Dear friends, “I enjoy saving lives.” These words were said by an African MAF employee in a story you’ll read on the pages that follow. It’s such a simple statement, but it so effectively captures the heart of why many of us are attracted to the ministry of MAF. Isolated people are experiencing the love of Christ, and their lives are being changed as a result. The Lord has provided numerous opportunities for me to take part in lifesaving flights during my years of ministry with MAF. Sometimes I was the pilot navigating challenging weather and terrain so I could pick up a sick or injured patient at a remote airstrip. Other times I found myself performing maintenance on an MAF airplane so it could reach an isolated community. On other occasions I was waiting at an MAF hangar to help carry a patient to a waiting ambulance. I’ve also had the privilege to pray for and personally provide financial support for MAF friends who continue to carry out this sort of work on a nearly daily basis. As you read this edition of FlightWatch, I hope you will see how important your investment in this unique ministry is to isolated people living at the ends of the earth. When you faithfully pray for MAF staff serving around the world, and generously provide for the financial needs of this ministry, you are taking part in these flights! We simply could not do what we do without the collective effort of the body of Christ. Thank you for your part in the enclosed stories. May they be as great an encouragement and joy to you as they are for us. Serving Together,
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.
Director of Marketing: Tracey Werre Managing Editor: Chris Burgess Production Manager: Micki Blair Graphic Designer: Clayton Borah Writers/Resourcing: Jennifer Wolf Chris Burgess 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, 2010 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
David Holsten President and CEO
On the Cover: Cement is unloaded to repair a mission home at the small village of Kama in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Photo by LuAnne Cadd
YOU CAN BRING HOPE TO ISOLATED PEOPLE!
Combine your unique skills with your passion to share the love of Jesus crossculturally by going overseas with MAF. Many opportunities are available in remote places around the world. MAF needs people like you to serve as pilots, maintenance specialists, tech resources specialists, and teachers. Find out how you can serve by visiting MAF.org/serve or emailing an MAF mobilizer at email@example.com.
A G L I M P S E AT H OW YO U H E L P M A F S TA F F L E AV E A L A S T I N G L E G A C Y.
By Jennifer Wolf
arth Pederson, a long-time pilot with MAF, handed the keys to his motorcycle over to Dan Grings, who serves in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Dan, a third-generation missionary, plans to use the bike to return to the place he was born in the northern part of the country, and go from village to village to encourage his remote church plants and do evangelism. Garth won’t need the bike anymore since he and his wife, Jody, will now be serving stateside with MAF.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
• 3 Bases • 66 MAF Staff • 7 Airplanes For more information visit:
Jody passed along her keyboard to a Congolese man who leads a church in an isolated region of the DRC. The portable, battery-operated keyboard that Jody once used to teach music lessons, now allows Pastor David to lead his congregation and others in the area in singing praises to the Lord. The Pedersons are leaving a motorcycle and a keyboard in the DRC—but like many MAF missionaries, they are leaving behind much more than that. The impact MAF staff have is not always obvious, but the Pedersons got a glimpse of how God wove together their lives and others for His glory.
FRUITFUL WORDS Many weekends, Leta Kupa, a Congolese MAF chaplain, travels to towns and villages around the DRC’s capital city of Kinshasa. When he arrives, he sets up a projector and a makeshift screen and shows the “JESUS” film—a movie that tells the story of Christ. Hundreds of Congolese people have given their lives to Christ over the years, because of the work Leta is doing— work that he could not do without a projector. Years ago, Leta wanted to start showing the “JESUS” film in the Kinshasa area. Jody and Leta knew each other from Nyankunde, where she and Garth first served with MAF over 20 years ago. So she spoke to the MAF program manager at the time to relay Leta’s excellent work in Nyankunde with the film. Because of her recommendation, the program
manager purchased the projector equipment Leta needed. “I never knew you were aware of what I was doing [in Nyankunde],” Leta told Jody in a parting note. “Thank you for your watching eyes.” “He said he appreciated how I was supportive of his ministry,” said Jody. “I had totally forgotten about it, it was so long ago. It was fun to hear how he appreciated that and remembered.”
UNEXPECTED GR ATITUDE Dieu Donné, a Congolese MAF staff member, read Galatians 6:10 in the MAF hangar in Nyankunde one morning last January. He gave a testimony related to the terrible massacre that happened there in 2002. Dieu shared how he, other MAF staff, and hospital workers had managed to escape the violence and fled on foot through the forest. They walked for several days until they reached a mission hospital about 60 miles to the south. Dr. Bill Clemmer, a missionary based there, learned of their situation and chartered the MAF Caravan from Kinshasa to try and help them. The pilot flew the airplane to Uganda to purchase supplies for the refugees— bales of used clothing, blankets, machetes, hoes and shovels for gardening, tarps for shelters. Dieu recalled that Garth was the one who brought the items to them. “I don’t even remember seeing him during that busy visit,” said Garth, who just happened to be there to hear Dieu speak that morning. “Hearing him express his gratitude
for that aid created an emotional moment for me as those memories flooded back into my mind.” Today, Dieu remains a vital team member in Nyankunde, helping with building projects, airplane maintenance, and cleaning and upkeep of the hangar and airport grounds.
