“For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.” ~Matthew 26:11
Recently I was watching an episode of Poldark on Masterpiece Classic. It is a BBC period drama set in Cornwall England beginning in the 1780s. In this particular episode, the lower classes in the region were starving due to a series of factors, not the least of which was grain being exported for higher prices abroad.
In an act of providence, a ship loaded with provisions was wrecked off the coast near a village. Word spread that barrels of food were washing ashore and the people rushed to gather up what they could from the wreckage. It was time for celebration and a feast.
In an unlikely connection, as I watched this scene, my mind was directed (I assume by the Holy Spirit) to the many videos I had watched of MAF aircraft arriving at some isolated village loaded with provision. The local folks rushing to meet this “ship” coming in, not as an accident, but sent with the love of God, with its life-sustaining food, medical supplies, and other much-needed provision.
The Master tells us in several of the gospels “for ye have the poor always with you…..”. This statement seems rather fatalistic for the Son of God to be proclaiming. An endless task for His Kingdom on earth. What Jesus did NOT say is “the poor” would always be the same people. The poor of the moment, are those affected by disaster, epidemic, political unrest and of course, those poor due to isolation. But these people, individuals, families, tribes, even nations, when given opportunity, do choose to come out.
When you look at the work of MAF over its almost 75 years, people have come out. Out of poor health, out of some levels of poverty, out of illiteracy, out most of all, of spiritual darkness. The Generations video and the maturing of the work of MAF in certain areas are testaments that MAF’s work has taken root and is growing.
As I watched the Poldark scene, once again, tears welled up as I recall the day I flew into Longda, Papua Indonesia and people came out to meet the airplane loaded with supplies. I recall the videos of people rushing to meet planes loaded with bibles in their own language, of those coming to help load and unload those in need of medical care. Every 12 or so minutes, the fictional scene portrayed in Poldark is replayed real-time by a MAF flight. The work of MAF touches a place in my soul that leaks out of my eyes!
Yes, the poor will always be with us. We will always have a mission, but let us not forget MAF is leaving behind multitudes who are less poor than they were before.
What an awesome story to tell, and tell, and retell…
Starting October 1, 2019, President and CEO David Holsten is implementing “First Day” at MAF.
What is First Day?
“First Day” is a day set aside at the beginning of each month where the MAF family, guided by the principles of Sabbath, stops its normal work routine to enter into a time of rest as we seek to delight in God and contemplate all that He has done for us. We accomplish this through times (individually and corporately) of worship, prayer, recreation, and fellowship. We do not seek to be legalistic, but we do seek to be intentional. As an organization desiring to walk with others in the way of Jesus, we believe First Day can serve as a spiritual discipline for us leading to better discernment, wiser decisions, greater unity, and increasing awareness of all God has in store for us. It stands in subversive rebellion to the spirit of the age which seeks to distract us with a never-ending flow of information and tasks while distorting our identity by saying what we do is more important than who we are loved by. It is our belief First Day will strengthen the soul of MAF.
The Four Elements of First Day
Stop. First and foremost, we cease all work – paid and unpaid. On First Day we embrace our limits. We let go of the illusion we are indispensable to the running of the world. We recognize we will never finish all our goals and projects and that God is on the throne, managing quite well in ruling the universe without our help.
Rest. Once we stop, we accept God’s invitation to rest. God rested after his work of creation. We engage in activities that restore and replenish us. The key is to rest from both paid and unpaid work.
Delight. God invites us to join in the celebration, to enjoy and delight in his creation and all the gifts he offers us in it. The innumerable gifts come to us in many forms, including people, places and things.
Contemplate. Pondering the love of God is the central focus of our First Day. We are not taking time from God; we are drawing closer to him. It is an invitation to see the invisible in the visible – to recognize the hidden ways God’s goodness is at work in our lives. In contemplation, we are acutely focused on those aspects of God’s love that come to us through so many gifts from his hand.
For more resources and information on implementing First Day or Sabbath, see the First Day Resources by clicking HERE.
As Director of Aviation Resources, one of Dave Rask’s major roles is overseeing the MAF-US fleet of aircraft. Let’s follow Dave as he walks us through the process of buying an airplane and getting it to an overseas location for MAF service.
