Update November 2015

You can pitch your tents just at the top of the falls! Don't fall in...

You can pitch your tents just at the top of the falls! Don’t fall in…

Hello Friends!

Welcome to the November edition of my newsletter! I hope all is well. Here in Zambia we have been enjoying (or suffering through) some hot weather. Just before the rains come every year the weather turns hot and humid and eventually it becomes enough that the rains come and provide much needed water for the land and comfort from the heat. Because of the water shortage in the Kariba Dam causing an electricity shortage in the country, this year everyone is waiting for the rains with even more anticipation! Our power outages have increased and there are rumors that it could get worse before it gets better.

At Flying Mission Zambia the flying has slowed down, and we have been busy with projects to organize and develop our property, and well as catching up on some larger maintenance projects on a couple of our airplanes. Recently we were able to take two days and participate in the Global Leadership Summit put on by Willow Creek Church in Chicago. This was a really great time of trying to learn and evaluate where we are as leaders ourselves and within Flying Mission. It is great that Flying Mission wants to help us improve as individual leaders and as well as the mission as a whole. Pray that we can take things we learned here and apply them to lead better and build unity within our team.

The church building we have been raising funds for is getting so close to being finished! Check out the picture below. They have been meeting in the building now for a few weeks, but because doors and windows haven’t been finished nothing can be left in the building between the weekly services. If the church can raise the remaining funds (which we will match) they could have bars on the windows and be able to lock the doors by the new year! It has been a long process, but the end is in sight.

SME (Share my Experience)
At least once a year it is nice to take some time to get away from the everyday routine at Flying Mission and see a bit more of Zambia. My girlfriend Sonia and I along with another couple from flying mission were able to take a week and visit and camp at some waterfalls around the northern part of Zambia (see the top picture for a spot we camped at!) It was a great time to get away a bit and see some really beautiful and hidden sites in Zambia. Check out some of the photo’s below to see God’s beauty in Zambia!

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!

Praises For:

Safe Flying during the Wildlife Count.
Safe travel during our holiday.
A chance to grow as a person and leader at the leadership conference.
Prayers for:

Flying Mission to grow and unify from the conference.
My Bible study to help these young men to grow in their faith.
Zambia’s leaders to wisely handle the power crisis.

Until next time take care, and God’s blessings on you all,

Jonathan

 

The roof has been finished on the whole building and the walls are sealed at the top.

The roof has been finished on the whole building and the walls are sealed at the top.

Camped near these waterfalls the first night.

Camped near these waterfalls the first night.

Above these falls is a network of cascading water and perfect swimming holes. Thankfully free of Crocodiles.

Above these falls is a network of cascading water and perfect swimming holes. Thankfully free of Crocodiles.

2nd highest waterfall in Africa! 772 foot drop. Breathtaking! The far side of the picture is Tanzania.

2nd highest waterfall in Africa! 772 foot drop. Breathtaking! The far side of the picture is Tanzania.

Picture at the top with my lady.

Picture at the top with my lady.

Sometimes when there's no water anywhere else... you have to wash your dishes at the top of a 700 foot water fall.

Sometimes when there’s no water anywhere else… you have to wash your dishes at the top of a 700 foot water fall.

Not everyday you see a momma Hyena with two babies!

Not everyday you see a momma Hyena with two babies!

Sunset over the Luangwa River.

Sunset over the Luangwa River.

Another breathtaking set of waterfalls!

Another breathtaking set of waterfalls!

We took a "short cut" to try to avoid a 9 Hr drive... once we finally found the track we did ok. Ask me the story sometime... it's a good one!

We took a “short cut” to try to avoid a 9 Hr drive… once we finally found the track we did ok. Ask me the story sometime… it’s a good one!

Glad this guy wasn't in any of the rivers we were swimming in!

Glad this guy wasn’t in any of the rivers we were swimming in!

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.

The return to Zambia

Hello All,
I have arrived back in Zambia safe and sound and am just about over the jet lag. Just wanted to update you on how my time went in the States and what I am anticipating in my first few months here.

