I have been thinking a lot lately about MAF’s role in the Great Commission. In the days of Nate Saint, we flew Western missionaries into remote places where they could share the Gospel. Yet, Western missionaries are increasingly being pushed out of countries that were once open. In many places, MAF is now partnering with local African, Asian, or Latin American believers to reach those around them. What is our role in this rapidly changing world? What part do you and I play as the center of Christianity continues to shift from North America and Europe to the Global South? How can we work together to best serve God’s Kingdom? I am so encouraged by stories like the one you will read in the following pages that highlight exactly how this is playing out. MAF and Congolese believers are working together so that isolated people in that country can experience the hope of Jesus Christ. This is not a lone incident, my friends! This is happening all over the world as local believers are taking up the mantle left to them by foreign missionaries. It is humbling to know that through MAF, you and I can walk beside them as we continue the task of taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Together for His Glory,
John C. Boyd President and CEO
a publication of Mission Aviation Fellowship The stories within FlightWatch are highlights of MAF’s ministry. Some days our missionaries get to see and experience the amazing things our Lord is doing. Other days are spent quietly and diligently serving the Lord through routine flights, maintenance work, and simply living among others in foreign countries. We believe that God works through all areas of service and at times blesses us with extraordinary glimpses of His work.
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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. MAF PO Box 47 Nampa, ID 83653-0047 208-498-0800 1-800-FLYS-MAF (359-7623) maf.org 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.
Tracey Werre Chris Burgess Micki Blair Colby Dees Clayton Borah Jennifer Wolf
MINISTRY SPOTLIGHT IAN ROJAS
The biggest thing that drew Ian Rojas to MAF was the people, and their heart for the ministry. “I wanted to be a part of a community that was so committed to bringing the love of Jesus to the ends of the world,” said Rojas, who is preparing to serve as a pilot/ mechanic in Kalimantan, Indonesia. Ian’s aviation journey took a few turns before he applied with MAF last year. It started in high school when a family friend gave him flying lessons. One day, when he stumbled upon MAF’s website, Ian realized this was where God was leading him. He spent three years at Moody Bible Institute and then accepted a job at Boeing, which enabled him to finish his flight training at Mission Aviation Training Academy in Washington.
love of Christ,” said Ian. Currently in the fundraising stage of his ministry, Ian is busy building a team of financial and prayer partners before he can leave for the field. “God has definitely been teaching me through this process—to have a greater reliance on Him, a deeper trust,” explains Ian. “I’ve had to shift my perspective to view God as the one who will provide for my ministry needs. There is just no way I can get through this on my own.” Ian is eager to start flying in Kalimantan, whether it’s to help the national church grow, to save lives through medical evacuations, or to meet basic needs of isolated people.
God further confirmed Ian’s decision to pursue mission aviation after he spent four weeks as a pilot for a Christian camp in Alaska that serves people living in isolated areas.
“So many of my flight hours up until now have been purely for training. I am really looking forward to being able to not only do some really cool flying, but have it be for a greater purpose.”
“This was really the first time I was able to act as a pilot in a practical sense, particularly in a way that allowed the children of these remote Alaskan villages to experience the
If you would like to join Ian’s ministry partnership team and help him get to Indonesia, visit maf.org/ rojas.
REACHING THE TRIBE NEXT DOOR
are missionaries!” replied the three passengers in response to MAF pilot Jon Cadd’s inquiry as to whether they were pastors. Their declaration reflects a new mindset in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In the past, if you’d asked someone here who the missionaries are, they would have had a much different answer. “They would have told you ‘it’s the white people who come to share their faith,’ ” explained Cadd. Churches here have been too busy just trying to survive and recover from the brutal effects of war to think about reaching out beyond their local body of believers. But that’s all changing. MAF flew this team of Congolese missionaries to Doruma in the northeastern corner of the DRC to survey the area. Situated near the DRC’s borders with South Sudan and Central African Republic, it’s a region that has seen an influx in refugees in recent years. On some of their initial trips, the missionaries have been able to lead seminars for small, struggling churches on how to witness to the Mbororo people, a nomadic tribe of cattle herders known to be in this area.
