Friday, September 15, 2006

Indonesia De-Briefing - Very successful mission! - Part 1

September 15, 2006 - Friday 5:26pm (EST) - Titusville, FL - Report submitted by Joe Hurston

Since traveling to Indonesia in late June and early July, the Air Mobile Team has traveled back to Haiti. We are looking into possibly making an emergency trip to Lebanon during this fragile cease-fire. In late September (exact dates not published for security reasons), we will return to Haiti again bringing in life-saving water purifiers. As always, we need your prayer and support. Now, on to the Indonesia report.

The following Indonesia report captures the highlights of our recent amazing journey to a devastated earthquake zone and right to the mouth of a very active volcano, Mount Merapi. Part 2 of this report details the training of an incredible "First-Responder Water Relief Team"! Enjoy our report!

When Air Mobile decided to return to Indonesia in response to the devastating earthquake of May 27th and potential eruption of Mount Merapi (the world's most active volcano!), we did not know exactly what we would do upon arrival. We just knew that we had to get as close the "ground zero" as quickly as possible! Like so many disasters, our team was determined to listen very carefully to the Lord for close direction. We were not disappointed!

Upon arrival into Jakarta we immediately went into meetings with ministries that had Vortex Voyagers TM . We were able to upgrade and repair their Voyagers TM. It was a joy to meet Eddy Rubles and see Charles Ham with Hope Worldwide again.

The next day, we flew to the town of Solo, Indonesia in Central Java. This turned out to be the ideal location for our mission. Solo is equi-distant from Jogja and Mount Merapi. Jogja was the ground zero of the May 27th earthquake that killed 6000 and left nearly 1,000,000 homeless. We had the privilege of meeting Jim Karl, President of TEARS International. Jim is bringing in vital relief through another good friend of ours, Dan Carpenter of World in Need. Jim shared about a desperate need for clean water on Nias Island for a hospital specializing in eye operations. Air Mobile met the need with 2 Vortex Voyagers TM!

Over the next week and a half we traveled between Jogja and Mount Merapi every day. Several days we visited both locations in the same day. On one such commute between the two locations, we were eye-witnesses to a dramatic pyroclastic blast from Mount Merapi. This is a horizontal explosion that sends 3000 degree gasses out at 500mph! It was a stunning event!

On these deployments, we were able to assess the damage areas and seek out areas of desperate need for water. We were also able to identify ministries / organizations that were doing work that would complement what we were doing with water purification.

We met so many wonderful people. The Indonesian people are no strangers to disaster. The amazing thing is how well they cope with these horrific disasters and conditions. I'd like to tell you one story that so touched our hearts and demonstrated the wonderful spirit of these precious people.

We had already been to Jogja and now we proceeded to Bantul, a suburb where the devastation was particularly severe. Barbara had noticed some intense digging and activity in some rubble on the right hand side of the road and wanted some photos. We stopped the vehicle and she jumped out to capture what was happening with her camera.

While waiting in our vehicle, my eyes just trailed off to the left and behind a partially collapsed wall, I noted a make-shift tent city. As I scanned the area, I noted a small bird cage made of fine bamboo with a delicate design. The bird cage was hung on a stick in front of a tent with cardboard and scraps of material piecing together living quarters. Suddenly, I noted puffs of water coming out of the little bird cage. The little bird would dance and flutter with each puff. I tried to figure out what was happening. I could only see the upper 2/3's of the cage. After a long gaze, I realized what was happening. The tent dweller had obviously evacuated with their pet bird. The puff of water was by a spray bottle (I could not see that). They were misting their pet bird. Cindy and I just sat there and marveled at how well the Indonesians take care of their pets.

We turned and saw a small foot bridge crossing a canal leading into the tent city. Cindy was soon on the bridge speaking her broken and limited Indonesian. She knew how to ask if there was a need for clean drinking water. It came out like, "do you "want" clean drinking water?" The women on the bridge all said "want want want" with great enthusiasm. In other words, yes we really need clean drinking water in here. Soon we had a Vortex Voyager TM pumping clean water in their village.

We filled every vessel in the little make-shift village. While there, we met the lady on whose property this tent city had sprung up. She had had a lovely home. Now, there was nothing but rubble. She and her daughter were the gracious hosts to these desperate people. The children played and the women were cooking. Some were attempting to wash clothes in the water from the very contaminated canal.