PARTING BLESSINGS At the Pederson’s going-away party with their Kinshasa teammates, Kahindo Mbodwam, the wife of a new MAF pilot, shared how she and her husband were encouraged by reading the Pedersons’ prayer letters.
The Pederson’s church family prays over them before they depart Kinshasa. Photo courtesy of the Pedersons
Through them the Pedersons had painted a beautiful picture of the impact of MAF’s ministry, which motivated the Mbodwams during their long support-raising period to keep pursuing their goal of joining MAF. In what seems like a natural next step, Garth and Jody are now mobilizers with MAF. They’ll continue to impact a new generation of MAF pilot/mechanics and IT specialists and their families who are preparing for service. The Pedersons no longer own a motorcycle or a keyboard, but they do have the knowledge that what they left behind in the DRC is even more valuable. Because of the support of people like you, MAF staff around the world are leaving legacies that extend further than they could ever imagine. Special thanks to Jaclyn Reierson in west DRC for her help with this story.
Leta Kupa prepares to show the “JESUS” film in the Kinshasa area. Photo by Mark and Kelly Hewes
MAF’S WORK HAPPENS THANKS TO PEOPLE LIKE YOU
And you aren’t alone! Here’s a glimpse at how many people like you are involved with MAF in different ways. This support makes it possible for isolated people to be reached with Christ’s love.
people and churches received FlightWatch
people like MAF on Facebook
people follow @maf_us on Instagram
people were reached through MAF’s social media posts and ads in the past year
new visitors came to MAF.org last year
donors supported MAF’s work last year!
THANK YOU 6
ryan Eygabroad landed his Cessna 206 at the Lebakeng airstrip high in the mountains of Lesotho. He was unloading cargo when he overheard a group of nurses from the local clinic chattering excitedly in a mix of Sesotho and a Zimbabwean language. The nurse relayed to Bryan that a tragedy had struck the village the night before. A local woman had died shortly after giving birth.
The baby survived … but there was no milk or formula in Lebakeng. It had already been hours and the baby needed food—fast. “Looking at my flight schedule for the afternoon,” said Bryan, an MAF pilot, “I realized I was going to finish the day a mere 10-minute flight away from my current stop. Surely there was something that could be done!” Two clocks were ticking: one counted down how long this new infant could last without nourishment,
and the other measured the time until the high winds would begin sweeping over the mostly treeless mountains of Lesotho in the afternoon. If Bryan could not make it back to Lebakeng before the winds picked up, his chances of landing were slim. High in the Mountain Kingdom Like many villages in the tiny mountain kingdom of Lesotho, Lebakeng is remote. Without an airplane, a trek out would involve a steep hike down a ridge, somehow crossing the wide Senqu River, and then hiking up the opposite mountain—which would only get one to the beginning of a gravel road, with many hours still to go to reach the nearest town. Making this trip in the case of a medical emergency—or with a newborn baby— would simply be impossible. An MAF airplane is the only way. Although this land and its people are beautiful, the needs here are great. Lesotho has an alarmingly high HIV rate, and there is little infrastructure in the remote parts of the country. Because of your support, MAF is able to partner with organizations like the Lesotho Flying Doctor Service and the Lesotho Flying Pastors, among others, to bring healing and hope to the people of this small nation. Teamwork The MAF team in Lesotho is made up of western missionaries like Bryan, along with several local Basotho (what people from Lesotho are called) who have a desire to share Christ’s love with their own people. Some of the vital roles they play include aircraft maintenance specialists, loaders, bookkeepers, and flight followers; and there is even a Basotho MAF chaplain. “It has been really amazing to see how this team of Basotho staff have really grown,” said Bryan. “They are developing in their roles and they make our jobs as pilots easy.” The team often finds creative ways to work out the logistics of flight plans so that Bryan and the other pilots can respond to medical emergencies— rerouting schedules mid-flight, calculating fuel supplies, and directing 8
• Small kingdom surrounded by South Africa • 16 MAF Staff • 4 Airplanes For more information visit: maf.org/lesotho
