Friday, June 27, 2008


The icing on a really tall cake...

The above picture is Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest free-standing peak in the world, and tallest mountain in Africa. I was able to capture this picture myself (check out the other pictures), while flying by it, so close, on the clearest day you could ask for, and take in this masterpiece of God! How amazing God is for allowing me these experiences that I would not have even dreamed of!

This flight I was able to go on was a flight chartered by a church youth group from Virginia (some of which were at or went to Liberty). The two DC-3 pilots and I (the appointed flight attendant for this're actually required to have one for any flight over 19 people) flew to Tanzania to pick them up and take them to the place where they were going to do their ministry. On our way to Dar-el-Salaam, Tanzania, was the sight of the mountain. Both pilots were reveling in the clearness of the day. To be able to see the mountain this clearly with no clouds around it, was an extremely rare sight. What an awesome time!

After picking up our 24 passengers we flew them to Mbeya, Tanzania where they were staying. I did an adequate job, I think, of serving coffee, juice, and snacks to the very worn out passengers (no spills!). Dodoma, Tanzania's capital, was a short stop for fuel before heading back to Nairobi. Another small world encounter happened at Dodoma. I met a mechanic for MAF based there at the airport who graduated from Piedmont's A&P school in 2001. We chatted for some time about old instructors and catching him up on what has happened to the people he knew. Both he and I were encouraged and delighted by this unexpected connection thousands of miles from home!

On our way back to Nairobi, as I wrestled with the oxygen tube in my mouth being at 19,000ft., I began to get excited about where God would place me in the future. Just as I have been able to do and experience many things I could not have imagined; or meet and see people I never would have thought to encounter, God will place me and allow me to do things I probably don't even have on my radar now. If I listen and follow what I know He wants me to do, the rest is well...icing!

(Oh, and the goat meal was pretty good...tough...but still good!)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Yes, I am in Africa...

Living in Africa for 3 months, things can get accustomed to. Daily routines of work and going to bed early because of safety at night can make one forget that he is in another country. But then...every once and a while something happens that makes you think... "I'm not in the States anymore, am I?"

One such occurrence happened today. It started out as an ordinary day working in the hangar. I was in the midst of an induction inspection on a 206 when a plane pulls up that is based up-country. This plane was from Gatab, one of AIM's bases. Yet instead of pulling out the ordinary cargo of mail, or food, or missionaries...out comes 2 goats. I laugh as the dispatch guys pull these goats out of the plane and proceed to place them on a cart for transport into the hangar. One goat was in a bag, while the other was reluctantly being pulled by a rope.

Upon questioning the other mechanics, this was not an uncommon event. Often the people in the remote areas to which AIM flies want to show their gratitude to the pilot and AIM Air. The best way for them to do this is to give of what they this case. goats. Yet the sight of goats being pulled through the hangar (making quite a mess along the way) was not the most interesting part of my experience.

Due to the fact that there are a lot of Kenyan guys working in the hangar, there were many ready hands to help with the next step in dealing with these goats. These goats were given to AIM AIM Air would enjoy them. The plan, as apparently is always the case, was to kill the goats and cook them for all employees at the hangar to enjoy. But why waste any time? Let's just kill the goats right here in the hangar, skin them, gut them, and get the meat ready for a meal tomorrow! That's exactly what took place right in the middle of the hangar floor...

Yup...tie 'em up and get 'em ready to eat! There's nothing like these humorous moments to laugh and really realize: yes, I am in Africa!

(feel free to see more picture on my album...there's only one that's not for the weak stomach)

I look forward to the goat meal tomorrow!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Trip to the Coast

I just got back from a great time at the AIM International Services (IS) men’s retreat. We had the opportunity to fly Samaritan’s Purse’s DC-3 (which I actually got to pilot some!) to the coast. We stopped on the way to drop off some fuel to a missionary base. The pictures that have been added are from this people group. The missionaries there have been serving in this very Muslim area for 20 years with about 10 converts. After that stop we headed for the coast and spend several days there enjoying each other’s company, snorkeling in the Indian Ocean, and getting some good teaching on leadership. Kirk Nowery, COO of Samaritan’s Purse, was there as our speaker. It was incredible to hear his stories and listen to his vision for churches in America to reach the world.
Also while there, I was able to sit in on an AIM Air staff meeting. This is the only time a year that all the staff and pilots from around East Africa are together to meet and talk about what’s going on with their respective ministries. There were several guys there that are based in Entebe, Uganda; Loki, Kenya (where AIM Air is based for flights into Sudan); and Tanzania. It was fascinating to hear about what all is going on within AIM Air; yet it did make me think a lot about how I could fit into this organization.
My prayer has been that God would direct me into the ministry He has for me. There is so much that I could do…and do well. Yet I want to be given a vision and desire from God for a task He has especially for me. Perhaps He does want me just turning wrenches in a Nairobi hangar, or He could want me out in the bush serving in a dung hut to unreached people groups and stemming the tide of Islam into Africa. I trust that this trip will bring me closer to that goal and future ministry.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

First Flight!

