Armed marines accompany medical team bound for remote island
Often times we need to fly to dangerous areas to evacuate critical patients to a better facility, or to bring supplies or doctors to remote areas. We have safety precautions set in place, and many prayers for wisdom and protection! Recently Dwayne was asked to fly a small medical team to a remote island that is well known to be a dangerous area. He has flown there many times, but this time I was able to join him so I could help with the medical mission. I crawled through the small baggage door in the plane and sat in the back on a pillow for the long flight so the doctors could have the front seats. We spent the first night on the main island and then took a small speed boat the next morning out to a smaller island. We got stuck on rocks a couple times and later had to transfer to smaller boats. Then we waded through shallow water for another mile due to low tide, but it was fun! We felt safe with God and 13 armed Marines by our side! The whole island was there waiting for our arrival. I really enjoyed seeing patients again for the first time in awhile. This is basically an all Muslim area. Their diet is full of sweets and junk food, even though it is so remote. Their health complaints were mostly lifestyle related. All the ladies gathered around, squatting or sitting to hear what I had to say to each patient. They were so intent to listen again when it was their turn, even though they had heard me say many of the same things already to the other patients! We were able to see all the medical and dental patients on the island in a few short hours. The SULADS teachers, who run the mission schools among those islands, translated for us and organized the whole thing. They were so thankful that we could come and help their people and boost their influence among the community. It was great to work with them and see first hand what God is doing through them. They are very dedicated missionaries, sacrificing a lot to be there. The SULADS schools are well respected and appreciated throughout the islands. We’ve been praying for a seaplane to help this unique and important work. Good medical care is far away, and it takes the missionaries two days (with many boat and bus rides), and a lot of money to get to their SULADS homebase at MVC! It was an eventful trip, in more ways than I can say here, but we thank God for His protection on this and many other dangerous missions He takes us on! Thank you for keeping us in your prayers.
Transferring to smaller boats due to low tide
Medical team with teachers and students at a SULADS school on main island
Dedicated teachers sacrifice a lot to work in these hard areas
Last month we asked for prayers for more missionaries. We are so happy to report how God has answered your prayers! This past month He brought us four new foreign missionaries and in the past couple months we’ve also gained three new local missionaries! Carlos is our new helicopter pilot from Panama, and Ray and Phoebe (pilot and nurse) are from the U.S. They are currently helping out in Palawan, but in a month or so they will be serving in the northern Luzon airbase. This brings us up to 5 total pilots- two airplane pilots and three helicopter pilots (two of which are also airplane pilots). Dennis just arrived from the U.S. and will help us in Mindanao with the hangar complex construction. We have two new local medical missionaries for Palawan and one aircraft mechanic for Luzon! Praise God for more help, and thank you so much for your prayers!
PAMAS pilots L-R: Dwayne, Ray, Sean, Daniel, Carlos
This was the first, and probably last time all the pilots were in one place!
Some have asked, “Do you really need more pilots?” Yes! With 3 airbases that need at least one airplane and one helicopter each, we need even more than we have now, and mechanics too. Other volunteers are needed as well (see below). Currently we have 3 airplanes and one helicopter. By God’s grace we’ll have a second helicopter soon so that we can speed the languishing work in the northern Luzon territories.
Helicopter in Manila soon to be purchased
Helicopter #2 Update
We’re now waiting on the current owners to process paperwork on the helicopter in Manila before we can make the purchase and transfer the ownership. We also still need an additional $22,000 to complete the purchase. God’s timing is perfect! Thanks for your prayers.
Please pray that the Cessna 206 overhauled engine parts will arrive soon so we can get it up and running to free the Cessna 172 for the northern Luzon project.
Mindanao Airbase Update
I flew some missionaries from Mindoro to MVC for a week for them to take part in some SULADS activities and to collaborate with them in working together with education in the remote areas. That worked well since I needed to spend some more time coordinating and working on getting the hangar construction started at MVC. We are hand digging a well there as well, and lining it with 36” concrete culverts. We are about 14 meters deep now and it looks like we are getting close to the water we’ve been praying for. Please pray we can get water soon, as we need it for the construction work.
Praying for this hand-dug well, still in process
While I was at MVC, I made a trip to Cagayan De Oro with the trailer we made, to get rebar for the foundation of the hangar. It’s about a three and a half hour drive on curvy roads. The rebar ended up being heavier than I expected, but I didn’t want to make the long trip again so I decided to take it all in one load. I had only gotten a few kilometers when I pulled into a gas station and found one trailer tire barely hanging on by two lug nuts. It destroyed the threads on the studs so I replaced them and put the tire back on and tightened all the other tires and started down the road again. I got about 8 kilometers when one of the other trailer tires fell off. I found some more replacement studs and tightened all the lug nuts as tight as I dared and did not have any more problems the rest of the way. The load was so heavy (6,000 pounds) that it was bending the trailer frame, so when I got to Valencia we unloaded half onto another truck for the short but rough drive on up to MVC. We are now going full steam ahead on the footers and foundations for the hangar. We’re thankful for Adrian (from Romania), and other volunteers from the area that are keeping the work going since I can’t be there most of the time.
Adrian and friends prepare the rebar for the footers for the hangar
Preparing to pour the footers for the hangar
Putting rebar in for the footers
Government Provides Fuel!
Fuel for the aircraft has been one of our biggest expenses each month and we have been praying continually for God to provide for that need. Recently He answered our prayer in a miraculous way. Sometimes we fly the government Department of Health doctors and directors to some of the remote islands that are hard to get to. They have taken notice of what we are doing to help people and have recently committed to giving us $20,000 a year for fuel. They have already paid for our last two fuel shipments. What a blessing.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support for this ministry!
Dwayne and Wendy Harris
Government officials pose during launching ceremony (Department of Health working with PAMAS to provide air ambulance to remote areas)
If you’d like to hear some great stories from a new arrival’s perspective click here: Ray and Phoebe Sickich, Palawan
If you missed our last month’s newsletter, or want to see other posts and videos, visit our website at: pamasmission.org or facebook: Pamas Mission