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!

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.

Update November 2013

 

Hello Friends,

The rains have returned to Zambia, and everything is becoming lush and green.  It is amazing how quickly the landscape changes.  Farmers are busy planting their crops for the growing season, and at Flying Mission Zambia we have also had a busy couple of months.  In addition to the normal flying, we have been able to help the Zambian Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) with an aerial survey of the large mammals in their national parks.  Flying Mission and a couple of other companies here in Zambia were selected to help with this important job.  The aerial survey helps ZAWA track how healthy different mammal species are and if the populations are rising or declining.  It is also good for Flying Mission because it helps us make connections with individuals and the Zambian Government.  I was able to help with this survey and spent 90+ hours in one of our airplanes bouncing around at 350 FT above the ground while the spotters counted animals.  We took off shortly after sunrise, took a break mid morning, and then flew till sunset; I saw a lot of very beautiful sunrises and sunsets during this time, and it gave me the opportunity to get to know some great people.  I also enjoyed spending some time in the amazing Zambian National Parks!!  For some pictures and a short writeup I did on this project check out my post HERE.

Thank you so much to those who helped out with my truck fund.  While I still have not been able to sell it, I think I have at least come to a temporary resolution.  After my last update, I got my truck back from the mechanic that has been working on it and he was able to sort a couple of issues, and told me that they were responsible for the “consistently inconsistent” engine problems.  However, the problems came back almost immediately and I began to look into the wiring and was able to find a loose connector.  I secured it and the problems have not returned.  So I am hopeful that at least this problem has been solved.  This gives me a bit of breathing room, I am still trying to sell the truck, but I can wait for a better buyer at a better price now, and I am thankful for that.  Please continue to be in prayer about this!
Otherwise, I have settled into a bit of a routine here in Lusaka, our flying schedule will slow down in December and January and it will give us the opportunity to catch up on other projects the mission is working on.  I have been studying for the Aircraft Maintenance Engineering test, and will shortly be writing the exam.  If I pass I will be able to do more on the aircraft maintenance side.  It is going to be strange to experience a hot, rainy, and humid Christmas, but I am blessed to have a close friend coming to visit, so I am looking forward to it.  I want to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas!

SME (Share my Experience)

In this episode of “share my experience” I want to tell you a little about the church that I have been attending here in Lusaka.  Living near the capital city in a developing country presents the expatriate with extra options and opportunities when it comes to choosing a church.  We have “village” churches in the neighborhood surrounding our base, as well as churches that are predominately full of white expatriates in the city.  While the village churches are great because they are full of Zambian culture, often most of their services are in one of the local languages, and until I learn more of the languages I wouldn’t really be able to participate.  The expatriate churches are also great because they are more like what I am used to, and are in English and feel more like home, but they lack Zambian flare and culture.  In my beginning stages here I was hoping for something with a mix of both, and for the time being I think I have found it.  I have been attending a large church in Lusaka called Miracle Life Family Church.  The preaching is in English with an American pastor, but is a 90% Zambian congregation.  The worship is led by a Zambian worship band and they rock!!  But the words are on a screen so when they sing songs in the local languages, I can read and understand what they are saying.  Many of the members of the congregation are middle to upper class Zambians, these are the people that can truly influence the future of Zambia in a positive way, and I am enjoying getting to know some of them.  Not sure if I will attend this church for a short time, or long term, but so far I have been blessed by it.

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:

  • Safety with all of the wildlife flying.
  • Figuring out some of the problems with the truck.
  • The Lord is blessing me with a good attitude through all the changes and challenges.

Prayers for:

  •  My Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Test.
  • Continued good adjustment and focus on God.
  • Safe Flying through the rainy season!
  • For the ministries we support to be blessed by God in the work they are doing for him.
  • 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!

Wildlife Counts and Safari Camps!

During the months of October and November Flying Mission Zambia has been able to participate in some flying that was different then our normal fare.  It was challenging, fun, and at times exhausting, but overall I enjoyed it!  The Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) conducts aerial wildlife surveys throughout their parks and game management areas every few years.  Flying Mission has participated in the past and was asked again this year to do some of the flying for the count, so we allotted one of our airplanes and rotated through 4 of our pilots to accomplish our part of the survey.  This was an opportunity I was excited about because I haven’t been able to explore the Zambian parks yet or see much wildlife.

The basic purpose of the survey is to estimate the population and distribution of many of the different species of large mammals within the parks.  We were asked to help conduct the survey in the Kafue National Park (large park in the middle of the Zambian Map) and it’s surrounding Game Management Area’s (GMA).  The Kafue Park is the second largest park in Africa, and with the surrouding GMA’s the square footage amounts to roughly half that of the state of Ohio.  So it’s was a BIG area to cover.  While the survey can’t cover every square foot, we flew paths are set up as parallel straight lines each separated by a couple of miles over the entire park and game management area’s (see picture below).