During our process of pumping clean water, the men began to come "home". They were the same work crew that Barbara had photographed earlier. The entire atmosphere was just sweet. We had the opportunity to speak and share with these precious people. I am reminded of the verse of scripture spoken by our Lord Jesus when He said, "I was thirsty and you gave me to drink". The disciples asked Jesus, "when did we ever see you thirsty?". Jesus answered, "When you give water unto the least of these, you give it unto Me". That is exactly what we are doing. Bringing clean water to desperate people. Now that is not just hearing the Word, but doing the Word or better yet, demonstrating the Word of God. The spirit of the Lord was so strong in us that day as we simply obeyed His commands.

Just 2 kilometers away from this tent city was the regional headquarters for the Indonesian Red Cross. We later selected the Red Cross as the recipients of two Vortex Voyagers TM, knowing that the many little tent cities such as this one would be cared for. We traveled out with Red Cross teams and found other such desperate locations. We trained an excellent crew and have the satisfaction of knowing that the Red Cross will operate the Vortex Voyagers TM with excellence.

Though we have worked beside the Red Cross for years, this was our first opportunity to actually donate Vortex Voyagers TM to them. Now the Red Cross will be able to see first-hand how capable a machine the Vortex Voyager TM is. You might ask, why don't they just buy the Vortex Voyagers TM. Well, at the deployment level of the Red Cross such decisions are usually not made. The Red Cross is huge, world wide organization with many levels of bureaucracy. Now, however, they have Vortex Voyagers TM working in the field. We pray that one day, the Red Cross will order many Vortex Voyagers TM!

Please continue reading this report with the details of how we found, qualified, trained and donated Vortex Voyagers TM to an excellent team on Mount Merapi, the world's most active volcano. This deployment is without question, one of our most exciting ever! PART 2 follows.

Joe Hurston
President - Air Mobile

PS - Here's a sneak preview of the Part 2 of our report! A very mobile Emergency Water Response Team trained and in place at Mount Merapi!!

Indonesia De-Briefing - Very successful mission in the shadow of Mount Merapi! - Part 2

September 15, 2006 - Friday - 5:25pm(EST) - Titusville, FL Report submitted by: Joe Hurston

This is a continuation of our overview of our recent mission to Indonesia. This portion of the report explains how Air Mobile identified, trained and equipped a dynamic "First-Responder Water Relief Team". Now, this team is actually working the region of Indonesia that was devastated by a powerful 7.7 earthquake and tsunami. The death-toll is rising (655 Confirmed dead and hundreds more missing). We are so thankful that we are able to dispatch a team so quickly. Your support and prayer help make this happen. Now, here's the rest of the report.

Our mission to Mount Merapi turned out to be one of our most rewarding deployments ever. The Air Mobile Team, Joe, Cindy and Barbara, headed straight to Mount Merapi (the world's most active volcano) on our first day in the region after departing Jakarta, the capitol of Indonesia. As we approached the mouth of the smoking volcano, we expected to be stopped by the officials and warned not to go any further. It never happened.

When we arrived in Solo Valley, just in the shadow of the volcano, we didn't know a soul. We stopped and soon we were speaking with Marcos, a tour guide for Mt. Merapi. His English was passable and next thing we knew, we were driving to the very last village on the southwest side of the volcano. In other words, you could get no closer to the mouth of Merapi. I must admit, we were all a bit apprehensive about getting so close to the world's most active volcano.

As we rolled into the village in a cloud of volcanic ash, it was the faces of the villagers that struck me. These people had recently returned to their village after a rather violent eruption that had killed two people just on the other side of the volcano. After spending several days in make-shift evacuation camps, these people opted to return to their homes. This is all they have ever known.

Many families had lived on this volcano mountain for mulitple generations. Besides, their animals and crops needed care. The volcanic ash had covered everything. We noted farmers in their fields attempting to save their crops by delicately brushing or gently washing the ash off their crops. In their minds, what else could they do?

The media had described these as the "defiant" ones who refused to leave the mountain. Could it blow at any moment? Yes, it certainly could. As we began to speak to the residents, we found interesting responses. Some believed the "holy man" that assured them that nothing would happen. Of course, the same "holy man" had told the residents on the other side of the mouth of the volcano that nothing would happen, yet, 2 people were burned alive by the hot gasses that blew out the side of Merapi. Of course, this volcano has only had 2 major eruptions in the last 75 years. Yet, the signs are pointing toward another major eruption.

