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

Friday, February 14, 2020

And Here We Go Trying Yet Again...

There are so many good reasons/excuses I could give you as to why I did just one blog post last June, with indications that I would start consistently blogging again, and then I disappeared... again. I could tell you that life has been super crazy busy, and that by necessity some things just don't get done. And that would be true. But it sounds like a lame excuse. I could tell you that I have been (and continue to be) in a season of 'work' right now where (for reasons that I can't really share here) I am not able to talk quite as freely on this open blogging forum about some of the exciting things that happen because of the MAF flights that I get to do. That would also be true, and is probably the biggest reason that I have struggled to keep blogging. 

It definitely makes it a bit frustrating for me, b/c if I can't share details I feel like I'm just sharing very generic, boring stuff and wasting your time. Yet, some of you who used to check my blog have indicated that you miss seeing the posts. So here I go yet again...

As I said above, my posts will continue to be quite general and generic for the foreseeable future, as they relate to who/what we fly, and why. Hopefully you can understand and read between the lines. Cool stuff is happening, but you'll just get some pics and generic descriptions.

Above, and below are shots from a flight to South Sudan. I really enjoy being able to serve a variety of organizations who work in difficult and remote parts of that country.

The next 3 shots are also from South Sudan...

Here are 2 shots from Uganda. The first was taken a few months ago when it was still green-ish. You can see a little family village down there, in the shape of a circle with dividers. They form these from branches of acacia, which have huge thorns. That helps to keep both predatory animals (and people) out, and also at times to keep their cattle and goats in the innermost part of the circle at night.

This was taken just a few weeks ago. As you can see it's starting to dry out as we are now in dry season. It will continue to get more and more brown until the rains return. 

I hope that I'll be able to actually follow through on my intentions to post a few times a month going forward. You'll just have to bear with me and expect photos, but not so many behind-the-scenes details. The flights I get to do are facilitating some really exciting work through many awesome organizations and people. I wish I could tell you all of the individual stories in detail, but perhaps that can happen someday when we are face to face. :-)

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Still Here... Again.

Folks, I'm still alive! I don't just mean that figuratively, I mean it literally. It seem like I've made a lot of excuses on this blog over the past year, for the chunks of time where I seem to disappear for a while. Well, this time I really had a good excuse! 

Last October I had a bit of a 'mishap' while riding my motorcycle. That sort of put me out of commission for a while. But now things are back to normal. (There's a lot more to the story, but if you don't already know it, and want to hear more details, then write me an e-mail.) 

Here's our latest family photo, taken in April.

Since I've been gone from the blog for so long, and wasn't flying for a while, I thought I'd start by showing proof that I'm back in the saddle again. :-)

A huge thank you goes out first to my wife and kids, and our families back in the U.S., who've been such a huge support and encouragement throughout this 'stretching' season in our lives. And second, we'd like to thank my amazing DPT, Nicky, who gave SO many countless hours helping Joy and I to retrain my body to do what it is supposed to do, and in the process has become our great friend as well! And of course my brilliant surgeon, Dr. M. in the U.S. who did wonders to fix some seriously busted stuff. And all the other docs and nurses who helped in so many ways. And of course our MAF team here in Uganda and around the world, and so many others here in Kampala and elsewhere who encouraged and prayed and helped in practical ways. We are so grateful for all of you!

But make no mistake, I am here today ONLY because of God's grace. I should have died... several times. But for some reason, that only He knows, I'm still kicking. And not only that, I'm back to 100%. A lot of people deserve credit for helping me get here, but ultimately, all the glory and credit belong to my Creator and Healer!

It's been great to see so many friends, like Celestino in Yambio, South Sudan, after being absent for so long. He, and so many others like him, were praying for my family and me a lot over the past months.

And in case you're curious... yes, I'm riding my bike again. That was a given. I was already riding several months ago. And yes, Joy is fine with it. The truth is, Joy, understandably, did have quite a bit of emotional trauma to work through as a result of all of this. And I certainly wasn't going to push her to let me ride again soon. But she also knows me well, and she knows that I don't live my life in fear of what might happen, or what did happen. Life if far too short for that. Plus, I love riding... been riding motorcycles since way back in flight school twenty some years ago. And a little knock-down ain't gonna change that. There's more to it than that, but for now, you can just believe me when I say that Joy and my kids are all fully supportive, and I'm so glad to be back on the bike again. :-)

(Incidentally, I've gotten a lot of flack from a few people--even to the point where some have indicated that they feel betrayed, or even angry at me, for riding again after they have prayed so much for me to recover. It's like they take it as a personal offense that I would have the gumption to ride again--like I take all of this for granted. I don't. But there's more to it than that. I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but if you're upset at me for riding again, it's not going to do anything to change my mind. I am sorry you feel that way, but I don't live my life, however short or long it might be here on earth, trying to make others happy with me. I am definitely concerned what my wife and kids think, but aside from that, I do what God gives me peace to do. And that's basically how I role. I hope you can understand.)

In other news, a big congratulations to our oldest, Britt, who graduated yesterday from HIS (Heritage International School) in Kampala, Uganda. We are so proud of him and can't wait to see what God has in store for him in his future!

Britt will be starting at Liberty University this fall, majoring in Zoo and Wildlife Biology.

Over the next few weeks I'll try to fill you in on some of the other things that have gone on over the past number of months.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

I'm Still Here

Wow, it's been nothing but crickets chirping here on my blog for quite a while, but I'm still here! Those long periods of silence on my blog are indicative of how super busy it's been here. The summer was a blur, and it hasn't slowed down since. 

