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

Friday, September 24, 2010

Wedding

It's been another busy, wonderful week of missionary flying here in Northeast Kalimantan.



Last Saturday, Pak Isto, one of our fantastic, young, Indonesian hangar employees got married.  A group of us pilots/mechanics, together with most of the other Indonesian staff, got together and made the one and half hour boat trip to the little village where they got married. 


After the reception we snagged an MAF group shot.


The church was decorated in traditional Dayak carvings and paintings.


And the young ladies greeting folks as they entered, were also wearing traditional dress.  Those are completely made from tiny, itty bitty little beads.  Amazing hugh?


Even though this village was not as remote as the ones we fly to, it certainly created quite an excitement with the local kids to see so many Westerners walking around.  My friend and fellow pilot, (and a great photographer,) Tripp, was like a rock star being pursued by the paparazzi!


Here's a few random shots I took as we walked around a bit.






Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Thanks!

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. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Prayer

Are you a person who believes in the power of prayer?  If so, our family needs your prayers.  We strongly believe that the fervent prayers of many are absolutely critical to our physical, emotional and spiritual health and the vitality of our ministry.

Without going into a lot of details, we've recently felt like we've been under an unusual amount of spiritual attack.  It's very focused and intense, and we feel the need to let others know and join us in praying.  I would be deeply grateful if you could take some time to specifically pray for each individual member of my family by name, (Dave, Joy, Britton, Hudson, Hannah, Tanner, Tyler), and also for our MAF team members.

Thanks!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Evening Market and Snakes!!!

WARNING:  The last few pictures in this post are of snakes! (That warning is for you, Carrie!)

Today is Idul Fitri, the celebration at the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.  In a while, our family will begin to make the rounds, visiting our Muslim neighbors and friends and eating a TON of food at each house, as is the custom.  The past couple of days the markets and stores around town have been buzzing as every vendor is slashing prices and running specials to attract buyers in the "holiday" mood.  On Tuesday night, Karl, (one of our Maintenance Specialists,) and I took a stroll through one of the evening markets.  Here's a few shots from that evening.  








And now for the snakes.  Yesterday morning Britton found a baby reticulated python sitting on our laundry basket out back.  This made him very, very happy!  Joy on the other hand was very, very, NOT happy!  This is simply not the type of place that one would stumble across a python (since we're mostly surrounded by concrete in town), so we figured it was a once and done deal.


Think again!  This morning the neighbors found an identical python in their back concrete yard area.  Keep in mind that fresh baby reticulated pythons are about 2 1/2 feet long or so!  Well, where there are two babies, there must be more.  So we grabbed a flashlight and began looking in their drainage pipes that come out of the stone retaining wall behind their house (and ours).  And guess what we found?


Yep, more pythons.  Lots more!  In fact, several pipes were hiding two or even three pythons.  The boys of course were having the time of their lives trying to catch these slithery serpents.  But they're quite strong and slippery, so most of them escaped back behind the wall...which means that there are still at least 15 or so baby pythons yet to be captured.  Oh, and of course these babies didn't just come out of nowhere.  Somewhere there must be a mommy...and a daddy!


Seriously, all joking aside, you could be praying for Joy.  While Britton would classify this as probably one of the coolest things that has ever happened in his life, Joy would undoubtedly rate it as one of the worst.  She is very much afraid of snakes, and it's quite disturbing to her to have so many, so close.  On a positive note, we're thankful that they're not cobras!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Note from Andrew

First of all, thanks for your kind comments and prayers over the past week.  Our family has really been encouraged by that!  For the first time in nearly three weeks, we're all feeling mostly back to normal--a feeling we won't take for granted!  We really need and depend on your prayers, so thanks!  Incidentally, regarding comments, it's come to my attention that sometimes comments that are posted on my blog do not actually show up there.  It's like they vanish.  If you have written a comment and later you see that it's not there, please take a moment to try again.  I apologize for that inconvenience, but it's not something I seem to have control over.  I really appreciate your feedback and value your comments.  Thanks!

                  

This week I received a short e-mail from a guy named Andrew.  I've never met Andrew, and before he e-mailed me I didn't even know who he was.  But I was both challenged and encouraged by what he said, and I thought you might be as well.  With his permission I'm copying his e-mail down below (I've added the pictures to the blog, just cause every post needs some pictures.)  Please take a moment to read it.