We debated among ourselves about the plight of these precious people. One thing was for sure, they were not going to leave unless the lava was flowing right at them, or so it seems. What were we to do? After careful prayer and looking in their faces and watching the joyful antics of their children and the determination to live in the midst of great danger, the Air Mobile Team decided to develop a "First Responder" team capble of bringing clean water to them before the volcano blows and after, if the residents are fortunate enough to get out alive.

One scene that particularly touched our hearts was seeing a group of village girls preparing seedlings for the next crop. This just demonstrated the determination and the will to live and move forward in the face of adversity and danger.

Over the next week we journeyed to Mt. Merapi nearly every day on various missions. We met the head of the Merapi Guide Club, Sony. We met his wife, children, parents and numerous friends and co-workers. After careful review, we chose Sony to lead our "Air Mobile First Responder Team". We trained our newly formed teams on several different occasions.

In our training sessions, we used the actual river that was along the main evacuation route. This very river my soon be the life-saving water source for hundreds or thousands of evacuees fleeing the erupting volcano.

In addition to the Merapi Guide Club, we added another fine organization to cooperate with us on the First Responder Team, The Rebana Foundation. This Foundation is an extension of the Baptist Church in Indonesia. The Rebana Foundation is doing quality relief work all throughout Indonesia. Dr. Suroso, of the Rebana Foundation met with us on our final day. He and his associate were also trained on the operation of the Vortex Voyager TM and introduced to Sony and various members of the Merapi Guide Club. All seemed to hit it off quite well. Our team is coming together.

We are so pleased that now, we have in place a first class, highly capable first responder team in shadow of the world most active volcano. We truly thank the Lord for giving us the privilege to reach out to these vulnerable people.

This very mobile, capable team is able to bring life-saving water to help these precious people in the event of a catastrophy such as a major volcanic eruption. We also now have the ability to give clean water every day to those in need in various locations. We praise God for our team of "mountain climbers" (the Merapi Guide Club) who know the territory extremely well and are willing to serve and the Rebana Foundation standing firmly with us!

Should Mount Merapi have a major eruption, the U.S.Air Mobile Team will return to Indonesia immediately to assist our Indonesian Team in the disaster! We pray Merapi does not blow!!

Many of you who are reading this report have prayed for us and supported our efforts with your support and love. We truly thank the Lord for you!


Joe, Cindy and Barbara (The U.S. Air Mobile Team!)


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Air Mobile Team back in the U.S. - Debriefing report coming! - Definately, Mission Accomplished!

June 28, 2006 - Wednesday 5:52am (EST) - Newark, NJ - Report submitted by Joe Hurston

After an incredible 19 hour NON-STOP flight from Singapore to New Jersey, the Air Mobile Team is back in the U.S. tired, but ready to go again!

Due to a lot of storms in the Northeast, we were unable to catch a flight back to Orlando last night, so we'll be arriving in Orlando around noon today. It's so good to be back in the U.S. The Mission that we've just accomplished was just amazing.

The Air Mobile Team literally went the mouth of an active volcano and set up an emergency water team. We also brought clean water to areas of great need.

We'll put together an in-depth debriefing report in the next 24 hours. Gotta run catch our flite. God Bless!

Joe, Cindy andBarbara - The Air Mobile Team

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! The Air Mobile Team enroute - Heading home!

June 27, 2006 - Tuesday 9:47am (Singapore Time) - Singapore Airport - Report submitted by Joe Hurston

A good flite from Jakarta to Singapore - we just landed. We have less than an hour and not a good internet connect (can't download photos). Our last day in Indonesia was amazing. We successfully trained and deployed our team of Mt. Merapi tour guides and they are in place in the shadow of the volcano. They understand that in the event of a disaster, they are to provide pure water to evacuees. Also, is the understanding that they are to provide pure water as needed in their community. During our time in Indonesia, we witnessed several dramatic events from the volcano. There are 70,000 people at risk in the volcano region.

When we get back to the states, we'll post a number of excellent photos depicting the culmination of our mission. Again, so much has been accomplished and we truly thank the Lord Jesus for being with us each step of the way.

Well, we have to run and catch a 19 hour NON-STOP flight to New York then work our way back to Orlando and home. Thanks again for your love , prayer and support!!

Joe, Cindy and Barbara (The Air Mobile Team enroute to the U.S.)

