21 November 2006

A weekend in the sky

We would of written back last week but as often happens, we got really busy.

We spent most of this last weekend in the sky - well 18 hours of it anyway. Two of our pilots flew up to Mozambique at dawn on Saturday to collect the body of a lady who had died in a car accident. Her husband and children also accompanied the coffin. We all spent the night at back at Mercy Air before setting off early again on Sunday for a place only a stone's throw from Cape Town. Some of the weather on the trip was a bit grim and on the way back they had to divert to a place south of Swaziland for the night. We eventually got back Monday morning.

The whole trip was about 3000 miles (5000k) which would get you over the North Pole from London to or almost to Boston. It's the sort of thing proper planes would do before breakfast but in a Beech 18 at only 10000ft, things happen somewhat more slowly.

Mercy Air team

21 August 2006

Two light services

Another (hopefully) short update and some good news.

Firstly though, thanks again to all those who wrote in response to our last mailing and asking about fuel and visas etc. It's encouraging for us to know that so many of you are concerned.

Last week we were away in Moz again, this time with a group of US pastors. They were part of a team who were running training and teaching sessions for local Mozambican pastors. They did three sessions a day and covered a multitude of topics from spiritual warfare to sex. Each service was typically African with plenty of exuberant singing and dancing to start and finish.

In the evening the whole church was just lit by two electric light bulbs.

The local and US pastors were hosted nearby in the compound of a missionary where we spent most of the time helping out with practical jobs such as shelving, plumbing, security, hanging curtains etc. The compound had only been occupied for two weeks and one of the main issues was a total lack of any running water. Even drinking water had to be collected from 5 km away. We managed to get two bucket baths during the week which basically involved kneeling beside a half full bucket of water armed with a bar of soap and a plastic cup (no pics - sorry!).

Cooking for the week was also typically African.

On flying the team back to Durban we loaded the plane up with 1000 lbs of medicines that the team had bought over with them. These will be stored at Mercy Air and transported up to Moz when and as space allows.

And now for the rest of the news.

Mercy Air team

08 June 2006

Chimoio Moz medical

A quick update on our trip last week.

We flew an American medical mission team into central Moz for 8 days.

Amazingly there was fuel available at the one stop in Moz for us to fill up on the way there, but that had already ran out by the time we came back. Fortunately we had one drum of fuel stored at the destination and that was enough for us to make it back home.

The accommodation was ‘sparse’ and we stayed in tents on the porch outside a missionary, Tracy’s house, and shared one toilet and a dribbly shower between 15 of us. The house is part of an orphanage for 25 children that she is involved with, and another task the team completed was to paint a mural on an outside wall.

The team was a seven strong group of Doctors and Nurses who were supporting Tracy in her work in the area. Most days we traveled for about an hour and a half by 4x4 to well out of the way places, where we ran clinics in churches that Tracy has helped plant over the last few years. She initially planted four churches, but six others sprung from those original ones within a year.

A young girl peers through a window.

Consulting inside a church.

While we used the church as a clinic, the villagers held a pastors conference and meetings outside.

We also visited the local prison where Tracy has been working for a while now. Conditions here were rough also and there were about 130 men sharing a room of about 5 x 5 metres. They are often in there 24 hours a day and only get one cup of corn meal and a cup of water per day. The inmates are in there for anything from murder to stealing bread, and some can be in there for up to two years before their trial is even heard. She usually visits twice a week and we were able to offer medical consultations, present the gospel and then hand out oranges and pray for the guys afterwards.

We also helped at another orphanage as well as doing house calls in the local villages.

We were also able to help with some running repairs to the missions Land rover.


Mercy Air team

17 April 2006

Midnight medivac

One of our pilots has spent most of Easter Monday asleep.

He had a very pleasant Easter Friday getting out for a walk with a British couple who have come to help with aircraft maintenance for four months, and also with his son who had to take some pictures for a photo journ assignment.

Sat and Sun were fairly typical until 6:55 Sunday evening when we got a call with reports of an attack that had happened in Moz that required medical evacuation from the Mozambican coastal town of Inhambane to Johannesburg - now now. The frantic activity didn't really end until 09:00 the following morning when he landed back on the Mercy Air Farm again after a whole night of flying. To cut a long story short we had to arrange for flight permits, airports to open, customs, immigration and air traffic control guys to pitch in the middle of the night, for fuel - which is becoming rare during the day and a whole bunch of other incidental things that you usually need a week to sort out for a 'normal' flight. His wife didn't escape unscathed as she was also up most of the night flight following as he called every half hour to give a position report (co-ordinates that is, not whether he was vertical or horizontal)!.

Fortunately, the still moonlit night was about as good as it could be for this kind of flying which made taking off from our farm a bit easier, although we still had to get all the staff to position their cars at intervals down the strip so their headlights could provide illumination. Also landing on the runway in Inhambane took two attempts as the runway was only lit by a few burning paraffin lamps, some of which had blown out by the time we got there.

Obviously due to the nature of the incident and the fact that it all happened in the wee small hours we don't have any pictures, except for one of the paramedic sleeping on the stretcher on the return leg back to Nelspruit the following morning.

But what we really want to convey is thanks to those of you who pray for us regularly. Flying into Moz at night presents its own hazards and we don't always get chance to mail prayer requests round beforehand. We are however so appreciative for the prayer cover we do get that goes to ensure that we can serve safely in cases such as these.

Mercy Air team

19 March 2006

Where to plant a church

Hi there. This is just to say thanks to those of you who prayed for us last week, and to tell you a little about our trip.

Pretty much everything went really well. We took three American AOG (Assemblies of God) guys to a number of different places in Moz. They were looking for somewhere to start a new outreach so in each place we went, they/we met with the local people to find out what was already being done and what need there was.

The first place was Inhambane on the coast where we had to cross the estuary in a rather shaky ferry.

We flew up in near perfect weather but that night had 12 hrs of heavy thunder and rain so good timing there!

We traveled by local taxi and then on foot to one village were we were greeted in a very traditional manner by everyone singing us into the main meeting place.

The second place, Cuamba, was inland and almost 5 hrs flying further north (it would probably of taken almost 3 days to drive). While our passengers were having meetings there Paul and Cathy got out with their Brit missionary hosts to visit some mothers in the bush who had malnourished children. The twins shown below were 2 years old and weighed only 6kgs. Another 18 month old child was severely malnourished and needed to be taken to the clinic.

We also visited the local market which was certainly an experience.

Last place was Mocuba, 1 hr south east. The airstrip also seems to be the main thoroughfare in that part of town and we always generate a lot of attention when we go.

Again a good flight followed by a horrendous storm about 2 hrs after landing. We got to see some missionaries here that we had flown for about 2 years ago so it was great to catch up again.

We asked you to pray about the fuel and the good news was that those places that said they had it, actually did, so we were able to fill up without problem.
The one military place we landed at only kept us waiting for an hour whilst they 'confirmed' our landing clearance.
The weather played ball and even though there were storms around, there was enough clear for us to pick a way through.

We met many people and listened to some amazing testimonies of what God is doing in Moz. We heard of a Muslim child that was having fits and the hospital were unable to stop them, the father then took the boy to Christians who prayed for him and the fits stopped. The father and mother said that they would remain Muslims but said that the child could be taught about Christianity and attend church as they had saved his life, they later sent their other kids too!

Thanks again for your prayers and support.

Mercy Air team