Dave,

We have never met before, but I have been following your blog for several months now and your stories are very inspiring.  My name is Andrew and I live just outside of Memphis, TN with my wife, Jennifer, of 6 years and two children, Hannah, 3 and Caitlyn, 1.  God has been doing a great work in our lives over the past year or so and we have felt the call to overseas missions with MAF.  I have been flying for the airlines for the past 3 and a half years and felt the Lord wanted to use my skills for missions.  Reading your blog has been very inspiring and excited us for what the Lord will have for us as we begin this journey.  

I am scheduled to quit my job at the airline in about 3 weeks to go back to school full time for my maintenance training for 18 months.  I have no background whatsoever when it comes to mx, so this will definitely be a challenge, but one that I look forward to.  My wife and I took a trip out to Nampa back in May to see the campus and meet with several people to put a face with MAF and find out all the information we could.  I have been in contact with Brian, an MAF recruiter for the past year and he has definitely provided much encouragement through the process.  We are just now beginning to see the faith and vision that comes with missions.  Quitting my job with the airlines, a job that I worked very hard to get, goes against everything that I thought I wanted several years ago.  I imagined moving up the ladder of success, gaining seniority, and living off an easy six figure income.  Well, God had other plans apparently!  We are in the process of raising support through a non-profit organization we were able to get plugged into, so we are already experiencing the joys, struggle, and process of raising support since all of our income with disappear in a couple of weeks.  

Reading Scripture definitely helps keep us grounded, but reading your blog about all your experiences over in Kalimantan also gives us much to be excited about.  We still have a long journey ahead of us before we even step on the plane to leave the U.S., but we know that in His timing we will be where He wants us.  I will be praying for you and your family as you serve over there.  God bless and thanks for all the good stories and encouragement you have provided for me!

Blessings,

Andrew
--
"He is no fool, who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose" - Jim Elliot



Isn't that encouraging?  I get so stoked whenever I hear or see someone who is taking a leap of faith to follow the Lord's leading!  For many--most in fact--that probably does not mean going overseas.  However, I'm afraid many of us are often guilty of being too scared and insecure to even get a little bit out of our comfort zone right in our own communities, churches, or places of employment.  Many times Joy and I have had folks mention to us how they wished they could be doing what we're doing, but... and you can fill in the blank with a ton of reasons.    Well, how about looking at this temporal life through some lenses with an eternal perspective.    

This life on earth is short!  One day, when I look back on what I did here, I would like nothing better than to know that I lived life to the fullest, with no regrets, ALL for His glory!  Right now, that means we're serving Christ in a remote part of Indonesia.  Life here is not always easy.  In fact, there are many things that are quite difficult about living and serving here.  However, when folks comment about our having made "a sacrifice" to be here, or implying that it takes some sort of extra spiritual grit or determination to pack up and move overseas, it's sometimes hard to keep from responding sharply, "You have it all wrong!  We're not making a sacrifice, we're blessed!  Where you are is not important.  What you're doing (as far as a skill or "job") is not important.  It's Who you're doing it for that is important.  It's why you're doing it.  We are right where God wants us to be in this season of our life, and we wouldn't want to be anywhere else."


Andrew and his family are taking a leap of faith that many of us will look at and admire with a sense of awe.  "Wow!  They must be really spiritual--quitting a high-paying job, walking away from a career for what?  I could never do that!  But maybe I'll pray for them."  In a few years, I dare you to check back in with Andrew and Jennifer and see if they have any regrets.  The road they face will be long, challenging, and full of many faith-stretching speed bumps.  But if they're journey is anything like ours, and many others I know from small towns in America to remote corners of the globe, the truth is I think they are about to embark on the best journey of their life...one that they will never regret!

Perhaps you've felt that tug or prompting from Christ to step out of your own comfort zone a little more at work, school, in your community or church?  Perhaps you've even ignored a persistent feeling of being drawn into overseas missions, or praying more fervently for the missionaries who's faces are stuck on your fridge, or giving more generously to your church, or helping out in a local ministry in your town or city?  Why not make this the day or week that you get started on that new journey.  Go ahead and chuck that sense of insecurity in the gutter and take a leap of faith!  I promise you won't regret it!