Thank you SO much to everyone who hosted me to speak, or helped out with food or planning for some of my events. I was able to share the story and vision God has given me with 6 churches and so many others through smaller group meetings. God allowed my prayer and support base to broaden and blessed me with many happy reunions and a nice catch-ups with my family and friends.

It feels good to be back in Zambia, to reunite with friends here and to see what has changed in the few months that I was gone. Children have grown, new roads have been paved, and even a new shopping center has opened on our side of town! Progress, though sometimes slow, is happening in Zambia. Our flight schedule has picked up and there are airplanes in the hangar needing maintenance so I am hitting the ground running and anticipate a busy finish to the year here in Zambia.
Again, I just want to send a warm heartfelt thank you to so many of you that made my time back in the USA so great and to all of you who pray for me and support on this journey.

God Bless,

Jonathan

P.S. Praise the Lord I was able to raise the support I needed to continue here and am not currently in need of extra, BUT if you are looking for a good spot to give some money, we are still raising money to buy the second half of our airstrip! Only about $10,000 to go! Click HERE to get more information and give.

 

Prayers for:
– 
My work permit to be found and approved.

– My readjustment into life in Zambia.

– My workload and continued adjustment in overseeing our aircraft maintenance.

Praises for:
– 
A nice time in the USA and good connections with supporters and churches.

– Safe travel for myself and all my bags back to Zambia.

 

Imparting words of wisdom about french fries.

Imparting words of wisdom about french fries.

I enjoyed spending time with my nieces while I was home.

I enjoyed spending time with my nieces while I was home.

Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, Scotland.

I was able to have a brief stop in the UK on my way to the USA.

I was able to have a brief stop in the UK on my way to the USA.

Beautiful Scottish Highlands!

Beautiful Scottish Highlands!

Homeward Bound!

Hello Friends!
I hope all is well, and that spring is finally showing signs of arriving for those in the northern hemisphere. Life has continued to be busy here in Zambia. We are just finishing the rainy season and soon the lush green will fade to brown. This newsletter is to update you about my coming travels back to the USA. I have been living in Zambia for just over two years now and the time for my scheduled home leave has arrived. I am really looking forward to seeing as many people as I can while in the states, speaking and updating people on what has happened in the last two years, and taking some time for rest. I will be leaving Zambia in just over a week and after spending a few days in the UK will be arriving back in Ohio on April 8th. I will be scheduling times to speak and visit with those at the churches that are supporting me as well as at least one or two other dates with open houses for everyone to come hear and see what I have been involved in for the past two years. Stay tuned for the dates which I’ll be sending out soon! Then, Lord willing, I will be returning to Zambia for another 2 year term on June 28th. I would love to make as many personal connections as possible while I am home. I’m sure my calendar will be filling up quickly, so please email me back or contact me on my cell (330-310-3702, working once I arrive in the states) to set up a time for us to get together and catch up on life.

I am looking forward to being home and seeing as many of you as possible during that time.

God’s Blessings on you all,

Jonathan

 

Below is a list of positions Flying Mission is currently looking for, we are growing quickly and looking to grow more, please pass along to anyone who might be interested in joining the team!

Flying Mission Zambia is a support ministry which provides aviation and logistical services to other missionaries and NGOs working in rural Zambia.

We are URGENTLY looking to fill the following volunteer (faith supported) positions:
 Construction Manager – Build needed infrastructure on Flying Mission Zambia property.
 Finance Assistant – Data entry for the finance manager (Part time ok)
 Finance Manager (Senior Management Team Position) – Manage the financial systems of FMZ using Pastel Software and be able to provide information needed for the annual audit; manage cashbox, payroll, and other cash financial needs of FMZ
 Fundraiser – Could be USA based.
 Grounds Keeping Manager – Maintain the current gardens and develop a plan for the future landscaping
 Local Outreach Coordinator (Senior Management Team Position) – Liaise with the local community in order to facilitate our outreach program. (LONG TERM POSITION ONLY)
 Logistics Manager (Senior Management Position) – Purchase good for FMZ and rural workers. Our goal is to keep people doing ministry in rural Zambia at their place of ministry by procuring and transporting the items they need.
 Maintenance Manager – Maintain the current buildings on the property, oversee mowing and maintaining of the runway

A successful candidate will:
 Come either long- or short-term.
 Have experience in the area for which they are applying – either professional or hobby level.
 Come fully supported in both prayer and finances (FMZ does not provide a salary)

For more information, or a complete job description, please contact our HR Manager at fmzamoffice@flyingmission.org.

