First of all, thanks for your prayers! Also, many of you left encouraging comments or sent e-mails. Thank you! We've really felt the prayers of many during the past week, and we've been very grateful! Please, as you think of it continue to pray for us, our team, and others like us throughout the world. We really, truly do depend on prayer!
Here's a quick update of some of the "goings-on" from the past week or so. Last Friday and Saturday (10-11) we spent much of the day visiting many of our Indonesian, Muslim friends and neighbors for Idul Fitri. Here, Joy and Beth are hanging out with one of the ladies from next door.
This past Sunday I got called in to do a medevac. Since there were just three reported passengers, (a young, sick boy and his parents,) I had the chance to take Hudson along. It was one of our furthest-away villages from Tarakan--a long flight--but Hudson was all smiles, since he loves airplanes and flying. He often says he wants to be an MAF pilot when he "grows up."
Well, as it turned out there was another village that called for a medevac as well. So we had to swing through there first to pick up the wife of one of our airstrip agents. As you can see, from the time we hit the ground, Hudson was quickly befriended by everyone. Here, he was being taken to a waiting pile of hot, steaming, fried rice with egg and fresh boiled jungle pig...which he happily gobbled down, while I prepared the plane and passengers.
Because of the extra medevac patient, we didn't have enough seats for Hudson to sit up front on the way home. Instead he sat on Ibu Tinan Kule's lap in the middle. He's so easy-going and happy, that everyone just can't get enough of him interior. It was a real blast to have Hudsy ride along with me for what turned out to be most of the day!
And now for the snakes. Oops! I forgot to warn you! Yeah, we caught a whole lot more of them, together with our neighbors, the Colleges. Here, Britton is chasing one down as it makes a break for the gutter. Truthfully, most of them were easily caught while clumped together in two's and three's in the drainage pipes. But we were using this one for filming, and it wasn't happy.
Speaking of filming, next furlough's "Critter Video" is definitely shaping up to be much more "intense" than the original cut. No, this is not child abuse. Britton was volunteering, and was having the time of his life. This is a single frame from some HD video we were shooting, and Paul and I were ready to help if the need arose. Truthfully, the snakes were pretty lethargic and Britton was giggling most of the time because they were tickling him and crawling into his shirt.
In the end we caught a total of 22 baby pythons each measuring about 2 1/2 to 3 feet long! Yeah, 22! No, we did not kill them. We put them all in a sack and carried them into the jungle and released them, which made Britton very, very happy.
Yesterday the four-year-old boy that Hudson and I medevaced on Sunday died in the Hospital. They were unable to determine the cause. I was asked to fly his mom and dad along with his little body back to Data Dian. I never enjoy "body flights," but it's way tougher when it's a child. As sad and difficult as this is, I'm always reminded by someone of how "biasa" (normal) this type of thing was before MAF was here. The truth is, for every person that dies, dozens are able to live because of the help that MAF provides.
But even more importantly than the physical help that MAF provides is the eternal hope that people can have through Christ. The people of Data Dian have faith that one day they will be reunited with there loved ones in Heaven. Why? Because years ago someone cared enough to ride a boat for months across the ocean and then hike and paddle for two more grueling months to arrive in this remote village and share the love and hope of Jesus Christ. Today, many in Data Dian have placed their faith and hope in Jesus, and we, from MAF, count it a real privilege to continue to serve the national church there with these small, red and white airplanes. What used to take two months to travel by foot and canoe, now takes about an hour and a half in an MAF Cessna 206.