Saturday, April 12, 2014

Not at Home

Think of the alarm sound from an iPhone, now think of it three times louder. It's a sound I did not want to hear. All the computers around me were blaring it. This sound signified that my dad had triggered the help system for some reason. He had just departed a small village in the seaplane, headed home. I ran for the radio, I hear the call for home base, "OFASA, OFASA: engine running rough, following river home, get mechanic on radio." This is one of the memories that has been running through my mind this week.

On Tuesday night I did something I don't normally do; I watched a movie on a school night. While I watched I had Facebook open and noticed a post on Stephanie's wall. It didn't say much, just "have you heard the news from Doyo?" After a little bit another post said, "Kodiak crushed." Being optimistic I hoped that maybe the hanger had fallen in or some sort of loss of the airplane. When I messaged Stephanie, she asked me to pray. I got my family together and prayed. I couldn't go to sleep now, and a little while later I got a message informing me about the crash. I called my family together again and shared the news. We got in a circle and started praying and crying together; still numb by the news we had just heard.

Numb: that's the only way to describe how I felt. All day Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I still went to class, work, laughed and lunch with friends, but my mind wasn't here. My mind was visiting Guyana, Peru, Chad, and Indonesia. Though I no longer live at a mission base with a grass runway for a backyard, I still remember what it was like. The Roberts were going through something that I always knew was a possibility and my heart was grieving with them.

It's not just a few people, there are many of us around the world that will miss Bob Roberts and share in the sadness of his passing. When I got to class on Wednesday I asked Kris if he had heard about the crash of the Kodiak, when I told him about what had happened there was a different look in his eye than others I had told. You see, Kris is the son of a mission pilot as well; he has lived the missionary kid life and has a first hand understanding of the hazards it includes.

The Roberts need our prayers. They are going through something that I have spent time thinking about and is not how God intended life to be. God intended us to all experience life abundantly, and one day I look forward to flying with Mr. Roberts and hearing mission stories. 

Picture Credit: Clive Grey
There is another group that needs our prayers as well. Tomorrow morning, they will go and preflight their airplane; pray that God will bless their efforts and keep them safe; and take off to continue the Lord's work. This has affected those of us tied to mission aviation. The mission aviation community needs prayers every day, but especially now as we grieve the lost of one of God's pilots.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Honduras: Home! Home? Huh?

Already in Honduras for a week. What a reminder of home in Peru. It is great to be back in a Hispanic country. The culture shock was a different feeling from what I have had before. A new thought entered my head as I was riding the yellow school bus to where we were staying. As I listened to the chatter around me, I heard lots of the normal things being said. "What does that mean?" "Look at that!" "That's funny." "We'd never be able to do that at home." As I heard these things around me I looked at what they were talking about. A sign that said "Hardware Store", A horse drawn cart coming down the road, and people riding in the back of pickup trucks. The thought that occurred to me was, The people they are looking at, that was me a year and half ago. This is just like home! It was a strange to realize how different I really was from most of my peers.

Being different comes with it's side benefits. Upon arrival I submersed myself in Spanish once again. I had forgotten how much I really knew. Within a few days I was able to catch most everything that was said to me and a lot of what was said around me. A natural consequence is that I ended up translating. In the middle of supper I was asked if I would help with translating vespers from Spanish into English. I ended up being up front with three other people to do translation. It worked out well, normally one of us knew enough of the words to take what the speaker said and say it in English. Then he put up a slide with a Ellen White quote. I looked at Ruth, she shook her head and thrust the microphone in front of me. I looked at Jay and Rosa. Jay had his head in his hands and Rosa looked very confused. So I plunged onward, one word at a time, trying to figure out what the root word was and get the meaning of the quote. It took some work, Ruthie and Rosa adding a word here or there, but it was understood in the end.

Being understood is a important part of translating. On Sunday morning work started. Our supervisor, Anderson, is a young guy. When you are young, you don't always take to new ideas well. It is the same case here. For many things he just wanted us to do things his way. With Scott, Nathan, Matthew, and I being thinkers; he was hard to work with. Finally on Wednesday I asked him if we could split up into small groups. It worked a lot better. He then had too many groups to micromanage and we had much more freedom to do things how we knew how. Unfortunately I made some big mistakes that day. I forget that I am different, that I have had experience that many have not. I assumed that people knew how to screw sheet metal on, that they knew the process of leveling, and many other construction tasks I consider simple. The next morning found me taking down a wall and re-screwing it up, this time straight. It made me realize that someone had to step up to leading this project, and it had to be someone that could work with Anderson and knew how to build. That ruled out everyone except me. The next day things went much better. I feel like I accomplished little, but everyone else was able to do great work.

