The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. – Lamentations 3:22
Dear Friends and Family,
Greetings from Yap! We have had quite an eventful summer. Summer is always our busiest flying season as we move students and teachers to and from the outer islands. The ship has also been broken down, making our flights an essential lifeline for food supplies to the islands as well.
This summer we finally crossed a hurdle in our flight operations that we have been advancing towards for the past year. Since we got the King Airs, we have been jumping through the required hoops and training to get approved to fly under IFR Oceanic. This allows us to fly higher, and if necessary, in bad weather to get where we need to go.
Amos flew the plane up to Guam to meet with an FAA inspector who came all the way from Kansas City to do a validation flight which was the final requirement. During the same trip in June, Amos also did his annual check ride with another FAA inspector and renewed his annual flight physical. It was a whirlwind trip, but he got everything done.
After Amos’ trip to Guam, he returned to Yap and during a Phase Inspection on one King Air, he noticed a defect inside the engine on one of the turbine blades. This would require a specialist to inspect and repair.
So, the plane was flown to Palau where our mechanic Brock Welge disassembled the engine and shipped the parts to Singapore for repair. A technician brought the parts back to Palau and installed the components which also involved upgrading some other components.
At the same time, our other plane was due for two engine hot sections, and we were able to utilize the same technician to inspect and return those engines to service. It was a big expense for all this work, but we are just glad we caught the issues and that our engines are healthy once again.
While the planes were down for maintenance, our family used this time to travel to Manila, Philippines, to get some dental work done. We were very fortunate to be able to get our whole family through the dentist with mostly minor issues.
We then hopped over to Guam and had a family vacation before school was due to start. Heidi and the kids had not been off-island for 3 years, and so this was a long-anticipated trip by all.
We had a great time celebrating Tommy’s 13th birthday, eating fast food, and getting overwhelmed by the malls!
BORDERS and QUARANTINE:
We had planned this trip in the narrow gap between when the FSM borders finally opened in August and when we had to start school in September. A week before we left Yap, COVID entered the community for the very first time and started spreading. We managed to avoid it until we left for Manila, where we got it right away. Our symptoms were pretty mild though, and probably the most frustrating part was not being able to taste all the delicious food we’d been so looking forward to eating! When we returned to Yap, we were not even required to quarantine. So, we were glad to have had only a mild experience of COVID and to be able to return home without any issues, as it could have been worse. Earlier in the summer, Amos had to quarantine twice: once after his check ride in June, and another time in July because of a COVID scare after returning from Pohnpei. He stayed in a 20 ft. container kitted out as an
isolation unit for 10 days at a time, while Heidi and the kids yelled messages to him from across the street!
When we returned to Yap, the kids in the homeschool started classes right away. This year, Heidi has a total of 11 students, and she uses the Sonlight curriculum. Tommy is in 8th grade, Raina 7th, Honora 5th, and Theo 3rd (Owen is 2 and still plays with his dinosaurs). Their classmates are from the community and have been attending this homeschool since they were young, so it’s fun to watch them all grow up together. It has been a long summer of
lockdowns and restricted movement for these kids, so they were very excited to come to school again.
Heidi continues to prepare the weekly Wednesday Bible study for the Women’s group. They also get together every Monday in their community garden to plant local food such as taro and tapioca for church needs. On Fridays, Heidi leads Youth Group. Amos helps her with transportation and watching the kids so she can be involved in all these ministries. There’s always something happening in the Collins household, but we love this life God has given us!
Now that the borders are open, there is a need for transportation between the countries of Yap and Palau. United Airlines had stopped their service back in 2018. One of the reasons why we looked into upgrading to King Airs was because if we ever flew this route, we would need something that could carry more and fly faster. In October 2022, we officially announced a weekly flight service between Yap and Palau. For our operation, this connection between our two bases will make logistics so much easier. We can now move personnel, parts, and supplies back and forth more consistently. If we have a major inspection on an aircraft, we can easily mobilize to get more help.
- Pray for the continued safety of flights
- Pray for Amos as he continues to lead in the aviation department that he has wisdom and makes good decisions.
- Pray for Heidi as she teaches and to have the strength each day for all her responsibilities.
- Amos and Dave got recurrent in the King Airs this summer and are good for another year.
- Samaritan’s Purse sent Virgil Gottfried out here to Yap to assist us. He has a wealth of knowledge and I believe our operation will benefit greatly from his wisdom.
Thank you again for your partnership in this ministry. We could not be out here serving in Micronesia without an amazing team praying for us and supporting us financially. We thank the Lord for you all and pray that he blesses you for your generosity.
If you have not seen it yet, please view this latest video that I put together of a medicine drop and some medical evacuations over the course of 2 days.
Blessings to you all,
Amos & Heidi Collins
Tommy, Raina, Honora, Theo, & Owen
QUESTION: What would require us to put 50 sacks of rice on each wing?
ANSWER: Spar strap inspection. We had to load each wing down with 1000 lbs to remove the strap.
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