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Missionary aviators are my heroes!

June 4, 2011

Friday morning, we were picked up & headed to the air strip by 5:40 a.m. Our cargo was weighed & loaded on the plane. Only we got to set around and wait for the morning ground fog to clear. Instead of a 7 a.m. departure, we took off about 8:15 a.m. (Not being a morning person, there was a corner of my heart that wished I had gotten to sleep that extra hour or so) However, that delay was for a good purpose, as Walagu also had morning fog & low cloud cover. We could tell we were above Walagu by the satellite GPS equipment, but all we could see was a low seemingly solid cloud cover. Of course, Walagu does not have the equipment for instrument landing – it is line of sight only! While circling the area, looking for breaks, suddenly off the right side of the plane was a break. Our pilot circled back around and we flew down through the break. The automatic warning came on, as we were flying just a few hundred feet about the ground. Our pilot maneuvered around between the clouds and ridges. He spotted Walagu and the airstrip, then made his final circuit, and onto the very soggy Walagu airstrip. After a bit of bouncy through mud we came to a stop. Our pilot working with God had brought us safely into Walagu

After our cargo was unloaded, we all watched and prayed as the pilot went to the far end of the airstrip – soggiest part all of the time! He was able to take off & be safely away from Walagu airstrip. All of our cargo was gathered up. We were a bit careful that it was adults that got to carry the computers & solar panel boxes. We do pack in lots of small boxes along with some larger boxes, so that the enthusiastic kids can help carry some of the boxes.
Then was the exciting, slippery trip up the hill to Walagu. Oh, the joys of tropical rain forest living! Here is the trip. The plane drops us off about ½ way down the airstrip. So, hike to one end and cross the bridge across the drainage ditch. This bridge is made up a couple of logs, at a (to me) steep angle. The logs are muddy from everyone’s muddy feet. I do not like walking down muddy slippery logs. So, I have someone hold each hand. And lots of advice is offered to me & those helping me. Keeps me humble. The next section is low & a bit swampy. The trail is strengthened by logs laid in the trail like a corduroy road, but still exciting & slippery. So, once again, I get to hold hands with friends. Then another log bridge complete with mud, holding hands & advice. Then we begin the trip up the hill to where the village is built on the tops of connecting ridges. I am always the slowest up the hill. My Onobasulu friends can get up the hill quite quickly. So, my pace would be a leisurely stroll for them, except, they worry, will Beverly slip down?! (PTL, the Lord has helped me never to actually fall on the trip, but there is usually a bit of almost slips.) One more log bridge to cross as we come to the edge of Walagu village.

For a variety of reasons, it had been 6 months since I was in Walagu. So, everyone was glad to see me & to shake my hand to welcome me. Greeting everyone & asking about them, slows my pace even more. So, it is a while before I arrive at my house. Joy Candee, the cargo & most of the people were already at my house. A couple of people were quite happy to see me: the mother of my namesake & a dear lady that I call ‘grandmother.’ My ‘grandmother’ is the mother of one of the translator & she is one of the oldest people in the village. She had waited here in Walagu, and as Joy passed she asked if I also came. As I came over the top of one ridge and started down through the last small ravine before her house, She began to call out to me. I called back to her & picked up my pace. We hugged & kissed and were each very glad to see the other.

Today, Saturday, Joy and I are working on cleaning, unpacking, & organizing. It is great to be back home in Walagu.

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