Update Sept 2015

Elephant Sunset

Hello Friends!

I have adjusted back to what life is like here in Zambia, and my role overseeing the aircraft maintenance has kept me busy.  We have been asked again by the government organization overseeing Zambia’s national parks to participate in an aerial wildlife survey.  This is a great opportunity for us to continue to build ties within the government and also to help out the national parks with maintaining their wildlife.  This one is specific to counting elephants.  We have started this week and will probably carry on until sometime in October.  I have the responsibility of overseeing all of the inspections on the aircraft and getting them back out to the survey as quickly as possible, as well as doing some of the flying.  It is an enjoyable time and really good for building relationships with the Zambians we work with during the survey, but it is also quite tiring and involves long hours.  We do this on top of our normal mission flying, so it is a team effort to keep up with everything during these surveys.  Prayers for energy and safety during this survey are appreciated!

I do a Saturday morning Bible study with some of the neighborhood boys who are involved in our Soccer Ministry.  We have picked up where we left off when I took my furlough and it has been nice to see that most of the boys have returned and continue to come regularly.  We are currently working our way through the book of Acts.  Prayers are appreciated for these boys and also my teaching that the Lord can use my words to show them things about the Bible that can impact their lives.

Zambia has been experiencing a power shortage in recent months.  Most of the power comes from several hydro-electric power plants in a few places in the country.  The largest one drawing from Lake Kariba (the largest man made lake in the world) downstream of Victoria Falls, is quite low at the moment so all of Zambia has been experiencing frequent power cuts, we are averaging about 8 hours a day without power.  I am very thankful that at our base we have a generator and some solar and battery backups to keep us working while the power is out.  This has been a difficult situation for the country and for companies and local industry it has made the cost of doing business much more expensive and difficult.  The Kwacha (Zambia’s currency) has also fallen quite quickly verses the dollar causing some economic instability.  Please pray for the country as it handles this crisis and for wisdom as the government officials make difficult decisions.

SME (Share my Experience)
My work permit… Every two years I need to renew my work permit to remain in Zambia legally.  In January, we submitted the paperwork for my renewal which expired in February.  Once submitted it often takes a few weeks to be processed, approved, and renewed.  Usually, someone from Flying Mission will stop by the immigration office once a week to check on pending work permits.  When I left for the States in March, it still had not been renewed for an unknown reason (I am able to stay in the country with a pending application).  I went to the office the week before I left and was told they were having a meeting about it that week and it would be renewed very soon.  While I was gone weekly visits were made, but still there was no progress.  We finally determined that my file had been lost.  Unfortunately, no one at immigration did an exhaustive search for it, and each week we were just told to come back next week and it might be approved.  Sometime in July it was actually “approved” but still the actual paper file hadn’t been located… So we waited some more and continued our weekly visits.  Finally, one of my colleagues was able to speak to someone who eventually had a search done to find the missing file!  So after 9 months of waiting and 30+ visits to the office by someone from Flying Mission (usually at least a 45 min drive into town), I am the proud holder of a renewed employment permit!!  Praise the Lord!

Well that’s all for now, if you have any questions or comments please email me, I’ll be happy to answer them and give you even more information on what life is like here in Zambia!

God’s Blessings on you all,

Jonathan

Praises For:
The renewal of my work permit.
The chance to work with the Zambian Wildlife Authority again.
The backup electricity FMZ has in place to continue to function without power.

Prayers for:
Safe flying with for out animal surveys.
Energy for the extra work of the surveys.
My Bible study to help these young men to grow in their faith.
Zambia’s leaders to wisely handle the power crisis.

Favorite Memories

Having arrived back in Africa with Flying Mission Zambia after my 3 months in the states, I wanted to take a few minutes and just sit back and remember what God has done and some of my favorite memories so far.

 

Flying with and observing the doctors at work.

These doctors give up some of their weekends to fly with us out to rural villages to perform surgeries on people who would never make it to the big city for medical care.  I have really enjoyed the trips I have done with them and knowing that on each weekend we fly them to a rural part of Zambia 15-25 lives are made better because they can have the surgical procedure they desperately need.  I have also really enjoyed the fact that I can go and watch them at work, the operating room is much more accessible here in rural Zambia and I have enjoyed observing them.

Getting started on a little guy with Club Foot.

Getting started on a little guy with Club Foot.

Flying with the Zambia Wildlife Authority.

We have gotten the opportunity to fly with the Zambia Wildlife Authority several times to do aerial survey work in the national parks.  It is great for us to build relationships with them and to help with conservation efforts here in Zambia.  We get to see lots of cool things as well!

These was my ZAWA crew with our Airforce representative.

These was my ZAWA crew with our Airforce representative.

 

This is a sampling of the lines we flew throughout the park. Our GPS was recording it all.

This is a sampling of the lines we flew throughout the park. Our GPS was recording it all.

 

Saturday morning Bible Study

Almost every Saturday morning 5-15 young men come to my house to do a bible study for about an hour.  We have been slowly working our way through the main points of the whole Bible.  We are currently finishing Acts, and maybe will finish the study by early next year!  It has been rewarding to build some relationships with some of the boys and I hope to continue to deepen them the longer I stay.

Saturday Mornings on my back porch.

Saturday Mornings on my back porch.

 

My Cat Setting herself on Fire

My cat Randy always keeps me on my toes, and provides plenty of entertainment in my life.  She enjoys chasing a laser pointer all over my house and leaping up walls chasing after it, brings me plenty of still living mice, birds, and lizards just in case I’m hungry for a late night snack, and is always happy to see me (unless I haven’t brought any food for her or am going to lock her in the house).  A few weeks ago she topped it all though… burning candles to see at night is a normal thing with so many power cuts, and well cats are curious.  Needless to say she got too close to one and part of her fluffy backside went up in flames!  She quickly left the room after her fur and the candle went out, leaving us with the overpowering odor of burning hair.  Good thing she has 9 lives.

 

Notice the Brown area below the black fur. That was what was left of the fire.

Notice the Brown area below the black fur. That was what was left of the fire.

 

Joining with the Mwembeshi Village church to construct their building! 

The church is almost finished!  We have come such a long way and it has been rewarding to join with the congregation in raising money, and also worshiping with them on many Sunday mornings.  Check out the pictures in order over the last 2 1/2 years.

The church foundation, waiting for the slab!

The church foundation, waiting for the slab!

 

The new concrete slab for the church!

The new concrete slab for the church!

 

The walls are going up at the Church!

The walls are going up at the Church!

 

The ring beam has been set, just a few more layers of blocks and the church will be ready for the roof!

The ring beam has been set, just a few more layers of blocks and the church will be ready for the roof!

 

Almost done with the exterior of the building!

Almost done with the exterior of the building!

 

The roofing sheets have gone on! Just a few final touches remain.

The roofing sheets have gone on! Just a few final touches remain.

Well these are just a few memories that came to mind of what has happened in my time in Africa so far.  Hope you enjoyed them.  I am looking forward to many more as I continue to serve here in Zambia with Flying Mission.