 

Sometimes swimming seems like a better option then driving!

Sometimes swimming seems like a better option then driving!

 

One of the roads I drive often, just a bit wet during the rainy season.

One of the roads I drive often, just a bit wet during the rainy season.

Dinner?

Dinner?

A beautiful waterfall I was able to visit during one of my flights!

A beautiful waterfall I was able to visit during one of my flights!

I had a flight that where I needed to stay 2 days in the bush.  I "suffered" camping at the edge of this waterfall.  :-)

I had a flight that where I needed to stay 2 days in the bush. I “suffered” camping at the edge of this waterfall. 🙂

Update November 2014

Hello Friends!

The heat has returned to Zambia, and we are at the beginning of the rainy season.  The past several months have been very busy for me!  During September and October we were quite short handed on pilots and mechanics, thankfully our flight schedule wasn’t as busy as it sometimes is because for several days we only had one or two pilots available!  We can have up to 8 pilots if everyone is around (which also rarely happens).  Recently I have flown not only to spots in Zambia, but I also took some missionaries to Mozambique, one of Zambia’s neighbors, where they were able to do some teaching and visit with other missionaries there.  Check out my website HERE for that story!

Flying Mission Zambia is in a transition process of changing how the mission is structured and governed, as we grow we need to have a good leadership structure in place.  We have adopted a new model which should give us ample opportunity to grow and change.  With these changes, new positions have been added and others have shifted around for a 3 month trial period. I have been asked to assume the role of Chief Engineer (head mechanic) for the aircraft we operate and maintain here!  I was not expecting to be given this much responsibility in such a short time, but I am excited to have the opportunity to learn and grow in this new role.  This new position has been keeping me quite busy as I learn the ambiguous procedures and paperwork needed to keep the airplanes legal and flying in Zambia.

Zambia is also in transition.  Just a few days after celebrating 50 years of independence in October, Zambia’s President Michael Sata passed away.  He had been sick for some time so it wasn’t a total shock, but it a sad occurrence nonetheless and the second time a Zambian President has died in office in the last several years.  Zambia is generally a peaceful country and one of the only African nations to have consistently transitioned relatively peacefully between leaders throughout it’s history.  But there is always the possibility of unrest in times like these.  There will be general elections probably in January to elect a new president.  Please pray for the interim president and for peaceful elections.

 

SME (Share my Experience)

Amongst all the work that I have been doing the past few months, I was able to get away and have a bit of fun as well.  My good friend Ashley has come back to Zambia on a missions trip called “The World Race” (check out her blog HERE) and when one of your friends comes to the country you are living in you go see them!  So last weekend a few other friends and I made the 6 hr drive to Livingstone to visit her.  While we were in Livingstone before we met up with Ashley we also got the chance to go whitewater rafting.  It was tons of fun!  And thankfully the water is so rough that we didn’t see any crocodiles or hippos the whole time we were in the Zambezi River! We got to do 25 different sets of rapids ranging from very easy to Class 5, including Rapid 18 known as “Oblivion” where everybody went flying out of the raft as it capsized!  I’ve included a few pictures for your enjoyment.

Finally, the church I have been raising money for is in the final stages of exterior construction.  They’ve gotten the steel beams for the roof and are in the process of raising it, after that just the roof sheeting will remain! I have continued to use any excess support I have to match funds with what the church is raising itself, and they are still in need of more funds.  Hopefully soon they will be able to begin meeting in the building.  I don’t have any updated pictures, but as soon as beams are up I’ll get some pictures out.

 

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:

  • Continued progress on the Church Building.
  • Growth and changes for Flying Mission Zambia.
  • Continued safe flying and good maintenance.

Prayers for:

  • My transition to my new position, and Flying Mission’s transition to a new governance model.
  • Finishing the church building.
  • Safe Flying!
  • For the country of Zambia and peaceful elections.

