16 November 2010

School visit

This is something that happened a few months back, but We've only just re-discovered the photos.

Each year for the last few years we have had a sort of open day - well open morning really, for a local school. This year about 60 kids descended on us and we took it in turns to explain a little about our ministry and let them get a close look at the planes.

The heli was quite a hit.
Paul trying to explain something.
'Don't press the red button.'


Mercy Air team

03 November 2010

Woken up by Whales (but not whilst driving up the M5 past Hereford)

Not too long after the previous two trips we once again set sail for Mozambique, but this time for a place we had never been to before - Nacala, which is actually half way back to the Equator from where we are in White River.
We had planned a 10 day trip to visit two different missions, but the one in Marromeu had problems with getting the doors made that they wanted us to fit. We did however, visit them on the way up to look at the progress on their centre and get a better idea of their need for when we hopefully visit in early December.

From there we continued up past some impressive scenery...
..to Nacala where a German couple, Martin and Simone, live. We unloaded the contents of the plane into his pick-up truck...
and collected a few other things, including the proverbial kitchen sink...
..before driving a further two hours north to Memba. To help Martin and Simone better serve the community and share the Gospel, they are building a small house and training centre in Memba and will move in as soon as the roof and electrics are completed. To assist these missionaries and support this project Mercy Air offered its services and took a load of electrical equipment up including 140 metres of very heavy (125Kg) armoured cable as well as Derek, an electrician, who had volunteered his services. Our main job was to lay the cable, install the lights and plugs and wire them all up.

Memba itself is a pretty isolated and run down coastal town which was heavily attacked during the war (which finished 17 years ago) but never seemed to fully recover.
On their land they are building a small house first in which they will live before completing the centre early next year.
Despite being right on the beach it was hot - very hot. This was most evident when it came to digging the 1/2 metre deep, 120 metre long trench to the nearest power pole.
We had to dig it up a street of old Government houses, many of which were still occupied.
Eventually it was complete and we laid the cable.
Derek then showed the local electric company how to terminate it on the breaker box.
Holger made some clamps and fixed the cable to the pole.
Unfortunately a moment of 'operator error' saw him lose his footing and fall 5m down the pole, breaking his foot in the process. After a spot of medical attention, he completed the rest of the trip on one leg and with a permanent grimace.
Derek was a real trooper though and offered his services whenever needed.
Despite the heat we finished in good time and even returned to Nacala a day early. We spent two nights there and slept in the 'beach house', above. The one night we were woken up by a strange noise that we later recognised as a whale 'blowing' a few hundred meters off shore. Earlier in the week we had seen them doing that jumpy thing they do and even managed to get a photo.
I kept humming Nantucket Sleighride by Mountain whilst taking these pictures. I'll be impressed if there are many people who know the link.

On the way back we stayed a night in Chimoio where we picked up Ron and Bernie, the guys we had taken up two weeks earlier and who had been working on the Mercy Air house there. A few phone calls though had determined that there was no Avgas to fuel the plane at any of the airports on the planned route home, and only two airports in the whole of the country had any fuel left. Fortunately the recent upgrades to the aircraft meant that it had a healthy endurance and we were able to divert to Maputo to fuel up and clear customs.

Our grateful thanks go out to all those who support Mercy Air with faithful prayers and financial giving to make such flights of support and encouragement possible.

Mercy Air team

28 October 2010

Having a whale of a time

We have had some Swiss guys give up a lot of time to come and help us at Mercy Air by extending one of the hangers and making and installing some hangar doors. By way of a thank-you, we let them charter us at cost for a long weekend break in Durban.

We obviously went to the beach and watched a lot of people balance on surf boards.
Cathy fancied the idea..
..but seemed to forget the key bit of kit when it came to actually giving it a go.
We went to the aquarium and some a big fish...
..and some very impressive jumping Dolphins.
No trip to the sea side would be complete without a comprehensive harbour tour...
..before a rather cramped taxi ride getting us and our hired surf boards back from whence we came.
We returned to White River late afternoon on the Monday, and 07:00 the following day we were back out again taking a small team and some supplies up to Mercy Air's base in Chimoio in Mozambique. It was quite a big day flying wise (7.5 hrs), but nothing out of the ordinary worth relating in a blog, and nothing really worth taking pictures of.

