Women’s Training in Kindu, DRC

ECC (Church of Christ in Congo) team ready to board in Goma, DRC

Today I had the blessing of flying one hour south to the city of Goma to pick up a team of nine women from the ECC (Church of Christ in Congo) and take them 250 miles into the Ituri rainforest to the city of Kindu where they are to put on a conference.  They are going to be speaking to women about entrepreneurship in how to use their skills and time in small ways to be able to improve their standard of living and bring themselves out of the cycle of poverty.  

The flight down to Goma is always beautiful with snow capped mountains, glacier, volcanoes, and lakes to look at.

The Ruwenzori mountains with tops at over 17,000 feet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Landing in Goma I saw yet another plane off the end of the runway making me thankful for the rules and strict training that MAF has to avoid incidents like this one.

Landing in Goma

In Goma I was excited not only to pick up the team for the conference but also 200 rounds of fresh cheese and 100 sausages which will be distributed to missionaries in Congo and Uganda.  Goma is one of the only places in Congo that makes good cheese.  There will be many pizzas in our future.

Leaving Goma we flew over another range of beautiful hills bordering the lake.  The whole flight to Kindu the ladies sang hymns and other local worship songs and prayed thanking God for the provision of this oportunity to train women in practical life skills with a christan focus.

Green hills bordering lake Kivu departing Goma westbound for Kindu

After dropping the team off in Kindu it was back to Nyankunde which is a 2.6 hour flight over pure forest.

Back home to Nyankunde

All around another good day.  Tomorrow will be back out into the forest again this time for a more somber flight to bring a deceised member of a family to Kisangani for burial as is very important in local custom.

Thanks as always to all of you who participate through prayer, support, and encouragement.  May God give you all a blessed day.

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Supply Run from Uganda for Mungbere Hospital in Congo

It has been a few busy days of interesting flights to share so here is another one.  We prepared yesterday by taking out all of the seats in the larger Caravan aircraft to make room for a freight shipment for the remote hospital in Mungbere, DRC.  This is the same village I took the teaching pastors to yesterday.  God worked these two flights out in a cool way as I was able to drop four metal jerry cans of jet fuel in Mungbere yesterday in order to take another 140 pounds of medicines in today. 

The day started early as it usually does except today I got up a little earlier to make an omlet for breakfast in bed for Ashley as today is our 9th wedding anniversary.  Our lives have changed a lot since 2008.  

I took off for Entebbe, Uganda at 7:15am and got there a little over an hour later.  After refueling, I went over to the cargo loading docks and our Ugandan national employee David Lule helped me bring over four loading carts full of boxes.  There was everything from refrigerated vaccines to gloves to huge boxes of gauze as well as boxes and boxes of medicines.  I climbed up in the cabin and stacked the whole plane full from front to back including the three cargo pods underneath. 2,420 pounds of supplies in total.  I then belted in the two medical missionaries who had arrived from italy who were coming with the shipment.  We were packed in tight as you can see in the picture below with boxes all the way up to the ceiling.

We took off and flew back to Bunia, DRCongo where we spent an hour and a half clearing customs and waiting for a thunderstorm to pass by.  Off we went again this time the opposit direction straight over the forest for 50 minutes until we came up on the small village and airstrip of Mungbere as you can see below.

 

The fun part about freight shipments is that you pack it all in nicely just to unpack it a few hours later.  This time there was lots of help though.

 

Everything unloaded I climbed onto the top of the wing and emptied the four jerry cans of jetfuel I had brought yesterday into the tanks.  After a lot of dodging thinderstorms I was back home in Nyankunde safe and sound.  Another great day using the airplane to bring physical healing, literally this time, to isolated people in DRC.

 

Education for Isolated Pastors

Another exciting day today.  MAF created a fund a while back that helps national pastors and missionaries in Congo accomplish their ministry goals by partnering with MAF to reach isolated target areas.  Today I had the priviledge of flying Pastors Willy and Kibuka from Bunia to the small village of Mungbere which is a 50 minute flight NW of Bunia; approximately 140 miles.  The flight was over fairly dense jungle and we got there in good time with only some scattered clouds around.  Arriving Mungbere is always interesting as the kids begin sprinting towards the airstrip the moment they hear a plane.  The strip is always lined with groups of kids by the time you can land and there is always a crowd at the end waiting to greet you.

We landed and unloaded about 300 pounds of teaching materials for the two pastors and their personal bags.  Local church leaders were there to greet Willy and Kibuka with a mutual forehead touch on each side as is the custom.