 

Donate online here!

Visit Flying Mission’s Website!

Like my page on Facebook!

Send me Mail!!!!
Jonathan Weaver
Postnet #197, P/Bag E891
Lusaka, Zambia

 

Almost done with the exterior of the building!

Almost done with the exterior of the building!

Just need roofing sheets!

Just need roofing sheets!

 

 

Going into Rapid 18...

Going into Rapid 18…

Getting wet!

Getting wet!

And coming out of it… Oblivion!

And coming out of it… Oblivion!

I'm the one on the left.  Don't worry, everyone survived and even enjoyed it!

I’m the one on the left. Don’t worry, everyone survived and even enjoyed it!

International Air Travel!

Recently I had the opportunity of doing an international flight for some of the Baptist Missionaries we serve. The two missionaries we flew were headed to Tete, Mozambique, to minister to their fellow missionaries there, as well as teach some local pastors. I was excited about this flight because I had never been to Mozambique, but also a bit apprehensive because with international flying in Africa you never know what to expect. The planning started with our chief pilot applying for clearances not only from Mozambique, but also from Zambia for an international flight between the two countries. He also called around to determine how much the international landing fees etc would be. I then did the actual flight planning and filed a flight plan. Tete isn’t actually that far from Lusaka, so the flight was only about two hours. The morning of the flight I took the plane to the Lusaka International Airport and found the passengers. Together we went through customs. Sometimes you get asked a lot of questions for a private flight, but usually it’s not too bad. We have nothing to hide, but too many questions can delay things. Thankfully, this time the customs agent was more concerned with his cell phone conversation than with us going to Mozambique, so he stamped everything with no questions asked!  After making it through the international terminal we found the exit door for the international flights. It was locked.  And the man with the key wasn’t anywhere to be found.  The airport staff prepare for the large airline flights, but in between there aren’t too many people around.  I went to search him out and left my two passengers at the door.  After several minutes of futile searching, I came back and found they had flagged someone from outside and he had gone to get a key.  So we made it outside, and loaded up the airplane and were on our way!  The flight went smoothly; as we reached the border Lusaka Air Traffic Control transferred us to Beira Control.  I made several radio calls but with no response. By this point we were well into Mozambique still with no response from their radios.  My passengers and I had a discussion on the correct way to say “Beira” thinking that my mispronunciation may have led to the non-response.  I pulled out my chart and found a different frequency and tried calling on that one. Lo and behold, they could hear me on that one and responded!  I’m still pretty sure I wasn’t saying “Beira” correctly, but they graciously overlooked that.  We continued on and made it to our destination Tete (we also discussed out to say that, because I heard it said three different ways on the radios during the flight…).

After landing we had to figure out where to enter for international flights. We made it in and found the window to clear customs.  After the initial confusion because there were 3 of us but only 2 had visas to enter the country since I was turning around and immediately returning to Zambia. They determined that I also needed to pay a fee because I was also at the window. So after determining that I would get a receipt for it, I paid the $25 dollar fee and we, along with the missionary we were meeting there, went to pay what I thought was my landing fees.  We were detained by a police officer because he wasn’t sure why we were going back out towards the airplane, but he only spoke to me in Portuguese .  The missionary we were with spoke Portuguese and responded to the officer. It was interesting because the officer continued to speak to me (I had the official looking pilot uniform on) even though I obviously didn’t understand a word he was saying.  He allowed us to continue and we paid the fee. I said goodbye to my passengers and went to the control tower to file a flight plan.  I wasn’t sure where to go in the building, so ended up climbing the stairs all the way to the controller in the tower.  He was tickled that I had come up to see him and we had a great conversation.  He pointed me to the correct spot to file the flight plan and told me if I ever came back to be sure to come up and see him again!  While I was filing my flight plan I was told that I hadn’t actually paid the landing fees; what we had paid in the other office was the “Customs fee” for bringing a Zambian airplane to Mozambique (even though it was in transit and wasn’t staying).  So I paid another set of fees and then was free to go.  My flight back to Lusaka was uneventful, and it felt like coming home when I landed back at the international airport to clear customs back into Zambia.  Overall, it was a successful day without any problems, so I thanked the Lord for that!  You just never know what to expect when you fly internationally in Africa.  I went back and collected the guys three days later, and even knew what to expect this time!

