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A Post from Jason.

So much to write about since our last post.

Let’s see… two weeks after Pilots meeting was the annual MAF Conference. Kim’s second trip into Gove in 2 weeks.. yay! (sense the sarcasm). Not much to say about Conference, except that the guest speaker, Tim Meyer (of Melbourne School of Theology) made me want to go back to Bible College. Enjoyed/challenged by the message over the weekend very much. We stayed at Rachel’s house again, this time with her – which was nice having her as our guest… I mean being her guest 🙂

The end of conference meant back to work for everyone but us, because we were now on holidays!! First time on holidays since our tour of Victoria back in November (which wasn’t strictly holidays). That doesn’t sound like a long time – only 6 months, but I felt like I really needed the break. I feel like a bit of a wuss for feeling like this. I don’t know whether it’s the climate, the job, living in community, living remote, cross-cultural living or constantly interrupted sleep at night that does it. Maybe it’s a combination of all of the above. But if a two week vacation back in civilisation every six months is what it takes to maintain my (and family members’) sanity so that we can continue living here, than so be it. Problem is that when I get back, I don’t usually feel refreshed. I manage to come down with the flu 7-10 days after we leave the Territory. Some speculate that it’s because I finally stop and relax, or maybe different bugs that I’m not use to anymore. Who knows. But I got it 2 days before we left Cairns, then I spend the next week or two trying to work with this lingering flu and not at all feeling like I just had a holiday.

Anyway, our time in Cairns was great. The weather was cold and miserable which all the locals were apologising for, but we told them not to: we loved it, such a nice change. We got to catch up with my old friend from my youth, Mark Dennert and his wife Jo. Had a lot to talk about seeing as we both work amongst Indigenous people. A few days later we picked up from the airport some old friends from my YWAM days in California, Jamie and Carol Laird. They were on their way to India for a short term Mission and were coming through to visit two of their Kids who work with Hillsong. They flew up to Cairns to catch up with us. We had a wonderful time together, eating sugar cane, driving, finding bad coffee, finding bad service, driving, finding tourist traps and deciding that there were better things to do, more driving, etc. Samuel managed to order his own meal at one venue without our knowledge until the plate of spaghetti came out… who takes orders from a 3 and a half year old without checking with the parents?  Oh well, he ate it all, apparantely tasted better with a bit of autonomy.  Jamie and Carol went on a snorkelling trip to the reef, while Kim and I stayed back because I was sick. Apparently it was the best weather day for reef trips in over 3 weeks and it was the day before they left!

I parted ways with Kim and Samuel at the end of our Cairns stay. Kim and Samuel flew down to Melbourne to surprise her brother just days before they were expecting their first child. Now Samuel has his first cousin on Kim’s side and Kim has a new Niece. Kim’s long anticipated trip to see Les Miserables in Melbourne was sadly cut short due to health issues, but did still manage to have a wonderful night at the Windsor with her long time friend.

Meanwhile, back to Gove for me. I wasn’t able to go home straight away as they needed another Pilot in Gove for the week. I missed Dora (our dog) and was anxious to have someone living in our house during the School holidays (prime time for break-ins). Fortunately our house wasn’t touched and Dora missed me too. The fishing I was anticipating without the family has pretty much been a non-event up till now due to me being unwell, mis-timed tides, and staying in Gove for a week. Oh well, hope the weekend will yield some better luck.

I am missing Kim and Samuel very much, it should be about another week until I see them again. It will be about 3 weeks since I’d seen them last by then.

We have a Cessna 206 again on Elcho Island as well as an Airvan. However, Ian and I are only allowed to fly the Airvan for now (until we get checked out on the C206 again – but that’s up to management as to who or when, ’cause it all costs MAF money). So that means I’m sharing the Airvan with Ian, flying every second day and in the office every other day. Part of our regular school run four days each week has been cancelled due to lack of funding from the Government. Coupled with School holidays, flying has been quiet since I’ve been back.  While in Gove, I did a flight to Darwin carrying 2 large dogs (all up with cages: 137kgs). Qantas won’t transport the cages if they are over a particular height, so Rio Tinto wear the cost of over $3000 to transport employees dogs via light aircraft. The dogs travelled well and I managed to get a tail wind both ways.

I’m supposed to be helping with the kids club tonight (basically making sure no one damages or runs off with the projector and screen).

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