Here are a few random shots from the past few months. Above, a flight I did for Every Village from Tonj, South Sudan.  Below, I flew a team from World Vision Korea to Kaabong, northeastern Uganda.

This is one of several Congolese refugee settlements that has sprung up on the Western side of Uganda in the past six months or so (on the Eastern shores of Lake Albert.)

The pink (magenta) line is my intended flight track. There's a good reason why my plane is off to the left of the intended track. All of those yellow marks represent lightning strikes up ahead--indicative of a massive, and very 'hot' thunderstorm. We have to give a wide birth (even up to 25 miles or more) to large convective weather like this, which is not all that uncommon in the tropics.

Someone brought this cute little critter up to my plane. It was on a leash. The guy then let it go, and it promptly ran underneath the cargo pod, where it nibbled the grass in the cool shade.

This summer we were blessed to have my younger sister and two nieces come to visit us here in Uganda for a few weeks.

I was able to take them along for day of mission flying throughout Uganda. Above, they are posing in front of the big rock at Kalongo. Below, there are always lots of kids to greet the plane in Kotido.

Hannah got to ride along on that flight day as well, which also happened to be her 16th b-day. (I'm sure you already spotted her in the above photos.) Here we are posing in front of the vast, East African grasslands. She might be 16 (and thinking she's going on 25) but she's still daddy's little girl.

And speaking of Daddy's little girl, here's my other little girl, Sanyu. She was very, very excited when Joy brought her to visit me at the airport. She got to sit in 'daddy's airplane' (on the ground) which she hasn't stop talking about for weeks. I can't imagine how excited she'll be when she takes her first flight.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Nineteen Years of Joy, and Counting!

Nineteen years ago today, I married my best friend, Joy. 

One year later our first child was born...

... and well before his first birthday, we were commissioned by our church to head to the mission field. That was 17 years ago, and we've spent the vast majority of our married life since, living and serving in cross-cultural contexts.

Everywhere we've lived, whether for a few months, or many years, (and that has been many, many different places over the years) Joy has expertly and lovingly worked her magic to make our house a home--a safe, warm, and loving place for me and for our kids, of which we now have six. This was our first home, a 390 square foot, one-room log cabin, in a small Athabascan Native American village, just north of the Arctic Circle. We were there for two years, during which time God allowed us to be broken in our own strengths and skills, but where we learned to completely rely on Him and His strength. 

Six months after that, we were well on our way to joining MAF, and a few months later, it became official! Our first assignment with MAF was to the Indonesian portion of the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia. 

But first we had to learn to speak Indonesian... which meant almost a year of language school in Java. 

Then, until the summer of 2013, we served as a pilot/mechanic family, based out of Tarakan, Kalimantan.

Everything was not always easy during those years. In fact there were many challenges along the way--but always, I had my best friend, my Joy, with me, and we faced those challenges together, anchored in our faith in God, and our commitment to each other, and by His grace we really enjoyed and thrived during those years in Indonesia. To this day, our kids still view Indonesia as their true 'home' since that is where they feel they 'grew up' and in many ways the same could be said of Joy and me.

Here are a few shots of me and my Joy, during those years. Thanks to my good friend, and great photographer, Tripp Flythe, for taking the all of these next shots, except the one where I'm in the green shirt, and Joy in the pink.

After our time in Indonesia, we transitioned to a new assignment with MAF in East Africa. But first we had to do some training with the MAF International office in England... a place Joy has always loved!

The next few months, before we moved to East Africa, we had a bit of time to recharge our spiritual, emotional, and physical batteries.

As we tried to process, both individually, and as a family, the myriad emotions we felt saying goodbye to Indonesia, a special highlight for all of us was the 5-week tent-camping trip we took through the American West, visiting many National parks, and just decompressing in God's beautiful creation.

In early 2014 we arrived in Uganda, East Africa...

... where we continue to live and serve today!

This was a huge transition for our family, but as usual, Joy quickly made our house a home, and has always been the biggest cheerleader for both me and my kids. AND, she still likes to ride my motorcycle with me!

My Joy is an amazing woman! She has a huge heart to serve, and feels empathy and compassion for ALL who are suffering, on levels that I will never understand. She is especially drawn to the 'least of these' -- people whom many others might be even be a bit hesitant to approach, b/c of the disease they carry, or the dirt or smell or disability they have. But not Joy--she always jumps right in and loves them the way Christ would. And she loves me and my kids the same way, despite all of our equally daunting faults and issues! My Joy has been my best friend and cheerleader all these years--from the mountains of Northeast Tennessee, to the Boreal forests of the Arctic Circle, and from the Jungles of southeast Asia, to the Rift Valley of East Africa. During this time, I have often travelled to serve in many additional places, for a month or more at a time, and Joy has held always encouraged me to do so, happy to hold down our fort, alone in my absence--no small job in the U.S., but all the more challenging in the places where we've lived. I think there are probably not too many women who would be happy to live a life like the one she has. She is an amazing woman--my Joy! I'm so blessed to have had her by my side these past 19 years, and I look forward to what God has in store for us in the years to come!

Happy 19th anniversary to my best friend!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

View From My Office Window

I never cease to be awed by the beauty and diversity of God's creation.  Over the years, I've flown/worked in quite a number of regions/countries, and had the unique privilege of enjoying many awesome landscapes in some of the most remote and isolated parts of the world... and all of this from my office window! :-)  Here are some shots I thought you might enjoy, from a different part of the world.

For a bit of perspective on the first shot below--those white dots in the lower left corner are a flock of birds. And yes, it really was that yellow. The rest, I'll leave up to your imagination.