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UIMA March 2019 Update

A Crazy Day in the Life of a UIMA Pilot
Written by Jasson Farmer, UIMA pilot in Mexico
The plan for the day was to fly to three different airstrips and then back to Tepic.
 
Things never seem to go as scheduled, however, especially while flying indigenous missionaries, and this day was definitely not going to be an exception.
 
Plans had already begun to change the night before. A group of Christians had three children who needed a flight to the mountains, where their families live. They knew we were headed out the next morning and were hoping to catch a ride for the kids. 
The three children waiting for their first airplane ride to their village.
After arriving at the airport, we loaded the kids into the plane. We needed to make a trip to the first mountain strip to drop off a wheelbarrow tire for airstrip maintenance. 

After dropping the kids off, I headed over to a higher mountain strip.

This airstrip is 750 feet long. You gain 150 feet in altitude from touch down to where you park at the top. It is one way in and one way out. Normally, we cut off landing into this airstrip at 9 in the morning due to winds picking up. 
At the top of the strip, I noticed a large group of people. This was abnormal. 
 
Exiting the plane, I met Hilario, the Huichol pastor and mother tongue translator in the village. He is also the village judge, what we would think of as the chief of the village. He began to tell me of the young man with a broken leg.
Apparently, the 22-year-old man had left the day before to cut firewood. While cutting a tree, it fell, landed on him, and crushed his upper leg under the weight. After the young man didn’t return to the village later that afternoon, his father went looking for him. He was found pinned under the tree. Knowing the plane was scheduled to come the next morning, they removed the tree and carried him back to the village that night.
In addition, one of Huichol Bible translator and missionary, Emilia, had been out in the mountains for several weeks on a discipleship trip to women and children. Her trip was over, and it was time for her to head back to her village. She brought a blind woman along with her who she often helps out. Also, there was a young couple hoping to catch a ride to Tepic to have their newborn baby.
Due to the shortness of this airstrip, we limit it to three or four passengers. I knew I could not load them all in the plane, that we were going to need two flights out of the airstrip to make it happen. I began asking questions about the young man to assess how stable he was. If I took him to Tepic first, there would not be time to come back and do another landing due to wind conditions. Since he did not have a hard time breathing, no fever, and no exposed bone, I determined he was stable enough to wait a bit longer.
 
I had decided that I would take Emilia, her blind friend, and the pregnant couple to a nearby airstrip first. Due to its longer length and the ability for the plane to handle winds in that location, we can safely land in that airstrip later in the day. Meanwhile, I gave Clif a call to get an ambulance ready in Tepic.

I also had him start his flight plan (which can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour in Mexico), so he could be ready to take the second flight back to the larger airstrip to pick up the group.
Upon landing in the larger airstrip, I unloaded my passengers and informed Emilia that Clif should be back in an hour to pick them up. There was some concern about whether or not we could return in the same day due to building weather, and I instructed her to look for the pastor in that village who would care for them overnight if that happened. I then turned the plane around and headed back to the high mountain strip.
After landing at the high mountain strip again, I removed the seats in order to lay the young man down. This was my third critical medevac in a week; the first was a gunshot victim, the second a woman who had delivered a baby but not the placenta, and now this patient, a man who might lose his leg. 
 
Everyone saying their goodbyes
On the thirty minute flight back to Tepic, I began thinking about the medevacs over the last week and I could see God’s hand in every one of them. Some of them are brothers in Christ and some of them not.

Something stuck out to me, though: God must really love these people. Without this plane, the pilots, and mechanics God has placed at UIMA, all three of the patients would have died in the mountains. We often don't get to chance to see the hand of God so clearly, but that day I saw it. What a blessing it is to be used by God!
Clif had ordered an ambulance to meet us at the airport. After I landed, he fueled the plane for the return flight out, and the paramedics began assessing the damage.
Clif was able to fly out to the larger airstrip and pick Emilia and the other passengers up. It ended up raining later that day, but we were still able to get them out. 
Update . . .
 
I just flew Hilaraio out for a mother tonged translation conference. I asked about the young man. Hilarario told me that he was in the hospital recovering. It looks like they where able to save his leg. 
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