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Everyone but the pig happy in the end

Missionaries Joseph Colyn and Joe Evans had an early morning start to meet with an SIL helicopter pilot to shuttle supplies for missionaries in a remote village.

Their trip last month in an overloaded Toyota truck would take them three hours over unlit, unmaintained Papua New Guinea roads. They planned to meet the pilot, load the chopper for three trips to the village and return home.

About one-half hour into the trip they rounded a bend to find an unwelcome intruder in their path. Unable to stop in time, the collision was fatal for the pig.

"Praise the Lord we did not wreck," Joe wrote. "Also, we weren’t shot at, stopped, or beat up. Running over a pig in PNG is not a good thing to do."

Slightly shaken from their early morning incident, they arrived to find the landing area was overgrown. They figured that they could hire a few bystanders to clear out the area but two minutes after their arrival the helicopter landed.

The men began to load the chopper, watching their weight limits closely. When it started to rain they loaded what they could, covered what was left and settled in to wait for the rain to end.

Upon arriving in the village, the pilot met with another delay. He found that the missionaries who were to arrive home that morning were not there. With frozen food items in the helicopter the pilot had to do a bit of breaking and entering to get the now less-frozen food items into the freezer.

A few hours later than expected, the last of the loads was delivered and Joseph and Joe were ready to head home. The road home had some nice scenery but lacked one vital element -- a fuel station.

"We arrived at the only one along the way and found out it had been closed for about a month," Joe wrote.

With the fuel gauge reading less then empty, the men threw themselves on the mercy of a local coconut plantation manager who agreed to sell them a few liters of diesel. But first he needed to find the man who had the key to the pump. The man with the key showed up and checking the tank, found it empty.

"So, out comes the hand pump and a 55 gallon drum to fill up the underground tank to prime the pump to fill our truck," Joe wrote.

It had been a long day when the men arrived back at the mission center after dark.

"However, as difficult as the day was, we were rather blessed," wrote Joe. "The chopper flew trouble-free all day long, everything was delivered and we made the trip back and forth safely."

POSTED ON Aug 04, 2009 by David Bell