AV I AT I O N MISSION ADVENTURE
E-MAGAZINE E D I T I O N // 4
2 0 1 5 // M A F Y O U T H ’ S 12 YEAR-DEFINING MOMENTS IT’S 2016 AND WE’RE BACK FOR ANOTHER EDITION OF THE MAF YOUTH E-MAGAZINE! WE HOPE YOU ALL HAD A CRACKING TIME OVER THE CHRISTMAS AND THE NEW YEAR BREAK.
TAKE A PEEK BELOW TO SEE WHAT 2015 LOOKED LIKE FOR US
//ANGOLA WE CELEBRATED 25 YEARS OF SERVICE //E-MAGAZINE IN APRIL, WE RELEASED OUR FIRST EDITION OF THE MAF YOUTH E-MAGAZINE SOUL//SURVIVOR WE HAD A SPLENDID TIME AT SOUL SURVIVOR IN AUGUST. LOOK OUT FOR US THIS SUMMER! //YWC15 WE LOVED ATTENDING THE YOUTH WORK CONFERENCE THIS YEAR!
//MAREEBA NEW FLIGHT TRAINING CENTRE OPENED IN MARCH
//BCDO WE HAD AN AMAZING TIME AT THE BIG CHURCH DAY OUT IN MAY
//NEPAL DISASTER RESPONSE AFTER EARTHQUAKES STRUCK THE COUNTRY IN APRIL/ MAY //UGANDA MAF UK IT OFFICER, LUKE, ASSISTED WITH THE MASSIVE OFFICE RELOCATION TO KAJJANSI
NEW//FACES WE WELCOMED OUR BRILLIANT, NEW YOUTH DEVELOPMENT OFFICER, BECS, IN SEPTEMBER
//LIBERIA A NEW PROGRAMME OPENS
AVIATRIX//PROJECT AS A RESULT OF YWC15, WE GAINED A BRILLIANT NEW PARTNER
70//YEARS AN OVERARCHING HIGHLIGHT WAS THAT 2015 MARKED THE 70TH YEAR OF MAF’S MINISTRY!
// TA N Z A N I A THE MAASAI & I
GETTING STUCK You might have thought I’d announced I was hanging out with Brad Pitt. ’Sometimes I want to be you so bad that it hurts. Like right now,’ one friend wrote. ‘Sitting on the couch wasting time on Facebook. Feeling somewhat cheated regarding general lack of Maasai, rainstorms and pilots in my life,’ said another. It made me laugh. Not only the response, but the fact that I could even make a Facebook post in the middle of nowhere on my phone in Tanzania. And I was, in a way, with celebrities. The Maasai, a tall, proud, internationally famous tribe, still live a traditional lifestyle in Kenya and Tanzania. Their well-known culture has made them actual tourist attractions. Fortunately for me, I was chilling with the real Maasai of Tanzania. The smell of bat poo in the bedroom and droppings on my bag, squat toilets and bucket baths in a dark outhouse, all spiced up with a horrific rainstorm – none of that stopped my enjoyment of these nights in the bush for an MAF medical and evangelistic safari. Here at Katahe, MAF built an airstrip and building as the base for the South Maasai medical safaris, all with strong support from the nearby Maasai
community – many of them Christians. A mud-brick church sits nearby.
MEET MARTHA Martha Katau, an amazing Maasai woman and relative of the families at Katahe, has been key to MAF’s work here, both in making this base possible, and recommending new areas where MAF might work now and in the future.
Martha is unique for a Maasai woman. She’s educated, a rare thing for a Maasai girl, and it has changed her view on many things Maasai, and yet all with the same hope and prayer for positive change for her people.
Martha says it is ‘by the grace of God’ that she received an education. Her father attended school beyond primary level and he wanted the same for his children, even the girls. ‘I’m the only one, in six children of my daddy, who went to school,’ she says. She continued her studies, attending Bible school and other higher level training, then worked as an evangelist and later for several charities. She’s thrilled to be helping MAF bring the Gospel and medical care to the Maasai community.
D AY 1 On the first day of the clinic, MAF Pilot Jarkko Korhonen flies to a remote area called Lesirwai where the medical team of only two weighs babies on a set of scales hanging from a roughed-up looking tree and gives vaccinations and pregnancy exams in a tiny building made of woven sticks. By the time the plane leaves, they have seen 98 patients. Martha leads the team and villagers in prayer, singing and preaching at the beginning and end of the clinic. It’s here, in this particularly remote village that Martha talks about isolation and her ‘forgotten’ people. Although the Maasai hold tightly to their traditions, they still want what most would consider basic services: good education, quality healthcare, clean water and roads. They receive very little, which is why MAF provides clinics in these remote areas. Lesirwai is 50km from the closest hospital in an area that is far from any real roads. They have little opportunity to hear the Gospel.