Mercy Air team

07 October 2010

Upcomming busy

Going to be dead busy in the next dew weeks.

Tomorrow (Friday) we're off to Durban with a Swiss group for the week end - coming back on Monday. 5 hrs flying.

Tuesday morning We're off up to Moz to drop a couple of guys off at a mission station in Chimoio and traveling back the same day. 7 hrs flying.

Next Friday we will be part of a building team visiting two mission locations in Moz. One is at Marromeu on the Zambezi and the other in Nacala, on the coast and well up in the north of the country. We will stay for a total of 10 days and do 14 hrs of flying. On the way back we will pick up the two guys we take up to Chimoio next Tuesday.

As always - better busy than bored.


Mercy Air team

29 September 2010

Safe - to a tee

Four Mercy Air staff have just returned from a Safety Conference in Gaborone, Botswana. It was arranged by Botswana Flying Mission for the Christian Aviation Alliance and was also attended by a number of other mission flying organisations as well as the Botswana Ministry of Transport, Police Air Wing and Civil Aviation Authority - in all about 50 people.

There are only so many inspiring pictures you can take to capture the excitement of any conference - so this is our best shot:
Riveting eh! Seriously though, it was very worthwhile and we had many good discussions as well as catching up with some old friends.

Mercy Air team

13 September 2010

What a long way that was

Last week we flew a team from a church in Cape Town to visit some of their missionaries in Mongu, Zambia and Quelimane, Mozambique. The trip involved five countries and almost 3000 miles (4500 km) of travel. Enough to get you from London to the North Pole.
We had flown a team to Mongu five years ago and were looking forward to returning to see how the work was getting on. Mongu is set on the banks of the Zambezi River flood plain only 75 miles from the Angolan border and is known for having one of Africa's only inland harbors.
They find that people are willing to walk about an hour each way to church and so their vision is to plant a church within walking distance of each person in Zambia's Western Province which is about the same size as the UK. The area is vast and the calculation is that they will need 65000 churches for the one million people living there. Currently they have 65 churches planted.

We visited some of their churches in Mongu...
and then drove out to one of the bush churches...
The road to and from this church was arduous and dusty, and required a 4x4.
Some of the churches they have planted are many days drive away and when the Zambezi floods - in places up to 50 km wide, it is easier to get there by boat.

There are many aspects to their work including the above mentioned church planting, but they also run a Bible School for the church leaders, as well as orphan care, community development including primary health care, community schools and agricultural development.
You can find more information at their well laid out website at: www.zam.co.za

Strangely enough, one thing we remembered about Mongu is the plethora of barber shops as well as the many interesting and almost biblical names given to these businesses.
We spent two nights in Mongu and then headed east via Livingstone, for customs and immigration, through Harare, Zimbabwe for fuel (yes fuel!) and on to Quelimane in Mozambique.

On the way we did a quick lap of Victoria Falls...
The guys in Quelimane have set up projects very similar to those in Zambia. These include:
Schools work...
Agricultural projects...
Brickmaking - for commercial and for building some churches...
A Bible School held in a church.
In the evening the students put mattresses on the floor and throw mozzy nets over the pews to sleep. The kitchen is a wooden structure round the back of the church building.
They have also set up a prison ministry which we unfortunately didn't have time to visit.

One project we did visit involved a long drive down a road lined by coconut trees...
Once there a young bloke shimmied up a tree and chucked a load of coconuts down. Then another bloke attacked them with a machette...
so that we could have a cool drink of coconut milk.
We could go through the details of all the work here but it is better told at the World Wide Missions site: www.wwm.org.za

Mercy Air team

06 August 2010

Farm hands

While the Great Whyrley team were here they also helped out on the Mercy Air farm. One job we had was to demolish an old house that was infested with termites.

It used to look like this
But now looks more like this.
We were able to recover a lot of the fittings (roofing, pipes, electrical etc) and will clear the area and likely offer the area for future staff to build a new house. Other than that it was a handy source of firewood for a while.

Another group gave our main office a paint face-lift.

Mercy Air team