March Newsletter

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March has been quite a struggle from the beginning. We brought 18 Moravians to Anchorage on 22 February but were only able to get 9 back a week later on 2 March. And even then we had to fly them Soldotna so we could trade airplanes because the left brake on the one we had did not work well enough to go into village strips. By the time we landed, fueled the new airplane and got airborne again we ran out of time to pick up a pastor Kraft and his family and plane load of household goods (he was moving to Kenai). Because of the weather and other flights we had scheduled we were unable to get the last 9 Moravians back to Manakotak nor the Krafts to Soldotna until 10 March.

Click on picture for more photos.......................................................................Moravians back to Manakotak..
Click on picture for more photos.....................................................................................Kraft family..

On 5 March we had with three airplanes scheduled, a Navajo, a Caravan and a King Air, to pick up 24 Covenant pastors and delegates and bring them to the Annual Covenant Conference at the Alaska Christian College in Soldotna. The first scheduled day was cancelled because of severe turbulence around Soldotna. The next day weather improved (not enough it turns out). I was in the King Air with Bob and we made it to Bethel without any problem. Our plan was to fly to Scammon Bay and pick up three people, then Hooper Bay to pick up one person and then on to Mekoryuk to pick up the final 4 people. We found out the runway at Scammon Bay was under 12” of snow and as fast as the plowed it, it would drift back in. The Scammon Bay folks decided to snow machine to Hooper Bay for pickup. While they were doing that we planned to fly to Mekoryuk.
We got ¾ of the way to Mekoryuk when the weather closed in and we had to turn around and fly back to Bethel. We spent the next 5 hours waiting for the weather to come up at Mekoryuk but to no avail. Finally at 4 PM we took off to Hooper Bay and picked up the three people from Scammon Bay and flew them to Soldotna. The other two airplanes were able to fly in all their people so we ended up bringing in 19 total. On the following Monday we flew everyone back home. On this day were we very blessed. Again in the King Air with Bob, our plan was to fly to Bethel to refuel. Then it was on to Russian Mission, Scammon Bay, Aniak (for fuel) and on to Red Devil, Anchorage and home. While on the ground at both Scammon Bay and Aniak the weather came down to the extent that had we arrived ½ an hour later we would not have been able to get in.
..........................................................................................................Folks returning to KAKO and Scammon Bay..
We called Red Devil from Aniak to inquire about the weather and they said it was great. We were suspicious but flew towards them on our way home. After about 50 miles the weather improved greatly and we were able to land at Red Devil, pick up our passenger and deliver her to Anchorage. After a 12 hour day we were happy to be home. Oh yes, one of the boxes that was supposed to be left at Bethel got buried under the Scammon Bay luggage so we’ll have to take it out on our next trip to Bethel. We tried to keep the three sets of luggage separate and almost managed.
Our next flight was much easier. We flew two King Airs to Anchorage to pick up 18 Covenant church people and flew them through Bethel to Mekoryuk, on an island off the west coast of Alaska. Four days later we flew back to Mekoryuk to take them back to Anchorage. On the way we flew to Shaktoolik to pick up the Scammon Bay choir and take them home. At Scammon Bay we picked up one of the choir member’s daughters to bring her back to Soldotna to ACC.
.............................................................................................................Anchorage Covenanters to Mekoryuk..
My final mission of the month was with a Navajo and King Air to fly out to Stebbins where we had left the Grace Christian High School group the week before. Stebbins is near Unalakleet. After refueling at Unalakleet we proceeded to Stebbins as the weather had lifted significantly to the point that it was almost clear by the time we got there. From Stebbins we went to Nome to refuel again because the forecast weather for our trip home was not very good. We finally arrived at Gambell, on St Lawrence Island about 50 miles from Russia. The weather was clear and calm – very unusual. Yupik Days were in full swing with all manner of native activities. I even got up the nerve to try the blanket toss. I was in line with about 6 kids with one of the Grace kids behind me. A little old lady came up and told us to go to the front of the line as the tossers were probably getting tired. Sure enough they tossed the two of us and then stopped – I didn’t even hurt myself.

Click on picture for more photos..........................................................Grace Christian HS in Gambell & Yupic Days..

Please pray for Cat’s health as she is still struggling and that her health won’t prevent us from participating on the Team for a Walk to Emmaus weekend 10-13 Apr.