July 2, 2013

A Family Visit to Buduk Kubul

One very cool aspect of the MAF program here is the opportunity every once in a while for MAF family to visit the interior. By "interior" I mean the vast, sparsely populated inland areas of East and North Borneo - the areas our MAF program serves.

As a mechanic, I spend my days in Tarakan. It is the people at the hangar, the grocery store, the bengkel (auto/scooter repair shop), & around the neighbourhood that I interact with. My experience does not often bring me into first person contact with the people & communities who rely on MAF. So last week Amy and I jumped at the chance to take our family for a night in the village of Buduk Kubul, something we feel both us and the kids could really benefit from!
Ready to go! Hard to believe you can fit a family of 6, two other adults, & a pilot in a Cessna 206 (that's 9 souls, and yes, we were safely within the load limits). Needles to say, we didn't bring too much along. I actually had one small suitcase flown in the day before.
 Luke & Si ready to roll! 

Below, Charlotte quickly settled into a nice knap once up in the air. Helena sat on my lap just in front of Amy and peeked out the window the whole way there.
 Buduk Kabul is located in the Krayan region, which is nestled in the North Central area of Kalimantan and borders Malaysia. It is cut off from the coast by what is pictured below - dense jungle and some fairly decent sized mountains.

Once landed, we were greeted by some excited kids, who smartly used the wing to stay out of the sun. We quickly copied them, acting like we would have done the same right away anyways:)

Below, Steve is taking the plane up to the end of the runway to turn around and take off. It is hard to tell in this picture, but this is one of those "one way only" runways, where you can only land and takeoff in one direction. The reason for this is obviously the wall of jungle at one end of the 400 something meters of runway. When wet, landing in places like here can be like a car in fresh snow with bald all-season tires!

We were actually ready to go 7am in the morning, but waited till after lunch before leaving, as it was imperative to ensure the runway had dried out from the morning rain. Just a couple months ago, the only other company that flies into some of these areas had a plane run off the end of the runway in place not too far from here, the main cause being a slippery runway. Thank God no one was hurt, but the plane still sitting, waiting for repairs.

This trip was monumental for Amy, as it is not only our family's first trip interior, but Amy's first flight in an MAF plane! For 11 years she has made decisions big and small in her life knowing & trusting that God may have plans to use her overseas, to serve Him in one aspect or another. 11 years, preparing and working behind the scenes so-to-speak. Without wives pouring themselves into to their families and spouses, operations like MAF would come to grinding halt. Her call to serve is just as important and certainly just as needed as those who fix or fly the aircraft. And here she is, riding in a plane and seeing the interior of Kalimantan for the first time!

More on our visit to Buduk Kubul...coming soon!

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