"GROUND ZERO" NEPAL - SHAKING!
Been on many "bad roads" over my life, but Nepal's roads rival the worst. We departed Gorkha in a late model Indian 4X4 (Mahindra) that was found for us by Joe's 16 year connection. Never cease to marvel at how our Lord "orchestrates" things.
Our driver, Epoch, pulled into an "inspection" ramp and started tightening all of the suspension bolts for the bone-jarring drive ahead. BTW, I like this 4X4, it's very well built. Joe and I knew we were in for a "ride".
Our first destination was a small community called Bachchek, a town flattened by the earthquake. As we shook and rattled down this mountainside road with literally hundreds and hundreds of sheer drop offs and evidence everywhere of freshly cleared landslides.
Joe and I knew our lives could end in a moment with the slightest earthquake shake. In this shot, Joe is pointing down from the window of our 4X4, it was a sheer 100+ drop to the bottom.
At first, I'd see the narrow path with a sheer wall on one side and the harrowing drop off on the other side and my heart would beat a bit faster. After 4 hours of this, there remained just a simple trust that our Lord would take care of us....no matter what happened.
Along the way, we saw so many images that will be forever forged into my mind and heart, but I had to share this scene of 2 little ones getting water.
Finally, we pulled into Bhakchek and began unloading our precious cargo....clean water.
The "Mayor" of Bhakchek greeted us and helped us carry this "wonder machine" that takes very contaminated water and turns it into extremely pure water.
Joe led the training and the "students" were just great. Bhakchek had a perfect set up for the Air Mobile Rescuer.
One part of this whole operation that I love is taking the "first drink". That usually "wins" the audience as to how good this little machine really works!
Then the "Mayor" took the second drink. This is all it takes for the whole community to "fall in love" with the Air Mobile Rescuer.
We then presented the Air Mobile Rescuer to the Mayor and the whole community. This is just pure joy!
This last scene of a mother with her daughter tells a lot.
After a lovely meal provided by the Mayor we hit the road for our next destination, even closer to the actual "Ground Zero", the community called Bayoo. The road was equally rough, particularly as we crawled toward the actual point where this terrible earthquake split the mountains open. We saw rockslides everywhere.
Upon arrival, again, Joe led the training. Bayoo is at an intersection connecting a number of communities. We selected a trickling water source that was the first bit of water to the weary and thirsty evacuees....who were still pouring out of the region hardest hit.
Just across from our deployment / training point was a village that was completely destroyed. Almost every resident was killed. A grim reminder of the brutal destruction left by this terrible earthquake.
We've got to "hit the road" or shall I say, "the road is about to hit us" for our next deployments. PLEASE remember to pray for us, as these are extremely perilous conditions!
As always, THANK YOU for joining us on this winding and wonderful journey of bringing clean water and the Good News of Jesus to thirsty folk!! THANKS again for your precious prayer, love and support!!
Air Mobile Joe
5-7-15 Thursday 6:26AM (Nepal Time) - Gorkha, Nepal - Air Mobile Nepal Mission – Report submitted by: Air Mobile Joe
AIR MOBILE IN EPICENTER ZONE - BASE CAMP GORKHA - SMALL QUAKES SHAKE!
The day began in Kathmandu with a very timely meeting. Our Lord has His hand so mightily on this mission! 16 years ago, our Air Mobile "Water Mule", Joe Prussel was in Nepal. It was Joe's first true missionary journey.
As a result of that mission, long ago, we met with Pad and Lila, both extremely well connected within the Nepal Government. Pad is also responsible for 16 Churches throughout Nepal. Yes, "Surely, God knows how to deploy His troops!!"
With more invaluable information, we hit the road for Gorhka. Joe remembers the journey from 16 years ago, as being very treacherous and long. The roads had been improved somewhat, but there was still a lot of rock slide evidence.
As we moved closer and closer to the epicenter of the terrible earthquake, we saw more and more evidence of the powerful destruction.
After 6 hours, we pulled into Gorkha, an absolutely beautiful little town 3700 feet above sea level with a magnificent lush valley at it's base. This is just the "gateway" to the destruction that we will see today.
We settled into a small guesthouse and was sitting out on the veranda, when, just moments before this shot was taken....suddenly, it felt and sounded like a bomb went off under our feet.
A thousand birds screamed and took wing & you could hear folks screaming and running. For a moment there was chaos, then things settled down. My heart was beating like crazy. It was a "small" earthquake.
