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News for Prayer 7 March 2013

Issue 470

Bridging the gap While doing his daily inspection at Kiunga in Papua New Guinea (PNG), pilot Matt Painter received a call for not one but three patients needing an emergency airlift from the rarely used airstrip at Erave. Erave is like a lot of communities in PNG. Years ago, the airstrip was in frequent use, but was more or less forgotten when Erave was blessed with a useable road. After weeks of heavy rain, 5 bridges were damaged, cutting off 100,000 people. The loss of the bridges meant the people of Erave again needed MAF’s help. The alternative to a speedy, 30-minute flight was days and days of dangerous walking through difficult countryside. Matt flew to Erave, where he picked up the patients. One lady was having complications with her pregnancy and another had knife wounds on her hand and arm. The third patient, a man, had suffered a smashed kneecap during a tribal fight. When the three patients landed at Mount Hagen, their smiles said it all. They could relax in the knowledge that they would soon receive treatment.

Making music

Saved from death

Worth smiling about

We recently flew acclaimed musician Ego Lemos to the town of Same in East Timor to support people who face the challenge of being blind. Ego, a member of East Timor’s National Commission for UNESCO, was helping to launch the third CD produced by blind musicians. The band members are from Fuan Nabilan Foundation ba Matan A’at (Shining Heart for the Blind Foundation), which uses talented musicians to show that disability need not be a barrier to making beautiful music. Apart from performing concerts in East Timor, the education centre’s CDs have been played in countries such as Australia, Gambia, Singapore, the UK and the USA.

‘A year ago,’ writes pilot Dennis Bergstrazer, ‘I flew a ministry team from a church in Jakarta to Pogapa, Papua. ‘A little girl had been born in an isolated village near there, but the mother tragically died. The father had two other wives, but they refused to nurture the newborn, whose health deteriorated as her weight kept dropping. ‘Eventually, Aita Selagani brought his malnourished child to the church where he confessed how the family had decided to dump the baby in Kemabu River – an all too familiar story of how those in desperate health are treated. ‘Fortunately, the ministry team heard about the baby and one of the couples offered to take her to Jakarta and nurse her back to health. Ramon and Shandy provided the best medical care available and lavished the child with love. ‘It was an uphill battle for little Deborah and her new foster parents, who prayed with her every day. Despite proper nutrition and care, she only weighed 2.25kg after 5 months.’ ‘When I eventually flew 2-year-old Deborah back to Pogapa, she only weighed 9kg. But despite her small size, Deborah is now vibrant and full of life. She wasn’t that impressed with my landing at Pogapa, but I blame that on the rough airstrip!’ Thanks to Ramon and Shandy and an MAF flight, Deborah survived. Pray for her health and growth, and for the Church’s witness in this remote community.

People born with a cleft lip are frequently shunned by society in South Sudan. Recently, MAF and Samaritan’s Purse worked together to help dozens of people blighted by this disfiguration. Samaritan’s Purse brought patients from all over the country to Juba to have their cleft lips repaired. Aged between 2 months and 40 years, nearly all came with tragic tales of physical or emotional abuse. When the patients had recovered from their operations, we flew the group back to their villages in Lankien, Ayod and Yuai. The faces of family members lit up when they saw the dramatic difference surgery had made. The condition is often attributed to sorcery, and those with it are made outcasts, facing little prospect of receiving an education or getting married. ‘But,’ explains ear, nose and throat surgeon Dr Tom Boeve, ‘these are not children abandoned by God. We can work together to make this a very, very beautiful child with a beautiful smile.’ Karen Daniels, South Sudan Health Programme Manager with Samaritan’s Purse, praises our pilots for their ‘patience and flexibility with ever-changing flight schedules. Your willingness to get involved has made a tremendous difference in these lives.’ Pray for Karen as she makes plans to organise further life-changing operations in the near future.

Cyclone Haruna On 22 February, cyclone Haruna struck the southwestern coast of Madagascar. With overland routes impassable, our team provided invaluable survey flights to assess the damage caused to houses, public buildings and infrastructure. More than a dozen people lost their lives, and over 17,000 more were affected by the destruction caused by the cyclone, with 1,500 homes destroyed. Pray for those who’ve lost homes and loved ones, and give thanks that our flights enabled several international development agencies and government officials to bring in essential food supplies and aid. Pray for our team too as they continue to carry out relief flights.

Prayer points • CHAD Give thanks for relief pilot Bryan Pill who recently flew a dental missionary team in Chad. Pray for the impact the dentists have as they bring physical help and serve spiritual needs (NfP 469). • DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO Our team in Bunia is currently very short of water. Please pray for rain. • EAST TIMOR Give thanks for the recent arrival of 31,000 litres of Avgas – enough fuel to last for most of 2013. • Pilot/mechanic Mike Bottrell and his wife Jenni, who celebrate 21 years’ service with MAF, move to Dili this month (NfP 465). Pray for them as they make the transition from life in PNG. • KENYA Pray for peace, security and protection following the results of the general elections held on 4 March (NfP 469). • MADAGASCAR Our licence to maintain aircraft needs to be renewed

by mid-March. Pray for our team as they work towards this. • PNG The Ministry of Civil Aviation is holding a Rural Airstrip Maintenance forum on 7-8 March, where we will present plans for a PNG-wide rural airstrip maintenance programme. Please pray for acceptance from the government and other stakeholders. • Uphold Christian Radio Missionary Fellowship Acting General Manager Bryan Matthew. Bryan, who has a heavy workload as Sales Manager and field leader of MAF Learning Technologies, is leading the Goroka-based team while Michael Wakefield is in Australia on home assignment. • UGANDA Pray for the approval of work permit renewals, and uphold the development of Kajjansi airfield, currently in the planning stage. • WORLDWIDE Pray for new staff who are currently at language school in preparation for overseas service.

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News for Prayer 470