Just a quick update: the patient I medevac’d had some tests done and now it’s looking like cancer rather than heart problems. Please pray for healing, health, and maybe that in this case the doctors are wrong and it’s something more easily treated.
Every year, for the airplane to operate in Chad, we have to submit an overflight application to the civil aviation authority in country for permissions. These flight permits typically expire the end of December. Why am I writing about it now? Because this is part 2 of Aviation Stories! Parts 2 and 2.5 actually.
When December rolled around, we were still very busy with the Bible school. Jonathan was putting in at least 9 or 10 hours a day, 6 days a week. We really didn’t have time to deal with paperwork, but we made the time, put together all the documents we had submitted last year, and so the 29th I flew Mike and Chris up for their flight home, then stayed for a day or two finalizing all the documents, printing them, etc, and finally submitted the paperwork. December 31 came, and so I followed up on it all.
Well, to cut out a few details to make the story shorter (even though it’s the details of a story that make it interesting to read for me), I was told by the second person that the documents I had submitted were no longer sufficient, more documents were needed for the request to be granted. I returned to the first one I worked with, and pleaded with him: “Please, it’s the new year, I can’t get all these documents worked out right away. I want to fly home to be with my family for the new year.” Well, there was a bit of a miscommunication, and I thought I had made him upset enough to make him not want to work with us at all. Looking back on it, I think he was just upset because it meant a little more work from him that day. Anyways, he gave us a 1-month extension to get everything worked out. From receiving the extension, I was then able to rush to the airport, get everything done (thanks to the help of the MAF pilots), and take off for home. A nice tailwind got me home about 30 minutes before sunset, and Sarah and I were able to usher in he new year together.
Bonfire at the hospital with hot dogs and cake. Yummy.
Now we reach part 2.5. This past week. I submitted the documents before the new deadline, and proceeded to wait. Having missed the chance on Friday to check up on it because of the medevac (see below), that meant I had to wait till Monday. Monday hit, and they still hadn’t received my papers. Since it was the end of the day, he told me to come back tomorrow (today) (or yesterday, depending on when you’re reading this!). That worked out, I had a passenger to pick up anyways on Tuesday, no worries.
So today, yesterday, or whenever it was, I went back with all the documents on hand on PDF in case I needed to print a new copy of anything. Wouldn’t you know it, the guy was gone. Not in his office, nowhere to be found. I waited around a little, went back to try one more time, and he happened to arrive just then. He brought me into his office explaining he still hadn’t received the folder. I was confused, and started looking at his stack of papers. “That’s curious that my papers haven’t made it over to you. I submitted them with the secretary 5 days ago before the deadline, in a folder just like that one there.” He took a peek inside.
“Yep, that’s them. Uh…tell you what. You come back at 2pm, and it’ll be done by then.” Okay, 2 it is. That’s cutting it a little close, we have to be out of here by 3:30 to make it home safely. It’s tight, but God always works in the knick of time, so it’ll be fine.
Even though I had faith that God would provide, I knew we needed prayer support, so I texted all the Nasaras asking for prayer that everything be processed and finished today, which they responded to fantastically. I finished up all my other errands, got the plane ready, picked up my passenger, etc, and went (a little early) to check in on the process. Wouldn’t you know it, the guy was completely missing again! We waited a good half hour, and finally the secretary called his cell phone, and he came from wherever to hand it off to us, then took me to make the payment. Oh fraptious day! The cashier was out too.
So, I sat and listened to another guy talk about scammers ripping him off, how he saw them face to face and took their counterfeit bills, etc. Gary, who just arrived to do some training with me, joined us, and. I handed the cash off with him while I went and prepared the airplane, now 3:10pm. Gary arrived at the airport just as I finished everything, so we got ready to start. Turned the key: nothing. It was like a tree that stood in the forest on a normal day. Nothing moved. I told Gary our trick from last time, so we tried one. Didn’t work. Tried the other, this time it did! Quickly screwed the cowling back on the airplane, ready to go. Looked at our watches: 4:05pm. With sunset at 5:58, taxi time, 1h50 minute flight, and landing 15 minutes before sunset, we were about 15 to 20 minutes late. We have to spend the night… This is my 5th straight night in NDJ with 1 change of clothes. Not fun…
We should be able to get out tomorrow. I hold that God’s timing is perfect, so even though I wanted to be home tonight, whatever He has in store for us for tomorrow will be interesting to see. He could have easily arranged for people to be present to get paperwork finished. He could have easily fixed the airplane. So the fact that He didn’t tells me it was His timing to keep us here tonight, even as He answered our prayers that we get the overflight permit today! So whatever lies ahead, I know it will turn out to be an even greater story in the end, even if it takes years to see the whole story play out.
That’s why this story is 2.5 instead of 3, it’s incomplete. I don’t know if I’ll be able to say what the miracle was right away. Maybe the end of the story will be, “and we made it back home safely the next day.” But if I know Our Lord, He has something bigger than that planned. Even if He doesn’t, and it’s just to test my faith or patience, there is good that will come out of it.
Now I’ve timed out for the night, and it’s time for me to crash into bed. I hope you have a nice night. And please do pray for the person I medevac’d. They and their family need your prayers.