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YO U ARE HERE
WHAT ON EARTH IS GOING ON?
G E T // DEEP PEOPLE CAN SEEM WEIRD You offer your friend a fizzy drink and she declines. Why? Her parents are dentists and have always told her that fizzy drinks are bad for your teeth. You might think that’s silly but your friend feels like it would be the wrong thing to do – we call that conviction! Conviction simply means, in this scenario, a firmly held belief or opinion. Interestingly, the Bible highlights a moment where this sort of thing is happening – in Corinthians. The church in Corinth was in a bit of a mess. But Paul, when writing his letter, zooms in on a particular issue that was going on. You guessed it, it was about whether eating meat offered to idols was a good idea… Although this isn’t necessarily a major issue in today’s world, it gave the Apostle Paul an opportunity to talk about how we should act around people who have very particular convictions!
Certain members of the Corinthian church were debating whether eating meat that had previously been offered to idols was okay or not. Some thought it was, some thought it wasn’t. Paul attempts to end the argument by saying: ‘Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do…’ (1 Corinthians 8:8) In other words, God isn’t necessarily angry with us if we decide to eat something or not, but Paul goes on to speak into a deeper issue. ‘…But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.’ (1 Corinthians 8:9)
P A U L’ S C A S E Paul’s point earlier in the chapter is that even if one of the members is okay with eating the meat, because he/she knows that the idols aren’t real, that doesn’t mean he/she should do so in front of someone who doesn’t feel the same way. Paul calls this ‘wounding their conscience’ (1 Corinthians 8:12) because it’s like you’re rubbing it in their face. Paul states that this is ‘sinning against your brothers’ (1 Corinthians 8:12) since you’d be acting in a way that your brother or
sister would see as ‘sinning against Christ’! It sounds complex, but it makes sense. We shouldn’t try and mess with someone’s convictions because it’s a sin against them and, ultimately, a sin against God!
T H E TA K E-AWAY The encouragement here is that we should love one another! Simple, right? Whether it’s a fizzy drink, a particular meat or a difference in faith-based opinion, let’s do what Paul endeavoured to do… ‘…just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.’ (1 Corinthians 10:33) Let’s love people by being humble and putting them before ourselves – not doing violence to their conscience, but looking to build them up in the love of Christ!
AN INTERESTING FACT Interestingly enough, this is a principle MAF uses, as we’re often in contact with governments all over the world. Governments work in various ways, with various convictions from country to country, so it’s crucial that MAF maintains good relationships by respecting the way they do things!
Above Emil and Margrit Kundig greet the Honourable Minister of Transport, Angela Bush, in Liberia. 4 MAF Youth E-Magazine 2016 www.maf-uk.org/youth
WHEN MAF YOUTH M E T // SARAH ELKS A ‘MISSIONARY KID’ - 29 years old - Lives in South London - Grew up in Thailand - Saved by MAF in 2006
WHAT WAS IT LIKE GROWING UP AS A ‘MISSIONARY KID’? In Thailand, I was home-schooled by my mum with my two older sisters. I guess, as a kid, it’s just normal. You don’t really think, ‘Oh, I’m having a different life to you.’ We were really immersed in the culture. We spoke English at home but I also had a lot of Thai friends and spent a lot of time in the community! It was definitely a shock coming back to England!
WHAT INFLUENCED YOU TO GO BACK TO THE MISSION FIELD? At the time, I didn’t like England very much! That was mainly the reason why I left university after a year. My mum and dad had only been in Cambodia for about four months and I went there during the summer break.
WHAT DID YOU DO OVER THERE? I was there for about six weeks and I helped my parents set up an English programme with YWAM in the town they worked in. I also got to know the youth group from their church and we took a trip to Thailand.
WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU? I basically came down with dengue fever! I’d had it twice as a kid and they say that it gets worse each time you get it. I was in bed for a few days with a horrible fever and aching pain. We ended up going to the hospital in Stung Treng. It was very dark and dirty there. They did a blood test but it didn’t show up with anything like malaria or dengue. So I went home and had a day where I was feeling better but the fever and aches soon came back again. It was on my worst day, that my parents realised this was serious and that I needed to get to the clinic in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital.
HOW DID YOU GET THERE? At the time it was the rainy season and would have taken seven hours to get there overland. You could get the bus or a taxi but they leave very early in the morning and the taxi owners didn’t like to travel after lunchtime. At this point it was already afternoon! Some other missionaries suggested calling MAF and thankfully Winston Ussher, an MAF pilot, was able to fly me and my mum to Phnom Penh. It took around 90 minutes instead of seven hours! We got to the clinic where they used a drip to rehydrate me and to stop the nausea I’d been experiencing because my
platelet levels were down. The next day, my insurers were able to evacuate me to a hospital in Bangkok, in Thailand, where I stayed for five nights.