I then helped Willy and Kibuka load their things and supplies into a borrowed Landrover and they set off to meet the sixty Pastors and church leaders they would be teaching.  In talking to the two of them before they drove off, they told me with excited expressions that “God has placed it on their hearts to teach pastors in isolated areas where others cannot go or have not gone”.

As I was getting ready to takeoff for my next stop I saw a boy off to the side of the airstrip holding a really good homemade model aircraft so I brought him over to get his picture in front of the plane.

Tomorrow I will be back to Mungbere but this time from Uganda with a freight shipment of 2,300 pounds of medicines and supplies for the hospital there.  So a good day again.  

Pray for Willy and Kibuka as they teach these 60 church leaders.  Pray for revival and strength in the isolated Congolese church.

 

 

Delivery : Helping displaced peoples near the border with Central African Republic

Well it’s been a while since I posted but lets get right into it.

This week was long as I am the only Cessna 208 Caravan pilot on the MAF East Dem Republic of Congo program right now as our other Caravan pilot is on vacation.  That being said, I had a really fun day tyis last Thursday.  Leading up to the flight took a lot of planning as I interfaced with Samaritan’s Purse (SP) and African Inland Mission (AIM) to make it all work.  

The violence in Central African Republic and South Sudan which border DRCongo to the Noth has caused thousands of people to flee their homes and pour into the north of Congo.  This is interesting as just ten or so years ago people were fleeing Congo to go into the same two countries as Congo was at war.  Anyway, as war displaces people they become incredibly vulnerable especially to “the elements” (weather).  Without food and shelter it is a quick downward slope to getting diseases and many dying from very preventable things.  When you survive on farming and have to leave your home and field it can get bad quickly.  

We already had a flight planned to go up North to the town of Ango to pick up some pastors who were attending a “Scripture in the Light of Culture” conference and drop them off in their three perspective cities.  With this planned and the word of the displaced peoples crisis getting worse we got a call from AIM that they would like to partner with SP and combine a flight for relief work.  I then spent the next couple hours planning how the day would work adding two more airstrips and 1300 more pounds of freight.  The 1300 pounds was sacs of tarps to distribute for people to make temporary shelters from the harsh rain and sun.  I planned out the day to begin at 6:45 and it would work perfectly with 15 minute stops at some airstrips and 1.5 hours for unloading and delivering tarps.  The route would be from our base in Nyankunde to Bunia to Assa to Ango to Banda to Isiro to Dungu to Bunia and back to Nyankunde.  It would look like this.

Thankfully the weather was food in the morning and I was able to get to Bunia early ro load.  I took five seats out of the plane to save weight and make room and loaded the 1,300 pounds of tarps.  A missionary from AIM, Steve Wolcott, along with a couple other pastors got in and we took off for Assa.  We had not been to the Assa airstrip in two years but Steve had called them and they said they were cutting the grass with machetes and it would be ready when we got there.  You never know what you will find.  Assa is an interesting airstrip as a pilot as it is pretty short being only 2,600 feet long.  It also has challenges as it is sloped to the side along the entire strip as well as crowned, meaning it goes up and then back down.  This means while taking off it takes forever to accelerate as you are trying to go uphill.  It also has very tall trees on one end and a ridge on the other end making it only safe to go in one direction when heavy.  Also it goes down to only 43 feet wide at one point which is pretty narrow for a Caravan.  The surface is also interesting being mainly bedrock and gravel with the bedrock sticking up out of the ground in humps.  For the cherry on top I tot there and it was raining all around the strip with clouds down to 400 feet.  Thankfully there was no rain on final approach and the low pass and landing went well.

On the ground it started raining three minutes after landing and we got wet as we unloaded the tarps beside the plane.

After unloading I walked the airstrip and did a full airstrip assessment/inspection which must be done every three years.  The local kids had lots of fun following me and laughing as I walked and measured with a rolling measuring wheel and inclinometer.  They would follow behind me and when I would turn around and kneel, pointing the inclinometer towards the end of the strip to measure slope, they would all scatter like the angle measuring device was going to shoot or something.  Quite a fun time.

