FlightWatch 2016, Volume 1

Page 1

2016 vol 1


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a publication of Mission Aviation Fellowship

Our Mission

“Come and see what God has done, His awesome deeds for mankind!”

– Psalm 66:5 (NIV)

Dear friend, Our Lord is doing amazing things around the world. He is opening doors and transforming hearts. As the Psalmist declares, we truly stand in awe at the works of God’s hands.

Sharing the love of Jesus Christ through aviation and technology so that isolated people may be physically and spiritually transformed. Managing Editor: Production Manager: Art Director: Graphic Designer: Writers/Resourcing:

Tracey Werre Micki Blair Colby Dees Clayton Borah Chris Burgess Jennifer Wolf

And because of you, MAF is able to take part in the work He is doing. You helped open doors for MAF’s flight and technology services to support a pastoral institute, which recently became a full-fledged university training rural Congolese pastors. You’re also part of a unique partnership that is helping Papuan missionaries reach a tribe so isolated it took one man four weeks of walking to find it!

Every gift you send, every prayer you offer for MAF, helps change lives through aviation and technology. We enjoy hearing from you! Please send comments and questions to MAF-US@maf.org.

I hope your heart is stirred by this edition of FlightWatch as you catch a glimpse of what you are making possible through this ministry. It is only through your support that MAF can share Christ’s love with isolated people.

MAF PO Box 47 Nampa, ID 83653-0047 208-498-0800 1-800-FLYS-MAF (359-7623) maf.org

Thank you for your prayers and gifts that carried us in 2015. This year is full of possibilities—I am excited to imagine what we can accomplish together. Would you consider a gift so that we can shine the light of Jesus Christ into a dark world? Thank you for your passion to see the lives of isolated people transformed by the love of our Lord. Together for His Kingdom,

John C. Boyd President and CEO

MAF maintains the highest standards of financial accountability and public disclosure to donors, the government, and the world at large. MAF is a member of ... Accord™ (formerly AERDO) • CSC Christian Service Charities • ECFA Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability • IAMA International Association of Missionary Aviation • Missio Nexus.

All Scripture references, unless otherwise noted, are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

On the Cover: Inauguration ceremony for the Baptist University of Congo. Photo by Mark and Kelly Hewes.

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AN UNEXPECTED SEASON For 10 years, MAF mechanic Roger Clark took care of Cessna 206s in Lesotho, and a King Air in West Africa before that. Now, he and his wife, Barb, and their children have returned to serve in the States. Coming back has not been easy. They have found it infinitely harder returning to the U.S. than when they first packed up and took their children, babies then, overseas for the first time 15 years ago. They set down deep roots in Lesotho as their children grew and eventually entered high school. “As your kids get older, they start to form opinions of their own,” explains Barb. “Instead of just telling them what you’re going to do and dragging them along with you, their opinions become part of the decision-making process.” Before they knew it, the Clarks were at a difficult crossroad: Should they continue mission life in Africa, transfer to another program, or serve in a mission role in the States so they could focus on launching their kids into adulthood? They chose to spend a term in Idaho but hope to return to Africa one day. While Roger still gets to work on the familiar C206s, he is also applying his mechanical skill set to new and bigger airplanes, like the KODIAK and the Caravan.

photo courtesy of the Clarks

“I know the people who will be flying the airplanes. I know that Dave LePoidevin is going to fly the Caravan for the flying doctor service in Mozambique. I know right where he’ll be, what he’ll be doing, what it will look like, smell like, and feel like. I like that perspective.” The role MAF mechanics fill at headquarters is vital to MAF programs around the world. They’re maintaining planes that are used to train incoming missionaries, and they’re prepping or repairing aircraft for the field. One staff member likened it to getting the “farm equipment” ready for the harvest. Missionaries like the Clarks are part of the huge support system at MAF’s U.S. headquarters, who bring valuable firsthand experience to their roles. It might seem like the needs are less for missionaries serving in the States, but that’s not the case. Returning missionaries need support, encouragement, and prayers like never before. “It can be a bit daunting,” says Barb, “but we believe God’s going to provide. He always does.”

The Clarks need people to become their ministry partners. If you’d like to support them and the essential work they’re doing, please visit maf.org/clark. 1-800-FLYS-MAF



ongs of praise bounced off concrete floors and resounded from the tin roof. A parade of officials, professors, pastors, wives, and national leaders flowed around the chapel in celebration. This was a very special day indeed because the small village of Kikongo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) now had a university. The ceremony marked the inauguration of the pastoral training institute that had been led by missionaries here since 1948. Now as the Baptist University of Congo, it offers majors in theology, agriculture, and education. This is a huge opportunity for people this far out in the bush who have not had access to education to get a nationally recognized degree. “We are working to ensure there is a pastoral presence in rural Congo,” said Glen Chapman, a longtime missionary in Kikongo with American Baptist International Ministries. “The local churches are up against a lot of syncretistic movements and sorcery, so we need theologically trained pastors who can protect the villagers from the deception of sorcery and magic and all the violence and poverty that go along with that.”



