Extensions of Love

Blog of A and E in Central Asia

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 "We love because he first loved us." I John 4:19

Greetings!  You have arrived at the place to keep up with A and E's adventures. We will be an extension of God's love in Central Asia, where we will serve with others who want to bring hope and help to hurting people.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact us at [email protected]  

"A" and "E"

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Capital Update Continued

Posted by A on July 16, 2017 at 9:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Continued from the newsletter, by "E":

In our first two months back in the capital, I met and befriended 12 local women, all of whom I have seen multiple times during those two months, many of whom actually visited me in my own home (something that was SO rare during our first four years in the capital). We also discovered a group of foreign boys that gather once a week for “Boys Club.” So, every week “M” gets to hang out with 10 other boys near his age, one of whom is also in our small group. God has not only provided an answer to prayer, I feel as if he has flung open the doors in front of us. The way is wide open. We just have to keep walking forward.

A few of those relationships, and hopefully new relationships to come, are a result of trips to the local women’s park. This is a secluded park that is only for women and children. There are walking paths, fields for playing soccer, grassy areas for picnics and a playground for kids to play on. The first time I went to this park and immediately fell in love with it, even though my foreign companions may have been very overwhelmed. Local women would come up, sit and talk with us, probably wanting to meet the crazy foreigners that have come to their city. They were surprised to discover that many of us spoke their language. Some of these interactions led to the exchange of phone numbers and the follow-up visits in one another’s homes. All we have to do is show up and women come to us! This doesn’t feel like the same city we left two years ago.

 


And, for good measure, here is a fun picture of our awesome kiddos!

Interesting Hangar Pictures

Posted by A on July 10, 2017 at 8:50 AM Comments comments (0)

I thought I would post some interesting pictures from the hangar


We had a hailstorm that was the craziest I think I have ever seen. It was probably quarter-sized hail. Fortunately, it was a bit soft and slushy; otherwise, it would have damaged the planes. It was also crazy because of how long it lasted... probably 15 minutes.



I brought one of the planes in for a small maintenance item, and while wrapping it back up, I found oil leaking from a totally different part of the engine. Here is the culprit:\



It came out looking like this, with a spiral crack in it. When I gave the o-ring a half twist with my fingers, it went right back to a normal-shaped o-ring. Very weird.


And finally... It's nice to arrive at work very early!


Sledding

Posted by A on April 17, 2017 at 11:00 PM Comments comments (0)

This year we found a really good sledding hill near our house.  I made some sleds out of snow shovels with short handles.  Here they sell the shovel heads and handles separately, so I just requested really short handles, and they worked quite nicely.  

The hill was pretty slick, since it was used as an ice slide by the local kids, who usually just slide on their shoes.  They just take a short stick in each hand, squat, and slide down the hill--pretty impressive.  


Here you can see the slick ice underneath the snow.  "M" didn't always want to use the sled.  


Here you can see the shovels.  


Christmas in Bontown

Posted by A on January 26, 2017 at 6:05 AM Comments comments (0)

This was our first Christmas in "Bontown."  I've been meaning to post some pictures, so here goes: belated Christmas in Bontown.  

For a special Christmas meal, we had smoked turkey.  Turkeys aren't super common, but some friends who do development work are raising turkeys (up the road a piece) and they sent us one!  We have lots of apple trees, so I wanted to try applewood smoked turkey.  It was incredibly delicious.  

Since I don't have a smoker, I moved my oven outside (it's quite small by American standards) and I fed wood chips into the very bottom where they would smoke and catch fire.  I did have a few fires a bit bigger than I bargained for, but it made lots of delicious smoke.  

A few days before Christmas, I helped build a solar heater on my guard's house.  It was the first attempt on a local's house, and it was a great success.  With lots of hands, it was done in less than a day.  

This is "J's" lego creation--Mary and Joseph's airplane--"so they don't have to walk to Bethlehem."  Good to know our kids have an appreciation for aviation work!  

Playing Cricket in India

Posted by A on November 9, 2016 at 4:35 AM Comments comments (0)

It's been an interesting trip here in India. Our organization is getting new Aviation Management Software, and it has turned out to be a huge project with a lot of change for us. It's a lot of work, but as a worldwide company, we need it. It will help streamline parts, maintenance, flight operations, and finance.

Since we have representatives from every program attending the training, our organization decided to have the training take place in India rather than the US.  Being away from the family for three weeks is a big burden, so it's nice that I got a pretty short travel time compared to coming to the US.