July 27, 2006 - Tuesday -5:40am (Indonesia Time)- Jakarta, Indonesia - Report submitted by Joe Hurston

The Air Mobile Team is about to board a flight to Singapore then the long, long flight home by way of New York, then Orlando. We'll be back in our office on June 29th. We have had an extremely successful trip. Will write more from Singapore and try to put up a couple of photos. Wow, so much has happened and above all, our Lord has moved mightily on this trip. God Bless! Gotta run catch our flight.

Joe, Cindy and Barbara (The Air Mobile Team!)

PS - Read down for amazing details of an amazing mission. We accomplished a lot on this trip. The Lord has truly been with us. Joe

Monday, June 26, 2006

Air Mobile deploys Vortex Voyagers with the Red Cross and Deploys rescue team on Mount Merapi - Busy Day!

June 26, 2006 - Monday - 7:03am (Indonesia Time) - Solo, Indonesia - Report submitted by Joe Hurston

Yesterday, it was back to Bantul, the hardest hit area of Indonesia from the May 27th earthquake. This was our 4th trip to the region. While enroute to Bantul, we had a clear picture of Mount Merapi off to our right. We kept observing it on the 2 hour drive. About an hour out of Solo, we saw a major event. Suddenly, a very fast moving, cylindrical "cloud" came rushing down the face of the volcano. It happened so fast we didn't have a chance to grab our cameras. We knew something terrible had happened. We also knew that we had to return to Mount Merapi after we finished in Bantul. Going to be another long day. (We found out that the cylindrical cloud is called a pyroclastic flow - a gas cloud with temperatures reaching 600 degrees and travelling at hundreds of miles per hour!)

We arrived into Bantul right on time and immediately set up the training for 3 Red Cross workers. We had already been out in the field with the Red Cross team operating out of this area and had absolute confidence that these Red Cross workers would reach into the most desperate areas and bring life-saving water. This is also the first opportunity that Air Mobile has worked this closely with the Red Cross. Though we have crossed paths hundreds of times over the years, these Vortex Voyagers TM were first that the Indonesian Red Cross has received. We were very grateful for this. The Red Cross representatives received the units with great thankfulness and excitement at the possibilities that the units will afford them.

Upon completion of the the training / deployment in Bantul, it was back to Solo with Mount Merapi off to our left. We watched it very closely and saw continued activity. We phoned our team on Mount Merapi and they verified that a major lava flow had occured on the South side of the Volcano. Our team is located on the north side. Our team leader, Sony, assured us that no one lived where the major flow had occured. We were thankful, yet pressed all the more to get up to Mount Merapi and complete the training with Sony and his team that afternoon.

We arrived at Mount Merapi yesterday afternoon and continued our training with Sony and his team preparing for our final presentation and training scheduled for today. They are extremely perceptive and will be excellent team members. We got to our hotel late again.

We will be coordinating our Mount Merapi First Responder team with another team of men operating out of Jogja from Rebana Foundation, a group affiliated with the Union of Indonesian Baptist Churches. We have already worked with their organization in the past. We feel confident that this cooperation will work very well for this "Life-saving" first Responder team strategically located in the shadow of the world's most active volcano. There are over 70,000 people in harm's way from this volatile volcano!

Just a quick update on what our team did on Saturday, June 24th; I flew to Surabaya and brought 3 Vortex Voyagers TM to Jim Karl's nephew, Michael. Michael saw the value of the Vortex Voyager TM and requested one from his uncle who works with TEARS International. Jim is on Nias Island and desperately needs clean water for the eye hosptial that his organization started. Indonesia has an amazing network of airlines that provide inexpensive and efficient transportation to all of the country. So I flew to Surabaya in the morning, trained Michael and was back in Solo by mid afternoon.

Meanwhile, Cindy and Barbara became very concerned about the mudslide victims on Sulawesi. They tried to get a flight, but it was impossible since the flights go only once a day at 6AM. They also presented the Vortex Voyager TM to numerous medical organizations. That evening, we demonstrated the Vortex Voyager TM here at the hotel by drinking fish pond water after it passed through our "miracle" machine. Many at the hotel were very impressed with the unit.

Well, our support team from Rebana Foundation has just arrived, we're quickly finishing our breakfast. We'll be heading back up to Mount Merapi this morning for our final training of our team there. Then this afternoon, we fly to Jakarta. We will overnight there and catch the 6:20am flite out to begin our long journey home.

