Dear Friends and Family,
Greetings from Yap! We are excited to share with you the news of the birth of Owen Jan Collins. He was born at 6:20 AM on June 10 and weighed 7 lbs 4 oz. Both mother and baby were healthy. Heidi had false labor on June 8 which got us all excited, but then the real labor did not start until 24 hours later on the evening of June 9.
Heidi said the labor was less painful than the past kids, but the delivery part seemed to be more painful. For me, (Amos) they were all kind of the same. Ha ha.
Heidi was discharged by 6:30 PM that evening and the kids were so excited to welcome their baby brother home. Thank you all for your prayers. We thank God for safe delivery & healthy baby.
In other news, we continue to remain free from the virus. We feel very blessed and fortunate to live on a remote island where they can close the borders and keep the virus out. There was a period between March 16 and May 1 where the government shut down and schools were closed due to a possible breach in our borders, but once we went through about 30 days of quarantine, the schools and government were reopened.
During that period of “lockdown” we really saw it as a good reprieve from our normal busy routine. Heidi and her friend Gabriela used the break from homeschooling to start a brand-new garden which is flourishing now. It also gave us some extra time to just slow the pace and spend time as a family.
To protect the outer islands of Yap, we reduced flights down to one “cargo only” flight per week to keep them supplied. Passengers were allowed to fly to Yap from the islands, but we did not take any passengers out in case the virus was somewhere in Yap. Those islands are so small and the healthcare facilities inadequate to handle it if the virus got through.
This provided a time for me (Amos) to get caught up on some maintenance projects that needed to be done. I did annual inspections on all three of our aircraft and got them all airworthy for when the flights would resume. We also had time to construct a shelter that I have had on my “to-do list” for a couple years now.
This shelter will be to protect on of our grounded aircraft for deteriorating outside in the elements. It can also be used for painting aircraft under, and for storage of large outdoor equipment. Our crew of 5 were able to construct the building in just over a month. It was a fun project and we are excited to have that added space for our operation.
During this pandemic and lockdown situation, our gospel outreach to the outer islands has been put on hold. But there was some progress made when some of our new believers from the outer islands were stranded here in Yap. Our pastor was able to do an extended discipleship course with them and get them more equipped for when they returned to the islands. One of the men from Woleai was baptized here in Yap and has decided to retire from his teaching job and focus on helping our pastor lead the Bible study group on his island. This is very encouraging to our church. Please pray for this man. His name is Peter.
One exciting event that just happened this week was that we were called upon to do something very unusual. There were some people stranded in Chuuk (old Truk lagoon from WWII) who needed to be transported to the Micronesian state of Pohnpei. And some people from Pohnpei needed to be transported from Pohnpei back to Chuuk. Chuuk is 842 miles from Yap and Pohnpei is over 1200 miles away. We do not usually fly those distances and so we don’t even have fuel stored there. I would have to be creative. So, I accepted the request, loaded 4 drums of fuel into the cabin of the plane and departed Yap at 6:00 AM heading for my first stop at Woleai Atoll. In Woleai, I topped up my tanks with fuel I had stored there, as that is one of the islands we service.
When I got to Chuuk, I rolled all the drums out of the plane and put the chairs back in the cabin. Two drums of fuel, I used to top up my tanks, and the other two, I left for my return. We had 9 passengers going, so that meant every seat was filled. We landed in Pohnpei at around 5:30 PM after exactly 8 hours of total flying time. Since PMA has a base, in Pohnpei, I was greeted by our President’s wife Sylvia, who had a warm meal ready for me at her house. Unfortunately, her husband, Norbert, has been stranded in Guam for the last 3 months since the borders into the FSM have been closed. But we had a nice visit, I rested well in their guest room and in the morning headed to the airport at 6:00 AM for my return flight.
I praise the Lord that the aircraft performed perfectly without any hiccup the whole way, and weather was mostly good except for one portion of the route near Woleai where I had to skirt around some heavy rain. It was a lot of ocean to cross, and my back was pretty sore from sitting so long, but now I am happy to be home. We met the needs of the people who requested the flight and even had some good interaction with government officials who will hopefully look favorably on us in future dealings in this country we are guests in.
We thank you all for your continued support, prayers and encouragement, especially during this time of uncertainty in the world. You are a blessing to us, AND to the people of Yap. These remote islands are very dependent on our flights to bring them hope, whether it is by bringing supplies, carrying out their sick, or transporting people where they need to go. We enjoy a close relationship with the island communities and have become part of the family. We believe that relationships are key for opening the door to evangelism. We have seen many doors open, due to the years of service that PMA has provided here in the islands. Pray that He continues to open doors and touch people’s lives.
God Bless you all,
Amos & Heidi Collins