For the first time in my life I felt what it was like to wait and pray for that little red and white plane to come.
I had just spent a day and a night in the Achuar village of Wayusensa, documenting a team from Reach Beyond who was working with the community on a clean water project. Over the two days, I took lots of photos and video of the community hard at work digging trenches for pipes that eventually would pump clean water up to their homes. It was a whirlwind of new experiences for me: first time sleeping overnight in the jungle, first time drinking chicha (drink made from chewed yucca plants), and first time bathing in a jungle stream.
I was dropped off the morning before with the plan to be picked up the next day by a flight heading this way with passengers and cargo. The big question was, when? The plane could come anytime throughout the day, depending on the weather or if the other passengers showed up as scheduled. In the morning, the radio operator from the ADSE base in Shell called out to the operator in the village. He said it was raining in Shell and that the visibility was at zero. It’s not uncommon for bad weather to keep the planes in all day.
I tried not to get my hopes up for a flight out. After a day and night in the jungle, I was muddy, hot, and out of clean clothes. I tried not to think about my comfortable bed at home or my flushing toilet. And I tried not to pray too much that the plane would be able to come that day. After all, there were people out there with real problems who needed God’s attention.
As the day progressed, I started to think about all of the people living out in small, isolated communities, and how they always have to wait for the plane to come. People with broken bones or snakebites… missionaries and work teams waiting for medicines and supplies… people hoping for the rainclouds to clear so that loved ones can come home. What a relief it must be for them to hear that low humming sound get louder and see the little plane circle overheard to make a landing!
And just like that, I heard “my” plane off in the distance, coming to take me home. I thanked God for the welcome sound and ran to get my camera ready to capture the landing. I sent up a quick prayer for all those living in remote places, waiting on an ADSE or MAF plane to bring them hope.