My Journey South
My name’s Cess (I’m a Cessna 206 airplane; the name’s not too creative, I know). I’m currently recovering from a more than 30-hour trip to my new home here in Brazil. And I’m not even at my final destination yet. They’re going to take my floats—my beautiful, water-stroked floats—off and fly me up to an airstrip in the jungles in the north. But it’s worth it, since I’ll be flying humans around who share the Good News with those who’ve never heard it before.
My colleague, Sexton, a Cessna 210, would be here to introduce himself, but he recently arrived from the long trip I just made, so he’s being refueled—guzzling the fuel like a thirsty dog.
My journey began in a hangar at Samaritan’s Purse. How glad I was to dance on the wind again when a pilot flew me to the tree-swathed land of North Carolina at JAARS! I had gotten in bad shape sitting in the hangar prior to arriving at JAARS, so the aviation mechanics here at JAARS used their knowledge and experience about flying in difficult places to fix me up and train me well before I could fly the long way down to Brazil.
Two pilots, Lauro and Christoph, both of whom work in my new home, attended some training courses at JAARS to polish off their flying skills. Then they took turns soaring me to Brazil. I especially like Lauro because even with my heavy floats still on, he called me a ‘great plane!’ I’m newer and better maintained than the other planes in their fleet, which is part of the reason why they bought me. I’m glad I sucked in my belly at my old hangar when the buyers came to inspect me so I could fly these great guys around.
We had wonderful winds and weather for most of the trip down to Brazil and saw some picturesque beaches and lightning that thankfully didn’t fry my systems. My brain did start malfunctioning—from exhaustion or the lightning—when we reached the capital of English Guyana. Thankfully a human named Jeyson from a nearby city gave me a new one, and everything is whirling perfectly inside me now.
My new home of Brazil greeted us with beating, cold rain, and I missed the warmth of the hangar at JAARS. Lauro, flying me at this point, was ecstatic to be home again, which I couldn’t understand with the torrential downpour trying to push us to the ground. I hope the weather won’t always be this miserable here.
Soon I’ll be flying farther north, deep into the rainforest to replace a 206 that’s retiring. I’m sad to leave my new friend, Sexton, but I’m excited to begin my mission of making the impossible work of transporting Bible translators possible. And I’m thankful to the folks at JAARS who fixed me up and trained my pilots so we can do this valuable work. Just from what I’ve seen here and the stories from some of the other airplanes makes me vibrate at how difficult it is to move around in this country.
One veteran told me that some places are only accessible by us airplanes. In other places, the trip is so long and exhausting for the humans, that the translators end up doing few trips, and spending less time in the village than is ideal. And the opposite can happen as well: those serving God in Brazil might stay in their villages when they should come out for planning meetings, training events, or other important events. But when they’re faced with a two-week roundtrip journey, they don’t want to leave their work for that long. And I don’t blame them. There’s a reason God gave me wings. Even though (and I’m only saying this because Sexton’s not around) I’m slower than Sexton and less practical, I’m still better than walking through mosquito-infested jungle with nowhere to sleep and no fresh food to eat for weeks.
Hopefully soon I can tell you about my trip up north and what I’m doing there. Sexton will probably also have a few things to add about what he’s up to in the sky once he stops guzzling half our precious fuel supply. Until we fly again!