When God Closes a Door…
I don’t know where I heard the saying, but someone once said: “When God closes a door, He often times opens a window.” I know it sounds like a cliche, but at this very moment we’re experiencing the reality of this saying.
For a number of years, I’ve had a nagging feeling that we need to move our main flight operation completely out of the capitol city of Georgetown. Strangely enough, I can’t say that I can pin everything down to one particular reason. It’s conglomerate of different rational, and a healthy does of sixth sense.
>From the book Christian Living pg. 24 comes the quote, “The time has come, when, as God opens the way, families should move out of the cities. The children should be taken into the country. The parents should get as suitable a place as their means will allow. Though the dwelling may be small, yet there should be land in connection with it, that may be cultivated.” When our girls were but toddlers, living in the inner city wasn’t so big of a deal, but now they are 3 and 6 and their inquisitive little minds are like sponges. I feel a need to protect them from the moral filth that is so pervasive in this city.
But there’s also a concern about our physical safety. Within the last year, there have been two armed robberies right in front of the hospital that we stay at, and we supposedly live in a better part of town! As times become more difficult, people are increasingly turning to crime.
And then there is the concern about living 6 feet below sea level. A half day of heavy rain is all it takes to flood most of this city. And all it would take is one medium sized tsunami or very large rogue wave and Georgetown would utterly disappear. This is not a very comforting thought.
Furthermore, Ogle airport where we are currently based out of, is pushing extremely hard to receive international status. Change is inevitable, but with change comes fees, regulations, and restrictions. Already we’re feeling the pinch.
So a few months ago I decided the time had come to put out some fleeces and pray for the Lord’s guidance. The big question was (and still is) where to go. Land around the coastal areas of the Demerara is very expensive. There were three airstrips west of Ogle that we were looking at. Two of the airstrips belonged to the Guysuco Sugar Corporation within easy driving distance of Georgetown. These seemed very promising since the effort to bring them back to flight worthy status would be much more cost effective than to try and buy land and certify a new airstrip. The last airstrip we were considering was Bethany which is on the other side of the Esequibo River and not accessible to Georgetown by road.
We began with the two Guysuco airstrips east of the Essequibo. One was Wales, and was just across the Demerara Harbor Bridge and further South. The other was Uitvlugt (pronounced “Ai-flut”), also across the Demerara Harbour Bridge and up the coastal road the goes to Parika. Wales looked especially promising since it was closer to Georgetown, and wasn’t as overgrown as the Uitvlugt Airstrip.
Everything in Guyana happens top down, since that’s the way the British operated. So I wrote a letter to the CEO expressing my interest in potentially reopening one of their airstrips. Two months passed with no word back, so I decided to make a phone call. That one phone call launched a cascade of events.
Within two hours of my phone call, the CEO’s secretary called me back and arranged a meeting in two days. When I arrived at the Guysuco headquarters, the CEO cordially invited me into his office and basically told me to move forward with this research and put a couple proposals on his desk within a week. My next move was to call the Wales Estate manager and to schedule a trip out to the airstrip to have a look from the ground. The visit again went very smoothly, and the Estate manager and four other people drove us out to the airstrip to have a close up look. I could clearly see that there would be some issues, like power lines, and new housing developments that we would have to work around. But I was excited about what I saw. Just as I was about to leave, I got an idea, and asked the Estate Manager if I could find out a few statistics about what it costs to operate the Turbo Thrush crop duster from Ogle. To my utter surprise I discovered that the estate pays out an exorbitant amount just to fly the airplane to and from Ogle Airport. Thus they are just as anxious as we are to open up this airstrip, and cut tens of thousands of dollars annually in needless expense.
About a week later I made another trip back to Wales, this time with a gentleman from public works, and another person from GCAA. We did some GPS measurements of the airstrip itself and even went to the department of Public Works and got a satellite photo of the airstrip and surrounding lands.
Everything was falling into place nicely, too well in fact. Then all of a sudden the door slammed shut.
My next step was to contact the Director General of the Guyana Civil Aviation and put forward a request for an exception to the airworthiness regulations. It was in this meeting that Mr. Mohammed expressed some serious concerns about our proposal. The first concern had to do with airstrip security. Many don’t know this, but Guyana is one of the major funnels for the drug trade. In times past, there have been reports of unidentified aircraft landing at night at these remote strips to offload drugs. Guysuco and the GCAA are very concerned about airstrip security (as we are) and what can be done to make certain that Wales will no longer be used for illegal activites. The second major hurdle has to do with air safety. The GCAA is concerned with Wales being in the flight path of Ogle Airport. They think that there is a potential that a aircraft departing from Wales, could pose a threat to Ogle’s landing traffic.
A few weeks ago I wrote some follow up letters, addressing these two primary concerns. Just a few minutes ago I called to confirm that the letters arrived safely. They had, and today they’ll be discussing the solutions that I suggested in the letters.
Please pray today that God would either reopen the door, or open a better window of opportunity.