The flying was challenging; flying low to the ground within specific limits while trying to fly a very straight line in turbulent 90F plus weather for 7-8 hours a day can be a bit tiring.  But there were many firsts for me as well, which made it exciting.  I got to stay at a couple different safari camps near the airstrips we were operating out of, and when I wasn’t flying I could participate in whatever activities were going on.  I went on a few game drives, a walking safari, and even went swimming in a natural hot spring.  And while from the air I was mostly too distracted trying to keep the plane straight and level, so see many animals, on the ground I saw my first Lions in Africa (a mother with a cub, as well as another lioness chasing an Impala), Hippos, Elephants, Warthogs, crocodiles, buffalo, more antelope then I could count, and even a porcupine scurrying away from our vehicle.  At night amidst the consistent lullaby of insect sounds, I would fall asleep to the sound of Hippos grunting and Lion’s roaring.  It was quite the African experience.  In the morning, I would awake in my grass chalet as the first rays of sunshine were appearing and enjoy some coffee and praise the Lord while listening to the birds and watching the impala and puku grazing on the plain stretching out before me.  It was pretty cool.

It was also fun to get to know the different members of the ZAWA team.  Everyone was very friendly and I was even able to fly with a member of the ZAF (Zambian Air Force), as part of the survey took place in Zambian airspace controlled by the ZAF.  I hope to run into them again as I visit different parks run by ZAWA.  At Flying Mission we try to pray before every flight, and when doing secular flying like this, these prayers are conversation starters, and I was able to share with many of the people I interacted with the real reason I am in Zambia.  My plane mates were even so used to the prayer before the flight that they would remind me if I forgot.  🙂

For those that have made it this far and are wondering how the survey actually worked here’s a brief explanation.  In the airplane with me were two spotters in the back seats and a recorder sitting in the front seat. I was instructed to fly at 350ft above the ground and 80kts (a relatively slow speed) over all of these straight line courses which were just GPS coordinates running through and separating different sections of the park, while the spotters in the back looked though a set of poles attached to the wing strut and counted any animals within the poles (see pictures below).  The recorder kept track of the sections and subsections we flew through and my altitude and airspeed.  When the numbers are complied they will know how much square footage was surveyed based on the altitude of the plane and the known width between the two poles on the wing struts.  The planes actual flight path was being recorded on a GPS unit in the airplane and after the flights all of the information is compiled and sent to a consultant who puts it all together and writes up the findings of the study.  A copy of the 2008 study is available HERE if you’re curious.

One of the last mornings as I was getting ready to land at the bush strip to pick up my ZAWA passengers, I lined up on final approach and looked down to see 3 adult and 2 baby elephants crossing the runway below me.  I’m not gonna lie the phrase “living the dream” crossed through my mind.

Well that’s all for now.  God Bless.

Jonathan

Joint venture with FMZ and the ZAF.

Joint venture with FMZ and the ZAF.

These was my ZAWA crew with our Airforce representative.

These was my ZAWA crew with our Airforce representative.

This is what the spotters saw from above.  Can you see the Lechwe (Antelope) on the island below?

This is what the spotters saw from above. Can you see the Lechwe (Antelope) on the island below?

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.

The Kafue park is the large one near the center of Zambia.  We surveyed the park and most of the areas around the park.

The Kafue park is the large one near the center of Zambia. We surveyed the park and most of the areas around the park.

 

Can you see the bat? This little guy shared the chalet with me for a day.

Can you see the bat? This little guy shared the chalet with me for a day.

Night game drive revealed a lioness and her cub resting peacefully, and not bothered at all by our light.

Night game drive revealed a lioness and her cub resting peacefully, and not bothered at all by our light.

Met a few neighbors!  Sadly I didn't get a picture of the hippo that I almost ran into twice.

Met a few neighbors! Sadly I didn’t get a picture of the hippo that I almost ran into twice.

Safari Accommodation!  Grass walls, thatch roof and outside bathroom beside.

Safari Accommodation! Grass walls, thatch roof and outside bathroom beside.

I got to see the sunrise and set every day.  The best time for smooth flying is just after sunrise and just before sunset.

I got to see the sunrise and set every day. The best time for smooth flying is just after sunrise and just before sunset.

This was the view from my Chalet.  Impala grazing on the plain.

This was the view from my Chalet. Impala grazing on the plain.

 

This is what the bathrooms looked like at one of the safari camps.  Can you see the hideaway in the picture?

This is what the bathrooms looked like at one of the safari camps. Can you see the hideaway in the picture?

This baby Impala was rescued after his mother died.  He will be released back into the wild after he is old enough.

This baby Impala was rescued after his mother died. He will be released back into the wild after he is old enough.