Yesterday I was able to go on my first flight here in Africa! We went to two locations in Kenya to deliver a short-term guy to a missionary post AIM has in nothern Kenya. It was great to really be on a flight and get to do what I've always wanted to. It was just like I've imagined getting to land on a dirt strip after flying over several little round huts scattered all over the African plains. The pilot who took me and I ate lunch with the missionaries in the outpost (their house was amazing! check out the pictures in the album!). I hope to post more of my thoughts but since I only have internet access at the hangar, time does not allow me. Enjoy the pictures!

Monday, June 16, 2008


Check out all of my uploaded pictures here:

Sorry there's not more...I don't want my camera I only can whip it out at certain times.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


(The picture on the left is me in the tree outside our apartment.) Yesterday was my first day of work! It’s good to finally be doing what I came here to do! Yet I am still learning a lot. The guys at the hangar are going to be good to work with. The guys on the floor are about half white missionaries and half Kenyans. It is such an awesome opportunity to be working so close with Kenyans. It will give me a chance to really learn about their culture, get to know them, and even be able to visit their homes here in Nairobi and upcountry. Pray I would be a good learner and be an encouragement to them.

The opportunities for different experiences are more than I expected. More than being able to get on a lot of flights (my first flight may be Monday to Tanzania; then there’s another one to Sudan mid-week), I have the chance to help film some with the on-field media team AIM has based here in Nairobi. They do videos and filming for missionaries and mission projects all over East Africa! Who knew I would have these opportunities that were so close to my talents, hobbies, and expertise?! (well, I guess God did J). There are numerous churches here in Nairobi which I hope to visit as many as I can. The exposure to as many different types of churches will be incredible. This Sunday we will be going with some missionaries to their church. After the service there will be an Indian meal, of which I am looking forward to. (There is a large Hindi population here in Nairobi).

I thank God for these opportunities and am really getting excited for all the things I’m going to experience. Not all my experiences will be good. Not all of them up to this point have been. Yet I know all of them will help me grow and become the man and missionary God wants me to be now. My prayer is that I would come to know Him better throughout all these experiences in Africa!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Today Ryan and I move out of the AIM guesthouse we have been staying in for the last week and will move into our apartment that has been provided for us to live in! I am excited to be on my own now and really get into the work that I came here to do. Work in the hangar begins on Friday!

Yet the most exciting thing I got to during this time of orientation is go to Africa's largest slum, Kibera. It was eye opening to see over a million people living in extreme poverty and literally in trash. You see things like this on TV but it is another thing to go there yourself. I did not have my camera there which I am really disappointed about, but I hope to go back soon. The kids there were excited to see us... saying "how are you?" the only english phrase they knew! :) It was a great experience which I look forward to going back and learning about these people who live in such lower standards then we are used to in the US.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Some initial thoughts and prayer requests

I've been here for 3 days, but it seems like it's been 2 weeks! Not much has been going on. The first couple of days have been set aside to rest and adjust to life in Africa. Tomorrow we begin orientation where me and my roommate while I'm here, Ryan, will be learning language studies, how to get around Nairobi, security issues, and really how to live on our own (which is what we will be doing once we live in the apartment they have set aside for us!).

Kenya is alot of what I remembered from the last time I was here. The smells, the crazy driving, and the people are really the same as I remembered. However, during these days which we are doing nothing, it has begun to sink in how long I'm going to be here. Before it was a quick I will actually be living here for 3 months. I know once I get into my work and all the things I will see and experience, I will probably not want to leave. Yet now it is hard being the one who doesn't know anything in a world completely different from what I'm used to. Culture shock is one thing I wanted to experience while I'm here; so I'm getting a good taste of it. Studying about it for the last 5 years is different than actually going through it. God is with me through it all.

Pray for me that I will learn to be open and friendly. I tend to clam up in any very different situation. I don't want to seem ignorant or do anything embarrassing. Yet I must break through that in order to adjust to life here. Looking and acting like a child is a big part of adjusting to a new culture. Thank you all for your prayers, and I hope to get some pictures up here soon when I actually take some :)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I'm here!

Well after 6 states, 3 countries, and thousands of miles...I have arrived in Nairobi!!!! We have just gotten settled in a the guest house I will be living in for the next 5 days for orientation. I wish I had more to write but I'm pretty tired and the battery on my computer is about to run I'll sign off and thank you all for your prayers again for my safety!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

It's time!

Well it's finally here...tomorrow I leave for Africa!

Yesterday I drove up to AIM's US headquaters in NY and have spent the last day doing some brief orientation. It has been good, but I'm ready to get to Africa! Tomorrow we will leave at 6:30 for our flight to London. From there we have a 4 hour layover and then will depart for Nairobi from there. I'm sure I'll have alot more to write as I experience more! Thank you for all your prayers!!!