Yesterday DAC (the FAA equivalent here) issued Alas (MAF's name here) their new operating permit. They gave us an extension on it in December and acted as if everything was ok, and they were just waiting for the paperwork to be complete. So when we received the final copy we were excited and continued flying all day Monday. Then Monday afternoon we found out that in the fine print the DAC had changed one important detail in our permit. They added one small line to our old permit that said only Ecuadorian pilots could fly. So as Chad arrived back from a medical transfer to Quito, he found out that he and the other "foreigners" had been flying illegally all day. So, we spent a lot of hours talking, praying and discussing what our next steps should be. Today our two Ecuadorian pilots flew all day trying to complete what five of us were originally going to do. Then, at the end of the day today we received a fax from the DAC. They informed us that none of our pilots could fly until we filed new papers that did not list any of our foreign pilots on our ops permit. This means that even our Ecuadorians can't fly, which means no air ambulance, no jungle teachers going back after their vacation, no flying at all. If we file the new papers we're worried that we might never get the "gringos" back on them.
Tomorrow morning (Wednesday) our Ecuadorian director and our Program manager will head to Quito for meetings with DAC. PLEASE PRAY. We know that God is in control and we feel that the transition to an Ecuadorian run company/ministry is going well. We don't feel that right now is the time for all the foreigners to stop flying. If we do, more than half of the Ecuadorian employees will probably lose their jobs, as we won't be able to complete our contracts and fly enough hours to pay expenses. This will also seriously limit what subsidized flying we will be able to do for the national church and national pastors that don't have the money to pay for flights. Last, but not least, this will obviously affect our future in a big way. We are praying that God's will be done, but struggling with just what that might turn out to be.
Fear not, for I have redeemed you, O Israel;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
you are precious in my eyes, and honored,
and I love you.