My class is willing to work, and hard. The thing that slowed us down was me, not being willing to step back and teach other people how to do the work. As of today, we are almost done with what we set out to accomplish. We came to build three one day school buildings, and by supper time Sunday, those will all be finished.

So saying, I am almost finished. Today there was town trip. I remember going in with the group that visited in Peru and getting orange sodas. I was hoping to go do the same thing. As we were waiting to leave, I was soo tired that I feel asleep on the sidewalk. I woke up to Heather shaking me and telling me it was time to go, but I was too tired. I ended up going and sleeping in my room for awhile. When Scott came back he pulled out of a pack a glass bottle of of orange soda, like what we used to get in Peru. So as I sit here finishing this up, I'm drinking my bottle of soda. Remembering all the memories of being a MK and coordinating groups. Ah, it's like being at home again...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Out Again

There is a little nook in the mountains called the Stryne valley. Nestled in it is a small cabin that has become a favorite destination for students from my school. This weekend I was privileged to visit the cabin with a small group of friends.

There is a common saying that what happens on a campout, stays on a campout. It isn't that we're doing anything bad or against the rules, but funny things happen at the cabin that are left to future visitors to find and read in the log book. Thus said, some stories can not be disclosed unless you make a trip to the cabin with me. Then I will be happy to show you and tell you some of the many things that I have experienced, and been told about.

Preparation for this weekend began in Las Vegas while we were there on tour. I had asked/suggested/begged my head dean for a campout. As we got closer to the weekend, we (by now there were several people working with me) got a go-ahead to post a list for people who were interested in coming. It grew to thirty people in under eight hours. At that point we had to cap the list due to transportation limits. We had originally planned for only eleven. With another dean we were able to find a driver for our small bus and made it possible for all people to go. Unfortunately, it all came to a halt. On Thursday night, the day before departure, a phone call was received from a higher authority telling us that only eleven people could go. It was bitter/sweet, though I like small groups, I wanted everyone to be able to experience the joy of the outdoors.

The hike up was uneventful in my mind, the stories are for other people to tell. (something sure footedness does to you is make it so you have no good falling stories to tell.)

On Sabbath, at the cabin, I eventually made it to my favorite spot to sit. It was in the girls area this time (the first time I went was guys only). Up in the rafters of the inner cabin, above the stove. It that position I have a view down the valley, while staying toasty warm. Just about mid day (we have no time at stryne, just night and day) it was time for church. Church was held in the bolder field around James' snow cave preparation site. During the time set aside for Church we also had thirty minutes to go out alone. I headed for a rock I had found last time and liked a lot. On the way I was distracted by a small cavern that I sat in for a few minutes to read, then go on my way to my rock. (It seems like someone like the spot of my rock before I did, as well as my spot in the loft, but I'll learn to share.)

I went back to my spot in the rafters after church. It became apparent that Sam wasn't feeling well. Heather and I mixed up some charcoal (it was sterile, that was packed up) to ease her stomach. After that, we thought it was about time for sundown worship. We started talking about Jeremiah and ended up (with most of the group) reading Ester. Lets just say, we over analyzed the book of Ester. Sam especially will never read it the same.

Sunday was Sam's birthday. It was great fun hiding birthday notes, cooking breakfast, and celebrating. Sam was not the only birthday. Katie P. had her birthday the day before. There was pie and other goodies to be had then also. That brings me to food. (how can I not mention it) I ate really, really well as I became the camp garbage can. (not a bad position to be in with a group of mainly girls) I had burnt pancakes, extra curry, burnt apple pie, burnt cookies, and a host of other things that were no longer wanted.

Finally, it was time to come down. It was very disappointing, but we knew it was coming. The hike down was mostly uneventful, except when Katie A. challenged me to a race to the truck. Then it was a fast pace run/speed walk the rest of the way. (She won)

I miss the woods already, it's time to be back out again. Thankfully snow camping is coming in two weeks. I'll be there, as near the top of the list as I can be.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Phair Mountain

Yesterday morning I received a short email from my boss titled “Trip”. If I was interested, there was going to be an excursion to Phair Mountain to investigate an Internet outage that had happened the night before.