Before MAF looks for an airplane, aircraft needs from around the MAF world are prioritized, budgets established, and our ministry advancement team begins to seek those interested in partnering with MAF to fund a specific airplane. For nearly two years, a Cessna Caravan has been on the list for eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. In May, Dave was able to start looking for an airplane.
Several factors favored purchasing a lightly used airplane, so Dave began looking for a Cessna Grand Caravan produced between 2008 and 2013. Cessna only made 422 of them. Probably less than half of those would be equipped to meet MAF’s needs. Out of that small field, it is not always possible to find one for sale that is worth pursuing. Starting with prayer, asking the Lord to provide the right airplane in the right time, is always where Dave begins.
Dave immediately found one that was very interesting. Unfortunately, a prospective buyer had already placed a deposit on the airplane to hold it until he could inspect and purchase it. However, that buyer did not follow through with his plan. As soon as the airplane came back on the market, Dave sent two very experienced MAF Caravan mechanics to look it over. Within three days we made an offer and were ready to purchase the plane. However, the seller suddenly became less responsive. Dave learned from our mechanics that more people were coming to look at the airplane, and that the original buyer, who had defaulted on his contract, was going to show up as well. It looked like a bidding war was about to take place. That is never good for a buyer.
Dave’s advantage was that we already knew the airplane was in very good condition and were ready to close a deal as quickly as possible. With a little quick negotiation, (and specific prayer support!) Dave was able to secure an agreement at a price just slightly above our opening bid. Dave flew the airplane home to Idaho in early June.
Getting it ready to send overseas involves modifications like installing utility seats that are easily removed to quickly switch from carrying passengers to cargo. We also remove the air conditioning system. Why would we remove the air conditioning in a plane which will fly in the heat of equatorial Congo? Because it weighs 120 pounds. Our passengers would rather use the maximum payload than enjoy air-conditioned comfort. Over the expected service life of 20-30 years for this airplane, that weight adds up to hundreds of tons of supplies to help the needy people of Congo.
One of the reasons Dave was so interested in this airplane, is it already had $100,000 or more in other modifications MAF needs that were not reflected in the price. Thank you, Lord!
MAF will also install additional radio equipment less commonly used in the US. This will include MAF’s new aircraft tracking device that uses both satellite and cell communications technology to lower operating costs, improve safety, and enhance communications.
The airplane spent mid-June through mid-August getting a new coat of paint in MAF’s paint scheme.
The modification work will stretch into next year because our MAF shop in Nampa is working on several projects right now. It is difficult to time these things so each project comes along in neat succession, one after the other. We carefully prioritize our resources for ministry impact.
At the end of the modification process the airplane gets an inspection by an FAA representative to certify that the airplane is airworthy under US regulations. This clears the path for importation into another country. Finally, we add extra fuel tanks in the cabin to increase the range for the trip to Africa.
Is it all worth it? Most definitely, Yes! MAF airplanes will typically serve for 30 years, so there is a long return on the investment. Although it is seldom in the US news, the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a humanitarian crisis. Four and a half million people are displaced by fighting as over 140 armed militias battle to enlarge their territory.
The second largest Ebola outbreak in history (but the largest in DRC) is still rapidly growing in eastern DRC. In July it was declared a Global Health Emergency. This outbreak started in August 2018. It took 224 days for the number of infected persons to reach 1,000 and only 71 days to reach 2,000.
In the midst of all this suffering, MAF is bringing life and help and hope to the Congolese. We are heavily involved in efforts to combat Ebola and in bringing humanitarian assistance. The church is active, working to bring restoration and healing between groups that have lived in conflict.
MAF has been asked to expand flight service further to the south, particularly to support Congolese Doctor and Pastor Denis Mukwege who received the Nobel Prize for his work to bring healing to women who have been raped by the armed rebels. This additional airplane will give us the resources to meet that need.
Living in this part of the world is difficult. Between the militias and threat of Ebola, MAF’s ability to stay there is tenuous.
Tech Resources has been working hard to create an updated and more user-friendly version of the MAF internal website! Click HERE to check it out!
Below are a couple of hints to help you get the most out of this new system!
This is a secure site! Because of this, you will need to sign in using your MAF provided email login information. This will allow us to communicate sensitive information more easily and keep you up to date!
