Slices of Life with Gavin

I am now the chief pilot of the helicopter program in Papua New Guinea. I have several new responsibilities, including initial and recurrent pilot training. As new pilots come in and others return from furlough, they need a significant amount of training to be checked out for flying in PNG, which can be very challenging. I want to fill this new role well and safely, for God’s glory alone, so the prayers of family, friends, and supporters are essential.
 
Chief helicopter pilot Gavin Jones
 
On a recent flight I took a translator to deliver newly printed copies of the Finongan dictionary to a remote village. A heart-language dictionary is one of many learning tools translators might develop to use in reaching out to share God’s Word with the people of a community. In a country where literacy rates are low, the dictionary is essential for readers’ understanding of the written Word. These dictionaries were all sold within a few hours!
 
Gavin with Finongan dictionaries
 
Sometimes I’m “stuck” somewhere because of bad weather or the need to wait for people or to connect with another aircraft—a great opportunity to share stories of what the Lord has done in my family’s life. Without fail, when I tell people about our quintuplets, they are amazed—many just don’t believe me. In PNG, we regularly medevac women from the bush who may have complications during childbirth. We take them to the closest hospital, which otherwise would be reachable only by several days walk, a canoe ride, a road trip over difficult terrain, or any combination thereof. A short helicopter ride to a place where they can receive medical assistance can be a real blessing to their family.
 
People gathering around the helicopter.
 
People gather round to look at a picure of my family--always a hit!
 
Gavin and Carrie Jones family
 
When waiting on the ground, I often turn on a Scripture player so people can listen to the Bible in Tok Pisin (local trade language). Although people are interested in testimonies about my life, they are rapt and quiet when they hear God’s Word spoken from these portable devices.
 
Surrounding the device, people quietly listen to spoken Scripture.
 
Surrounding the device, people quietly listen to spoken Scripture.
 
Sometimes my flights give me an opportunity to experience the beauty of this country and, by contrast, the harsh reality of trying to survive and thrive in it. Fly along with me as I take five different New Tribes Mission (NTM) families to several places in New Ireland, New Britain, and New Hanover, the large and remote islands off the northeastern coast of PNG.
 
An incredible waterfall series near one of the NTM tribal villages
 
An incredible waterfall series near one of the tribal villages
 
Rainbow over Papua New Guinea
 
"I keep thinking that I've seen the most brilliant rainbow ever … then I see another …"
 
The incredible reefs between New Ireland and New Hanover
 
The incredible reefs between New Ireland and New Hanover
 
Flying over South Pacific waters
 
Suited up and ready for ditching … yes, the South Pacific waters are warm, but if I had to land in them, they'd get cool quickly—thus the flight suit (and other flotation and survival gear).
 
Glenn and Jeff, the fathers of two families Gavin moved to the bush.
 
Glenn and Jeff, the fathers of two families I moved to the bush. They were all grubby after building seven loads for the helicopter, which sprayed them with dirt every time I came in for a landing.
 
Waterfall coming out of a mountain in Papua New Guinea
 
That waterfall is coming out of the mountain. The river goes underground into a sinkhole a few miles away. 
 
 
Dazzling reefs everywhere!
 
Standing with Jon, a New Tribes missionary, and many Mete Kavi speakers.
 
Standing with Jon, a New Tribes missionary and many Mete Kavi speakers. A New Testament translation was completed there several years ago and now Jon disciples, teaches, and trains, seeing fruit in exciting ways!
 
Mt. Ulawun or "The Father", an active volcano.  What a massive thing to fly so close to (on the upwind side)!
 
Mt. Ulawun or "The Father", an active volcano.  What a massive thing to fly so close to (on the upwind side)!
 
Gavin Jones

Gavin Jones

Gavin Jones, his wife, Carrie, and family support Bible translation in Papua New Guinea. Gavin is a helicopter pilot. Carrie has her degree in Public Health, but her ’public’ now consists of their 11-year-old, Isaac, and their four-year-old quintuplets, David, Grace, Marcie, Seth and Will. You can...