In the Wake of Distant Disaster

HOW TO HELP WHEN YOU FEEL HELPLESS

 

My stomach churned as I scrolled through Facebook, watching a video of dark water flowing through streets and destroying buildings and bridges. My friends in Papua, Indonesia posted social media updates on deadly floods that hit after nights of heavy rain. I was deeply saddened and shocked to see photos of a familiar place rendered unfamiliar. So many people—including people I know—lost their homes and loved ones.

This year has been particularly difficult and uneasy for the Indonesian province of Papua. Massive flash floods, earthquakes, landslides, political unrest, rioting, and all the usual issues—sickness, poverty, lack of education—plague the island in a seemingly never-ending wave of hardship.

Meanwhile, I sit in my peaceful dorm room in downtown Chicago, feeling so very distant from Papua, the place where I grew up and called home. I get messages from my friends who still live in Indonesia, I read the latest news reporting on the various dilemmas Papuans faces, and I’m conflicted. I don’t know what to do.

I feel guilty for being in America, in a relatively safe and comfortable setting, gaining a wonderful education while my Papuan community struggles to survive halfway across the world. Helplessness looms over me as I wonder, “What can I even do to help? I’m not physically there; I can’t help with flood relief efforts; I can’t relate to the people who are terrified through all the rioting. I can’t actively serve in the way my friends who work with MAF in Papua can.”

It’s true – I can’t physically be there, but God is teaching me to be present in prayer. Though I’m sometimes tempted to believe prayer isn’t as powerful as it is, God hears. He hears our cries for justice and peace to reign, for physical calamities to cease, for families to be reunited in the chaos.

And so I pray. I pray for my jungle home, for the broken and beautiful place that is Papua. I pray our Lord Jesus will somehow work good through the horridness.

No matter where we are in the world, we must remember to lift up our brothers and sisters around the globe through bold prayer. We may not have the capacity to physically be in the same place as those who are hurting and oppressed, but we can still pray, send financial help, and encourage those seeking to make things right again.

As I go to classes and stroll down the streets of chilly Chicago, my mind drifts back to my friends in Papua and the many tragedies afflicting that rugged, remote island. I could let hopelessness overtake me, but instead I am thankful the same God who hears my prayers in America is the One who moves and comforts in Indonesia. He is the same God who calmed the storms on the Sea of Galilee, the same God who empowers us to serve courageously, the same God who will make all things new and “wipe every tear from their eyes.”

By Grace Holsten

Experience MAF: In Your Own Backyard!

In the September issue of the Connect, Advocate Bill Koss recapped Experience MAF: Chicago. Bill championed this event from the beginning. As his article reports, Bill started over a year before the event making contacts to ensure it’s a success. A success it was! I encourage you to check out his article. (If you missed it, HERE is Bill’s article)

Have you thought about hosting an Experience MAF event in your area?

As the MAF Events department looks to the future, we hope to continue to partner with Advocates in this way. We want to equip you to host an event to not only encourage you in your advocate ministry but also to raise awareness and engagement with MAF in your community.

Here are two things to consider to get the ball rolling:

  • WHOWho would you invite? What connections are you building that would be interested in learning more about MAF? What new connections can you make?
  • WHEREWhere would you host the event? Is there a publicly accessible airport or airstrip near you? Do you have connections with a local FBO or private hangar? Are there accessible bathrooms and parking?

If you have answers to these questions, let’s talk! If you don’t, now you know where to start!

In the coming months, we will be publishing an Experience MAF Event Template. This template will assist in the event planning process and clearly outline your responsibility as the Advocate and the responsibility of HQ, as well as a timeline for everything from securing food for the event to marketing materials distribution.

By Alexis Adams, Events Manager

 

God’s Love Displayed in Myanmar

I find it fascinating how the Lord directs my attention in my work as a MAF Advocate.   I always assume this direction is first and foremost a prayer assignment and I take it as such.  Recently it has been Myanmar.  It was through the weekly MAF Prayer Points I became aware of the MAF project in that country.

My knowledge of this country is minimal.  I know a great Uncle was posted there during WWII when it was Burma.  He was a part of the US Army Quartermaster (https://qmmuseum.lee.army.mil/WWII/mules_of_mars.htm)  who used mules to move supplies.  He told great stories about his adventures.

One of my air traffic colleagues made a short term missionary trip in the 1980s to (then) Burma.  Then there is a missionary friend who made a trip to Chin Provence around 2005.  Now, MAF-I is partnering with other like-minded people in building an airport.  There is a project page on Facebook with great information.  (Click HERE to view it!)

Then this week, I was reading the September Voice of the Martyrs magazine and an article about the early missionary days in Burma, now Myanmar, appeared.

“A Perilous Proposal” outlined the life of Adoniram Judson and his proposal to Ann Hasseltine in 1810.  A letter to her father asking for her hand in marriage read:

“I have now to ask whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in the world; whether you can consent to her departure to a heathen land and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of a missionary life; whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean, the the fatal influence of the southern climate of India; to every kind of want and distress; to degradation insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death?  Can you consent to all this, for the sake of Him who left His heavenly home and died for her and for you, for the sake of perishing, immoral souls for the sake of Zion and the Glory of God?”

Goodness!  The article goes on to document their work in bible translation and hardships in living among the Burmese people. (I tried to find a link to the article, to no avail).  It is quite sobering.