After doing the inspection for an hour we loaded back up and took off for Ango where we picked up the pastors from the conference.  On the way to Isiro we dropped by Banda to pick up another pastor who had gone their by road for the funeral of the local Chief who had just passed away.  In Isiro we dropped a couple pastors and picked up two 50 gallon drums of jet fuel in order to get back to Bunia after a quick stop in Dungu to drop off one pastor and some mail.  We raced the clock back to Bunia and landed with special permission at 5:15pm just after airport closing time.  Who knows why they close at 5??  A few minutes of unloading and reinstalling the five seats and I was back home in Nyankunde safe and sound exactly 45 minutes before sunset which is the MAF rule for ending your day normally.  God gave us a perfect day.

Thank you for praying.  Thank you for giving.  Thank you for helping hundreds of displaced people in Congo.  As we say here in French all the time “on est ensemble” — WE ARE TOGETHER!

 

In Congo at Last!!

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of disorganizing, packing, cleaning, driving, flying, paperwork, unpacking, organizing, hiring, building, and more.  Our move to the village of Nyankunde on the eastern side of the Democratic Republic of Congo began with graduating from French language school in Albertville, France.

Mathew Lind (MAF manager for Kinshasa, DRC) and Ryan Potter (Samaritan's Purse medical missionary) and myself proudly display our diplomas on graduation day in Albertville, France

Mathew Lind (MAF manager for Kinshasa, DRC) and Ryan Potter (Samaritan’s Purse medical missionary) and myself proudly display our diplomas on graduation day in Albertville, France

This was followed by a week of vacation in Switzerland at a five hundred year old mansion owned by a christian brotherhood who are friends with some of our coworkers near Kinshasa, DRC.  The mansion is located near Interlacken and sits on the shores of a beautiful clear lake surrounded by sharp Alps.  It was truly a great time to unwind, relax, say goodbye to some of our close friends, and prepare for the next big and final step in moving to Congo.

The 500 year old chateau we spent a week at in Switzerland.

The 500 year old chateau we spent a week at in Switzerland.

We went on a hike in the Swiss Alps with the Linds and Potters.  We took two cable cars just to get to the bottom of the hike as the mountains start as sheer rock cliffs.

We went on a hike in the Swiss Alps with the Linds and Potters. We took two cable cars just to get to the bottom of the hike as the mountains start as sheer rock cliffs.

Following our week in Switzerland, we drove back for one quick day of repacking and cleaning in Albertville before heading off the next morning to the Lyon, France airport to board our first flight toward Africa.  This is where we encountered a little bit of stress and some amusement.  I had rented a medium size car for the trip and what I got was the second-to-smallest Fiat available.  So in great African style I tied half our bags on the roof (despite there being no roof rack) and proudly drove our fourteen bags, pack and play, and car seat to the airport while the French starred out their windows with strange looks on their faces.

Upon reaching the airport we had to untie the baggage, fill the car with gas, return the rental car, find the right terminal, check our bags, and get through security.  It turns out that what Turkish airlines says on their website means nothing at the gate.  Not to badmouth an airline (as they have wonderful food) we were told we were not allowed a personal item, not allowed a baby seat, not allowed a pack and play, and that the caryon we had for Daniel was not allowed either despite him having an adult ticket.  All of these things were clearly laid out online as being allowed as I had done hours of research before hand and called the airline.  So all this to say that we were hassled for about an hour and had to pay about 700 dollars in excess baggage fees.

After that came security where Daniel (the baby) was wanded and patted down to make sure he wasn’t going to do something terrible……whaaaaat!  All this to say that our time at the Lyon airport was less than pleasurable and did not start the trip off great as we boarded the plane last and just in time to leave after having arrived two hours early at the airport.

Finally we were on the plane and enjoyed a pretty event-less flight to Istanbul, Turkey where we lugged all our stuff off with the baby for our two hour layover before our connecting flight to Uganda.  We did manage to get Daniel a nap in a makeshift pile of luggage on the floor as the airline had taken our pack-and-play away and checked it.

Daniel taking a nap under a make shift tent of luggage in the Istanbul, Turkey airport

Daniel taking a nap under a make shift tent of luggage in the Istanbul, Turkey airport

We then boarded our eight hour flight to Uganda.  I had a large leap of joy in my heart as I saw on the TV screen that our plane had just crossed into Africa and was flying over Egypt.  I have been trying to get back to Africa since my family left over fifteen years ago.  Many hours later we had a quick stop in Kigali, Rwanda before touching down in Entebbe, Uganda.

