What Do You See???
Look carefully at this picture and tell me what you see. Maybe you see part of my airplane window, or perhaps my right main tire. Or maybe you see a cassava farm, a patch of jungle or the last three hundred feet of the Paruima airstrip. But I’ll tell you what I see. I see a flight base house, complete with a hangar and an airplane inside.
As Corrie Ten Boom once said — “Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible.”
This last week someone caught me off guard with a most interesting question. “What sort of miracles and answers to prayer have you seen since your flight bag was stolen?”
The truth of the matter is that I can’t say that I’ve seen any stupendous answers to prayer, or have any heart-warming stories to share. But the biggest miracle by far has been a quiet revolution happening in my heart. Elizabeth Elliot said it so perfectly, “I have one desire now – to live a life of reckless abandon for the Lord, putting all my energy and strength into it.”
We’re pushing forward like never before, and the biggest project on my plate right now is the construction of our new GAMAS flight base in Paruima Village. Let me explain why this is so critically important to the future of our aviation program.
While I fly in all the regions of Guyana, our work at this moment is heavily concentrated on Region #7. The reason for this is pretty simple. Paruima Mission Academy (PMA) takes a tremendous amount of logistical air support to keep it running smoothly. Furthermore we have a brand new bible school in Kaikan, just across the mountain from Paruima. Here in a couple months we’re hoping to dedicate it, and some time this next year we plan to launch the first program.
Currently, with only one pilot and airplane, I find myself winging my way to the Upper Mazaruni several times each week. But I praise God – help is on the way!
When Todd and Cassie Anderson arrive with their Cessna 182 (N9113M), we will need to find a place for them to base out of. Therefore we’ve decided to establish a complete flight base in the very heart of Region #7, in Paruima village, to adequately support our two schools, and meet all the local needs of the region. Once Todd is fully checked out, and flying PIC in Guyana, then and only then can I turn my attention to other areas of Guyana that have been neglected.
So this is a huge strategic move for our flight program.
I knew at the onset of this construction project that I needed a very skilled, diplomatic leader who could oversee the project, since I would be unable to manage it from afar. I’m so grateful for Shadrach Reuben, who is a fantastic carpenter, and a very wise manager as well. Trust me… I couldn’t do this without someone of high integrity like brother Shadrach.
One of the challenges of building projects like this is the acquisition of lumber. Every board that you use literally has to be cut to exact specification with a chainsaw by a skilled saw man. These guys have to hike deep into the jungle to find the appropriate wood, and then when the boards are cut, they have to carry them out on their backs. While there are many big-hearted souls in Paruima village, these people desperately need jobs to put food on the table, and support their families. So we’ve decided to pay them a fair wage for each board foot they cut.
One of the biggest challenges of a building project of this magnitude is finding the funds to get it done. If I could stop all my flying, and pour all our mission funds into this project, that would help, but the requests for flights just keep rolling in, and I can’t ignore these needs.
So we’ve had to get really creative at finding alternative ways to limit our overhead expenditure. Since Paruima is not far from the Venezuela border where there is cheap gasoline, we decided to shuttle some barrels of fuel from Eteringbang to Paruima with our Cessna 182 to help with cutting the boards. This is saving us about 25% of our overall cost!
As I’ve been discussing this project with the villagers of Paruima they have been so enthusiastic and encouraging. They have volunteered to come out and do some “self help” (read: volunteer labor) to assist with the clearing of the land.
In fact two weeks ago they had the first “self help” day, and over 60 people showed up with cutlasses, chain saws, and even the village tractor, and began clearing the land that we had marked out.
As fate would have it, I was stuck in Georgetown that particular day and couldn’t make it out to Paruima. I imagined to myself that they would probably cut some of the grass, and maybe do a little “under brushing” under the trees.
I had no idea that they would slash the entire area all in one day, taking down all the big trees as well! When I flew over the site and saw the gaping hole in the forest, my jaw hit the floor of the plane.
These people have heart!
I also mistakenly thought that the cutting of materials for the aircraft hanger (which we are starting first) would take months to finish. Oh foolish me! Unbeknownst to me Shadrach had chosen no less than five saw-men teams to cut materials. They were hungry for work, and from the start to the finish we had all our materials cut in two short weeks! A majority of the wood for the hangar is already at the work site!
Talk about awesome, and ouch all in the same breath!!! I’ve had to shell out over $3000 USD in cash, and it’s knocked me for a serious loop! But God has been so good and we’re still standing on our feet, and moving forward!
For now, I’m catching my breath as we prepare for our next big push. In fact, for the last couple morning’s I’ve asked the Lord for $20,000 to help complete this project! Doesn’t hurt to ask, right? I even wrote it down on a piece of paper so that it would seem a little more tangible. I have to confess that the number looked pretty big to me, but I’ve decided that nothing is too hard for the Lord.
Well… Yesterday morning I got the answer to my request. Someone called me on Skype yesterday morning and pledged to match all donations for this flight base up to $10,000! If we can in come up with an additional $10,000, we’ll have the $20,000 in hand and will immediately plunge ahead with the cutting of materials for the flight base. Within six weeks we could have all the wood in hand, and by March of this next year when the weather turns dry we can start construction!
Even better yet, we have some people up in the States who considering coming to Guyana for Spring Break to help with the construction of this house and hangar! Wouldn’t it be awesome to have all the materials cut and waiting?
The Lord is opening doors so fast and so wide, that it’s nearly taken my breath away!
If you would like to become involved with this flight base project you can contact us personally, or contact Gospel Ministries International.
…Thank you for your prayers, encouragement, and support.
James & Joy Ash
121 Durban Backlands
011-592-603-5141 (cell phone)
011-592-227-2184 (flight base)
James & Joy Ash
Gospel Ministries International
Indicate the Project Name: G.A.V.E. FLIGHT BASE PROJECT
874 South McDonald SW
McDonald, TN 37353
1 (423) 473-1841 or 1 (423) 473-1842