For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. – Romans 11:36
Dear Friends and Family,
Greetings from the warm tropical island of Yap! Below are a selection of photos for you to look at and see what we have been up to for the past few months since you last heard from us.
We continue to be amazed at how God foreknew our needs in PMA and the needs of the people in this region. I had originally thought that since these new King Airs are faster and carry more cargo, our monthly flight hours would go down. On the contrary, the demand has tripled, and we are flying more than ever before. And with the capabilities of these aircraft, we are crossing the nation at least 2 or 3 times each month to move people to and from the island’s capital of Pohnpei.
Our operation used to be fairly limited to Yap and its outer islands, but now we are flying regularly across the entire country of Micronesia. PMA has really helped the government accomplish its work, especially during this time of COVID while the borders are closed. We have flown the President of the FSM, many of his cabinet members, as well as the U.S. and Australian Ambassadors. We fly many education workers, health workers, and other government departments as well as individual citizens. All customers have given us compliments on our services and hope that we can expand to assist all the island states someday with the same services that we have provided for Yap State for 48 years.
Our partnership with Samaritan’s Purse has continued to be a blessing to the PMA ministries, not only with their gifting of the King Airs and continued maintenance support, but also with the ministry of the Operation Christmas Child (OCC). Our PMF Church had a big push to get all shoeboxes distributed to all the outer islands before Christmas, but unfortunately with the state ship being broken since December, we just could not reach all the islands.
In God’s perfect timing, our Pastor Petrus was able to use that time for further discipleship of Bruce Mailtig, who is a local missionary stationed on the island of Woleai. When they were finished, we took both Pastor Petrus, his wife, and Bruce back to Woleai with a load of shoeboxes.
This turned out to be a very critical visit, as Petrus was able to meet with the chiefs and get their approval for us to do the OCC distribution and share the gospel.
We also continue to provide free medical evacuations from the outer islands to the main island of Yap. One interesting medevac we had was when a patient had trouble breathing. One feature on the King Air is that you can adjust the pressurization to simulate a lower altitude. But ultimately, the patient actually needed oxygen and the island did not have any portable bottles. So, we got to utilize another feature on the King Air, which is a medical oxygen mask. This is a mask that you pull down from the ceiling just like on big airliners and can provide a passenger with oxygen. In this case, it was a patient. Quite a nice added feature that we were able to use to keep the situation under control.
In November, we got permission to bring our Pilot Brock Welge and his family to Yap to assist with a Phase Inspection on the King Air as well as help with our flights. Brock brought our BN-2A Islander up from Palau and was able to help with several flights to and from Ulithi and Fais. When he wasn’t flying, he was working hard to troubleshoot some problems on the planes and also run through the Phase Inspection on N875SP. His family joined our homeschool and we all enjoyed fellowship together for those two months. After Christmas, Brock and his family returned to Palau where they are currently stationed.
One of Amos’ roles as Chief Pilot for PMA is to conduct training for new pilots. In January, our Pilot Dave Kenrick completed all the necessary training to start flying our King Airs. This has been a big help to PMA to have a second pilot who can help with the flights. Dave has decades of flying experience and thousands of hours in King Airs. Attached is a photo of Amos and Dave in Pohnpei, where Dave had lived for three years when he served with PMA in 1983. Many times in the last couple months, Amos and Dave have been in the air at the same time, flying between the states of Micronesia and relaying to each other updates on weather and other traffic, which is (almost nonexistent) in the area. Sometimes when the HF radios don’t work for Amos 800 miles from home base, they do work for Dave 1400 miles from Yap and he can relay Amos’ position report for him or vice versa.
One year ago, PMA hired a young man named J.R. who was interested in aviation. We offered him an opportunity to apprentice for three years and after that, be eligible to take the test to become a U.S. certified A&P mechanic. We have been very pleased with J.R.’s progress. He is a hard worker, fast learner and a pleasure to have as part of our team. When he becomes a certified mechanic, he will already have the three years’ experience and be able to sign off maintenance on the planes.
Our kids continue to grow and develop their own personalities. It’s been fun to spend time with them and watch them go through life here in Yap. In many ways, it’s a childhood paradise just like Heidi and I had growing up in the Philippines.
As our kids grow up, we can no longer cram them all into one room. Last year we had rearranged the rooms to give the girls their own space, but then only had a small area for the boys. One project we did a couple months ago was expand their little corner into a 10’ X 10’ room upstairs. It was a fun project to do with the kids.
Heidi is in her eighth year of homeschooling. This year, besides the usual school subjects, the kids are doing a lot of agriculture, cooking, and culture projects–good life skills! The students have also been fundraising by selling popsicles, collecting aluminum cans and planting trees. They are really getting a broad education and enjoying school at the same time.
Heidi continues to lead a weekly ladies Bible study, and it has been encouraging to see more women join to learn God’s Word together. The men of the church have been helping the ladies by clearing land for a local food garden, and everyone has been busy planting tapioca (cassava), taro, and sugarcane in the last two months. Every Friday Heidi leads a youth ministry in our home for a group of 12-20-year-olds. They play games, cook together, and listen to Bible talks. Right now they are practicing a worship dance for Easter. Heidi’s not sure if they’re aging her prematurely or keeping her young-either way, she finds her jobs fulfilling and enjoyable!
Our furlough is due this summer, but our country still has its borders closed and we think that while it will be no problem going out, it could be several weeks of quarantine to get back in, if we are allowed in at all. So, we are leaning towards pushing our furlough another year when things settle down a bit more.
Thank you all for your continued prayers and support. We are truly blessed to have partners in this ministry. God has given us such a sense of purpose here, serving with PMA. There is a big need for what we are doing here and there are many opened doors to sharing the gospel and being a shining light to those around us. These days can be so uncertain, but when we have faith in Someone greater, there is no need to be afraid. God will care for us and sustain us when we trust and obey Him.
• Pray for continued safety of flights
• Pray for our final approvals with the FAA to be completed
• Pray for Heidi to continue to enjoy
teaching and to have the strength each day.
• This summer Amos and Dave need to travel off island to get recurrent and renew our medicals. Pray that we can quickly get back in the country.
• Amos passed 600 hours in King Airs and continues to learn more and more.
• The OCC Ministry continues to be a blessing to our church as well as the community
• For our continued health
• God’s continued provision for PMA and the ministry we have here in this nation
God Bless you all,
Amos & Heidi Collins
Tommy, Raina, Honora, Theo, & Owen