Thanks to the many prayers we actually found every single piece of our luggage including the baby seat and pack-and-play within minutes at baggage claim.  Even the guitar made it this time!  A few fingerprints and three hundred dollars later we had visas in hand for Uganda and walked out the door to find the MAF taxi driver waiting.  He was super nice and drove us just over an hour to get to the guest house where we would stay for two days before flying to our home in Nyankunde.

The MAF guest house in Kampala where we stayed for two days before heading over to Congo.

The MAF guest house in Kampala where we stayed for two days before heading over to Congo.

So all told, we arrived at the guest house and went to bed around 5:00am.  Four hours later we were up to go shopping in Kampala with our fellow EDRC teammates (Mike and Sharol Shutts) who live there to do maintenance on the planes.  The Shutts took us around for two days so we could buy a bed, dishes, and a few other staples that we didn’t pack in our shipment.  We then had a quick lunch with the Chief Pilot, Lary Strietzel, who was going on furlough at the same time back to the USA.  It was good to meet him and he told us about a car that we might want to buy off a fellow missionary who is leaving for Mongolia.

Watching the Shutts drive us around in Kampala was fun as the traffic was pretty crazy, there didn't seem to be any rules, and you drive on the left side of the road.

Watching the Shutts drive us around in Kampala was fun as the traffic was pretty crazy, there didn’t seem to be any rules, and you drive on the left side of the road.

It was a whirlwind thing but with Lary’s advice and a quick look at the vehicle we decided to buy it.  Here we would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who donated to our vehicle fund over a year ago so that we could buy a good enough vehicle here in Congo.  The car is a 1994 Toyota Landcruiser Prado.  (4×4, 4cyl turbo diesel, locking differentials, oversized tires, roof rack, and bumpers for those of you who are technically minded and like cars).  Sometime in the next couple months I will need to fly to Uganda and do the two-three day drive with the car back to Nyankunde (only an hour and a half in the plane!).

We bought this 1994 Toyota Landcruiser Prado 4x4 off of a departing missionary.  Thank you to everyone who donated to make this possible.  It is a great car.

We bought this 1994 Toyota Landcruiser Prado 4×4 off of a departing missionary. Thank you to everyone who donated to make this possible. It is a great car.

Finally it was Friday the 17th the long awaited day to fly to Nyankunde.  The Shutts picked us up with all of our bags and newly acquired house items and we drove to the Kajjansi airport where the MAF International Uganda program has their base.  It was a pretty impresive setup with a nice new hangar and a new office building going up which will be shared with Engineering Ministries International.

The EDRC Nyankunde base does its heavy maintenance in this hangar shared with MAF International.

The EDRC Nyankunde base does its heavy maintenance in this hangar shared with MAF International.

We waited at the hangar for the Joey Martin (one of the other pilots based in Nyankunde) to arrive with the new Caravan which would take us to our new home.

Waiting at the MAF Int. hangar in Uganda for the Caravan to arrive that would take us to Congo.

Waiting at the MAF Int. hangar in Uganda for the Caravan to arrive that would take us to Congo.

After the plane arrived we watched as Joey and the national workers figured out the puzzle of putting all the bags in the plane with the mattress and everything else while still leaving space for the passengers he would be picking up.  It was a small glimpse into what my job will look like in the near future.

Loading up the Caravan to fly to Entebbe and then Congo

Loading up the Caravan to fly to Entebbe and then Congo

Daniel waited in the shade of the tail of the Caravan playing with the grass

Daniel waited in the shade of the tail of the Caravan playing with the grass

Once everything was packed up we hopped in and flew back to Entebbe where we had landed with Turkish Airlines a couple days prior.  There we had to do a quick circle through immigration to stamp our passports and properly exit the country.  Arriving back at the plane we met up with our friends from language school in France, the LaRochelle’s, who were also flying the same day to Nyankunde.  The LaRochelle’s are missionary docors with Samaritan’s Purse who work at the local hospital a few minutes walk up the hill form the airstrip in Nyankunde.

Finally we all boarded the plane and took off for Congo!  It was a fun flight getting to see the winding roads beneath and how the plane really saves days of travel.  Like I said earlier, the flight took 1.5 hours which saved over two days of driving time.

A short time later we arrived in Bunia, DRC which is the “port of entry”.  We then had to get out and go through immigration and customs again which was an adventure.  I had a great time talking to one of the local customs guys in French and trying to familiarize myself a little bit with what will be my first stop every morning when I start flying.  We were not allowed to take pictures at the Bunia airport….sorry.