Will attempt to give final photos and report on the Mount Merapi deployment this afternoon. God Bless!!

Joe, Cindy and Barbara (The Air Mobile Team in Indonesia)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Air Mobile Team back to Bantul - Training Red Cross on the Voyager

June 25, 2006 - Sunday - 7:51am (Indonesia Time) - Solo, Indonesia - Report submitted by Joe Hurston

The Air Mobile Team is heading back to Bantul this morning to deploy a Vortex Voyager TM with the Red Cross. After viewing the areas devastation shown to us by the Red Cross on our last trip there, Air Mobile has decided to place a unit with this team. As you may recall, Bantul is one of the hardest hit areas of the May 27th quake that killed nearly 6000 and left approximately 1,000,000 homeless. We are so blessed to be able to reach into this area of desperate need. Water is urgently needed everywhere.

Will write more this evening and tell you all about yesterday. Also, Indonesia is still very volatile. Today there was a 6.2 quake in Sulawesi, the area of Indonesia that has had terrible flooding and the death toll from that is 250 and rising. Again, Air Mobile is in the right place at the right time. Thank you again for your love, prayer and support!!

Joe, Cindy and Barbara (The Indonesia Air Mobile Team)

Friday, June 23, 2006

Back to Ground Zero - Bantul - pump a well dry - then return to Mount Merapi--Long Day!

June 23, 2006, Friday 12:56pm (Indonesia Time) - Solo, Indonesia - Report submitted by Joe Hurston

Yesterday began with an early departure from Solo to Bantul, about a 2 hour drive. Bantul was the hardest hit district of Indonesia in the devastating quake that killed over 6,000 and left nearly 1,000,000 homeless. Our first meeting was with the Red Cross and a wonderful volunteer named Chanti. Our plan was to visit a very hard hit district that lacked clean water. As we drove through the rice paddies and down the narrow dirt roads, the evidence of the quake was everywhere with whole villages completely flattened.

We arrived at the village of Pranti in the Imogiri district. Every structure in the village had been either severely damaged or completely destroyed. We searched and found a well. We noted that the well was either very deep or nearly dry. We would soon find out our answer. Often, earthquakes dramatically disrupt water sources.

The villagers immediately began coming to our location to see the foreigners and the strange little machine. Soon we were pumping very clean water and drinking it before their eyes. Our audience was shocked! The buckets began to appear. We set up 2 Vortex Voyagers TM because the vessels kept coming. The faces of the villagers indicated hard working, determined people trying to put their lives back together. Just gazing into their faces keeps us doing this!

Things were working very well. We were planning to spend the next couple of hours meeting the most basic of needs, clean water. We noticed the bucket coming up from the bottom of the well began to have more and more mud. Soon, we realized that we were at the bottom of the well. With regret, we had to shut down. The villagers were disappointed. The earthquake had likely damaged the well.

We headed back to the Red Cross Headquarters. Though we had been unable to fill all the vessels, we gave a tremendous demonstration to the Red Cross on the Vortex Voyager's TM amazing ability to purify the most contaminated water. We agreed to get together to discuss future deployment plans.

We then headed back to Solo to replenish our supplies before heading up to Mount Merapi (an hour and a half drive). We were going to attend a most extraordinary event. The local guides had planned a fund raiser for the locals to assist the earthquake victims in Bantul. We were so moved by their heart to help their countrymen, we had to attend this event. We were not disappointed!

The head of the Merapi Guide Club, Sony, met us. Sony had done a superb job of putting this event together. The crowds were beginning to come. The atmosphere was festive. We saw where the young men were being prepared for the presentation. The costumes were stunning and the seriousness in the dancers was evident. This was a huge event and it was clear, being a native dancer was a high privilege.

The dance unfolded like a grand story of past battles against impossible odds, filled with victories, courage, valor and defeat. The music was stunning. The dancers moved in synch with precision and grace. All of this taking place in the shadow of Mount Merapi for the purpose of raising money for earthquake victims far away. Our hearts were so touched by the evening.

At the end of this day, we had determined that we would be able to work very well with this group. We then headed down the mountain back to Solo. A long, but very fruitful day.

Today has been spent in meetings, phone calls, planning and getting our equipment ready for the next deployment. Many pieces to this complex puzzle of saving lives are coming together with the awesome help of our Lord! Will write more later.

Joe, Cindy and Barbara - The Indonesian Air Mobile Team