But first, a prayer request
Before Michael shares some more about his flying experiences as of late, we first want to share with you a prayer request that gets a little more urgent with each passing day.
Helimission has 9 families here, 7 of which are working and living in Wamena full-time (2 are still in language school). We are one of the 7. We all live here based on what is called a “KITAS” – permission to live in Indonesia longer than the usual tourist or student visas allow – they are normally renewed each year. A couple of our families have lived here a long time – one for 20+ years – and have never had much trouble renewing their KITASes. However, this year, due to a couple of reasons, one being government reluctance, our KITASes are soon coming up on expiration (different dates for different families, ours is one of the later dates at January 30) and we’ve heard nothing positive about when they will be renewed.
If the expiration date comes, and we are not yet renewed, we may have to leave the country. This does sometimes happen to foreign workers and usually they go to Singapore or Malaysia. These places are expensive however, as we would have to live in hotels and eat out, etc. and we’d rather not have the cost.
Please pray for God’s will in this situation, and that the government will have favor on us as we are here to help Indonesians and Papuans for now and for eternity. If He does decide to allow the KITASes to lapse, please pray that He would guide and provide (as He always does when we ask!).
Thank-you dear friends and partners!
And for those of you in Oregon and California who’ve recently been enjoying the unusual-to-you snow, we just wanted you to know that we have a little bit of that here, too! If you look closely in the distance of this picture, you can see snow on the peak of this mountain (14,700′), which Michael flew past a couple of days ago. We’re thinking about bringing our skis when we come back from furlough…ha ha!
How we affect the Kingdom of God
If you know me (Michael) well, you know that I am one of those guys who likes to see the product of my efforts. Before coming to Papua, I used to build power lines with helicopters. It was very rewarding looking back at all the work that I had done with crewman hanging from the helicopter and the brand new tower and lines that exist because of my efforts. However, this type of flying has very little eternal reward.
Flying in Papua does not have the same immediate reward, except when we do a medevac or treat a disease that could have had major consequences. However, I know that what Helimission does affects the Kingdom, but, how?
Just the other day Tom Hans, our chief pilot here, and I flew to the Kora Valley, which is a 20 minute flight or by foot, impossible. Well, maybe if you had a month to hike. We had to climb out of Wamena up to 12,300 feet to cross the lowest saddle, named Wasak Pass. The peak to the north of Wasak Pass, which stands at 14,700 feet, is the third highest peak in Papua. It had snow on it. Yes, snow in the tropics. Shear cliffs all over the place. It looked like parts of Yosemite National park. Our mission was to bring out the Palmer and Schafer families. They have three children each and they really look forward to flying in the heli. They were coming out of the Kora tribe for an New Tribes Missions annual conference. We landed at 5,000 feet on a sloped rocky runway, which is in the development process. Every landing here is a slope landing.
As we unloaded the helicopter of needed supplies and loaded the Palmer family for the first flight, I thought to myself, “Well, this is good. We are picking up missionary families and bringing them needed supplies.” We flew back to Wamena, refueled promptly and returned to the Kora tribe for the Schafer family along with bringing in more supplies. All the while I’m thinking to myself, “What we are doing is good. OK! What does that mean? What is the result of Helimission being here?
I know I could draw a line to supporting the missionary with needed supplies. How does that affect the Kingdom though? What happens out there in the tribe? After returning with the Schafer family to Wamena, Jeff Palmer came up to me and thanked me for the flight. I said back to him, “Sure no problem, glad to do it.” Jeff continued to tell me that, “We could not be there if it was not for Helimission and pilots like you. It would be impossible”. I said, “Thank you, that means a lot to me.”
Shortly thereafter I went to go get a cup of coffee in the Helimission cantina. Craig Shafer was sitting there. He told me what the Lord is doing in his tribe. They have had people come to Jesus that they thought might never come to the throne. He continued to tell me about the flight Helimission recently did for a woman that could not deliver her placenta. We had taken a nurse and the woman’s life was saved because of the timeliness of the helicopter. He also said syncretism is becoming a problem with some of the Christians. He had story after story about victories and on going battles with the Kora tribe. I could have listened to him all day. I kept thinking, ”WOW!” He ended our conversation with an emphatic statement, “There would be no way possible for us to be there without you guys.”
So, how is Helimission affecting the Kingdom of God? We are the tip of spear for these missionaries. They are the tip of another spear that brings the Kingdom promise to forsaken tribes. I’m just so blessed that our Father God has so many spears. Thank you, Father God for choosing to use me for your Kingdom.