Saturday, June 28, 2008

and the rain came down . . .

We are nicely settled into our beloved village on the Yukon. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the mosquitoes are biting . . . but it's totally glorious here!

When we woke up this morning, however, it didn't look like we'd get out of Fairbanks. It had rained all night and the village's runway had been washed out for days. I checked and it said rain was predicted for the next several days. Dan, the bush pilot, showed up around 7:30 a.m. looking about as cheerful as the rain-soaked sky.

"We'll never fit all your stuff on the plane," he grumbled as he surveyed our pile of bags and boxes.

"But I stayed within the weight limit you gave me," I countered.

"Well, it's not just the weight I'm worried about, it's the volume. You should have packed in smaller, flexible bags that could fit into the wing compartments," he impatiently explained.

The volume thing had never entered any conversation we'd ever had, but I didn't say anything. Miraculously, all of our bulky gear fit on his 8 seat Navaho plane!

"The weather's bad and I hear that some of the planes going out this morning have had trouble with icing up," Dan told us as we buckled up. "I'll try to take you as far as Galena (the village next to ours that had a real concrete runway), but I can't guarantee we'll even make it that far. You can hitch a ride to your village when things dry out."

Neither the rain nor his guarded outlook dampened our spirits. We'd spent a bit of time on our knees before Dan arrived this morning, crying out to the Lord to act on our behalf. We were on an adventure with God and He was in control. No matter what the weather report or our circumstances said.

Even Dan seemed to relax and loosen up as we flew above the Tanana River toward the Yukon. He told us he'd been flying for 40 years and had logged over 3,500 hours in flight. His only regret is that no woman had ever given birth during a flight. His love and compassion for the Native people of Alaska was touchingly evident. He told us he'd been to 38 funerals the past year. "Only 7 were due to natural causes," he told us.

After about 45 minutes in the air, about the time the brown and braided Yukon came into view, the clouds parted and the sun shone on the Great Land. In another 15 minutes, there wasn't a cloud in sight! Energized by the sunshine, Dan decided to fly on over to our village and check out the condition of the runway. Lo and behold, it was perfectly sound and dry and we landed without incident. Running late as usual, Dan quickly shoved our stuff out of the tail off his plane, waved goodbye and headed back to Fairbanks for his next run.

We stood on the runway, soaking in the rays, thanking God the the miraculous change in the weather. As I type this, 10 hours later, there's still not a cloud in the sky--and I haven't even had a mosquito bite yet!

Stayed tuned for our continuing adventures with God . . .