Sunday morning the gals (Joy and the other MAF wives that came along) started Sunday School at 7:00 am sharp! That's what the local pastor said needed to happen. It rained much of the night, so they did the parachute games in the nearby, open community hall.
Of course, it's always a good idea to get a lot of the energy out of the kids before you sit them down for Sunday School, and the parachute is always a HUGE hit!
Tim, our Chief of Maintenance, did a great job leading the parachute games!
After that we moved over to the church and the kids packed in for singing. Mary and Marieke did a fabulous job leading the kids in a bunch of songs. It really was so beautiful to hear all those kids singing so loudly. I got it on video, but I guess you'll have to wait till our next furlough to hear it. Just use your imagination.
After that Kathy did the Bible lesson using flannel graph, which you can see really had their attention!
Then Joy did a great review of the lesson, utilizing a paper airplane game that the kids absolutely loved!
And after the review they handed out a bunch of coloring pages and colored pencils that related to the lesson. That's right when I had to leave. I was informed that there were two medevac patients in critical condition in two separate villages not far away. Since I'm currently the acting Program Manager, while our full time PM, Steve, is on furlough, I had to go figure out a solution that would allow us to take BOTH medevac patients to Tarakan, and still get back in time to bring our MAF team back out to Tarakan in the same day. Complicating the situation was the fact that we were very low on Avgas in Tarakan, due to a string of delays with two fuel orders. We really couldn't afford to have a different pilot fly a 206 from Tarakan, and the Caravan can't land at those strips. The only plane that could do it was the Kodiak, and we had that with us in Long Sule.
In the end, Paul, who had flown the second of the two planes that we took to Sule for our MAF team, agreed to take the Kodiak and go get the patients. Time was of the essence--obviously for the medevac patients, but also if we were to hold out hope of Paul getting back in time for the rest of us to get back to Tarakan that same day. So I trekked up to the airstrip with Paul to help him pre-flight and get a quicker departure. While I was gone the regular church service started. After multiple groups of village folks sang songs, our MAF IT guy, Wilbert, got up and shared a testimony, after which Tim got up and shared a message.
The service ended at about 11:30. Then, as is the custom in many villages, the pastor asked us all to stand in the front of the church and he thanked us over and over for coming and hoped that we would come again and again in the future. Then they gave each of us a beautiful woven basket-backpack thing that they commonly use there. Finally, the entire church--every single person who was there--filed by and shook our hands and thanked us for coming! It was quite humbling. (I slipped out of the line to take the below picture after about half the church had already filed through and left. All the pews were packed earlier.)
Like usual, we went away tired, but very blessed. We always go asking God to let us be a blessing and encouragement. I'm not sure how effective we are at blessing them, but I know they sure do a good job of blessing us. It's amazing how these people who have so little in earthly possessions can be so generous; they always offer the very best of everything that they have, and it's very humbling.
Above, Tyler is wearing his new woven backpack leading our group as we walk through the village. He always wants to be out front.
Check back soon to see and read about the amazing waterfall!