We have been busy here in the desert of southern Arizona. For Memorial Day weekend the Wilson family went up to Hartsel, CO along with three of Paul’s nieces to have a mountain top memorial service for Paul’s brother, Dan. It was an excellent weekend that started out a bit stressful as nerves were high because of many emotions. This was our first gathering with the nieces in five years and it was the 20th anniversary of Mike’s, Paul’s oldest brother’s, passing. Dan, Paul and the nieces had done a very similar mountain top memorial for Mike and that is when Dan had let it be known that that was what he wanted done for his funeral. Relationships were refreshed as we reflected and remembered together of the good, bad, silly and fun memories with Paul’s older brothers, Mike and Dan. Cousins got to hang out and know each other a little bit better. The sobering conclusion Paul believes was that life choices have consequences, for both good and bad choices. Paul quoted from Psalms on the mountain top as King David was Dan’s favorite biblical character.
On the road trip home we surprised the kids with a visit to Colorado Gators near Mosca, CO. Yes, near 6,000’ elevation there is a little hot spring oasis where a family has made a reptile refuge. Great fun for kids of all ages!
We had Vacation Bible School in early July where Andrea was the Bible teacher and Paul lead game time. It was a very hot week, but we kept the kids cool with lots of water outside and A/C on the inside. We had a great turnout for the week of VBS despite the heat. God was glorified!
Andrea then returned Caleb, our nephew, to his mom, Michelle, in Maryland. Michelle has recovered unbelievably well (Praise God!) from her scary bout with aggressive cancer. With chemo and PT behind her, she was very much ready to have her boy back home again. Both were excited and ready to find a new normal. The Wilson kids on the other hand, who stayed home with Paul, were an emotional wreck for a few days as they lost their live in playmate and favorite cousin (only because they are close in age and spend the most time together). Caleb is almost like a brother to Phoebe and Joshua. Folks here at McNeal loved on Caleb and hated to see him go, especially his Sunday School teacher.
Drum Roll Please
We met with our leadership team here in the aviation department at McNeal (well, one of them “zoomed” the meeting as he and his wife were still in PNG lending much needed help there) and the exciting news is that we are preparing to return to Papua New Guinea in January 2024, Lord willing. We had considered a August/September return, but that was WAY too fast for all we still needed to get done. Paul will be transitioning into the hangar to help work on one of the Robinson R66 helicopters in order to get him back up to speed on aircraft maintenance. Paul has been helping with facility maintenance here at McNeal for the past year and needs to refresh his skills and training prior to jumping back in at the hangar in PNG.
With dentist and doctor’s appointments booked, supplies to buy and paperwork to complete, the remaining time will fly by we are sure. We would also like to spend some more time with Paul’s parents in Kansas before we head overseas.
Speaking of Robinson R66
Praise the Lord with us as PNG has received, unpacked and is currently putting the final touches on the SECOND R66 in PNG. Again, PRAISE THE LORD! Please continue to pray with us as the team there thoroughly checks out the helicopter as indications are that the shipping container was dropped somewhere along its transit. Nothing was obviously damaged, but the team definitely wants to make sure that the aircraft is safe and sound prior to putting it into service. The team there is working with leadership here at McNeal, as well as at Robinson and Rolls Royce (the engine manufacturer) to make sure everything is inspected and okay for service.
Praise & Prayer Requests
- Praise: Our safe road trip to & from Colorado. And safe return travel of Caleb to MD.
- Praise: Phoebe’s continued good recovery (Perthes). Her doctor has given the “green light” to return to PNG. He will continue to see her via internet visits and X-rays.
- Praise: The 2nd R-66 is assembled in PNG & is being prepared for service.
- Prayer: For us as a family as we seek God’s direction as we plan to return to PNG January 2024.
- Prayer: For the aviation team in PNG as they complete the “return to service” inspections on the 2nd R66 & carry the “other” normal workload.
- Prayer: For unity amongst believers as there are so many assaults on us these days, very few about doctrine. Opinions turn into strongholds. They will know we are Christians by our love. Pray for God’s grace, discernment and love.