Having a university here is important because the pastoral institute was struggling—the number of students had dwindled down to about six. Many of the people who sought higher education would leave for the city and often would not return to the rural interior part of the country. This year, however, the enrollment is up to 80 students, with the hope of increasing to 150 by next year. The ability to get a full-fledged education is a huge boon in such a remote area. The village sits on the banks of the Wamba River, nestled on the grassland at the edge of a lush jungle. The people there live off the land—residing in thatch-roofed, mud homes and eating what they farm, fish, or hunt. “It is hard for you to really understand what rural means until you take this trip to Kikongo,” said Mike Lowery, a theology professor who lives in Kinshasa and teaches at the university. Kikongo is at least an eight- to 12-hour drive to Kinshasa by four-wheel-drive vehicle if everything goes right—a journey that is subject to bandits, roadblocks, or being stranded on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere. An MAF flight only takes 55 minutes.

“I have made the trip by bicycle, and it took three days; I have done it by canoe, and it took about 12 days,” said Glen. “MAF is always there. They are the guardian angels who can get you out if you have an immediate need to leave, like a medical emergency.” “MAF has been instrumental in what we do,” said Mike Lowery. “You can’t really be a missionary upcountry in the Congo without some kind of air support.” MAF has been serving the Kikongo village for about 55 years and, because of the access they provided, played a key role in the institute making progress to gain the accreditation to become a university. MAF flights not only supported the missionaries living here but brought in professors from Kinshasa to teach at the institute and now at the university. “It is very exciting to have the university here, said Dr. Robert Nkwim, president of the Baptist University of Congo. “Thank you, MAF! If you were not there, we could not come here.” It was not only aviation that made the development of the university possible—MAF’s technology was vital. “Through technology, MAF has been a godsend to the

university and to us remaining here over the years,” said Glen. “HF radios kept us connected and, more recently, MAF helped get Internet to Kikongo through VSATs.” This made it possible for the university to be connected to the outside world—and for Glen and his wife, Rita, to meet their granddaughter. “We have no power besides solar power. We have no water besides the rainwater catchment, but because of MAF, I can Skype from my bedroom,” said Glen. “We have our first grandchild that we haven’t seen yet, that we aren’t going to be able to see for another year, but we can Skype with her.” The university means pastors will be able to reach remote areas with the message of the Gospel and combat the syncretism and witchcraft pervading the hearts of the Congolese people. “What this means for the village, what this means for the Congolese, for their children, and for the future—we get to be part of that as MAF,” said Nick Frey, manager of MAF’s West DRC program. LEARN MORE AT MAF.ORG/TRANSFORMING-THE-FUTURE




AN ANSWERED PRAYER Dean Johnson has been involved in missions for years. The 85-year-old and his late wife were directors of a disaster relief organization for the Evangelical Friends Church International—coordinating response efforts across the U.S. and Latin America for over three decades. Dean has also been a longtime supporter of MAF. He regularly supports an MAF couple and occasionally gives creative gifts like coffee money for the employees at headquarters who process donations. Twice a year, MAF observes a day of prayer at the global headquarters and at bases around the world, spending hours in prayer and devotion, and enjoying a time of fellowship with teammates. In the fall, MAF collected prayer requests from supporters so that MAF staff could pray for them during the most recent Day of Prayer. One such request came from Dean. “I have a grown son, Rodney, who has been a prodigal,” said Dean. “He has gone away from what we taught him all of his life. I asked MAF for prayer that he would return to his faith and the church.”



Some MAF staff spent that morning in prayer on behalf of Rodney. They wrote Dean a card and let him know they had prayed for him. “Very shortly after I asked for prayer, Rodney started going back to church again, even when his wife didn’t go with him,” said Dean. “I called the MAF office to let them know, because when you ask for help and then you get it, it is only fair that they should know and share in the blessing.” Supporters like Dean are not only essential to MAF’s ability to reach isolated people with Christ’s love, they bring great joy to the organization. And it is a pleasure to serve them through prayer. “I talked with Rodney last night,” said Dean, “And as we finished our conversation he said, ‘Well, I gotta go. We are on our way to church.’ And that was—wow—I tell you, I am on cloud nine. I think I am due to send some more coffee money to that group at MAF.”

photos by Mark and Kelly Hewes

To Every Tribe

How your partnership is introducing a remote, primitive tribe to Jesus.