Then, a leader from the small town of Gorhka showed up (thanks to Pad and Lila). We briefly described what we were here to do. He offered to introduce us to the Chief Water / Sanitation engineer for the whole zone.
After demonstrating the Air Mobile Rescuer, the Chief Engineer was extremely impressed with the size, strength and output of the Rescuer.
After much discussion, a deployment strategy was determined. We picked a number of locations on the map and came up with Plan A, Plan B & Plan C.
This will all be dependent upon the condition of the roads and what these quakes are doing regarding land slides.
BTW, there was another quake at 5:00am this morning. It simply woke me up and I don't have any real memory of it but....it just proves how volatile this whole region is.
Joe and I just assessed again, this guesthouse, and what will be the best way to get out QUICKLY in the event another quake hits.
Again, as a result of our "good connections" which have been arranged by our Lord (beginning 16 years ago!!), a 4X4 vehicle is being arranged to take us to the first, devastated village. We'll be loading Rescuers and hitting the road as soon as the 4X4 gets out of the shop (being prepped for the hard journey).
So, as always, THANK YOU - THANK YOU for your precious prayer, love and support!!!
Air Mobile Joe
5-6-15 Wednesday 7:56AM (Nepal Time) - Kathmandu, Nepal - Air Mobile Nepal Mission – Report submitted by: Air Mobile Joe
AIR MOBILE HEADING TO GORKHA
We're managing the "Jet Lag" reasonably well (but in the late afternoon....really dragging). There is a 10 hour time difference between U.S. East time and Nepal time (it's morning here on Wednesday and late evening on Tuesday in U.S.)
Yesterday yielded incredible "intel" for what we can expect on the ground. Found out there is a pretty clear route to Gorkha by road. The Gorkha region was the epicenter of the massive 7.8 earthquake.
We have the possibility of a helicopter lift, but prefer to go by road, as this will allow us to assess the damage and needs so much more while enroute.
We'll be departing soon and again, we may not be able to update the blog once we arrive in the Gorkha region.
We ask you to please pray especially for our safety as we are going into a region that is still having earthquakes and landslides.
So please stay tuned and also....we're just THANKFUL for your vital and greatly appreciate prayer, love and support!!
Air Mobile Joe
5-5-15 Tuesday 6:09PM (Nepal Time) - Kathmandu, Nepal - Air Mobile Nepal Mission – Report submitted by: Air Mobile Joe
AIR MOBILE ON GROUND IN NEPAL - OPEN DOORS!!
Air Mobile landed in Kathmandu from Doha yesterday evening. All I can say is WOW! Surely our Lord is opening doors like crazy! First of all, our flight was not restricted due to the runway damage done at the Kathmandu International Airport. Landing was a bit rough, but safe. An Open Door!
While passing Immigrations we explained that we had vital, life-saving water purifiers. The Official was THANKFUL and gave us a full and immediate clearance. Another Open Door!
With that Document in hand we were ready for Customs. Must tell you, the airport was a madhouse. The baggage collection area was wall to wall people.
But after retrieving our 4 tubs containing the 7 Air Mobile Rescuers, we were met by Paul from Remote Area Medical (RAM).
Paul is leading a team of U.S. Surgeons and made arrangements for us to stay at a nearby hotel...at a reasonable rate. Another Open Door! Considering the magnitude of this disaster, our accommodations are great.
We were up first thing (10 hour time difference), after a much, much needed night of sleep. We'd been traveling for well over 30 hours to get to Nepal.
Our next stop was the International Airport. We prayed, asking our Lord for favor and guidance. Upon arriving at the airport, it was like a whirlwind.
We needed Badges to get "behind the scenes" at the airport. The U.S. Marines had 4 V-22 Osprey and a couple of Huey's. We soon had our "Clearance" and met with the Marines.
We found out they were not going to Gorkha, the hardest hit area of Nepal. They were going to other hard areas, but not the area we felt led by the Lord to bring clean water to. But, we gained invaluable info from them.
From there it was to the World Food Program. Have worked with them all over the world. The lead guy, Baptiste from France, gave us just the info we needed to determine how to get to Gorkha. Again, invaluable info.
Met an MAF Pilot from Uganda who was helping to coordinate Helicopter flights into the hardest hit areas. Again, more invaluable info.
We seemed to have accomplished in just a few hours what would take days going through "normal channels". Our Lord does NOT OPERATE ON NORMAL CHANNELS! We then headed back to our base to plan our strategy for deployment to Ghorkha.
We'll be departing in the morning for Gorkha. Not sure if we'll even have an internet connection there so....there may be a "gap" in coverage. I'm very THANKFUL to have you on-board with us with your precious prayer, love and support!!!