Need help logging in? Check your email in the coming week for an email from your Regional Manager! The email includes an instructional document reviewing not only how to login to your email but also it also covers topics such as how to contact Tech Support! We are in the process of developing several “How To” documents meant to provide more resources and better equip you in your role as an Advocate.
Other “How To” documents! Learn how to access and navigate Bynder. Find out how to listen to HQ weekly Chapels live! These and other topics are now available for you to access in the “How To & Other Documents” section of the Advocate Wing Intranet site! Click HERE to visit the new page!
Stay in the KNOW! Check out the MAF US Main page for updates, news, and timely information about what is going on in the MAF world! Scroll down to the “Important Announcements” section to find out the latest!
Still in the works: We are currently working towards the creation and implementation of several new forms. Taking your feedback we are redesigning the Ministry Opportunity Report, Response Card, and Resource Order forms to be more user-friendly. Until these are ready we will continue to use our old forms. But where are they? Links to the old forms are located on the new Advocate Wing Intranet page:
Check out what’s going on in MAF programs around the world! Hover over the “Department Pages” list and look under “Operations” and here you will find site pages for each of the various programs containing pictures and updates!
It’s in the works… and with that please be patient. If you see something that is broken or could use some additional work please let us know! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s that time of year again! We are gathering orders for this year’s MAF Christmas cards. While we do not have a sample of what they will look like, we do want to collect your orders now! Please email your desired number to email@example.com by Friday, October 4th.
Check out our new brochure, now available on the Resource Order Form! Senior Capstone Projects are meant to excite students about missions and technology. Students will spend the 2019-2020 school year working on four projects. We partner with Christian colleges across the US which provides an opportunity for a relationship to be fostered between MAF and Christian universities.
Each of the four projects is associated with aviation and technology, and finished projects are sent to the field for use. This makes for a win-win situation, because students can work on projects that benefit the mission field, and MAF gets our many projects done and moved to the field. We would love your support to share about the 2020-2021 year and give students the opportunity to learn about how to use their gifts and skills in missions. Order your brochures today!
The journey to host a MAF Fly-In the Chicago area began over a year ago as I began contacting the airport manager, the Fixed Base Operations (FBO) manager, and the control tower manager to solicit their support. Our plan was to “Fly In” the MAF Kodiak aircraft and support personnel prior to its use as a static display at Airventure in Oshkosh. Chicago/Aurora Municipal Airport is a controlled “Class D” airspace and a major reliever airport with three runways. It’s also where J.A. Air Center, one of the top rated FBO’s in North America, is located and they graciously offered to host the event at no charge. This was huge because the alternative plan called for an expensive outdoor tent and equipment rental in hot July weather. J.A. Air provided a large air conditioned meeting area, cafeteria, restroom facilities and a 20,000 square foot canopy to stage the aircraft.
I also appreciated Alexis Adams’ ability to organize all the event details. She made the whole process so much easier from identifying key tasks to promotional materials, to the items we needed to purchase in advance. Did you ever work on a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle as a kid? This is one of those times where it felt like everything snapped smoothly into place like the very last puzzle piece. I was amazed at how God worked everything out according to what He desired. Sometimes, I felt like I was just along for the ride and it really was an honor and a pleasure for me to be a small part of this.
I made it a point to contact the airport, FBO, tower managers every month up to the Fly-In itself. It was great to work with Brian Shepson, Dina Parris and Alexis Adams prior to and during the event. I was also able to also spend time at the event and following morning with MAF president David Holsten, and a terrific group of MAF Mobilizers and many Midwest Advocates working at the venue. What a great group of folks! There were nine flights Friday afternoon and every seat was filled. Alexis said this was the first time we had sold out one of these events.
On the morning of the event, I was up in the Aurora control tower as Brian Shepson, the MAF chief pilot, was arriving from Oshkosh on short final approach and landed right in front of us. The Fly-In was fun. In addition to the scheduled flights, there was a demonstration of the short field take-off and landing capabilities of the Quest Kodiak, virtual reality demonstrations, and a presentation by David Holsten, MAF president at the conclusion of the afternoon with food and snacks available for the attendees. Having all the MAF team in my own backyard was truly special for me. It has also opened the door for presenting the story and mission of MAF to a number of organizations in the area. I am looking forward to more Advocate speaking engagements going forward.
Thanks to all of MAF staff and Advocates for making this possible. I’m grateful for your support!