Wednesday, October 6, 2010

[Guyana-Mission-Report] Flying to Guyana #3

After a week of hard travel we're finally back in Georgetown.  It's hard to describe the feelings of gratitude to God for bringing us safely over the 4830 miles that we flew in the last seven days.

Thursday (Sept. 23) - I had a lot of little errands to run, and things to wrap up before the trip.  Details, details details- so many details to look after.  I managed to get a test flight in with Gary Roberts to get a better feel for the plane.  And later that afternoon we ended up flying the airplane down to Laurel Brook Academy to check out the new airstrip that they have.  

Friday (Sept. 24) - The plan was to leave mid morning some time to get down to Florida before night.  But...  as normal, we severely underestimated what it would take to wrap everything up.  At about 5pm we lifted off and turned toward Leesburg Florida.   The flight down was pretty much standard until the last 60 miles or so, and then we had to dodge thunder storms the last little bit.  It was sure nice to have Jacksonville Center on the radio, and they safely guided us around the worst cells.

A very good pastor friend of mine (Milton Adams) picked us up at the airport.  He had planned to come pick us up at the airport at 3:30pm, but just as he was about to walk out the door, his computer happily announced that there was an email.  It was from me, informing him that I was delayed and would get in at 7:30pm.

Saturday (Sept. 25.) My cousin Luke and I had church with the house church that meets in his home.  I have to say that it's a very unique experience, quite unlike anything else I've experienced.  Milton is developing this house church movement presently they've seen an explosion of growth with over 11 churches started.  His website is

Saturday night there was a flurry of activity.  We at much to do and very little time to do it. One of my big dilemmas was that I needed a Low Altitude Enroute Chart for the Caribbean. I had originally banked on being in Forida on during the day and on a week day.  

So I started calling around to see if any 24 hour Fixed Base Operators located near Opalaka Florida had any Charts to sell.  After quite a while of calling I was fortunate enough to find one who had a Caribbean Instrument Chart.  

After filling out our international flight plan and online customs departure, we headed for the airport at midnight.  The night was calm and the flight was smooth as glass.

Sunday (Sept. 26) - The flight to Ft. Lauderdale Exec. was breathtaking as we watched the lights of Southern Florida glide beneath us.  We picked up the Instrument Chart and 10 gallons of gas before we pushed on to Opalaka to finish our preparations.

I had forgotten what a huge airport Opalaka International Airport was, and trying to find our way around around the taxiways at night didn't help.  We managed to go down a couple dead ends until finally we found a 24 Hour Fixed Base Operator (FBO) and looked at a map.  

By 6am we had the airplane completely fueled and tested the auxillary fuel pumps to make sure they would work inflight.  Time to fire up and taxi to our departure runway.  One little snag.  We couldn't raise Miami Center on the ground.  Hmmm.  Ok - Try it in the air.   Several minutes later we were airborne and contacting Miami Center.  Soon they gave us a heading and we were climbing up to 9000 feet on our way to Providentialles Airport in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Second problem - I can't activate my flight plan.  It was a friend's GPS and I was so tired after spending all night awake that I was having trouble activating the flight plan that I had programmed the night before.  After a few minutes and prayers, the Lord helped us activate the appropriate plan in the GPS and we were headed toward the intersection we had been cleared to.  

Luke slept the first 45 minutes, and then we traded off.   It was sure nice to have another guy along to fly the airplane.  The airplane worked like a charm and the flight was absolutely incredible.

From Provo we flew on to Beef Island, stopping for the night and visiting a friend we had there.  Since the customs didn't open until 7:00am the next morning we decided to file our flight plan and fuel the airplane before going to the hotel.  It's a good thing we did that because the next morning we didn't get off immediately.  

To my knowledge I have never experienced mosquitos like at Beef Island that night.  They were absolutely horrible.  We didn't have much of a choice, and kept slapping as we moved.

Monday (Sept. 27) - 4:45 am the alarm goes off and the day begins.  We felt better than the day before, but both of us were thankful that we didn't have to do a one man marathon. 

As I processed our outgoing papers, Luke finalized his tickets for his return to the States.

By 8am we were lifting off for Grenada.  Once again the flight went really smoothly and we arrived in Grenada with plenty of time.  I was very glad to have a faster airplane because if I didn't, I wouldn't have made sunset in Guyana.

On the route from Grenada to Guyana, we weren't able to contact contact the air traffic controller at Trinidad.  I tried probably a dozen times without success, wondering what to do.  Other people appeared to be having the same problems as well, and since we could all communicate with each other we figured it was their problem, not ours.  We continued on our flight and soon they sorted out the problem.

We arrived back in Timehri Airport in Guyana 15 minutes before sunset.  All I can say is that the God we serve is an awesome God, and we are very thankful for his rich mercies to us during this long journey.

I'm thankful to be back in the village with my wife and kids.  They've been pretty sick, but God has been blessing them, and giving them just enough energy to keep going while I've been gone.

Thank you for all your prayers and moral support.

God bless,


James & Joy Ash
121 Durban Backlands
Georgetown, Guyana
874 South McDonald SW
McDonald, TN 37353
1 (423) 473-1841 or 1 (423) 473-1842

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