Air Mobile Joe
5-4-15 Monday 7:22AM (Qatar Time) - Doha, Qatar - Air Mobile Enroute to Nepal – Report submitted by: Air Mobile Joe
ENROUTE TO NEPAL VIA DOHA QATAR - SMOOTH, LONG FLIGHT
Joe Prussel and I boarded a U.S. Airways flight to Philidelphia early Sunday morning to begin the long journey to Nepal.
A SPECIAL THANKS to U.S. Airways for waiving the oversize / overweight "Blue Tubs" carrying 7 life-saving Air Mobile Rescuers!
After an uneventful, on-time flight to Philly, we then boarded a beautiful Qatar Airlines 777.
After 13+ hours at 39,000 feet, we landed in Doha, Qatar on time and we're awaiting our next leg to Kathmandu, Nepal. BTW, the service and food on Qatar Airlines was superb!
All kind of news is coming out of Nepal. There were several earthquakes on Sunday, rattling nerves and further weakening already severely damaged buildings.
And the Nepal Government is restricting "Heavy Aircraft", causing a major back-up of relief aid. We're hoping and praying our flight in Kathmandu will not be cancelled or delayed.
Here's more on this developing story - NEPAL EARTHQUAKE: KATHMANDU AIRPORT CLOSES DAMAGED RUNWAY TO BIG PLANES
We've already spent over 16 hours in the air and still have over 2000 miles to go. Time to go try to find a quiet spot here in Doha, Qatar and get a little shut eye.
As always, THANK YOU for your precious and vital prayer, love and support!!
Air Mobile Joe
5-3-15 Sunday 3:17AM (Eastern U.S. Time) - Cocoa, FL - Air Mobile Home Base – Report submitted by: Air Mobile Joe
THE LONG ROAD TO NEPAL
Our flight departs Orlando International at 6:10am. It's going to be a long journey with only a few stops...Philly, Doha Qatar and finally to Kathmandu.
We're all "strapped & loaded and ready to go. We have 4 blue tubs with Rescuers in side. Report after report from Nepal states the clear and immediate need is for clean water.
Even though our 7 Rescuers will only be a "Drop in the Bucket", those that get those precious drops will be very thankful. We'll do all we can to help those that are suffering such awful need.
Our goal is to "reach far" and go where the needs are the greatest. This is NEVER easy. Please pray for us to be directed and guided by the Holy Spirit as we launch forth.
Gotta run. Will write more on our next layover. God bless and as always, THANK YOU for your precious and vital prayer, love and support!!
Air Mobile Joe
5-2-15 Saturday 5:49AM (Eastern U.S. Time) - Cocoa, FL - Air Mobile Home Base – Report submitted by: Air Mobile Joe
AIR MOBILE GETS HELP FROM JET BLUE & A CERTAIN LITTLE GIRL TURNS 10
The "Haiti Mission" was complete and it was time to head back to the U.S. and then, beginning the long journey to Nepal. The only thing standing in the way were a few storms...along the way....in the "Bermuda Triangle".
There's a lot I could say about the "Triangle", but the one thing that stands out is it's incredibly rapid ability to generate storms.
Over the years, I've gained a great deal of respect for this and give plenty of room to "run away" and land on an island when things don't look good.
As it became clear, several days ago, that Air Mobile was going to Nepal, I began tracking a line of storms along my route home. I saw some breaks and possible "safe passage" through.
After prayer and a thorough pre-flight, I crawled in the Little Donkey and fired up the engines. Just before take-off, Jet Blue 1510 landed at Port-Au-Prince.
He heard that I was about to depart (over our new Harris ATC Communication System) and landed short and turned off at the midway point, saving me about 10 minutes. I thanked the pilot for his kind effort.
I also asked him about the weather. He told me that storms were brewing, but there seemed to be several ways around the worst ones. Pilots freely share enroute advice. It's called a "Pirep" or Pilot Report. Again, I thanked the Jet Blue Captain.
Just moments before pushing the throttles forward, I snapped a few shots of the satellite image while I still had phone signal. It would be my last image until I arrived at of the line of storms.
I knew that the weather would change by the time I got there, it always does. I was just hoping and praying for a nice passage through.
My initial altitude was 16,500 feet. I knew I'd likely have to pick up an IFR (Instrument Flight Rule) along the way. Flying VFR (Visual Flight Rule) would allow me to freely maneuver around any weather encountered.