 

Sure doesn't look very far compared to how big Africa is!

Sure doesn’t look very far compared to how big Africa is!

Nice airport in Mozambique!

Nice airport in Mozambique!

Lusaka Kenneth Kaunda International Airport

Lusaka Kenneth Kaunda International Airport

Surgery in the Theatre!

A few times a month my flights take me on overnight trips to places all over Zambia, I thought I’d give you a taste of what one of these types of flights look like!  One of the organizations that we fly for works with specialist doctors and organizes for them to fly out to rural hospitals where there is a need for their specific specialization (orthopedics, gynecology, plastic surgeon etc). These trips are usually 3-4 days long and so the pilot usually stays for the duration to keep from having to make two trips.  The last trip I did was with an orthopedic surgeon and a orthopedic post graduate student.  On the first day we met early and took off out of Lusaka to a city called Mongu.  If the roads are good one can drive to Mongu in about 8 hours, if the roads are in need of repair it can take double that, but it only takes 2 1/2 to fly there.  So we arrived in Mongu mid-morning, and were picked up at the airport by the Irish Catholic sisters that run a guest house where we stay.   After resting with a cup of tea, the doctors went to the hospital and screened the patients to see who was the most urgent and in which order to do the surgeries (they don’t want the most challenging to come last).  The second day they began surgery early in the morning.  I was allowed to come along and observe!  So I got dressed up in some scrubs and hung out in the theatre.  Here in Zambia (and the UK) we call an operating room a theatre, and what I saw was as good as a movie.  🙂  Sometimes they do as many as 15-20 surgeries in 1 day! In this particular location they have a large number patients so they stay and do 2 days of surgery, this time they did around 30 surgeries over 2 days.  The final day the surgeons made their rounds and checked the patients, and then we headed back to the airplane and made the short trip home!  If I’m not observing what the doctors are doing, I often ask around (or get asked) to do odd jobs that need done at the mission stations or places we stay at.  Or I sit and write prayer letters, catch up on emails, and do website postings, just like the one you’re reading now.  But really lets be honest, for me watching surgery is much more interesting.  🙂

Most of the surgeries that I saw were for a problem called Club Foot.  A child with Club Foot is born with the tendons in the foot and ankle too short on the inside of the foot causing it to be pulled inward.  In most western countries it is a relatively easy fix with casts and braces used until the child walks to stretch and lengthen the affected tendons and put the foot in a normal position.  However, here in Zambia most children with club foot aren’t treated until they are close to or already walking.  At that stage it requires surgery to correct.  The surgeons basically go in and cut some of the tendons longways in half and then on one side each at the ends of the slit and then sew the two pieces back together, effectively making the tendon longer.  It can heal that way and will strengthen itself as it heals.  This then allows the foot to extend out and lay flat as it should!  Quite interesting to watch the whole thing first hand!  Something I’d never be able to do in the states…I’ve included some pictures but they aren’t for the weak stomached so be warned!!!

 

 

Notice the Bosch battery operated hand drill… Nope it's not for aircraft maintenance it's for the surgeons!

Notice the Bosch battery operated hand drill… Nope it’s not for aircraft maintenance it’s for the surgeons!

Preparing the theatre for surgery!

Preparing the theatre for surgery!

 

Getting started on a little guy with Club Foot.

Getting started on a little guy with Club Foot.

First incision, where's the blood?

First incision, where’s the blood?

Notice how curved the foot is sitting that's the furthest flat it will go.

Notice how curved the foot is sitting that’s the furthest flat it will go.

Finding the ligaments to "extend" them!

Finding the ligaments to “extend” them!

The foot can sit flat and normally now!

The foot can sit flat and normally now!

This boy is older and has already been walking on his foot this way.  He'll have a new gait in his step after the surgery.

This boy is older and has already been walking on his foot this way. He’ll have a new gait in his step after the surgery.

