Our apologies for the very, very late blog post. It's been too long... Let me recap the past three months…
With a lot of the volunteers on base being from different areas of Peru, almost all of the group went home mid-December, and didn’t come back until mid-January. So, the beginning of January was quiet around the base. With quietness, comes the opportunity for more time to work on the airplanes! January allowed me to get things prepared on the airplane for Eben’s family to return in the first week of February, and considering that Eben was coming back, I was able to order parts that could be brought down with him. Eben returned with a bounty of needed airplane parts. I was able to replace broken water seals, install a new hydraulic system pressure regulating switch (and hopefully be done with hydraulic system!) and with new tooling I was able to re-rig almost all the flight controls. It was starting to feel like the Lake Amphibian was finally going to fly again.
January also came with some sad news in Jess’ family. The grandparents on the Curran side of her family, got Covid and were struggling to beat it. They finally did, but her grandpa never quite fully recovered, and started having complications with other parts of his health. Sabbath, February 12, we got a phone call just before church, saying that Grandpa was not breathing well and that we needed to say our goodbyes. Jess got to say goodbye and join her family in singing hymns to her grandpa as he drifted to sleep, resting in Jesus. It was a rough day. I had the personal blessing of knowing Grandpa Curran for around 14 years of my life, and I can truly say that while not everyone has a good role model, or relationship, with their grandpa, that Grandpa Curran was a grandpa second to none. He was a man who could seem hard on the outside, but who loved deeply. His love for Christ was evident in both the way he lived his life, and the words he spoke. He wasn’t afraid to have a firm hand when needed, but rarely in an unnecessary way, and he was humble enough to come and apologize for a wrong that he might have created.
Over the next few weeks, we discussed the possibility of returning to the United States for his memorial service. Not only was Grandpa Curran dearly beloved, but for Jess he was also the first close family member to pass. There was a lot to discuss. We had planned on being in Peru for approximately two years before returning to the US for a furlough, not simply one. The Lake Amphibian was really close to flying, and I was very driven to get it flying as quickly as I safely could. With Eben’s family back, Jess had started homeschooling Amy, their daughter, again, so what would happen there? Could we afford the flights, and if we could then we would need to stay long enough in the US to have made the cost worth it, but then if we stay longer the planes are sitting longer, so what would be the right amount of time. The more we discussed and prayed, the more that Jess felt the need to return, I struggled deeply with what should be done. Finally, with much prayer, research and discussion, we decided that we could make it back, and then decided that we would go back.
With this new decision, I had even more of a fire to get the Lake Amphibian ready to fly. I was often working late into the evenings and swatting many mosquitoes to do everything I could to be done before leaving. But, once again, the Lake Amphibian had more unexpected surprises that I now had to address. I really hadn’t done any work on the fuel system up to this point, and as I was inspecting, I soon discovered a corrosion issue in the right-hand fuel tank that had eaten all the way through the wing, but had been hidden by paint up to this point. So, with this new large issue, I knew that it was going to take too long for me to repair properly before going home, I sadly had to let go of the idea of getting the Lake Amphibian flying before returning to the US. There were a few other setbacks that came up, but that was the one that really destroyed my hopes.
We were provided a blessing before leaving when two of the youth were baptized in late February. Members from the church that we attend, the Lomas Church, had been studying the Bible with them. These two young ladies are just a few of several, that the members of our church have been interacting with. Sister Blanca, the matron of a family in our church, is faithful to reach out to her neighbors and invite them to learn more about her Jesus. She goes to several houses each week to hold studies, and through her efforts many souls have been won to Christ. Please, join us in praying that God continues to bless in this church and family’s ministry to the world around them.
We are crisscrossing the northern Midwest of the US, and are ready to be done driving! Right now, I am sitting in the back of Grandma Curran’s RV, driving from Oscoda, MI, to Thermopolis, WY. Grandpa Curran’s memorial service took place at Camp Au Sable, the SDA summer camp in Michigan that he and Grandma Curran worked at for 14 years. It was such a blessing to be able to share the memories of his life with friends and family. One of the things that Grandpa Curran always had a heart for was missions, and he had been wanting to support Peru Projects by providing a donation that would bless the ministry. In response to this desire, Grandma Curran decided that instead of receiving flowers, or other gifts, that it would be requested that people use that money to donate to Peru Projects. Through the generosity of the many people who attended, Peru Projects was given enough money to start updating the appliance for our Cafeteria and a fund for a new lawn mower, all in the loving memory of a man who had a heart for spreading the love of Jesus. We look forward to the soon return of Christ, where we will all be able to reunite, not separated by countries, oceans or death. We will be in the Berrien Springs, MI area from April 19th - May 2nd, if you are in the area, we would love to see you…just give us a shout out.
Brad and Jess