July - August

Don’s Corner:
For a place that was supposed to have a more relaxed lifestyle, this place sure makes time fly. I have been trying to get to this newsletter since the end of July and have failed abysmally. I can’t even blame it on a busy flying schedule as I only had one flight in August. I am in the waiting room at the hospital while Cat has her “nissun fundal plication” re-operation (see Catz Corner below). July was a typically busy month although we flew a lot less King Air and Caravan flights because we used the Casa much more. The Casa has come into it’s own this summer because it can carry two king Air or Caravan loads. Also during this month the scheduling workload peaks such that mark, the primary scheduler, and I are only able to take a few flights. I had two flights in July. My first flight, in the middle of the month, was to take seven Samaritan’s Purse volunteers to Unalakleet where they are building a new dining room facility for the Covenant Bible Camp. This is one of two major projects taken on by Samaritan’s Purse this summer with the help of some 70 volunteers from the lower 48 as well as some local help. Because there were only seven passengers there was room for Carrie who was up visiting from Turlock. She was able to get a good idea of what my work is like but unfortunately had only a short time there.

Towards the end of the month I flew out to Mountain Village to pick up the last Artic Barnabus Ministries (ABM) work team and bring them to Anchorage to catch their flight home to the lower 48. This year ABM ran a trail project at Mountain Village building a work shed for the pastor. The idea is that this will give the pastor a place to work on snow machines and ATVs with the native Alaskan’s thereby providing another avenue to ministry. This is an outgrowth of their main projects of upgrading the pastor’s houses in Elim, White Mountain and Mekoryuk.
Click on picture to see it larger ...........................Third ABM Team to Mountain Village

Click on picture to see it larger ...........................Shed beside Parsonage/Church

I had only one flight in August. I flew out to Hooper Bay and Mountain Village to pick SEND volunteers and take them to Gulkana. The two groups of university age people had been up helping the pastors in the villages run their summer programs. In the Hooper Bay case the pastor was away for the whole summer so the SEND volunteers were very much needed to help the pastor’s son Josh to keep the church going through the summer.

Click on picture to see more photos .................SEND team to Hooper Bay & Mountain Village
When not flying Mark and I were taking care of the scheduling. We have made a significant improvement in collecting requested donations from the people we fly for. So far this year we have collected about 80% of the suggested donations with most of the outstanding ones in July & August. This compares to about 50% in past years. For the last three months in 2008 we were able to achieve 100%.

Catz Corner:
I’ll probably get in trouble for trying to write something for Cat but since she is going through her operation as I type, maybe I’ll be able to get away with it. She really enjoyed our daughter, Cheramie’s visit this summer. Cheramie took great care of both of us mentally & physically. Cat was noticeably better when she left and we were both healthier. Our only regret was that she had to go back three weeks earlier than originally planned.

Cat had this “nissun fundal plication” operation done just before we left California in 2004. It involves wrapping part of the stomach around the esophagus to replace the valve. It worked great for about three years to stop acid reflux. Then about two years ago she started to have trouble getting food caught. Part of the knot had slipped so that it was above the diaphragm forming a little pouch where the food got caught. The surgeon is going to re-do the wrap, pulling down below the diaphragm and re-enforcing the opening in the diaphragm so this doesn’t happen again.

Click on picture to see video ................................................Moose in our back yard
Around home we still have the baby bunnies and a couple of moose to keep us company.