26 June 2009

Mission Holiday

Most mission groups we fly find a couple of days after they return to South Africa from their outreach to go and visit the Kruger National Park. It's only 40 minutes drive from where we live and it would be crime not to take advantage of the opportunity.

Yesterday we flew a group who are doing things the other way round - a bit like having pudding before your main course. They are spending a short time at a lodge before we fly them to the north of Mozambique next week (the longer route to the north and west below).

This involved flying into Jo'burg Int. to meet them from their flight from Spain and then take them to a remote dirt strip in the very north of the Kruger Park (the smaller triangle to the left in the pic above but still 5 hours flying).

With the Confederations Cup still on, the red tape involved in flying anywhere near Johannesburg was a bit of a headache but towing the line is always better than arguing with a jet fighter!

We go to Jhb Int only a few times a year but you always feel slightly more important when you're around bigger planes.

This 777 was right behind us in the taxi out to the holding point for take off.

We always take it as a compliment when your passengers sleep - even if they have just come off a 10 hr flight from Europe!

Finally to our dirt strip in the N of Kruger.

The passengers shot off for drinks while we unloaded the luggage.

We will pick them up again this Monday for their Mozambique leg.


Mercy Air team

24 June 2009

Sugar Water

We have just got back from a ten day missions trip to Zimbabwe and Mozambique with a group from Sugar Creek Baptist Church in Houston, Texas.

We picked them up in Jo’burg and flew them to Bulawayo where they worked with an orphan programe run by African Outreach Ministries. In particular they worked with the ladies who look after the orphans by giving health talks and helping with the food distribution programe.

Then we flew on to Inhambane in Mozambique where they met five more people from another church in Houston. Now, being from Houston, a number of the group knew a thing or two about drilling wells. Enough in fact that some of them were also members of a ministry called Living Water International (www.water.cc) who demonstrate the love of God by providing desperately needed clean water and medical attention in third word countries, and who have sunk over seven thousand wells around the world. They had raised money to get drilling equipment driven in from Maputo and we helped with the drilling of a well in the village of Masavane just south of Inhambane. Whilst the lads did this the ladies gave health promotion talks and in the evenings we showed the Jesus Film to over 400 people on a big screen under the stars at the well site.

Cathy doing a talk to a group of care givers in Bulawayo.
While that was going on the lads played games with the orphans.
Then the food arrived. Each bag weighed 50 Kg.
The group with the food.
Cathy helping to share it out.
Then we flew 3 hours to Vilanculos, Moz. Lots of space in Africa.
And then 1 hour down the coast to Inhambane.
We flew in formation for a while.
Even the drive to the village was a bit of an adventure.
The next day we started helping with the drilling.
And found water at about 36 metres.
Paul went in search of coconuts.
And we had a dedication service on the last day.
And a night baptism in the sea to finish off.


Mercy Air team

05 June 2009

A long way home

Recently one of the Mercy Air pilots did his longest ever flight.

Monday morning he was up before dawn to eat breakfast and pre-flight the plane for the days journey. A short five minute flight later he was at the local international airport just before it opened to fuel up and clear customs and immigration. His first destination was two and a half hours away in the coastal town of Beira where he met a Canadian film crew who had been in Mozambique for two weeks and now wanted to go to Malawi to complete their work.

The crew were part of a church in Toronto that has a media ministry (www.livingtruth.ca). They film the work of local churches working in needy areas around the globe and then broadcast it on commercial channels worldwide, helping to raise awareness and money.

On this occasion they were on a follow up trip to assess and document the impact that their visit a year earlier had had. Then they had helped raise money for Hands@Work, an organisation that Mercy Air knows well as we have flown them many times in the past.

Their schedule was very tight and the cost in time and money of using a regular airline to get from Beira to Lilongwe would mean that they would have to change planes numerous times and lose a whole day and a night in transit. All this was made harder by the fact that they had a huge amount of film equipment. Using Mercy Air enabled them to get where they wanted in 2 ½ hours, save that day and a whole load of hassle - all for about the same price.

Not much of a hands on action mission shot, but the best we could come up with is this photo of us all at 11,000ft somewhere over northern Mozambique on our way to Lilongwe.

The two guys in the back are the cameramen and Charles Price is the pastor/presenter on the right.

Unfortunately the pilot only stayed one night with them in Malawi otherwise it would of been good to have gone with them to see the work first hand. He departed the next morning on his own for South Africa. We have recently upgraded the aircraft he was flying and one of the benefits is more payload and greater endurance – the latter enabling him to fly for over five hours, 1500km, and still land with 1 ½ hours fuel left in the tanks.
The bottom right hand figure is the flight timer in the plane when he landed, 5h 06m.

Thank you.

Mercy Air team