About an hour into the flight, I heard Jet Blue 1510 report his position. He was just behind me. He had a "quick turn around" at Port-Au-Prince and was on his way back to Fort Lauderdale. I asked if he could be my eyes and help me navigate that line of storms. He gladly agreed to help.
Even though the "Little Donkey" is extremely well equipped, it doesn't have on-board radar which helps to navigate around storms.
Of course, Jet Blue has radar and he was flying at 38,000 feet, giving him an excellent view of how to navigate around those storms.
He gave me the exact routing to work around those "bad boys". We were in communication for about an hour. What a great help!!! Thank you, Jet Blue Captain of flight 1510, whoever you are!!
About 2.5 hours into the flight, I came across the line and one big one, right in the middle of my route, with tops approaching 40,000 and growing. You wouldn't want to "tangle" with that one!
The Jet Blue pilot had told me clearly what was to the left and right and behind the storms, invaluable information.
I went ahead and picked up an IFR and climbed to 19,000.
Now, I was fighting a 45+ knot headwind. So glad for all those extra fuel tanks. Miami Center was helpful also, but their radar does not depict weather very well. So, that "golden" advice from Jet Blue really helped me to get home.
Now, Cindy and I had discussed the possible "delay" in my return. I won't hesitate to just land on an island and let the weather pass and wait for a good clearing. But, this day, with the help from some new friends, I was able to get home.
She's up early with her Dad and yes, I fixed this little one a cup of "coffee milk" just like my Dad used to do for me. We're so glad that our Lord gave us Ariana!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HONEY!!
After her party, I'll be meeting my other Air Mobile Team Member and "Water Mule Extraordinaire", Joe Prussel. Joe's been all over the world with Air Mobile bringing clean water to the thirsty and desperate.
We so well remember the Words of Jesus...."I was thirsty and you gave Me to drink....when you've done it unto the least of these, you've done it unto Me".
Nepal is suffering! So many are thirsty and cut-off. We want to bring clean water and demonstrate the Love of God!
It's going to be a crazy busy day, between the party and packing those life-saving Rescuers and so many other details. We're scheduled to depart at 6:10 tomorrow morning for Nepal! I'm so glad you're with us with your precious love, prayer and support!!!
Air Mobile Joe
5-1-15 Friday 5:08AM (Haiti Time) - Bon Repos, Haiti - Air Mobile Base Camp – Report submitted by: Air Mobile Joe
GATHERING SUPPLIES & CLEARING THE WAY...TO NEPAL
Via cell phone and e-mail, all of the critical components are coming together for our upcoming "Mission to Nepal". We're just so THANKFUL to be able to bring clean water to those that are so desperate and fighting for their lives!!
The death toll continues to rise (6200+) as rescue workers find a moment of joy at the news of 2 more survivors found.
Time is RUNNING OUT for those trapped in the rubble. Here's more - NEPAL RESCUE JOY BRINGS NEW HOPE TO QUAKE SURVIVOR HUNT
Long before the dreadful Nepal Earthquake, we had been accumulating components for Air Mobile Rescuers. Now, our team is simply putting the pieces together and putting on the final touches. We now have 7 units funded and are going for more. Please, if you feel led to donate to this life-saving cause, NOW is the time!
We have a long way to go, but vital steps toward the goal have been made. We even helped get a radio station back on the air (read yesterday's blog below).
I told Bob D'Andrea (the President of CTN) that...."even a blind, 3 legged squirrel can find a nut...if he's at the right place, at the right time".
That's the way I felt when that radio station went back on the air. The CTN technician (that was guiding my hands via cell phone) knew exactly where to tell me to plug and unplug and re-plug. Thank God, the Good News of Jesus is broadcasting in Haiti again.
We still have a bit more business to conduct in Haiti before departing for the U.S. Up bright and early to wrap up this mission and then head home to make the "quick turn" to Nepal.
Please PRAY that all goes smoothly here and that when I do point the nose of the Little Donkey back to the U.S. that the weather will cooperate.
I must tell you, this mission has been "loaded" and I'm thankful that my head didn't "blow apart" trying to juggle so many balls.
Surely, our Lord has helped and so many others "behind the scenes" are working so hard to bring the pieces together to get us to Nepal. PLEASE continue to pray for us to have WISDOM & FAVOR!
The sun is just peaking over the mountains here in Haiti and roosters have a full-blown chorus going. The little Keurig is about to deliver the second cup of coffee and I'm about to head out into this day that our Lord has made.
THANK YOU all for your faithful prayer, love and support!! We so APPRECIATE YOU!!
Air Mobile Joe