them to where they can safely land and refuel from MAF’s remote fuel caches. “By the time they call me,” said Bryan, “they have worked out all the details. I love working with them—it makes flying so much more efficient.” This day was no different. With this baby’s life on the line, local MAF staff members—including Lehlohonolo “Oliphant” Tjokolo, the flight operations manager, and Tebello Ntebe Ntelo, the MAF flight follower—worked quickly to make it possible for Bryan to bring help. Just in Time From Lebakeng, Bryan radioed Tebello at the MAF base in the capital city of Maseru, and she quickly got in touch with the nearby office of the Lesotho Flying Doctor Service. They sent a staff person to the store to buy a box of baby formula. The box was waiting for Bryan in the hangar as soon as he arrived. Oliphant had made arrangements for the plane to be loaded and refueled, and, in no time, Bryan whisked away to Lebakeng and the hungry baby. “If it weren’t for the team on the ground, I would have had to run to the grocery store and back to the hangar, which would have tacked on a lot of time,” said Bryan. “By that point it would
have likely been too late to land back in the village with the winds picking up.” Even so, the wind was already beginning to sweep over the mountains as Bryan neared the airstrip. “I prayed earnestly, as the turbulence
“I have seen God’s love through MAF.” rocked my aircraft, that I would be able to land,” wrote Bryan in his family’s monthly prayer letter. “I fought that wind all the way to touchdown, but it was well within limits ... just another ‘normal’ day in Lesotho!” The formula was safely delivered. By the time Bryan was airborne on the way
back to Maseru, he knew the nurses and villagers had worked out a long-term plan to care for the newborn baby. “I love that I got to be a part of this story,” said Bryan. “But it was really the national staff who were instrumental in this story’s success. I was ‘ops-normal.’ They took the extra step to make sure everything worked out.” “I have seen God’s love through MAF,” said Oliphant. “I feel blessed to be part of MAF Lesotho, where our everyday jobs include saving the lives of the Basotho people in the mountains. I enjoy saving lives.” MAF would not be able to serve well in Lesotho without people like Oliphant and Tebello—nor could MAF share Christ’s love with isolated people around the world without the generous support of people like you who make stories like this possible!
CORY AND ANNALEIS WOODSUM by Jennifer Wolf
Cory and Annaleis Woodsum love adventure—their relationship began at a rock climbing ministry at Joshua Tree National Park where they were both instructors. Now, as MAF prefielders, the couple faces another challenge: moving to another country and embracing a new culture. This adventure began in 1996, when Cory toured the MAF headquarters. He was just learning to fly and in his mind, flying and ministry were in conflict with each other. “I thought I would have to choose between God and flying. But after that tour at MAF I knew what I wanted to do with my life,” said Cory. Cory’s goal to join MAF five years after high school wasn’t in God’s plans—it’s taken a little over 20 years of training and preparation to get to this point. But God hasn’t wasted any of that time. The Woodsums have been involved in various 10
ministries, discipling youth and families, and going on short-term mission trips—all of which means they are well-equipped to serve as a pilot family in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Cory is looking forward to field flying and to getting settled. “We have lived out of a suitcase for over a year as we’ve been learning how to do life in our new context,” said Cory. Annaleis is ready to build rich relationships with her Congolese coworkers and neighbors in Nyankunde, DRC. “When I saw pictures of the village and heard how God was working in DRC, I just knew I could call it home! “I feel free to pursue ministry opportunities in the area,” added Annaleis, “but my first ministry is as ‘First Officer at Home.’ ” Now, with all the packing and goodbyes done, Cory and Annaleis are beginning a year of language school in France, before landing
in the DRC. They’re hoping to add more ministry partners to their team so they will have sufficient support during their first term. “It’s not just about people giving money to our ministry,” said Cory. “It’s about being a vital team member in what God is doing to bring the gospel to the isolated people of DRC.” “It is a grand adventure serving our King,” says Annaleis. “There is no one more trustworthy than Christ, our Solid Rock. We are excited to see God’s hand at work and would love for you to share in this adventure with us.”
Is God calling you to join the Woodsums as they share Christ’s love in the DRC? To become a partner in their ministry, visit maf.org/woodsum.
