The helicopter has been unable to fly the missionary team into Kovol for the last two months, but finally they are ready to go again.
Steve and Gerdine Stanley, Rhett and Stacie Stous and Philip and Natalie are better prepared than they were, it wasn’t wasted time. At the same time they feel like they will never be ready. They could always be better prepared, but at the same time no plan survives the reality of life in PNG anyway! Their first milling trip will be in early August, sun up till sun down chopping down trees and making lumber. Pray for them! Milling conditions are challenging (mountainous) and they will be living rough. Weight loss is a guarantee!
The chainsaws finally arrived! Delivery was not straight forward and resulted in a two month delay after they were confiscated at the Australian border, but finally they’ve arrived by mail. Praise the Lord they got them with two weeks to spare. They are now proud owners of two beastly large chainsaws capable of cutting through hardwood faster than a hot knife through butter. The real trick is to going to be to use them without losing any fingers!
Along with preparing to start milling the team are planning out how they will move building materials into the tribe by helicopter.
The helicopter can take 450kg a time into Kovol. Bulky items like plywood and roofing iron go in a net under the chopper and are slung in – but then the limit is 400kg. They are starting to plan five shuttle days where the chopper meets them at the side of the road closest to Kovol and then shuttles their building materials in. They save around £150 per trip by shuttling closer to Kovol than at Madang.
The thing with shuttles is you need to be super organised. They need to plan it so that builders and materials all go in at the right time, while juggling cargo weight, cargo volume and practical considerations. It’s intense. The spreadsheet they use to track it all is very detailed and changes are happening all the time!
They aim to get the shell of their houses built in two weeks in October, and their families will move in mid-November and they will carry on building and finishing houses during December.
Plans keep being changed, and delayed; but if they are not living in Kovol by Christmas, something must have really gone wrong! They are getting there and it is exciting!