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News for Prayer 21 March 2013

Issue 471

Passing with flying colours Putting safety first is at the heart of our operations. Being certified as an Aircraft Maintenance Organisation (AMO) officially acknowledges that standard, and allows MAF workers in different countries to conduct their own maintenance on the aircraft they fly. So, when the conditions for achieving AMO status in Madagascar changed recently (NfP 470), our team knew how important it was that they met the requirements of the new and updated system. Being the first organisation to try and gain the new approvals only spurred our staff on and, when the inspection came, they passed ahead of every other operator in the country. Several key members of Madagascar’s aviation authorities attended a special event to mark the occasion, which was reported in the newspapers and on television. ‘I believe this outcome shows our good relationships with the authorities, because of our willingness and eagerness to be a very good and safe operator,’ explains Madagascar Country Director Bert van den Bosch. Praise God the AMO has been approved, and that we’re the first organisation in the country to receive it.

Twice the joy Although Elizita Cardoso, aged 23, was looking forward to the arrival of twins, her feelings of joy turned rapidly to concern when she began to exhibit signs of pre-eclampsia, a potentially lifethreatening complication. The speedy delivery of both babies was vital, but neither was lying in the correct position for Elizita to give birth. Living in the town of Suai, East Timor, Elizita faced a nine-hour journey on poor quality roads to reach the medical treatment she needed. However, within 90 minutes, an MAF plane collected Elizita from Suai and flew her to Dili for treatment. A week later, a delighted Elizita returned home with two beautiful, healthy babies. Our plane had made the difference between life and death.

Good experience ‘The last few weeks have been full of experiences,’ writes MAF International Human Resources Manager Jane Wadsworth, who is based in Kenya. In late February, I spent four days in Uganda on an MAF training course. It was great to meet staff from Uganda, Chad, Mongolia and Tanzania. ‘Many MAF operations – including Kenya/South Sudan – have vacancies for pilots, aircraft maintenance engineers and others. So, if you know anyone who may be suitable, please point them to’

Making medical care available In partnership with HoverAid, we flew a group of South Korean doctors and staff of Good News Hospital in Mandritsara to Soalala, Madagascar.

During the first week, a team of eye specialists treated people throughout the region. The week after, we flew in the Korean doctors – extending the scope of treatment that could be offered. The difference the visit made and the help the residents received restored hope to the western town of Soalala, resulting in much praise and thanksgiving from the local people and the authorities.

A week well spent Jill Holmes, wife of pilot/mechanic Dave, spent a week in Gurué, Mozambique, with Dr Hanneke Dekker, whom we regularly transport with the MozMed flying doctor programme. As well as treating hundreds of patients for a week, twice a month, the doctors train health education volunteers from all over the district. Jill remarks, ‘It was great to experience the work going on in this beautiful but remote area. It gave me a better understanding of the struggles of practising medicine in this place.’ Give thanks for MozMed’s life-saving ministry, and continue to uphold our team serving in Mozambique.

Positive steps Praise God for the very positive tone of the Rural Airstrip Maintenance forum held in Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea (NfP 470). It was attended by government ministers, provincial governors, industry and community representatives, and air operators. The unprecedented number of significant

officials reflected the seriousness of the support for restoring access to isolated people, and there was widespread approval for the strategy that MAF proposed. Steps are currently being taken to implement it. Pray for the Minister of Civil Aviation and MAF staff as they set up an airstrip restoration and maintenance NGO.

Quicker and safer Tearfund staff fly to Yuai, South Sudan, twice a month. It’s the organisation’s main way of getting in and out of Jonglei State, where they provide safe water, improve nutrition for the local people and promote health and sanitation. Yuai is inaccessible by road for most of the year, so they largely rely on MAF to transport personnel, food, mosquito nets, spare parts for boreholes and essential supplies. James Cousins, Tearfund’s Project Support Co-ordinator in Yuai, writes, ‘For about six months of the year, Jonglei is impassable by land. The volume of rain turns the clay-rich soil into a thick quagmire, and even accessing the site by air becomes difficult.’ ‘The arrival of an MAF flight,’ says James, ‘is always a cause for celebration, not least because of the arrival of fresh fruit and vegetables! Although it’s possible to drive from Juba to Yuai during the dry season, many of the areas were mined during the civil war, and rebel militia groups are still active. So travelling with MAF is quicker and safer.’

Prayer points • ARNHEM LAND It’s really hot and wet at present. Pray that our pilots will have strength and wisdom to make good decisions, and energy during this challenging season.

• Give thanks that the team has been able to work normally through the election period. Pray for continued peace following the election (NfP 470).

• BANGLADESH About 60 people died in unrest following the trial of an Islamic leader. Roads are unsafe for buses and cars, and many MAF flights have had to be cancelled. Pray for peace and protection.

• PAPUA There has been a lot of rain lately. This has made the ground soggy which is challenging for flying. Pray for continued safety.

• HAITI Pray for wisdom for our team as they seek new hangar premises. • DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO We’ve been flying Médecins Sans Frontières staff, supplies and vaccines to the north-east twice each week to help combat a measles epidemic. Praise God that 140,000 children have been vaccinated. • KENYA Uphold Ian Sinkinson and his wife Dadirai, as Ian takes over as Country Director from Alan Sully in April (NfP 468).

• SOUTH AFRICA We made several relief flights in response to flooding in the Venda area. Pray for those affected by the floods and its aftermath, and that our team will be a help and encouragement to those in need (NfP 469). • TANZANIA Give thanks for staff at Ifisi Hospital who fly with MAF in their spare time to provide medical help to people in remote areas. Pray that, despite leadership changes in the hospital, those in charge will have the same vision.

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News for Prayer - 471  

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