Well, after we got back from furlough, Hannah and Joy started talking about bunnies again. I guess all the reptiles around the house just didn't cut it for the lady folk. One day they came home with a little bunny. It died. This called for serious action. So the boys and I built a double-decker rabbit cage and girls gave up on the little bunnies and brought home two large rabbits instead. We were told that these were tough and wouldn't die. Oh, and we made sure that they were both girls...at least that's what the guy that sold them to us promised.
Well, they got along splendidly...the white one was named Snowball, and the grey one, (in the shadow to the right of Snowball,) was named Flopsy, because her ears hang floppy. I'll try to keep this kid-friendly. Let's just say that one day Joy was shocked to see them really, REALLY getting along splendidly!!! Turns out that Snowball was actually "Snowman!" YIKES!
Two weeks ago, Thursday afternoon, Tanner came in and told Joy that there was a little baby piglet in the flower bed. Piglet? Now that's strange! Turned out to be a furless, pink little baby bunny. All said, six bunnies were born, with one being DOA. Not wanting to waste the dead one, and wanting to be wise stewards of our time and money and save a trip to the chick store, we fed that dead one to Britton's python. The others escaped that fate by growing and staying alive. Here they are at exactly one week old. Their eyes opened at about 10 days, so were still closed here.
And here they are at two weeks old (today). I was going to do a post last weekend, showing them to you, but our phone lines got taken out in a storm and we were without Internet and phones for five days.
There's one for each of the kids! But despite what Joy and the kids think...NO, we are not keeping them all!
Isn't it amazing how each one is so different. They all came from a fully white "buck" and a brownish-grey "doe" (just like the fat bunny in the top of the picture below.) Yet they are each totally different colors.
Well, in other, more important news: it's been another great couple of weeks flying. I had many neat flights this week and last, including flying the Bupati (a high-level local government official) and his gang into Alango and Pujungan on two separate days for big events. The second one was a big youth revival. The following day I flew the Indonesian pastor back out that had travelled from Samarinda to speak at the youth conference. He said there were over 200 teens there from 10 villages up and down river. Nearly 100 kids either placed their faith in Christ for the first time, or re-committed their lives to him. The village was very excited! It was a real privilege to play a small but critical role in helping to make this youth conference happen. Long Pujungan is a very short and marginal airstrip and no other operator other than MAF can go in there.
There were dozens of other flights as well--from the mundane to the exciting, each one somehow playing a part in communicating God's love to the people we serve. Below, a picture of a very full 206 I'm piloting with 10 people on board (there are only six seats, so each of the adults in the back four seats has a child on their lap with a kiddy belt). I had already stopped at Mahak Baru and picked up six passengers when I was called to pick up the young son of a pastor in Data Dian. The child was running a high fever and unable to eat and needed to go to a hospital. We were able to all squeeze in and still maintain the required takeoff margins and fuel margins. Within two hours they were at a hospital.
This is the terrain that we flew over on our way from Data Dian to a hospital. I don't have to describe to you how rugged it is--that's pretty obvious.
Before MAF was here, this trip would have taken 1 1/2 - 2 months. We can do the same trip in about an hour and 15 minutes!
Although as a pilot I often get the credit and enjoy the thrill of being on the front lines, I recognize that I'm just the last in a long string of people that join together to make it happen. The Lord has put together an amazing team, and I'm privileged to play a small role in that. But without YOU, and our many other prayer warriors, financial ministry partners, supporting churches, and MAF teammates here, we'd never be able to do what we do. There's a whole crew of guys working mostly behind the scenes here in Tarakan, that often don't get the "glory", but are absolutely critical to keeping things going. Here, our two maintenance specialists, Tim and Karl, are busy at work changing an engine in Malinau.
In addition to Tim and Karl, we have a whole crew of wonderful Indonesian men (and one woman) who help keep things going in the hangar and office. Here, Yus and Nelson are washing the Caravan after it's return from a muddy day of flying.
And Luhut is taking out the spark plugs on a 206 engine as part of a routine inspection.
I could go on and on, but suffice to say, I am just a small part of a big team of amazing people that have come together to share God's love at the ends of the earth. Man do I love my job!