WHAT WAS THE RECOVERY LIKE? They put me in intensive care for one night and I remember having peaks of feeling better but then slumps where I was sleeping a lot. Back in the UK, some of my family and friends were praying for me the night I flew to Phnom Penh. By the time I got to Thailand, my platelet count had started going up again!
WHAT WAS GOING THROUGH YOUR MIND AT THE TIME? Without being overly dramatic, I remember lying there thinking the worst could happen. The worst-case scenario with dengue fever is that you can’t stop bleeding internally. It was quite scary! MAF played a big part because, at the time, I had no idea what was going to happen to me!
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P R AY ! P R AY ! P R AY !
// TA N Z A N I A THE MAASAI & I D AY 2 On the second safari day, the team of three nurses, plus Martha, arrives at Kitwai late due to bad weather. Once they hear the plane, mothers with babies and pregnant women begin arriving in what seems like an endless stream. Nearly every woman is dressed in a slight variation of the same colour and fashion: bright blue and white cloth tied around the shoulder over a dark purple or blue skirt – similar, yet wildly different. The clinic building is fairly new and still empty, used only for MAF’s monthly clinics, but built to be a permanent medical facility. There’s an overpowering smell of bat poo. It’s on the ceiling and dripping down the walls. The women with babies sit on the floor of a large open room covered with dried donkey dung, waiting for vaccinations.
A SHOCKING DISCOVERY Among the women are a significant number of very young pregnant girls. Martha speaks to a few, asking their age (14-15), and whether they’ve ever been to school (never). They are all married to a husband they say is more than 40 years older with several other wives. Because they are still newly married, their husbands haven’t beaten them yet. The subject angers and frustrates
P L E A S E P R AY T H AT 2 0 1 6 WILL BE ANOTHER GREAT YEAR OF MAF BEING USED BY GOD TO SHOW HIS LOVE TO A GREATER NUMBER OF REMOTE AND ISOL ATED PEOPLE THAN EVER BEFORE.
JOIN US IN ASKING GOD TO FILL ALL MAF OVERSEAS ROLES SO OUR PROGRAMMES CAN ACCOMPLISH EVERYTHING THEY NEED TO DO.
SAFETY CAN BE THREATENED IN ALL KINDS O F WAY S , W H E T H E R I T ’ S T H R O U G H B A D F LY I N G WEATHER OR CIVIL UNREST IN A PARTICULAR C O U N T R Y. P L E A S E P R AY FOR THE SAFETY OF MAF STAFF THROUGHOUT THE DEVELOPING WORLD.
WE’D LOVE YOU TO P R AY F O R O U R N E W E S T PROGRAMME IN LIBERIA. P R AY T H AT I T S F I R S T Y E A R W I L L B R I N G M U C H H E L P, HOPE AND HEALING TO THOSE WE’LL BE SERVING.
DO CONTINUE TO P R AY F O R N E PA L A N D FOR THOSE WHO ARE REBUILDING THEIR LIVES AFTER LAST YEAR’S E A R T H Q UA K E S . P R AY T H AT GOD WILL GIVE OUR STAFF WISDOM AS TO HOW WE SHOULD SERVE NEPAL L O N G -T E R M .
M O S T I M P O R TA N T LY – P R AY T H AT, T H R O U G H MAF’S WORK, MANY MORE PEOPLE WILL COME TO KNOW JESUS!
Martha, and she’s not afraid to voice her opinion. ‘I don’t like to see teenage ladies pregnant because they are still babies. It’s not their decision to be married. It’s not their decision to be pregnant. If the community will agree to send both boys and girls equally to school, this will bring change. They will refuse to marry somebody because they will know their rights.’
A SPANNER IN THE WORKS Although the nursing team is unable to finish seeing all the mothers, they still manage to give vaccinations to 69 children and exams to 41 pregnant women and girls. The return flight was littered with bad weather. Pilot Jarkko Korhonen dodges thick rain but can’t see the nurses’ airstrip. By the time the nurses are dropped off at an alternative strip, there isn’t enough light or fuel to return to MAF headquarters. As we arrive back where we started at Katahe, a large group of Maasai men and women gather to greet us, saying ‘Pole!’ over and over. They are so sorry for the bad luck! But I’m not. I have the privilege of spending another night in the bush with these very real people who have real problems, and who need the help MAF can provide, and the hope that God can bring.
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BUT THE PLANS OF THE LORD STAND FIRM FOREVER, THE PURPOSES OF HIS HEART THROUGH ALL GENERATIONS’ P S A L M // 3 3 : 1 1 RUFIJI DELTA // TANZANIA
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