I have heard a lot about Phair Mountain. It is not tall, elevation about 3,000 feet (The school is about 1,000), and there is a road most of the way up. There is still about a twenty minute hike to reach the top. Due to a added snowfall it took us about thirty minutes. At the top there is not much to see. You can look both ways down the valley and see Lillooet to the northwest and Fountainview to the southeast. There is a old wooden building on the north side of the clearing. Above it is a antenna rack made of three inch rusted tubing. A small tower is too the southeast and at the far side of the antenna rack is a small ten by ten foot container. This was the object that we were going to work inside.

Working inside the cube was rather nice. The outside air temperature was -22 C when we left the car, and we had only gotten higher. Inside is quite warm due to the computer equipment and thick insulation. Our work involved troubleshooting the connection to the school. Earlier we had found that the connection from town to the mountain was working just fine, but when we tried to reach the radio going to the school we could not connect. After a little testing we found the radio that had gone out and replaced it. Due to a power outage at the school we had to set it up and leave it without testing. Just as we pulled up to the school the power came on and we were able to reconfigure the receiving antenna.

And for the record, I missed another piano lesson during this escapade. I love my job. That reminds me, I’ve got another priority projects to finish before Wednesday...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I'm still alive

Behold, the blog liveth again. It has been an eternity and a half since I’ve used this website, almost two years. I don’t know how long it will continue to live. A friend suggested I start posting again, and I thought it would be interesting to see how long I last.

My time since Peru has been spent with God, Family, Friends, and Work (Sometimes not in that order, I'm sorry to say.), and includes words such as Fountainview, Tornado, and Rebuilding. I will not go into much more detail, since most of those who need to know the details were either there for that part of my life, or will be told them.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Change is coming.

So, here is a email that my parents wrote.

"Short Version:  We are leaving Peru Projects.
Longer Version: 
Dear Friends,
After much prayer, consideration and council, Odil and I have decided that we will be leaving Peru Projects in the near future.  We feel like our talents and input have created considerable tension between us and some in leadership at PPI and believe that moving on at this time is in the best interest of the program.
We wish PPI continued success in their ministry to the jungles of Peru and will do all we can during this time of transition to make it as smooth and easy as possible for everyone involved.
At this time we are not sure if we should be going back to industry, or on to other mission opportunities.  We do not want to make a rushed decision and we are praying that God will lead us forward.
We ask for your prayers as we wait on Him to show us His plan for our lives. 
Orville and Odil Donesky"

Looks like we are off on another adventure with God...

I am, a confusion of cultures. I think this is good, but sometimes I despair of understanding others. I am, an Island, and a United Nations. Who can recognize either in me except God! --"Uniquely Me" by Alex Graham James. Shortened by Me.

Friday, November 27, 2009

What happened while I was gone, and after I came back.

OK, so I trashed my last email I was going to send and am typing a new one.

I'll start with what happened after we left for the States. Sometime during the month the big German Shepherd's (Duke) health started declining. He has always had a problem keeping weight. When we got back he wasn't much more than a bag of bones. The vet said that he couldn't live in this environment. But that he would take him home and nurse him back to health, then find a good home for him. So he is gone now and won't be coming back.

Next thing that happened was the invasion problem. I'd like to thank everyone for their prayers. In the end the mayor had a meeting and resolved the issue for awhile. This problem will go on as long as the airbase is near people. Thankfully none of the North Americans are in danger. Just the land.

So then came going back to Lima. This is where Christina acquired a puppy. Many of you have probably already seen the pictures, so this is old news. She still needs a name.

During this running around in Lima, we were also trying to see what we could do  to get the airplanes flying again. Unfortunately we weren't able to do anything, so we are still grounded. Hopefully we will be off again next week.

Thanksgiving: There were two Thanksgiving dinners this year, we went to the one at SAM Air. There are several other missionary kids there that are my age. Played a game of American Football, and had a generally fun time.

So I tried to keep it under a page.

I am, a confusion of cultures. I think this is good, but sometimes I despair of understanding others. I am, an Island, and a United Nations. Who can recognize either in me except God! --"Uniquely Me" by Alex Graham James. Shortened by Me.