When Petrus Giay, an Indonesian missionary, finally found the Weserau tribe deep in the mountainous interior of Papua, Indonesia, he wasn’t welcomed with open arms. It was obvious by their primitive garments made of bark, and their fear, that this tribe had little contact with outsiders. Their first instinct was to kill Petrus, who was trying desperately to communicate with hand gestures since he didn’t know their language. Finally, a small boy convinced the others that Petrus was a teacher, sent to help them. These people had been on Petrus’ heart ever since MAF surveyed unreached tribes in the 1990s. Petrus joined a Papuan church on two different outreach trips to small villages in the area, and saw the great need there. Setting out on foot, he trekked four weeks through difficult terrain and finally reached the Weserau people.

Petrus’ discovery opened the door for MAF to help the Baliem Mission Center (BMC)—an organization supported by local Indonesian churches—to bring the Word of God, education, and healthcare to the Weserau people. In the beginning stages, photo by Tom Bolser BMC chartered a helicopter to take a small mission team to the area. Long-term, however, they would need MAF’s services, as the helicopter was too costly and didn’t hold enough cargo. So on their third flight in they brought along MAF pilot Pieter Van Dijk to survey the area. Van Dijk was dismayed when he saw just how rugged it was, and that there was no possible location for an airstrip.

Van Dijk couldn’t stop thinking about it. “I really felt like God was tugging on my heart—what can MAF do?” While working on an airplane the day after his visit, he remembered a beautiful lake near the Weserau tribe’s village. And all of a sudden it occurred to him: We have an amphibious Caravan at another MAF base! Could we bring this floatplane up to Esrotnamba? This was way out of the normal flight range for the Caravan. However, Pieter’s plan worked, and MAF was able to make special arrangements. In 2012 MAF began serving the village with its floatplane, the only one in all of Papua. Since then they’ve brought in BMC teams three or four times a year, along with supplies, medicine, and building materials—enough to construct a church, a medical clinic, a school, and 21 homes! “We have seen many changes in the community, both spiritual and physical,” said Dr. Roland Lallo, who is on staff with BMC and serves as a doctor at the clinic. “We can see it in those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior. The community is healthier; the children are receiving better nutrition.” A pastor and his wife are based there year-round, along with a doctor and nurse. Additional doctors, teachers, and work teams visit for weeks at a time. The children have made great progress in learning to read. “The people seem calmer and more at peace with each other,” says floatplane pilot John Dalton. There’s a lot less fear—fear of the unknown, of evil spirits, and just fear in general. Petrus, BMC, and MAF are focused on reaching the last isolated people groups in Papua, like the Weserau, with Christ’s love. This unique partnership—which includes your support—is allowing that to happen. LEARN MORE AT MAF.ORG/TO-EVERY-TRIBE







MAF recently honored Alaska Air Group and three families for their significant support of MAF’s ministry work.

As MAF seeks future opportunities to serve in Nepal.

Friends and family members of Bruce Kennedy, former chairman of Alaska Airlines and an MAF board photo by Paul O’Brien member, along with hundreds of Alaska and Horizon Airlines employees, contributed to a memorial fund in his honor, and it was matched by the Alaska Air Group. Their gifts helped MAF purchase a KODIAK aircraft for humanitarian work in Asia. Longtime supporters of MAF, the Dahlen family, made a generous gift to help fund several projects, including a Cessna Caravan for mission and medical work in Mozambique. A legacy gift in honor of another faithful supporter, Lloyd Austin, also contributed to the purchase of the Mozambique Caravan.

That the pastors trained by MAF in Nicaragua will share what they have learned with others who lack biblical resources. For the Weserau tribe in Papua to grow in their faith and understanding of the Lord Jesus. For staff who are experiencing holds on visas and work permits.

photo by Paul O’Brien

For the Congolese pastors and their wives being trained at the Baptist University of Congo, that they would grow in faith and be well-equipped for the harvest of souls in the DRC.


February 23 marks 70 years since the inaugural flight of MAF (then known as Christian Airmen’s Missionary Fellowship – CAMF) made by MAF’s first pilot, Betty Greene, in a red 1933 four-place-cabin WACO biplane. She took off from the Lockman ranch in La Habra, California, carrying two Wycliffe workers to Mexico. The flight kicked off MAF’s first program, serving Wycliffe Bible Translators throughout rural Mexico.


Nearly a year after she was shot in the shoulder by robbers, MAF pilot Dave Jacobsson flew WEC International missionary Maud Kells from Uganda to her home in Mulita, DRC, along with a full load of medical supplies and medicine for the mission hospital there. Maud will continue sharing the Gospel with the Congolese people. photo by Mark and Kelly Hewes