May Newsletter

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The first half of May Don spent in front of his computer working on the scheduling tool he is developing with the other scheduler Mark. We are trying to devise a system where we can enter the data once and have it appear automatically in the several different places it’s needed. We have a set of Excell spreadsheets that we have been using and Don has been modifying them and adding several additional spreadsheets to hold the multitude of information. Then as we use these spreadsheets we find problems or errors which we then have to fix. Sort of USE-FIX-USE approach. The benefit is that the developers are also the users so communication about what is needed and what is wrong is easier – because we are talking to ourselves. We should really be using a database but I haven’t brought myself to the point of learning one – maybe next winter. If anyone out there is a wiz at Microsoft Access let me know if I can pick your brains or you want a project to do.

On Saturday, May 17 Bob and Don were blessed to be able to fly on an absolutely gorgeous day with almost no wind. We flew to Anchorage to pick up a Hillside Baptist team of 9 men and flew them to Togiak. On the way in to parking at Anchorage we taxiied by the largest Russian transport airplane with 24 main wheels. Because the sky was clear we decided to fly at 8500’ and give the guys a great view of the Alaska Range. We flew right by Mt Redoubt about 2000’ below the top – it felt like you could reach out and touch it. A short while later we could see
Click on picture for more photos ...................................................................Hillside Baptist to Togiak.....
Lake Clark through the clouds and were greeted with a postcard picture of a mountain reflected in the glassy water. As a few puffy clouds built up we were able to fly around them – so beautiful, so white, so fluffy. All the cares of the day were far away and we could enjoy the wonderful world God has made. Everyone was blessed to see the Alaska Range under these conditions.

On Friday 23 May Brian & Don set out on a mission to fly the Garner Baptist church group of 7 people from Anchorage to Sand Point , which is out on the south side of the Aleutian chain noted for windy conditions. We picked them up on Anchorage OK and flew to King Salmon where we planned to get fuel. Although we expected some wind, not the 35 MPH gusting to 45 MPH winds that greeted us on our arrival at King Salmon.

Click on picture for more photos ...................................................................Garner Baptist to Sand Point.....
Fortunately it was pretty well down the runway but it kicked up a dust storm from the gravel along the runway edge and our landing was a race to see who would get to runway end first – us or the dust storm. We beat the dust storm by about 10 seconds and were then engulfed by it. When we checked weather we found out that the winds in Sand Point had increased so much that we could not fly in there. Also our next destination, Togiak also had very high winds. During that afternoon the winds at King Salmon and Togiak went up to 70 MPH while the winds in Sand Point were up to 50 MPH. We called up a church planter in nearby Naknek, 15 miles away (ON A PAVED ROAD). He arranged for all of us to stay in the Lutheran Church which had sleeping bags and mattresses for us all. Saturday the winds had calmed down enough for us to land in both Sand Point and Togiak but it was not a piece of cake. In Togiak we boarded the Hillside Baptist church people we had dropped off the previous week along with a defective double paned window the Togiak pastor needed returned to Anchorage. We told him it would break but that didn’t bother him. Sure enough at 11,000 feet it burst shattering the glass. We had it encased in cardboard so as not to hurt anyone. All in all it was an interesting couple of days.

On May 27 Don wasn’t scheduled to fly but turn of events required Bob & he to take a short notice trip. We were off in the King Air again on a relatively simple trip. We flew up to Nulato to pick up two kids and then dropped into Galena to pick up two more and bring them to Soldota for a Child Evangelism Fellowship camp at the Solid Rock Bible Camp just a couple of minutes down the road from our place. We climbed up to 17000 feet and put everyone on oxygen since we only had four passengers.

Click on picture for more photos ...................................................................Nulato & Galena Youth to CEF Camp in Soldotna.....

On May 28 Brian & Don were off again this time to pick up leaders in Anchorage for the KAKO Bible Camp. After dropping the in Russian Mission we proceeded to Bethel for fuel. The weather was not good enough for us to land in Mekoryuk so we decided to wait in Bethel; overnight if necessary. About 2 hours later the weather improved enough that we could land at Mekoryuk so off we went. We picked up three youth in Mekoryuk and then went to Scammon Bay where we picked up three more youth and delivered them to Unalakleet for summer camp. The flight home was only and hour and a half due to good tail winds – a rarity up here.

Don’s last flight in May was on May 31 taking 6 Samaritan Purse volunteers from the lower 46 to Tanana. They are going to work on the Samaritan Purse 2008 project at the Kockrine Hills Bible camp, an hour and a half down river from Tanana. We had a breath taking view of Denali (or Mt McKinley as you might know it) from about 5 miles away.

Click on picture for more photos ...................................................................Samaritan's Purse Volunteers to Kochrine Hills Bible Camp.....

Around home the grass is finally starting to turn green and we have our two bunny rabbits that live under the tool shed. The mosquitoes have not come out yet so we have had a wonderful May. We had the first vehicle loaded into the CASA in early May. You can see from the picture that it has to be a small vehicle and even then it takes up all the space. It sure is wonderful having this capability.

Click on picture for more photos ...................................................................Rabbits around home and avehicle in CASA.....

On the home front Cat has been dealing with a change of doctors, a change in medications and allergic reactions to one of the new medications. She has also had upper respiratory problems and a stomach flue. All of this has kept her inside for a month, too sick to even to have required lab and other tests done. We are hoping that June will be better.