08 October, 2008

T-minus 10 hours 30 minutes

So tomorrow morning we embark on our epic journey to await the arrival of Baby Koens! Today's photo is the view out of the left side of a Beechcraft King Air B200, which is the biggest and fastest airplane in the small fleet of airplanes and helicopters that Wycliffe uses in PNG. Most of our airplanes are Cessna 206's, but we also have one Britten-Norman Islander, (the rare turbo-prop variant), the aforementioned Beechcraft King Air, and a couple of Bell helicopters, (1 Long Ranger and 1 Jet Ranger, I believe). These planes are used primarily to transport translators in and out of remote villages, but when not busy being used that way, they are available for commercial work. Proceeds from commercial work are plowed back into the aviation department or are used to further the work of Bible translation in other parts of the PNG Branch of Wycliffe.

Tomorrow we get picked up at our house by the Aviation bus at 8:30, driven to the runway, check ourselves and our baggage in, and will hopefully be off the ground by 10:00. As I am writing this at 11:30 p.m., that makes less than 11 hours to go!

On our way to Australia, we'll stop in PNG's capital city of Port Moresby, where we will go through the usual exit paperwork rituals, then off again for our first stop in Australia, the city of Cairns in Northern Queensland. After 2 nights in Cairns, we're planning to hop onto a commercial flight to Melbourne, where we will be met by some Aussie friends of ours who have graciaously invited us to stay with them while we are in Australia.

I started packing today. I think I spent about 3 hours packing some clothes and various other sundries into an old German army surplus back-pack. After I did that, I went down to the workshop and made sure that there weren't any loose ends there that I needed to take care of before I left. Later I went and picked up the nice lady who is going to be staying at our house while we are gone and brought her to the hosue so that Clare and I could show her around the place and let her get aquainted with our dog. For security reasons, it's highly desirable to have somebody stay in your house if at all possible while you are gone somewhere.

Later some friends came by to say good-bye--one family will be leaving for a year's furlough while we are gone, so we won't be seeing them for a long time. That's probably one of the biggest downsides of this line of work--good friends are always leavingand going to be gone for at least a year. Sometimes they go and for various reasons they never come back. That can be hard.

Well, as it's late and we are travelling far tomorrow, I think I need to turn in. I may not get to post anything for the next couple of days--we'll see what happens!

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