In our off times, we have gone shopping and visited a few tourist attractions, and we even got to play cricket with our Indian software trainers.  It was fun, and "bowling" (pitching) was really tricky beacuse you aren't supposed to bend your elbow.

It has been really great and encouraging to hang out with so many people (mostly maintenance specialists like me) from all over the world.  

Solar Heater 2.0

Posted by A on July 27, 2016 at 5:20 PM Comments comments (0)

The fairly successful run of my solar heater (see below) got me thinking about how to improve the design. One of the biggest problems was the fact that ice and snow would accumulate in the low spots between the pipes (remember there is plastic covering it).

 

So my new design uses the materials more efficiently (all the steel is in the sun); it is easier and cheaper to construct; and airflow is better due to a larger duct size and fewer turns. This allowed me to use an axial flow fan rather than a centrifugal blower, meaning less power consumption for the fan.

Starting with two chimney holes (left side), I built a wide duct for the air out of mud brick.

This is the rest of it.  

Here is "M" working hard with me, pounding nails to attach the galvanized steel to the bricks.

Finally, I painted it black and put plastic over the top.  The small leaks in the system cause the plastic to inflate slightly, increasing insulation.  

 

 

There's always maintenance

Posted by A on May 16, 2016 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (0)

It's been quite a while since we lost flight permissions, but it seems like there's always maintenance to do on the airplanes.  Right now we are inspecting a Kodiak, and it happens to need a new propeller.  Because it saves lots of money on shipping, I went to a propeller course a few years ago to learn how to disassemble assemble propellers.  

Here, you can see the insides of the propeller blades because the top half of the hub isn't installed yet.  I'm always amazed that the blades don't just fall out at this step, but they fit nice and tight.  

Solar Heat

Posted by A on March 5, 2016 at 1:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Bontown is a great place for solar anything, being at 8500 feet and sunny a lot.  Two weeks ago, I was sitting in the sun, thinking about how to do some solar heat--and even though solar hot water would be wonderful, it's a big investment.  But solar hot air--that can be done for a lot cheaper.  Since we don't have a coal stove in every room, there are unused chimneys in our house.  In fact, our house even has ventilation pipes built into the bathrooms, where you wouldn't normally install a wood or coal stove.  But these chimneys would make the perfect inlet and outlet for a solar hot-air system.  

Innovation #2 was--since I only want it to run when the sun is shining, why not run the fan from a solar panel?  So I found ventilation fan from a russian truck in the used car parts section of the bazaar, and a new 30W solar panel, and a bunch of metal stove pipes, painted black, and the system works pretty well.  Unfortunately the slightest bit of cloud means the fan won't run, even though there is heat available.  But it is currently taking in 55F air and outputting 95F

Winter is pretty much over, but I really wanted to get a quick test in before next year.  All in all, a pretty successful test.  


"E's" Internship

Posted by A on November 19, 2015 at 9:15 PM Comments comments (0)

"E" has been working very hard on her internship in school counseling.  She has enjoyed it very much.  

I (her dutiful husband) had some misconceptions about what school counseling is all about.  It's not all talking to students who are going through difficult life circumstances, although that is part of it.  A school counselor also works with parents, teachers, and administration to make sure that kids don't fall through the cracks.  

A cool example of this was a parent literacy night, for Spanish-speaking parents to learn how to better support their children's development in reading.  

Some police officers were guest speakers and it was a fun night for everyone!

Another aspect of her internship (and the job of a school counselor) is forming small groups of students who are struggling in a particular area, such as these first graders who needed work on social skills.  Lucky them, they got to get out of class to play with Legos!  "E" thought they made lots of improvement.  



A Month of Birthdays

Posted by A on September 10, 2015 at 12:10 PM Comments comments (0)

August is our birthday month, with four of us five celebrating.  

While we were still in Texas, we got to have "M's" birthday with family there.  The kids really loved the sleepover we had after the party.  

Here's a picture of the trampoline--normally net-less--I got some shrink wrap and balloons to make a balloon pit.  The shrink wrap also worked to make some webs as decoration.  We had a small mystery treasure hunt, and it turned out that Spider-Man had come for a visit and left a few presents hanging in a tree.  

"E" did a great job on the cake, as always.  It's a lego cake, with some actual birthday presents there on top.  

And, of course there is little "E" who is now one!  Time flies.  


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