After an hour or so of filling out forms, unloading some luggage for customs inspection, paying some “fees” we had not heard about, and reloading the plane, we all took off again for the short seven minute flight to the small village of Nyankunde where our home awaited.  Nyankunde is nestled at the bottom of a hill that you can immediately see upon taking off from Bunia.  It was a really fun blessing to see our new home first from the air.

On approach to our new home in Nyankunde.  The long green thing in the middle of the picture is the runway.  The base is on the left end.

On approach to our new home in Nyankunde. The long green thing in the middle of the picture is the runway. The base is on the left end.

The MAF Nyankunde base from above

Upon landing, we taxied up to the hangar where we were greeted by our teammates both western and national singing a Swahili song and holding a “welcome” sign.  We got out, shook a lot of hands, had some hugs, accepted a lot of flowers, and enjoyed a wonderful warm welcome party.  Following this, we walked the loooooong ten seconds over to our new house which is situated right beside the hangar and airstrip.  Not a bad commute to work!

Walking over to the house for the first time

Walking over to the house for the first time

Our house when we first arrived before the fence went up

Our house when we first arrived before the fence went up

We then enjoyed walking around the absolutely beautiful house.  Mahogany is the cheapest and most readily available hardwood here so pretty much everything in the house is made from it.  I know, it is a hardship =).  The team here really did an amazing job rebuilding the house after it was practically demolished in the wars.  The house has three bedrooms, an office, two bathrooms, a living room/dining room, a kitchen, and a big pantry.  Ashley is very excited to fill the pantry full of canning jars.

The kitchen made with mahogany cabinets as it is the cheapest and most readily available hardwood

The kitchen made with mahogany cabinets as it is the cheapest and most readily available hardwood

Ashley is excited about her big pantry

Ashley is excited about her big pantry

A couple days after we arrived we asked about a fence for the yard and the next morning the national workforce started putting up a great bamboo fence.  We are excited to have the fence so we can get going with chickens, a dog, and a garden.

The bamboo backyard fence going up quick

The bamboo backyard fence going up quick

This is how you haul 107 full length pieces of bamboo

This is how you haul 107 full length pieces of bamboo

Upon arrival we also heard that the guy who had done a beautiful job in planting flowers, trees, and taking care of yard work at the house before our arrival was interested in working for us.  His name is Bahati and he is the nephew of a lady who works for another family here at the base.  Bahati is a new christian and is excited to tell people about being “fishers of men”.  He is trustworthy and full of smiles so we are excited to employ him.  Employing someone is culturally expected here of “muzungu’s” (white people in Swahili) and Bahati will be a great help with keeping the yard in check and doing things like hanging up laundry to dry and dishes that most of us are used to doing using machines in the USA.  Also we get to work closely with a local guy and have someone readily available to ask questions to about how to do things in this new home.  Bahati does not speak much french at all like many people here in the village which makes it hard to communicate sometimes.  On the other hand he will be a great help in learning Swahili both for me and Ashley.  The dominant language in the surrounding villages is definitely Swahili although most middle aged men seem to speak an “ok” level of French too.  The women usually do not speak much French from what we have experienced so far.

Again thanks to so many of your prayers and the hard work of the MAF shipping department in Nampa, Idaho, our household shipment arrived in Nyankunde only three days after we did.  Everything was in tact except for one action packer’s handles, two canning jars, and the food processor handle.  Very good overall =)

We spent about a week unpacking the shipment and I had a lot of fun watching Ashley open the surprise kitchen box that I had packed a year and a half ago.  The big surprise was a new huge pressure canner that she had really wanted when we were packing the shipment.  I told her it was too expensive and then secretively bought it for her later.  I had a hard time keeping a secret all the way through language school especially when she bought two parts for the old canner that I had taken out and left in the USA!!

This is the view from our front porch every morning

This is the view from our front porch every morning

Throughout our first few weeks here we have an orientation schedule and meet with the other two families here at the moment to talk about different subjects like finances, sanitation with water and food, using the HF radio for communication between houses, shopping locally in the markets, employing house helpers, dealing with malaria, and much more.

