Flight of Compassion

Every week FMS does a flight for Airborne Lifeline Foundation, taking a team of doctors out to village clinics throughout Botswana.  Last week Tammi from  Airborne Lifeline called Mark Spicer and inquired about chartering a small Cessna to take a patient from Gaborone to Maun.  When told how long the flight would take in a Cessna, Tammi said she didn't think the patient could cope with a flight that long.  She then asked about chartering the King Air, a faster aircraft, but when Mark told her how much it would cost, she said it exceeded their budget.  When Mark told her that FMS would subsidize the flight, Tammi was elated.  Here is the story of that very special flight ...

As told by Captain Matt Cressman:

Recently I was eating dinner with Jeff Burnham at a great Indian restaurant that we know and love.  He asked me if I could take a medical flight to Maun on his behalf the next morning as he wanted to catch up on some work in the office.  I was thrilled, as I had just returned from a visit to the States and had completed only one flight since coming back.  I was itching to fly some more!

Smiling Faces and Happy Hearts

Children at Rerotlhe Day Care CentreNiki Basel is a short-term missionary from New Zealand who had the opportunity to visit one of Flying Missions’ partner projects; the Rerotlhe Day Care. Read on to find out what she experienced and learnt during her time at the centre ...

Along a dusty, bumpy, dirt road lies Rerotlhe in the settlement of Seherelela.  We arrived to a huddle of blank faces and silent stares; all of the children seemed too frightened to even greet these tall pale-skinned strangers.  Even the greeting of 'dumelang' got no response, so I got down on my knees, looked them in their big dark eyes, smiled and said it again. This time, a few of them cracked a smile.  My attempt at communicating with them with simple English words and many hand motions was failing and I realise they knew very little English.  So I quickly learnt a few Setswana phrases - "Ke bidiwa Niki, wena o mang?", "I am called Niki, and you are?"  This seemed to do the trick and their shyness slowly disappeared as they took turns telling me their names.

Air Ambulance Pilot "On Call"

Nearly all my flying over the last week was for the Flying Mission Services air ambulance mission. FMS has a contract with the Botswana Ministry of Health to provide 24-7-365 air ambulance service to the people of Botswana. Anytime, day or night, FMS has at least one aircraft and one crew (two pilots, a fully qualified medical doctor, and a fully certified paramedic) on call to be airborne in less than an hour. Our mission is to respond anywhere in the country to transport critical patients from remote areas to fully staffed and equipped hospitals. It sounds important, but it's actually much more.

The Importance of Good Governance

Dr. Les Stahlke; Consultant on GovernanceFlying Mission has been privileged to benefit from the skills and gifts of Dr. Les Stahlke, a consultant specialising in Governance (which he defines as “... the process of directing and controlling an organisation by policy rather than individual management decisions”). He has a wealth of experience in this area having been a CEO himself for 35 years in Canada, the U.S., the U.K and 6 countries in Africa. He says, “today I travel the world assisting Boards of Directors to make the change from managing to governing … I’ve worked with over 200 boards and about 300 CEOs since I started global consulting in 1999.”

He first engaged with FM at the start of 2012 and since then has been giving his time generously to work with all in FM to provide governance training and consultancy; he has made 13 trips to Botswana since then and expects to be working with FM until the end of November 2013

FM Office Move

New Flying Mission Head OfficeChange is part of life. Flying Mission (FM) has seen many changes over the years; some minor and some major, the latest being a change of Head Office location from a space in the ‘Kia Motors Building’ in the north of Gaborone in Botswana (where it has been since 2004) to a large house plot in the ‘Village’ suburb the other side of the city. 


Car troubles

Vehicles are vital tools for missionaries in Africa.  Roads are very tough here and workers have to spend a lot of time and money keeping their cars roadworthy for their ministries. So this story from Pilot Andy Kradolpher is a familiar one, except that it has a rather special ending. Read on to know more..

'Now I like to tinker with cars, but about six months ago we started to experience a series of car troubles in Flying Mission Zambia that gave us quite some grief. We ended up having our car at the mechanic for more than a month. That meant I had to go to the local automotive parts shop quite often.  So I started to dread all the car troubles.

A Picture for Mma Lesego

Mma Lesego, Deb & KgMma Lesego, our Motswana "mother", is one of the dearest people in all the world to me.  My regard for her knows no bounds.  For many decades, she was a hardworking woman who raised eight children in a hot and dusty climate, with no electricity and no running water.  Now blind and limited greatly in what she can do, she is still a woman of great courage, perseverance, and faith.

By the time we came to Botswana in early 1992, Mma Lesego had been widowed for numerous years.  She had pretty much finished raising her own children and had started raising the next generation.  Then she was asked by our mission to raise Mark and me, too -- in the Setswana language and culture.  When we arrived, Mma Lesego had three grown children living with her and seven grandchildren.  Mark and I lived in her son's house next door, but we shared her toilet facility, so we visited her yard several times every day.  In addition, we accompanied Mma Lesego almost everywhere she went -- to the kgotla (tribal meeting place), to weddings, to funerals, on social visits, to the clinic, etc.  We also "helped" her with chores -- fetching firewood, building a kraal, mudding floors, and so on.  (As novices, we weren't that much help.)

Sunday School Under the Trees

Learning their versesOne of the highlights of my week is teaching Sunday School – under the trees. A special set of conditions comes along with it. During the summer, the higher the sun gets, the deeper we move our chairs into the shade. During the winter, when we get cold, we stop the lesson long enough to do calisthenics to warm us up. When it's windy, the seed pods and pollen stick in our hair. I never dealt with predicaments like this when teaching Sunday School in the US.

Happy Mother's Day

Mark wasn't home last night, so KG got to sleep with me. She looked at me in my flannel pajamas, with my hair pulled up in a messy knot on top of my head, and said, "You are SO beautiful, my mama." Hearing KG say that used to make me laugh and crack jokes about her vision impairment. But I have learned to enjoy looking through my daughter's eyes. It is one of the miracles of life that a child can look at her mom when her mom looks her worst and still think that her mom is beautiful!

Those blessed pews

Although Flying Mission is a ‘service’ rather than a ‘church-planting’ mission, all of its missionaries attend local churches and play their part in the life of those churches. This item, from John and Faith Solt, tells of some of their experiences as they worship with a local group of believers in the area of Lusaka in which Flying Mission Zambia has its base.

When we arrived in Zambia we wanted to attend a church within walking distance of our home. We saw a sign for a Baptist Church but it took us three Sundays to find it! It was out in the bush. As we arrived we heard the choir singing in beautiful harmony and everyone welcomed us.

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