“There are unreached and unengaged places in Congo, and now there are people willing to go,” said Cadd. “But they don’t have a way to do that, other than to get on public transportation, or a motorcycle, which takes days on terrible, unsafe roads.” On a recent flight, Cadd transported a man who had been shot in an ambush along the road in that area. A week later, after he had flown one of the missionary teams up north, another man was killed while driving on the same road. “This is not just about ease of movement,” said Cadd. “It can be life and death.” MAF plans to take a team of Congolese missionaries into the area for two to three months at a time. These missionaries have very little and will leave behind families, but they’re still willing to sacrifice. “In 30-plus years of serving in Africa as a missionary, I have seen that there is a reason that people are unreached. It is because it is too hard! People don’t like to go to a place where everything is different and their life is in danger,” said Cadd. “You have to be proud of these Congolese missionaries and the risks they are willing to take for the sake of the Gospel.”
Jon Cadd assists a young man who was shot by bandits.
Your support helps Congolese Christians cross impossible distances to answer God’s call.
STRONGER TOGETHER Christians throughout the DRC share the missionaries’ desire for peace and healing to come to their nation— something that’s only possible through Christ. Further south, MAF is helping another ministry bring spiritual and emotional healing to a hard-to-reach part of the country. The Shabunda territory in South Kivu province is home to several different ethnic groups, many still divided and still suffering from the trauma of war and ongoing conflicts. A group known as Organisation Evangélisation, Intercession, and Liberation (OEIL), in English “Organization for Evangelism, Prayer and Freedom,” wants to focus its efforts in this place, to break the cycle of violence and bring spiritual transformation. Through their reconciliation workshops the group has seen thousands put their faith in Christ. OEIL teams depend on MAF to reach many areas of the DRC, including Shabunda—a flight just short of three hours versus over a week of dangerous ground travel. Ron Wismer, MAF’s field advisor for ministry initiatives in Africa, visited eastern DRC this past November to meet with church leaders, the new missionaries, and OEIL. He
reemphasized MAF’s commitment to their ministries and introduced a simple 20-question survey to help them measure their progress—not only the decisions made for Christ but what biblical resources are available, if churches have been planted and are reproducing, if new leaders are being trained, and if communities are being transformed with Kingdom values. Daniel Kasereka, the founder of OEIL, told Wismer that just a few months prior to his visit God had been telling Kasereka he needed to do some forward-thinking research to evaluate what’s happening on the ground. “When I showed up with this survey, that really impressed upon Daniel that God wanted him to do it,” said Wismer. MAF is excited to partner with these groups that are passionate about taking the Gospel to their neighbors. “These initiatives are being led by the national church missionaries and the OEIL members,” said Wismer. “MAF wants to come alongside them, pray for them, support them, and ensure that they can get to where they need to go. “The airplane is one part of the strategy. If they’re successful, then we’re successful.”
An OEIL team preparing for a flight with MAF pilot Lary Strietzel.
TECH CORNER CHANGING SOCKS
Socks don’t last forever. Over time they become threadbare, your big toe sticks out, and they need to be replaced. Which is a pretty simple task. But replacing the sock’s aviator cousin, the wind sock, is not as easy as touching your toes. Across Lesotho, wind socks hang on poles high above remote airstrips. They play the vital role of providing MAF pilots information about wind speed and direction. This is especially important in Lesotho because of the frequent strong winds that sweep across the country’s treeless mountains. These winds can keep MAF pilots from taking off or landing safely. Wind socks in Lesotho (and at MAF strips around the world) are constantly battered by the high winds and frequently need to be replaced—a task that can be challenging, to say the least! MAF staff are doing something that will make this task a little easier. Instead of climbing up the poles to reach the
wind socks, they are having the wind socks come to them! Essentially, what they have done is welded a hinge at the bottom of each pole, separated the base of the pole from the ground, and, voila! The pole is able to be easily folded, so that the wind sock can be replaced and then raised back into position. This will save the MAF team valuable time and ensure that this bright and important sock is in place so pilots can make the right decision when it comes to wind speed and whether it’s safe to take off or land. To see this process in action, visit maf.org/wind sock to see a short video of this device being installed at Kuebunyane (filmed by Moody Aviation student and recent MAF intern, Joshua Cowles). While wind socks need to be changed only occasionally, we strongly recommend changing your own socks more often!