Update May 2014

Yep it's a real cheetah, she was much more interested in the meat then me.

Yep it’s a real cheetah, she was much more interested in the meat then me.

Hello Friends!

Putting up a quick update on what has been going on in Zambia the last two months since my last update.  Our flying has picked up considerably and so I have been flying all over Zambia, and it has been fun!  I also got a puppy and a kitten around the same time in hopes that they would keep each other company because I am away a lot.  The kitten worked out find, but the puppy was not house trained (though I was told it was) and I wasn’t around enough to be consistent in training it.  I have realized I need a good fenced yard in order to keep a dog well, thankfully my landlady, who is always home, loved the puppy more then I did and was happy to take it off my hands.  So now I just have the kitten, who is growing quickly, climbing the curtians, and attacking everything in sight.
I was excited to announce in my last letter that I had passed my maintenance exam, and while that is still the case, I still haven’t actually gotten the license.  I’m not exactly sure what all the reasons for the delay are, but right now they are delaying because they put the licenses in “booklets” and they are out of official covers for the booklet.  We don’t know how long it will take until the covers come in and are working to have it issued without the cover, but please be in prayer about that. I also finished my Cessna 210 transition, and have begun flying it and have been enjoying the 30kts faster speeds when I do.  🙂

SME (Share my Experience)

In this addition of SME I will be sharing about a vacation that I had the chance to take to the neighboring country of Namibia.  A few friends and I decided to take a bit of time and road trip through Namibia.  Namibia is south east of Zambia and has a strip of land that extends west and borders Zambia.  It was a German colony originally and is rich with amazing sights as well as diamonds.  We enjoyed nicely paved and well marked roads as well as considerably lower prices for fuel and food.  Namibia is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited.  It’s geography is varied and gorgeous.  We drove though bush country, rolling hillsides, mountains, countryside scattered with stones, and some of the most stunning desert in the world, all to finally meet the Atlantic Ocean.  Some of the highlights were petting a Cheetah, the “Giants Playground,” KolmanskopDead Vlei, and quad biking through the desert and then coming over the last dune and seeing the ocean open up before us.  Check out the pictures!

 

Well that’s all for now, but 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

The pictures have been slow to load, so keep checking back I’ll slowly be putting more on!

 

I made a new friend!

I made a new friend!

The closest thing I've seen to Starbucks in Africa!

The closest thing I’ve seen to Starbucks in Africa!

Tropic of Capricorn

Tropic of Capricorn

It's harder then it looks!

It’s harder then it looks!

Climbing!

Climbing!

I felt like I had gone so far, but I think I wasn't even half way up this dune...

I felt like I had gone so far, but I think I wasn’t even half way up this dune…

Soooo beautiful! Saw the sunrise here.

Soooo beautiful! Saw the sunrise here.

I love the panoramas!

I love the panoramas!

Thankful for my truck which can take the rugged terrain!

Thankful for my truck which can take the rugged terrain!

Can you see the seals out on the rock?

Can you see the seals out on the rock?

This water was super clear but super salty just a mile or so from the ocean.

This water was super clear but super salty just a mile or so from the ocean.

I think it's the law of Entropy?

I think it’s the law of Entropy?

Just doing a little sun bathing.  :-)

Just doing a little sun bathing. 🙂

Good luck flushing that one!

Good luck flushing that one!

Now that's a sandbox!

Now that’s a sandbox!

This is what happens when you build a state of the art town in the middle of a desert… it gets abandoned.

This is what happens when you build a state of the art town in the middle of a desert… it gets abandoned.

Called the Giants playground, but I think it should be renamed God's playground.

Called the Giants playground, but I think it should be renamed God’s playground.

Meerkats are cool.

Meerkats are cool.

Panorama of the quiver trees.

Panorama of the quiver trees.

Lovely sunset in the Quiver tree forest.

Lovely sunset in the Quiver tree forest.

