Sudan, but there were several stops along the way, so they got in and out to stretch a few times, and take care of immigration concerns before leaving Uganda.



Here we are somewhere up in South Sudan.  MAF Uganda flies primarily ministry and NGO staff, so almost everyone on the aircraft is going or coming from somewhere where they were/are doing something significant to help the local people and share the love of Christ.


Twice we had to add some JetFuel along the way at one of the strips where MAF keeps a stockpile.  There's always someone with a big smile ready to help.


Here's a very typical village scene throughout Northern Uganda and South Sudan.


And here's a typical scene over the Northeastern part of East DRC.


The leg back from South Sudan to Entebbe, Uganda was much longer than anything I typically flew in Kalimantan.  After about 2.7 hours we landed in Entebbe in the late afternoon where our passengers could clear immigration and catch connecting flights.  Then we hopped the 5 minutes back over to Kajjansi where MAF's little airstrip is.  Here's a view out over Lake Victoria to the South, which is gorgeous from the air, but rarely seen from the road we travel.  This is right near the MAF Kajjansi airfield.


And here we are back at MAF's home strip.  MAF's hangar is down at the far end.  The other airplanes and little hangars you see are private operators and flying clubs that use the field as well.


After doing post-flight and more paperwork, we drove the hour or so back to the office in Kampala.  Traffic was very heavy, as the long Easter weekend was starting, so we took some "short-cut" roads.  I should have taken some pictures of that, but I was hanging on with both hands.  I'm telling you, the roads here are pretty crazy and many of them would be almost certainly impassable without 4WD.  I'll get some good shots of those sometime so you can appreciate them better.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Home Sweet Home

We made it--home sweet home!  Uganda.  Here's an iPhone shot right out our bedroom window this morning.  The African sunrises are amazing, and many nights we're treated to spectacular lighting shows as well.  We're blessed with a great view and a beautiful, big, grassy yard here, with lots of song birds and butterflies everywhere.


Thanks for your prayers for our travels.  Everything went well, and all our bags arrived with us. :-)   A few of our duffels were torn pretty good from who knows what, but the contents were all in-tact. We were greeted on this end by a great MAF team who've all gone the extra mile to make our transition as seamless as possible.  We feel loved and blessed in so many ways!


Of course, there's SO much to learn, and we often feel like we're drinking from a fire hose as we try learn everything about life here.   Like the roads for example.  As we took the kids to school for their first day, we had to help a few cars get un-stuck on the road just below our house.  We're extremely grateful that our friends, the Rogers, have allowed us to borrow their vehicle for a month or two until they get back from home assignment.  In the meantime, we're going to have to find and buy a used, 4WD vehicle of our own.  We appreciate your prayers in this regard--a good, old, 4WD vehicle is very expensive here, and we trust that God will provide just the right one for us in His timing.  (Incidentally, this was the "good" road compared to several other options that are steeper and much more deeply rutted.)


The people are beautiful here, and so friendly.  In time, I'm sure I'll have some great photos to share with you, both of the people and everything else.  However, I haven't even had a chance to get out my cameras (other than the phone) yet, as things have been just so busy.

Britton and Hannah started school on this past Monday and love it.  The other three start this coming Monday.  They've all been making friends and seem to feel at home already.  Joy is learning where to shop and how to navigate the roads and figuring out how to keep the home going and also making friends.  I started work at MAF, and will be taking a validation exam on Monday at the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) to hopefully get a temporary 3-month permission to fly based on my U.S. license until I can complete the rest of the process to get a Ugandan license.  Pray that I pass. :-)

More next week.  Now I'm off to study for the exam.  Thanks for your prayers!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

We've Got Tickets to Uganda!

Yeah!  We just got tickets to Uganda, and we'll be leaving in less than a week--next Wednesday!  As you can imagine, we're running around like chickens with our heads cut off (I've never really thought about how gruesome a visual picture that is, until I just put it in writing--sorry about that) trying to sort out a ton of last-minute details and saying goodbyes and packing.

Here's a shot from up in the mountains a few weeks ago--we won't be seeing any more snow anytime soon.


We're SO very grateful to YOU, our ministry partners, friends, family, churches, MAF--all of you who've encouraged and loved on us over the past months as we've been in that weird transitional place in the U.S.   We're supposed to feel at "home" in our "home country", but it never feels normal after you've lived so long overseas.  And in our case, moving from one region of the world to another, and just passing through here on our way, has just magnified that.  Yet, we've been blessed by your patience, and your understanding, and your support.  And we're thrilled that God has restored our health, and energy, and spirits, and we're all very ready and excited for the next chapter He has in store for us--for Uganda.  Well, I don't know if we're "ready", but we're ready to take that leap of faith and hang on tight, which is as ready as we'll ever be. :-)


It's been fun for the kids to make new friends here, to get re-acquainted with grandparents, cousins, family they've never known or didn't remember.  It's been fun for them to experience snow, and hot chocolate, and cold...though we're all actually looking forward to the warmer weather again.  It's the little things.


We've been blessed in so many ways--not the least of which is just the chance to take a breath of truly fresh air, and marvel in the beauty of God's creation--which surrounds us everywhere here in the Northwest.  It's what our souls needed.  And it's been refreshing.


