Monday, June 22, 2009
The flight from Singapore to Tokyo treated us to almost constant moderate turbulance for over seven hours due to a never-ending line of thuderstorms. Poor Tanner threw up about a dozen times...both Joy and I were baptized more than once. After using all the sick sacks in both of our rows, we had to ask for more! Poor little guy!
We arrived in Tokyo and got stuck in a massive herd of people (think African wildabeast migration). I still can't figure out why they always make every person go through security immediately after getting off a plane? Weren't we all ALREADY checked PRIOR to boarding the plane? And if someone was going to do something, wouldn't it have been BEFORE they got off of the airplane? And as if that wasn't confusing enough, they check you again before letting you into the individual gates. So why do you have to get checked extremely thoroughly, just after deboarding??? And there's four or five international flights arriving at the same time, and being ushered through only three lines that move very slow. It's insane!! Well, we would have missed our next flight, but after sweating and working our way through the heard for almost 2 hours, and running through the airport (thinking it had already left, based off of the TV screen information,) we found that our flight hadn't even arrived in Tokyo yet. So we made it on our flight, but left Tokyo almost three hours late.
However, we arrived in Portland after our flight had already departed and were unable to get another flight till the following day. Since leaving the hotel in Singapore, we had been travelling non-stop for almost 40 hours befere we got sleep in a bed. Ya, it was a marathon!! So after five days of travel we arrive here at MAF headquarters, exhausted. But it's been great to re-connect with good friends from the area, and we look forward to the busy week ahead. Thanks for your prayers!
Oh yeah, the locals say it's nice weather here, but we're freezing!!
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Day one takes us from Tarakan to Balikpapan, Indonesia. Day 2 we cruise on to Singapore. Day 3 starts at 3:00AM and takes us through Tokyo, to Portland, and on to Boise, ID where we'll hopefully arrive about 36 hours later (but actually just later the same afternoon b/c of crossing the International date line.) So hopefully we'll be at MAF headquarters on Thursday afternoon (U.S. time.)
Should be an exciting and exhausting trip with the five kids. We appreciate your prayers! I'll update you some time after our arrival.
Early this afternoon, after church, the Lord suddenly took Simeon home. His home-going came as a tremendous shock and loss to our MAF family. But he leaves behind an amazing legacy. For nearly 32 years Simeon served his Father faithfully through the ministry of MAF. Over the years, because of his experience, character, and reputation, he could easily have taken other job offers that would have come with considerably higher salary and benefits. Yet he chose to joyfully continue to serve with MAF, because he had his sights on higher things! He had an eternal perspective that shaped who he was and what he did.
As news spreads throughout villages all over East Kalimantan, and to Java, Papau and the far reaches of Indonesia, literally thousands of people will mourn the loss of Pak Simeon. I truly can't think of anyone more well-loved, respected, and influential, both within MAF and among the Lun Dayeh community, church, and government throughout Kalimantan, than Pak Simeon!. But though our loss is real and painful, it's tempered by the fact that we know Simeon is rejoicing with his Heavenly Father--and we have a hope and expectation that one day we will be reunited!
In the meantime, please take a moment to pray for Simeon's family and friends, and for our MAF family. Thanks!
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Paul and I were absolutely convinced that there was no way the guys would ever come up river that far to get us. It was totally impassible there. Furthermore, as we had already learned, all previous attempts to do this trip with tourists had failed at this very point. The idea of waiting three or four days for people that weren't going to show up, only to have to turn around and hike all the way back to our starting point was quite depressing. We don't like to wait around for solutions. We like to forge ahead. Plus, we didn't have enough vacation days left to wait around. We had to get this thing done!
So after several hours of eating, visiting, etc., we finally broke out the map (actually it's a chart that we use for our flight navigation) with the guys and showed them our location, based off of our GPS readings. It took a while to convince them. Then we gradually introduced the idea that the next day (sixth day of the trip) we would like to continue downriver. That idea was met with much grumbling and consternation. They had never been beyond this point and were content to wait for days at our present camp. However, Paul and I again urged them to accompany us further downriver, enticing them with the idea that our chances would be much greater of being picked up, and then they could get on their way back to their village. Finally they agreed. In truth, we were ready to go with or without them at that point, as the idea of forging ahead was much more exciting than waiting with little hope, only to eventually turn back.So the sixth day we tore off downriver. Most of the day we just walked right in the water, b/c there was no trail and the jungle was very thick. It was all rocks--wet, slippery, slimy rocks of every possible size. Amazingly no one fell or twisted an ankle. Seriously, it was miraculous, b/c we were going at a very fast pace, criss-crossing and wading through endless rapids. We saw tons of big fish. They were everywhere! It was like the land flowing with milk and honey...except in this case it was water and fish! In the above picture, we were taking a short break on a rare, wide-open area where the river ran shallow and gentle. As you can see in the picture above, we're looking pretty wild, wet and worn-out by this point.
On the ninth day of our trip, we left the banks of Data Dian for the short boat ride to the airstrip. Dozens of folks were waving goodbye having loaded us down with gifts of wild honey and honeycomb, fruit, rice, traditional pastry things and more, and making us promise to one day bring our wives and kids back to visit. I would like nothing more. But in the meantime, I was simply looking forward to seeing them myself.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Well, the fourth day had us climbing up a huge mountain. The trail pretty much disappeared, and we just pulled and clawed and smooshed our way up, up, up the mountain. The guides were pretty much hacking there way through the entangled mess, sometimes splitting up in three different directions, b/c again, there was no trail. Eventually, we got to a place where they said, "Now we go up." Our thought was, "Well what the phat have we been doing for the past four hours?" And sure enough, we went basically straight up a very steep side of ridge, arriving in a cloud forest at the top.