Update March 2014

Hello from Zambia!
I hope this update finds you well. Many things have changed for me since my last update! Firstly, on February 27th, I celebrated one full year here in Zambia!! It seems like it has gone by really quickly, and I am thankful for all of the things I have learned and experiences I have had so far. Secondly, I passed my exam to become an aircraft maintenance engineer here in Zambia!! This is exciting news, and will help Flying Mission on the aircraft maintenance side. Thirdly, all of the paperwork for the truck I purchased has been finished, and the vehicle has been working great! Thanks again to all who gave me a little extra help with this. Now I am able to reliably get from place to place in the air, and on the ground. 🙂 Fourthly, I have begun getting checked out in the Cessna 210, a faster and slightly more complex airplane. Once I am checked out in it, I will be able to fly all of the aircraft we currently have at FMZ. Finally, my roommate of just over 6 months has moved on and gone back to Canada, we are grateful for the help he gave us while he was here!! I am thinking about getting a dog for company and security (see my SME below), but am waiting for the right one to come along. 🙂

Flying Mission Zambia is still raising money for our runway purchase, our base is located on 25 acres just south west of Lusaka, this is where all of our operations start and end, and we have been steadily working to improve it since we purchased it in 2005. Unfortunately, half of our runway has been leased from a family and they have not been willing to sell the land until now! We have finally reached an agreement with them!! But now need to finance the purchase of the second half of the runway. 🙂 If you are interested in helping with this CLICK HERE for more information!

SME (Share my Experience)
Most of the houses here in Zambia are one story and have steel “burglar bars” in the windows to help with security but no screens. This keeps anyone from climbing into your house through the windows. When I moved to Zambia I was told that it is a relatively safe place to live, but that petty theft is a problem and to be careful. So I keep my vehicle doors locked when I’m driving through town, and always lock my house etc., but kept most of my windows open, assuming the burglar bars would be enough security to keep everything safe inside. But I underestimated the ingenuity of those that would like to steal! I woke up early one morning around 4 AM and heard this faint “tapping” noise, I fell back asleep, and was in and out having dreams that continued to have this tapping noise in them. Finally about 4:30 AM I fully woke up to a loud tap. And laid there and listened and heard it again. So I got up to investigate. As I went down the hallway, I could hear the noise and it was coming from my living room! I stopped at the corner of the room and saw a young boy probably around 10 sitting on my windowsill hanging through the burglar bars with a rigid wire (like a long clothes hangar) “fishing” things off of my desk!!! The tapping noise I was hearing was his wire hitting the top of my computer. Well I wasn’t sure what to do, so I started walking towards him and got within about 3 feet without him noticing me, and then I yelled at the top of my lungs, “HEY, HEY, WHAT ARE YOU DOING!!!” I think I about scared the daylights out of him (and my sleeping roommate), he was out of the window and into the bushes in about 2 seconds flat. After a couple of minutes of calming myself down and trying to see if anything was missing, I decided to go outside to see what it looked like out there. As I got to the back of the house, I found my computer charger, my kindle charger, and a few other things, as well as his rigid wire and a couple tools. Thankfully, he didn’t stop to pick up what he had taken when I scared him out of the window. It turns out the tools that he had been using were stolen from my co-worker’s/neighbor’s house several months earlier using the same technique. After doing an inventory of my things it doesn’t look like the kid actually got away with anything, but a hand held GPS that he apparently dropped from my desk onto the floor no longer works. Overall, I’m thankful because it could have been so much worse! But still it’s a good learning experience about leaving windows open with electronics within “fishing” distances!! Most of my windows are now closed, and I haven’t had any more problems. So that’s good.

Well that’s all for now, but 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

Send me Mail!!!!
Jonathan Weaver
Postnet #197, P/Bag E891
Lusaka, Zambia

Praises For:

  • Passing my Maintenance Exam!!
  • Celebrating one year in Zambia!!
  • The Lord is blessing me with a good attitude through all the changes and challenges.

Prayers for:

  • Continued good adjustment and focus on God.
  • Safe Flying and a good transition into the new type of Airplane.
  • For the ministries we support to be blessed by God in the work they are doing for him.

 

Well turns out my feet are quite a bit smaller then an Elephants...

Well turns out my feet are quite a bit smaller then an Elephants…

Look who wants to come to breakfast!!

Look who wants to come to breakfast!!

I love the clouds here!!

I love the clouds here!!