9:00pm (the night before) I receive a phone call from a pilot. He fell while he was playing basketball that day. He believes he has injured his elbow and won’t be able to fly the next day. Normally this causes problems, but this time it was a bigger issue for I was fairly certain he was our only pilot in-country that could go to Yimnalem, where Pioneer Bible Translators (PBT) were waiting for their pick up. There is nothing I can do at 9:00 at night, so I have to wait until morning to try and sort it out.
6:45am I receive a text from a missionary in Daru (Western Province) wanting to change from a one way trip to Wipim, to a charter to Wipim and back to Daru. I call the pilot on duty for this flight to ask if there will be enough time in the schedule to do this.
6:55 Brandon, my husband, and I get on the bus to head to work with our fellow staff. I text two other pilots, who are headed to Mt. Hagen, to find out if either can go to Yimnalem. Unfortunately they cannot. I then text SIL Aviation and ask if they could possibly help with this flight. They say they will get back to me.
7:30 We arrive at work. I get off at the base to talk with pilots. I ensure that three pastors who came by road on the weekend, are prioritized on the flight preparing to depart to Kawito (ahead of “walk–in” passengers), since they had contacted me on the weekend about coming. They are now checked in on the flight.
7:40 I speak to the pilot and receive confirmation that if he leaves by 8:15 he can do the charter Daru-Wipim–Daru. I contacted the missionary and explained the situation. Now it is time for everyone to pray for beautiful weather and no delays.
7:45 I walk back to the office to call SIL back to see if they are able to work out anything for the Yimnalem flight. While on the phone waiting for them to sort out details, three people come into my office with questions. Then SIL asks, “was that answer for us or someone else”. I have to laugh and say “for someone else in my office”. SIL say they can do the flight, just sorting out which pilot. I call PBT and confirm that SIL is helping them today. They are happy with this arrangement; they just need their passengers to get back to Madang.
8:00 Time to start the Operations Meeting, which I am leading and taking notes for.
While I was busy with all the above, Brandon, who works as Maintenance Controller, was sorting out the aircraft for the pilots to use. There were unexpected problems with one, so another needed to be provided. He was also beginning another busy day, organizing current and upcoming maintenance to keep our aircraft safe to fly.
The pilot who injured himself is now going on leave early because he won’t be able to fly for 2-6 weeks. We normally have about 18-20 pilots in-country, with others on leave. For the next 6-8 weeks we will only have 5-7 pilots. This is due to many factors such as unexpected illness, injury, or visas not yet received. It is going to be hard to cover all the requests that come in, but God is in control and will continue to lead us in His ministry.
We know why we are here and praise the Lord He has the ultimate plan for the people of PNG. We hope and pray they come to know Him personally and grow in their faith. In His strength we will continue to do what we can to reach them, and to enable others to reach them with His love.