GIVING THROUGH GENERATIONS How God took one family’s tragedy and used it for good by Jennifer Wolf
llan Bagge was flying his airplane in northern Idaho in 1987 when he tragically crashed—he did not survive. Lois, Allan’s wife, was determined to honor her husband and bring closure to his death. “My mom wanted to fund an MAF airplane,” Ronn Bagge explained to a room full of donors, staff, and mission partners at a recent event at MAF headquarters. “MAF was very responsive and gracious to my mom as they met with her and understood what she wanted to do.” Lois gave a gift to MAF, and by 1989, a Cessna U206G had been acquired and was being used in Venezuela. This first gift was the beginning of the Bagge family’s relationship with MAF—the first generation of supporters from this family. Ronn picked up the baton next, and hopes his own sons and daughter will also catch the vision of partnering with MAF. Rolland Trempert, MAF’s director of Aviation Safety/Quality, was surprised to hear Ronn speak at MAF. The Bagge family had donated the very plane he flew in Venezuela. “I remember seeing the plaque on the glove box, with the name ‘Bagge’ on it,” said Rolland. “It was a somewhat unusual name, so, memorable.” Rolland did field training with four new pilots in that plane. Each eventually was able to fly solo and go on to serve with MAF in Venezuela. “Since much of our ministry was direct missions support, we carried LOTS of cargo. The airplane could carry 100 kg more (25 percent) than the program’s C185s,” said Rolland. “It was a big improvement in the ability to meet the need.” That airplane was used in Venezuela from 1989-2005, flying about 10,000 hours. When the program closed at the request of the government, the aircraft was used for recruiting purposes in the midwestern U.S. Then it was sold to an ex-MAF staff member in the Portland, Oregon area, who makes it available to future mission pilots so they can gain experience flying a C206 before they serve overseas. God took one gift, born out of tragedy, and used it for good— to bring Christ’s love to isolated people, train pilots, and inspire giving across multiple generations of one family.
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DRONE S Will drones make MAF obsolete? “Drones can be a complimentary tool to our existing aircraft,” said Danny Hulls, MAF application administrator and former pilot. “They would never replace MAF’s traditional aviation services, but they will be an effective tool.” Case in point: the drone airstrip survey. Every three years, pilots have to inspect all of MAF’s airstrips (other than major, Class 1 airports). This requires the pilot to walk the airstrip—a laborious task. Danny has been working to use drones to provide an aerial view to streamline this process. The drone flies high into the sky and takes around 250 high-resolution pictures that are stitched together and overlaid on Google Earth. This allows MAF staff not only to get a detailed, bird’s eye look at the airstrip, but also lets them see how the strip is changing over the years— e.g., tree and vegetation growth, buildings, roads, etc. “This would make airstrip surveys much less time-consuming,” said Danny. And drone airstrip surveys are just the beginning. The possibilities for MAF to use drones are endless. “Down the road, drones might be able to deliver and pick-up packages, and bring medication, vaccines, blood samples, passport stamps, and more to remote locations,” said Danny. “The biggest potential is for reaching areas that don’t have an existing airstrip.” There are some things the drone won’t be able to do such as measure the softness of the airstrip, which is especially important in places like Papua, where the soil isn’t as dry as in Lesotho. And when it comes to building relationships and sharing the love of Christ, a drone is no match for an MAF pilot.
JOIN US IN PRAYER
Please continue to bring before the Lord the people of the Philippines and Indonesia who were affected by recent natural disasters.
Lift up Zacharie François, a young Haitian MAF staff member studying aircraft maintenance at the School of Missionary Aviation Technology (SMAT) in Michigan.
Give praise that a new airstrip opened at Itende, DRC, and pray for final approvals needed for the airstrip in La Source, Haiti. (See November issue for details.) May God use them to bring hope and healing and more opportunities to share Christ’s love.
MAF WELCOMES NEW CEO In a ceremony on September 14, MAF inaugurated David Holsten as the organization’s ninth president and formally recognized outgoing president John Boyd for his service.
The event was followed by the dedication of an amphibious Caravan that will eventually serve in Papua, Indonesia.
AMBASSADOR VISITS MAF BASE The US Ambassador to Indonesia came through Tarakan, Kalimantan, in September. He made time to visit the MAF hangar and treat the team to dinner at a local restaurant. According to Kalimantan program manager Ben Eadie, “It was a neat opportunity to meet him and some of the folks who work out of the Embassy, and also to share with them why MAF is in Indonesia along with what we actually do.” Photo: MAF Tarakan staff and the ambassador (third from right).
DID YOU KNOW? Pray for government approvals needed to complete avionics work on our Cessna Caravans in Papua, and lift up MAF mechanic Arleon Eko and other staff who are working on those avionics upgrades.
DISASTER RESPONSE TEAMS BUSY
I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer. Psalm 17:6 (NIV)
MAF’s Disaster Response team, in partnership with Medair and Ethnos360 Aviation, delivered and distributed shelter kits and rice to more than 400 families in four communities along the isolated northeast coast of the Philippines, an area hit directly by Super Typhoon Mangkhut (Ompong). A few short weeks later, MAF collaborated with Ethnos360 Aviation and Helivida to bring aid to the people affected by an earthquake and tsunami in Sulawesi, Indonesia.
Some of you have written or called to question why we write “an MAF” vs. “a MAF.” You might think that “an” should only be used in front of a word that begins with a vowel. But the rule is, if it begins with a vowel sound, then use “an.” Since we pronounce it as “M-A-F”, that makes the “M” sound like “em”, thus requiring “an.” Some of our European counterparts pronounce it MAF (rhymes with staff), so they would write “a MAF.” Confused yet?