Ashley and I have both gone to the weekly market now which is each Saturday and alternates between being in Nyankunde and the neighboring town.  Last Saturday I bought meat for the first time at the market which was fun and a true return to my roots as a missionary kid in Burkina Faso further north and west in Africa.  To get pork and beef you go up to the butcher’s stall in the market and point to which part of the hanging quartered animal you would like to have.  He then whacks it off the carcass using a machete (large long knife used for anything from gardening or cutting down trees to cooking) and gives it to you in a tied off plastic shopping bag.  Then when I got home I spent an hour cutting the meat off the bones, trimming the tendons and fascia out, and putting the meat into ziplocks for the freezer.  With the pork we ran it through our meat grinder attachment for the kitchenaid mixer we brought and made it into three different kinds of imitation Jimmy Dean sausage using recipes off the internet.  My biscuits and gravy on Sunday morning were a long journey from the hanging pig in the market.  All in the fun though =)

We went to church the first Sunday at the local small Swahili speaking church.  It was great and the music was beautiful although we didn't have much of an idea of what was going on =)

We went to church the first Sunday at the local small Swahili speaking church. It was great and the music was beautiful although we didn’t have much of an idea of what was going on =)

Well, before this post gets too long I will stop here and leave something for a couple weeks from now.  Thank you so much to each of you who have stood with us in prayer and support through the last nine years of training starting back in 2006 at Moody Aviation in Spokane, Washington.  It is only by God’s grace and your support that we have made it here to Nyankunde, DRC.  May God bless you and excite you now for what He is going to do through us and through the continued work of MAF in eastern Congo.

Family, Friends, and French

The last couple months here in language school in Albertville, France have been filled with:

Happy days,

What we feel like when we have succeeded in learning a new French word or speaking a sentence without too many mistakes.
What we feel like when we have succeeded in learning a new French word or speaking a sentence without too many mistakes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sad days,

How we feel when we forgot a word we already learned or couldn't get our point across to someone on the street.
How we feel when we forgot a word we already learned or couldn’t get our point across to someone on the street.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Busy days,

Working on replacing our batteries in our Apple devices to get the best battery life as we will be living off the power grid soon in Congo.
Working on replacing our batteries in our Apple devices to get the best battery life as we will be living off the power grid soon in Congo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ashley has been sewing skirts and matching baby carriers out of African fabric she bought in Paris in order to have a local wardrobe ready for Congo.
Ashley has been sewing skirts and matching baby carriers out of African fabric she bought in Paris in order to have a local wardrobe ready for Congo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fun days,

Enjoying the outdoor markets again now that spring/summer is here.  This is an entire cart of cheese.
Enjoying the outdoor markets again now that spring/summer is here. This is an entire cart of cheese.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Only a small taste.  This is Beaufort, a local celebrity cheese.
Only a small taste. This is Beaufort, a local celebrity cheese.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

French days,

Ashley's language partner, Marie, took us to Annecie, a nearby town situated next to a beautiful lake.  It was a good time of practicing French and seeing some beautiful sites.
Ashley’s language partner, Marie, took us to Annecie, a nearby town situated next to a beautiful lake. It was a good time of practicing French and seeing some beautiful sites.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ashley's French Doula who helped with her pregnancy and all of the cultural differences with having a baby in France came one last time to see Daniel.
Ashley’s French Doula, Morganne, who helped with her pregnancy and all of the cultural differences with having a baby in France came one last time to see Daniel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friend days,

Another French student, Michelle, who is studying in nearby Geneva, Switzerland came to visit for the weekend.  She is also going to Nyankunde, DRC and will be working in the hospital.  Left to right stands Ashley, Anna (another doctor going to Nyankunde), Michelle, and Shannon (OB who helped deliver Daniel and will be serving in Western Congo).
Another French student, Michelle, who is studying in nearby Geneva, Switzerland came to visit for the weekend. She is also going to Nyankunde, DRC and will be working in the hospital. Left to right stands Ashley, Anna (another doctor going to Nyankunde who lives in the same building here in Albertville), Michelle, and Shannon (OB who helped deliver Daniel and will be serving in Western Congo).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family days,

