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News for Prayer Issue 500

15 May 2014

Continued fighting

Continue to pray for the safety of our team and their partners who are providing medical aid and humanitarian relief in South Sudan. Fighting recently resumed, with an attack on the UN compound in Bor. Over Easter, we provided emergency evacuations to partners such as Medair and IMA World Health – Pilot Mike Dupuis flying to Renk to evacuate Medair personnel when violence there escalated. Rebekka Meissner, Interim Country Director for Medair South Sudan, says, ‘I can recall many times when MAF has unflinchingly flown a staff member who needed medical attention or a whole team when we had concerns about their safety. I am so grateful for the difference MAF makes.’ When staff from Polish Humanitarian Action in Bor were also caught up in the conflict, Pilot Ryan Unger evacuated them to Juba. As the passengers began boarding, a doctor asked if Ryan could carry four patients in need of urgent medical help. They had been hit by bullets during an attack near the UN compound. Give thanks that we were able to airlift these wounded men, and please continue to pray for peace between government and opposition forces. Praise God that the most recent fighting is a long way from Juba, and there have been no security threats in MAF’s neighbourhood recently.

Medair at work in South Sudan

Helping planes, healing people MAF Pilot Martin Koehler was preparing to fly to Malamaunda, Papua New Guinea (PNG) with Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Bert Mostert to repair a plane stranded on an airstrip there when he received an emergency call. A baby was sick and needed urgent help. Martin explains, ‘Due to unusual atmospheric conditions, MAF Pilot Sean DeKelver was unable to report his safe arrival at Malamaunda, and then his aircraft wouldn’t start – preventing him from continuing his day’s flights and forcing him to spend the night there. ‘The weather was murky and cloud cover down below the mountains, but I finally got the all-clear just as the cloud started to thin above Mount Hagen Airport. The 40-minute flight to Malamaunda was spent dodging rain and big build-ups of cloud, but the weather cleared as we continued west. ‘Sean and the parents of a sick baby were waiting as we taxied to the remote airstrip’s parking bay. Baby Dikson had an inflated belly from a blocked bowel, and his parents were very concerned. Without MAF, the only medical assistance available was several days’ walk away.’ Once parents Debi, Didimus and baby Dikson were safely on board and Bert had offloaded his tools, Martin took off for Wewak.

After a 30-minute flight, he parked the plane in front of the MAF hangar where the ambulance was waiting. Soon they were all safely on their way to the hospital. Praise God that, thanks to MAF and a timely trip to Malamaunda, yet another precious life was saved. Pray that the emergency medevacs we perform in PNG and throughout the developing world will continue to save lives and, through our contact with those involved, help speed the Gospel.

Planning for disaster Our floatplane recently carried Ambassadors from Norway and The Netherlands along with officials from the Government of Bangladesh, World Food Programme (WFP) and partner NGOs to visit a climate change programme run by the United Nations WFP in northern Bangladesh. WFP works alongside the Bangladesh Government as well as national and international NGOs to help families protect their homes and fields during times of natural disaster. The Ambassadors spent five days reviewing how to improve resilience to natural disasters that threaten food security and nutrition. ‘The projects that I visited this week,’ explained Her Excellency Merete Lundemo, Ambassador of Norway, ‘clearly demonstrate how vital nutrition is to progress in these important areas.’

WFP helps 80,000 men and women living in extreme rural poverty by providing cash and food in return for work and training to increase their resilience to future disasters. The organisation also works with the Bangladesh Government to promote development by repairing and reinforcing embankments and excavating drains and irrigation canals. Throughout the rainy season, villagers take part in training that enhances their ability to prepare for natural disasters and respond accordingly. In exchange for their time and labour, those participating receive a nutritious food ration from WFP and the equivalent in cash from the Government of Bangladesh. In the third year of the programme, those who have taken part in the scheme learn about business development and entrepreneurship – identifying activities that match their skills with local demand to help develop a business plan. The participants then receive a cash grant to invest in their business, and a monthly allowance to help support their families while they focus on making their businesses successful. Give thanks that our flights make visits to schemes such as these possible and pray that those taking part will escape poverty and have the necessary skills to survive when natural disaster strikes.

Prayer points • ARNHEM LAND Pray that MAF staff will continue to have a positive influence on the communities we serve in Lake Evella (Gapuwiyak), Elcho Island (Galiwinku), Milingimbi, Ramingining, Yirrkala and Nhulunbuy.

• KALIMANTAN Pray for our team as they plan to prepare our PalangkaRaya base for the arrival of a new amphibious Kodiak aircraft.

• LESOTHO Praise God for our delivery of evangelistic gift boxes to children in mountain villages, and pray as our team works with the local government to improve the quality of several closed airstrips.

• MADAGASCAR Uphold our team of 22 local staff and 5 international staff led by Bert van den Bosch in Madagascar. Pray that seeds sown during a recent medical safari to Ankavandra will result in those treated being saved. • MONGOLIA Pray for Ryan and Amanda Van Geest and family as they grieve the loss of their one-year-old daughter and return to serve in Mongolia.

• Because the need for our aircraft is high, and Ryan is busy flying, Alan and Davina Sully are assisting the Mongolia programme until October. Give thanks for the Sully family and pray for additional staff. Pray also for our team in Chad which, with Alan’s departure, will be without a Programme Manager until August. • PNG Continue to pray about our pilot shortage and for the team as they look at how we can effectively serve in the remote corners of PNG. • SOUTH SUDAN Demand for flights continues to increase. Pray for wisdom for the team in Juba who have to prioritise many requests. • TIMOR-LESTE Pray for our team’s interaction with government, UN and NGO bodies, asking for favour as we negotiate the paperwork needed for our new aircraft, the relocation of the MAF hangar, and our day-to-day operations. • WORLDWIDE MAF pilots sometimes have to spend time away from home. Ask God to protect and uphold their families during times of separation.

MAF UK Castle Hill Avenue FOLKESTONE CT20 2TN T 0845 850 9505 E supporter.relations@maf-uk.org www.maf-uk.org/prayer

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News for Prayer Issue 500