January-March 2012

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“For I know the plans I have for you" says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster" Jeremiah 29:11

On a Saturday in early January while attending a memorial service for a very dear friend, Don was called away to answer his work phone. I knew that it had to be an emergency to call him away from something so important to both of us and boy was I ever right. For the next several days Don worked constantly to bring help to people suffering from the severe weather conditions in Alaska that you may have heard about. For those of you who wonder what Don does for Alaska while sitting in Turlock, this is a sample from one of many that makes him difficult to replace. Whenever he says the team made a change, it means that he had to set up the arrangements: pilots, planes, flight watching, weather watching, more than I know about. I am not ashamed to say I am very proud of him and grateful for the support we receive to continue this important work. From here on, Don tells his own story of those frantic hours.

Near the end of the memorial service for Cat’s ex father in law, I received a call from Dustin of Arctic Barnabas Ministries (ABM) in Soldotna asking if we could get a plane and pilot ready to fly out to Mountain Village the next day, Sunday. Due to -30deg F weather for the last 3 weeks the parsonage heating system pipes had broken, and the plumbing system was frozen. After a couple of hours of phoning around I ended up talking to the SOAR pilot/mechanic over Skype to Russia where all members of SOAR were on a week long mission. It was 3 AM in the morning there, but he was up answering emails from home. He explained what had to be done to get the Navajo flight worthy. He gave me his user name and password so we could download and install the navigation charts into their new Garmin 600 avionics. After all this we decided to send the Navajo, that SOAR graciously allowed us to rent, to take an ABM person and a local plumber to Mountain Village. ABM then added two more people to be taken to Kobuk (near the arctic circle) and a nearby village called Shungnak where more heating problems needed fixing. That evening Bob, the pilot, called to let me know that since the temperature at Kobuk was -53deg F and forecast to stay that way they wouldn’t be able to go there.

Click on picture to see more photos ......................................................................................Mountain Village

Unfortunately the weather in Mountain Village was also not co-operating and neither were the avionics, so the flight was put off to Monday. With temps in the -30s Fahrenheit and wind chills down to -55F, success wasn’t a given after several days of being without heat, but God blessed their efforts & they successfully restored water & heat to the parsonage.

While there, they received word that someone had broken into Josh & Michelle Funk’s home in Marshall during their absence and had left the door open—freezing that parsonage as well. So the team made an extra stop in Marshall and restored heat & water to their home. But God wasn’t done yet. Because the weather back home wouldn’t allow them in and the temperatures were to approach -40F in Marshall that night, the team took the aircraft to Bethel for their last night to have a warmer place to store the plane.
Click on picture to see more photos ......................................................................................Marshall

As they arrived in Bethel, they discovered the heating unit and plumbing at the Moravian church and seminary had just failed. With all the local plumbers working on restoring heat to government buildings there was no one to work on the church. During the next two days our dynamic trio were able to fix & restore both the heating & plumbing. Finally Friday the weather lifted and they were able to return home. Not unusual for a two day flight to turn into a five day marathon. This trip was a great example of teamwork as a MARC pilot, ABM staff, and commercial plumber flew in SOAR International’s aircraft to aid a SEND missionary living in an Evangelical Covenant Church of Alaska parsonage. Bob also said the commercial plumber that ABM had arranged for the trip was a Jehovah Witness, and that he had several good opportunities to share the Christianity difference with him during the trip … pray that God would bless that seed of witness.
Click on picture to see more photos ......................................................................................Bethel