Having said all that, we're not naive--we've moved twice, already, to "foreign" places, and only a fool would think it's easy.  It's not.  It's certainly adventurous and fun if you have the right perspective, but it's not easy.  There's SO much to learn and absorb, and it takes a huge amount of physical and emotional energy to do it well.  New cultures, customs, values, beliefs, taboos, friends, teammates, food, places to shop or eat or relax, school, work, ministry--it's all different.  

So we appreciate your prayers for us as a family--and especially for Joy and the kids as we make this transition, and each find our niche in our new home--Uganda.  Pray for all the obvious things, but especially pray for at least one or two, really good friends for each of the kids and for Joy and me, that can become the kind of people we can truly confide in and grow with and learn from and be transparent with...because that's what we're all going to need when the going gets tough.  We know that from experience.  That's the kind of friends we had, and still have, in Indonesia--true friends, for life.  It makes all the difference.  And we'll need that in Uganda too!


This will likely be my last blog post for a few weeks, as we're extremely busy from now till we leave next Wednesday morning.  We'll be arriving in Uganda on Thursday night, but it will take a week or so, I'm sure, before I have the time and ability to make another post.  Keep checking back though, because when I do, I'll be sure to update you.   Thanks!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Update, and Bryce Canyon National Park 4

We're super busy right now with seemingly hundreds of little details that always pile up just before departing the country for a few years--packing, organizing, last-minute doctor and dentist appts., etc. etc.  I'm also trying to wade through and absorb a bunch of Ugandan aviation regulations so I can hopefully pass a license validation exam shortly after arriving.  I'd also like to find time to study some of the aircraft flight manuals and operations manuals, and also try to work in a renewal course for my CFI (Certified Flight Instructor Rating) that's due soon.  Fun. Fun. :-)  We're hoping to be leaving in the next week or two.  You can be praying that my work permit comes through soon, and that MAF can find reasonable tickets for our departure.  Thanks!

In the meantime, here's a few final, scenic shots from Bryce Canyon.  It certainly is an awe-inspiring and strangely beautiful place!  I hope you've enjoyed seeing some of the beauty of God's creation in the National Parks of the Western U.S. over the past few months.  I'm looking forward to seeing the beauty of Africa soon too--the people, the land, and the animals.  









Thursday, March 13, 2014

Bryce Canyon National Park 3

This one is all about the hiking we did in Bryce Canyon.  All said we walked about 25 miles or more during our four days in Bryce.


The air was so clear and crisp, and the skies were so blue--it was all very refreshing.  Of course, anytime there was a pinnacle of some kind, or a place where you could go stand on the edge of something steep and dangerous, that's right where I wanted to be.  And a few of my kids have that same propensity.  Joy, however, doesn't--at least not when it involves heights.  So at least there was someone back on the trail to take our picture! :-)


We completed the "Hike the Hoodoos" challenge, and earned some cool metal pins.  Actually, we did about 3 or 4 times what was required.  The kids were pretty excited about that. 






 Isn't that cute?



This one is called "Thor's Hammer".


Monday, March 10, 2014

Critters 2

Here it is, "Critters 2", the sequel to the original "Critters" video that many of you saw after our first four years in Indonesia.  This is a faster, crazier, weirder version, that's a lot of fun for both kids and adults alike.  It's not fun if you don't dig slithery, creepy-crawly, biting, stinging, chomping, poisonous critters.  This little video captures, in high definition, some of the critters we encountered during our past four years in Indonesia.  If you can't handle the photo below, of Britt w/ all the snakes, (a still grabbed from the video) then you probably won't want to watch the whole thing.  



However, if you like what you see here, check out the moving version below.  It's much better!


Or, here's the direct link to the "Critters 2" video on YouTube:  Critters 2 - YouTube .  Enjoy!

And a big thank you to Eric Heatherly for permission to use the song "Down by the Bay" from the album, Country Goes Raffi.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Bryce Canyon National Park 2

Wow!  Isn't this a glorious sunrise?  I had to get up nice and early and hike out onto a secluded part of the rim of the canyon before the sun popped over the horizon to get this shot.  But it was all worth it!


Of course, it wasn't always that sunny and cheerful.


The nighttime skies were amazing!  This is one of the darkest night-sky places in the U.S., so we really enjoyed the stars!  This was the "story time with dad" time of night, when we'd all sit around the campfire and I'd tell the kids stories--sometimes they're true, sometimes not.  I've got plenty of exciting true ones to tell from my own childhood in the Amazon, or various adventures and trouble I've gotten into all over the world.  But sometimes I just make one up, so ridiculous that the kids know it can't be real.  They like both kinds.  I usually try to have some sort of moral or lesson that can be learned at the end--but sometimes they're just for nothing but fun.  Anyway, I decided that it would be worth capturing these moments, and I had already set up the camera on the tripod for some starry night photos, so I took this one of all of us.


Here's a few more random shots of the beauty that was everywhere.







We're still waiting for word on my work permit, so we still don't have tickets for a departure to Uganda.  However, we're still preparing as if we might leave in the next two weeks--packing things up and putting things away.  But we might be delayed a bit if we don't get the work permit soon.  I'll keep you posted.  We're really busy right now with all the "last-minute" stuff that happens when you're leaving the U.S. for a few years.