January 2013

The following is a description of a set of flights MARC flew in January. Mission Plan A1 was to take a group containing a magician, a person who would give his testimony and two helpers to Aniak, Kalskag, one other village (to be determined), Hooper Bay and Soldotna. Plan A2 was to watch the weather and if the weather was good move the trip to Hooper Bay earlier in the schedule. This group uses the magician to draw in the native youth and provide the group with the opportunity to bring the youth the Word of God. This was a somewhat unusual trip in terms of the number of organizations involved. The group travelling was from the lower 48 and was sponsored by Life Promotions. They were working with Bill, a SEND missionary in Aniak, who was coordinating with the villages and school where the team was to go. Craig, who has worked with us often, from Life Impact Ministries, was helping Life Promotions make travel arrangements with us since they were unfamiliar with the process. About one week prior to the first flight, Bill finally got ahold of Grant Funk from Hooper Bay and arranged an event at 2:30 PM on the first day. Plan B is born with the order being Hooper Bay, Kalskag, Aniak, one other village & Soldotna. Because of the uncertainty in the weather I provided the pilots with two sets of flight manifests, One for Plan A and one for Plan B. A final wrinkle was that on the way to Hooper Bay we had to stop in at Aniak to pick up a sound system for the group to use. Unfortunately this meant we could not take two white boards to Bethel which was to be our original refueling stop on the way to Hooper Bay.
Monday, January 21, arrived and the weather supported a decision to proceed with Plan A. All goes well as they pick up the people in Anchorage and the sound system in Aniak. About 2/3 of the way to Hooper Bay the weather goes down rapidly and they have to turn back to Aniak. Their disappointment was short lived, as the Lord opened another door and they flew to Sleetmute in the afternoon to put on an event for their youth. After a successful event they returned to Aniak. Tuesday they took off with good weather for the 27 mile flight to Kalskag, just down river. About 8 miles short of the airport they again were defeated by the weather that went down, forcing them to return to Aniak. Again the Lord’s hand was on the tiller as the school was not available for the planned event in Aniak on Wednesday so they were able to have it on Tuesday. On Wednesday the TBD village was determined and they flew the 9.5 miles upriver to Chuathbaluk (nick named “Chewy”) for another boisterous event. On Thursday the weather was fine but Brian woke too sick to fly. Fortunately the local airline agreed to fly the group to Kalskag for a very reasonable rate where they performed three concerts for three different youth age groups. Unfortunately, they were not able to get back to Aniak commercially. Fortunately, Brian was well enough in the afternoon that they could go get the group and fly them back to Aniak. The Lord taketh away and the Lord giveth. The word of these events was spreading and Crooked Creek asked them to come on Friday. The runway is too short for the King Air so they went commercial again. Saturday they brought the group to Soldotna where they had an event planned at Alaska Christian College. This was quite an unusual trip but the Lord was able to use MARC and this group to touch many youth in many villages.
While all this was going on we had our first operational flight by the Cherokee, our small 5 passenger, single engine airplane, flying out of Fairbanks. It was a flight 380 miles to the northwest to Kotzebue that took 3 hours. This was a flight taking David & Rosemary Sternbech, from Luthern Indian Ministries, out west to renew ties with missionaries in Kotzebue, Ambler and Shungnak. They also had discussions in Ambler in preparation for a building project there this summer.