Dave's parents, Dan and Kathy, came to visit for a week and we had a great time showing them around Albertville.  Dan and Kathy are missionaries with  Wycliffe Bible Translators in Cameroon.
Dave’s parents, Dan and Kathy, came to visit for a week and we had a great time showing them around Albertville. Dan and Kathy are missionaries with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Cameroon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mom was very excited to see her grandson for the first time since he was born here in France.
Mom was very excited to see her grandson for the first time since he was born here in France.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kathy helped teach Ashley how to best wrap a baby on your back African style.
Kathy helped teach Ashley how to best wrap a baby on your back African style.  The baby mom is carrying is Emanuel, my sister Joy’s first child.  Emanuel was born two weeks after Daniel.  The cousins got to meet each other for the first time when my parents were here because my sister and her husband were  also in France raising support for their ministry as bible translators in Mali with Wycliffe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ashley, Daniel, myself, and my parents all drove down to a small town in the fields of southern France near Toulouse to spend a few days with my sister and her husband, Jean, at their parents house.  It was a great time together before we all head off to different countries in Africa.  Us to Congo, my sister Joy and Jean to Mali, and my parents Dan and Kathy to Cameroon.  These countries are each 1,300 miles apart and there is no driving in between.  We hope to find a way to visit each other in the future.
Ashley, Daniel, myself, and my parents all drove down to a small town in the fields of southern France near Toulouse to spend a few days with my sister and her husband, Jean, at their parents house. It was a great time together before we all head off to different countries in Africa. Us to Congo, my sister Joy and Jean to Mali, and my parents Dan and Kathy to Cameroon. These countries are each 1,300 miles apart and there is no driving in between. We hope to find a way to visit each other in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is my brother in law, Jean, and I walking around the city of Toulouse in southern France where Jean's relatives live.  Jean's dad is the pastor of a small church in Toulouse.
Here is my brother in law, Jean, and I walking around the city of Toulouse in southern France where Jean’s relatives live. Jean’s dad is the pastor of a small church in Toulouse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During one of our days with family in Toulouse we drove to nearby Carcasone, an ancient fortified city dating back to 100 BC.
During one of our days with family in Toulouse we drove to nearby Carcassonne, an ancient fortified city dating back to 100 BC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The city of Carcassonne is on top of a hill, surrounded by two defense walls, guard towers, a moat at the entrance, a draw bridge, and an innumerable amount of archery posts.
The city of Carcassonne is on top of a hill, surrounded by two defense walls, guard towers, a moat at the entrance, a draw bridge, and an innumerable amount of archery posts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the center of Carcassonne we sat down to taste some really old recipes.  We also tasted blood sausage for the first time which is actually really good!  On the right in the picture you can see David and Callie Bertsche who came down to visit us all from Geneva.  The Bertsches have known our family for a very long time.  It was great to spend time all together.
In the center of Carcassonne we sat down to taste some really old recipes. We also tasted blood sausage for the first time which is actually really good! On the right in the picture you can see David and Callie Bertsche who came down to visit us all from Geneva. The Bertsches have known our family for a very long time. It was great to spend time all together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the way back to Albertville from Toulouse we took a short detour to wet our feet in the Mediterranean Sea.  It was absolutely beautiful!
On the way back to Albertville from Toulouse we took a short detour to wet our feet in the Mediterranean Sea. It was absolutely beautiful!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The day after Dave's parents left, Ashley's two sisters (Lindsey and Kelsey) and Lindsey's husband Justin came to visit.  Left to right is Kelsey, Lindsey, and Justin.
The day after Dave’s parents left, Ashley’s two sisters (Lindsey and Kelsey) and Lindsey’s husband Justin came to visit. Left to right is Kelsey, Lindsey, and Justin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ashley's sisters flew into Lyon, France so we were able to spend a day exploring the Roman amphitheater and some other sights before heading down to Albertville.
Ashley’s sisters flew into Lyon, France so we were able to spend a day exploring the Roman amphitheater and some other sights before heading down to Albertville.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So in summary, the last couple months have been filled with allot of family, friends, and French.

What next you might ask??

We have our visas in hand and our plane tickets booked to fly to Uganda, Africa on July 14th which is approaching rapidly.  After spending a day and a half in Uganda we will board an MAF plane and be flown to our new home in Nyankunde, Democratic Republic of Congo.

We are starting to feel the pressure of the upcoming move and have been busy booking rental cars, looking over packing lists, getting vaccines scheduled, ordering seeds for our future garden, and other little chores.  At the same time I, Dave, continue to go to class full time and study aviation and maintenance French in the evenings.   I have also begun reviewing flight and maintenance training from the past nine years in preparation for finally beginning to serve as a missionary pilot in Congo.  I will be starting in the Cessna 206 which is the same aircraft I flew at Moody Aviation and in MAF standardization.  It will be nice to start with something I already know.

Ashley is continuing to study at home with a tutor and language partner as well as taking care of Daniel.  We are both progressing in our French and thinking about how we will be starting a brand new language, Swahili, in just eight weeks.  What an adventure!  Thank you to each of you who pray, give, and encourage to make it all possible.  We look forward to the future knowing we are going as a team.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four Months of France in a Nutshell

Ashley, baby Daniel, and I overlooking the city of Albertville, France from Conflan, the part of the city built in the Middle Ages.