Mike and Ben Eadie, the other maintenance specialist, looked at each other and determined to get one of the airplanes up in the air. One Body, Many Parts “The hard thing about being a maintenance family is that we’re so far removed from the front lines, unlike the pilots,” said Angie. “It’s hard to really know what’s going on. You can lose the big picture.” Not all of the missionaries and staff serving with MAF are pilots. It takes an incredible amount of support and teamwork to enable these pilots to reach isolated people. The pilots are very much the tip of a spear. The Apostle Paul speaks about the many parts that make up the Body of Christ in his first letter to the Corinthians. He says that all the parts are needed for the Body to function effectively. MAF needs pilots, mechanics, support staff at headquarters and around the world, and supporters like you to be able to reach people living in remote places with Christ’s love.
Mike and Angie Johnson had just returned to the Tarakan base in Kalimantan, Indonesia, after a few days away. Mike, a maintenance specialist, had a full day ahead of him—working on all three of the program’s Cessna 206’s that were down for maintenance work. Mike went to the hangar, pulled out the tools and began working when the voice of an Indonesian worker came over the radio: “Mike, are any of these airplanes working … can any of them fly?” “No, what’s going on?” said Mike. The worker explained that there was a girl in the village of Umtang who had just delivered a baby and was having serious complications. Because the airstrip at Umtang was so narrow, it could only handle a 206—not the larger KODIAK—so this woman’s life depended on one of the three airplanes in that hangar being able to fly.
Working Together Two and half hours later, Mike and Ben had fixed the 206, finished the necessary paperwork, and were watching Paul College, an MAF pilot, take off to pick up the woman and her baby from the jungle village and take them to a hospital. “It was the first time I clearly experienced that my role as a mechanic could be a direct help to someone,” said Mike. “I know that maintaining our aircraft helps get people to their destinations all the time. But it was pretty neat to be associated with something so critical in the lives of this woman and her baby.” Jesus did not leave His mission to just a few talented people. He gives everyone the gifts and skills they need to play their part in the work of the Kingdom of God. Just as Mike understood the importance of his role that day, yours is just as critical. Each one of us plays a part in showing Christ’s love to isolated people like the woman and her baby.
Niki Gregg Photography
JOIN US IN PRAYER ...
AN HONOR FOR MAF’S FIRST PILOT
Last September, friends of the Sedlmeier family hosted the first Sedlmeier Story 5k in Montgomery, Texas. The event was held as a way to remember a young family—Roland and Mendy Sedlmeier and their two children, Harley (6) and Sofie (4), who were all tragically killed in a car accident on their way home from church in September 2015. The Sedlmeiers served with MAF as a pilot-mechanic family in Kenya until 2011. This first race, along with a community Chick-Fil-A fundraiser, raised a total of $11,827 for the ministry. Join us in giving thanks to our Lord for this special gift, and lift up loved ones and family members still grieving this loss.
Betty Greene was inducted (posthumously) into the Women in Aviation International’s (WAI) Pioneer Hall of Fame. WAI recognized Greene and other inductees for their contributions to aviation during a ceremony in March. She’s noted as “a trailblazer in humanitarian and missionary flying” on the group’s website. Greene served with the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) during World War II and helped found Christian Airmen’s Missionary Fellowship (which later became Mission Aviation Fellowship). She served as an MAF pilot for 16 years, flying in 12 countries and touching down in some 20 more.
PLANTING SEEDS OF FAITH
Recently the MAF crew in Mozambique flew a team of ten Mozambican church members to a town where they spent time ministering and showing The JESUS Film. This area is quite resistant to Christianity, with many here holding strong animistic beliefs. The visit encouraged the longtime missionaries there, who are praying that these efforts will produce much fruit.
For the new MAF missionary families accepted to the ministry in January. Ask for the Lord’s provision for them as they develop their ministry partnership team.
For the MAF-US managers and directors from around the globe who are meeting in Nampa later this month for a leadership conference. Ask the Lord to equip and inspire them in their various roles.
For the team in western Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as they serve non-government organizations (NGOs) that are returning after some political instability.
That MAF mobilizers (formerly known as recruiters) will receive clear direction from the Lord as they interact with potential MAF candidates.
A SPECIAL REMEMBRANCE
Photo by David Holmes
Photo by Allie Bramon
GOD PROVIDES FOR A GROWING CAMPUS
MAF’s campus expansion is moving along. A new maintenance building, RV park expansion with a shower/ laundry facility, and two apartment buildings have been completed at MAF’s headquarters in Nampa, Idaho. Several generous donors have contributed to the project, including one former missionary who gave a gift toward a third apartment building and playground, which we will begin construction on later in the year. Give thanks with us for God’s provision.
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything in His will, He hears us.” - 1 John 5:14