Ashley, baby Daniel, and I overlooking the city of Albertville, France from Conflan, the part of the city built in the Middle Ages.

Hey everyone,

First I would like to apologize for my abysmally small amount of blog posts  over the past few months.  Apparently when life gets busy my ability to sit down and write a post diminishes rapidly =).  So here is  a general overview of the last four months to catch everyone up and with my fingers crossed we will move forward with more regular updates.

Language Studies

Our main purpose for being here in Albertville, France is to learn French as best we can in order to have a “stepping stone” language to communicate with the people of Congo upon arriving.  I say stepping stone language as we will need to learn Swahili as soon as we get there.  Swahili is more of the heart language in the area.

Upon starting classes here in Alberville, I (Dave) was placed in the A2 class to start as I grew up with some French in Burkina Faso.  Ashley was placed in the beginner A1 class.  Fast forward a couple months and we both passed our first set of language level tests to prove completion of the levels.  We have three sets  of  tests during our time here and each set consists of  written production, reading comprehension, oral comprehension, and oral production.  I am now part of the way through the B1.1 class and Ashley is doing home-study for this trimester in order to take care of new baby Daniel James (more on that to follow).

Ashley and her language partner, Marie, spending time together in Conflan (the medieval part of town).

Ashley and her language partner, Marie, spending time together in Conflan (the medieval part of town).

Ashley meets once or twice a week to study French and English reciprocally with a lady named Marie who she met in the local Market.  Marie works at both the Saturday and Thursday open markets as well as helping to teach at a local school for high end hotel maids.  It has been fun to get to know her a little bit and spend time with a true local as well as practice our french.

Holidays in France

Two turkeys bought from the local butcher for our Thanksgiving with our fellow missionary friends.

Two turkeys bought from the local butcher for our Thanksgiving with our fellow missionary friends.

Thanksgiving and Christmas were both a little different this year away from family and the convenience of supermarkets but we had fun and celebrated all the same.  We were able to order turkeys from a local butcher and also make lots of pies of all kinds to stuff our faces on Thanksgiving day.

We dined on these fine birds with a few of our fellow missionary families here at the school and had a wonderful time.  It was a good experience to remember that Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for what and who you have in your life.  What God has done and is doing around you.

Fellow MAF'er Mathew Lind and I showing off our Thanksgiving pies.

Fellow MAF’er Mathew Lind and I showing off our Thanksgiving pies.

Christmas and A Special Present

Christmas was extra fun this year as we got to experience many different things.  First we wanted to find a Christmas tree since it was our last Christmas in western culture for a few years.  We did manage to find one at a local grocery store and I brought it back Africa style on my bike.

Bringing our Christmas tree back Africa style tied to my bike.  I got many a weird look from the French.

Bringing our Christmas tree back Africa style tied to my bike. I got many a weird look from the French.

On December 21st at 00:24 in the morning we had an extra special early Christmas present.  Ashley gave birth to baby Daniel James Petersen in a birth pool in our living room in front of the Christmas tree.  The delivery was quick and both baby and mom are now doing great (despite the lack of sleep as is to be expected haha).

Baby Daniel James Petersen born at 00:24 AM on Dec. 21st in the living room.

Baby Daniel James Petersen born at 00:24 AM on Dec. 21st in the living room.

Little Daniel enjoying his freedom outside of the womb.

Little Daniel enjoying his freedom outside of the womb.

Ashley’s mom, Lynn, was here for six weeks from before Daniel’s birth to many weeks after.  She was a great help with the transition to parenthood and we were sad to see her go.

Now we are both settling in to our new routines as I continue to go to classes and study more and more complicated French conjugations and Ashley stays in the apartments balancing taking care of Daniel, reviewing French grammar, doing oral language studies, and meeting with Marie.

This next Monday (Feb. 9) we will be heading off to Paris to report Daniel’s birth at the US embassy and see a little bit of the city.  We will hopefully come back with a Social Security card, Passport, and many good pictures of  Paris to share assuming our six inch stack of papers are in order and accepted by the embassy.

2014 has been a year of huge changes and 2015 looks like it will be equally interesting.  In just five short months we should be arriving in Congo after having been in training for the past nine years.  Thank you so much to each one of you who has made this all possible.  We look forward to sharing the journey ahead.

David and Ashley and Daniel