As I pondered the bit of information I have on the MAF Myanmar project, I realized this project is yet another step in the persistent love of Father to isolated people.  Just as His heart called the early British missionaries, so He continues to call.  He sees these people and loves them.  We are a part of Him seeing and responding.

This is, organizationally, a MAF-I project through MAF UK relationships, but MAF US is supporting as we are called upon.  We are one Body, working to the advancement of His work, His heart of Love.

By Advocate Nancy Cullen, Wichita, KS

When You Say “Yes!”

Matthew and Carolyn Monson serve as Program Manager for the MAF Lesotho program. They shared in their recent prayer letter:

Amazing things can happen when you say “yes!” to God. For years we watched patients struggle when a flight was cancelled or delayed. Sick, tired and traveling long distances was worsened by the fact the patients could not return to the hospital and were forced to sleep outside without food. Some of our staff tried to help when they were at the hangar, but we knew we could do more. After prayer and searching, God led us to a solution. Only two minutes from the airport was a small apartment we converted into a patient house. After some repair, cleaning, painting, furnishing and providing food, the house was a great place for the patients to rest and be cared for.

Already blessed by the physical relief and with time we can now spend sharing the Gospel with our hurting patients, we didn’t realize God had more planned! Although we serve the Ministry of Health, we have never been graced with a visit from the Minister. The Minister heard of the patient house and he unexpectedly requested to hold a press conference and thank us for our initiative. The time spent with all the officials and media was incredible. We were able to share our love for the Basotho that flows from Christ. May God use this meeting as a large building bloc for the future of MAF in Lesotho, all because we said “yes” to the Lord.

Where to find some of MAF’s best and current VIDEOS

MAF Advocates, did you know there are video clips easily accessible and available to use as you share MAF at events or on social media?

Go to: hub.maf.org  and click on VIDEO or here is a quicker link: https://hub.maf.org/category/video

You will also find great stories you can share in your ministry opportunities!

We’d like to hear from you—which one do you like best?

Which one do you use most to effectively share the message of MAF?

By – Dina Parris

ADVOCATE WING SOUTHERN REGIONAL MANAGER

Mission2Serve Haiti 2019

My husband, Josh, and I always had the desire to go on a mission trip. We had talked about it for years and how his electrical experience could be a good fit, but never really had the right opportunity to present itself, enabling us to get involved. Now that I work at MAF, the door of opportunity is larger than I ever imagined possible. As soon as I heard Alexis share in chapel about Mission2Serve I knew I was going. I talked with Josh and couldn’t wait to sign up for the trip. I heard we would be going to Ecuador and I knew it was meant to be. My good friend Joanna was the one who led me to MAF initially and her family will be moving to Ecuador to serve with MAF! I just knew this was exactly what I was supposed to be doing… then I got word the trip had been delayed until the following year. NOOOO! I was so excited, ready to go, eager to do God’s work. I was disappointed but thought the timing must not be right.

Alexis asked me to go to Haiti instead. I didn’t feel a connection to the Haiti trip like I had with Ecuador, so I wasn’t sure that’s where God wanted me. I prayed, talked to Josh about it, and waited, not feeling 100% sure. Then I asked Alexis “what are the needs for this trip?” and when she responded saying they needed an electrician I knew we had to sign up. I was worried because we decided late in the process and didn’t have as much time to raise funds to go. I decided it was in God’s hands, I would do my best to raise the funds and prayed it would all come together. By the grace of God, He showed favor and quickly blessed us with full funding. I am still in awe of how it all worked out. I tell you this part of the journey because it’s easy to be discouraged when things don’t go as you have planned, but remember God’s plan is far better than your own!

So we were off! We headed to Haiti on September 20, 2019! We didn’t exactly have the smoothest time getting there, several flight delays and a missed connection flight, but we rolled with the delays and eventually made it safely to Haiti. At the Miami airport, we had the privilege of meeting two different teams of people traveling to Haiti. They told us they loved MAF and how we make it possible for them to travel to remote locations quickly and safely so they can help people. It was amazing to see how MAF was impacting people even before arriving in Haiti!

I want you to understand the experience I had was so different than what I had expected and completely outside my normal self. God provided me with amazing peace and tranquility throughout the entire trip, despite the unrest that was prevalent. From the moment we landed in Haiti, it was clear the city was in turmoil. There were riots and protests during our entire stay. Roads were blocked with tire fires, there were gunshots, protests, people throwing rocks, but through it all God provided. He cleared paths and provided safety for us getting to and from our needed locations. And yet despite that, we were able to complete the work we went there to do. We had a team of 7 people and stuck together closely for the entire trip. We were able to really get to know each other, pray, work, eat, and my favorite of course.. laugh together! I was so moved by each person we encountered, whether it was a MAF staff or family members or a Haitian resident, I enjoyed each conversation as it shed new light and perspective of Haiti and what MAF is accomplishing. There is no one specific moment that changed me, but rather the combined experience of each day and each encounter has had a lasting impact.

 

At a church service we attended, a lesson was given during the Sunday School portion of the service. To see people respond with such passion and excitement to know God and understand the Bible was refreshing and inspiring. I loved the questions they asked and their desire to know more. When we were working, we met a neighbor. He was very friendly and would come out each day to say hello to us. He always had a huge smile and seemed happy to see us. A man at the Hangar who had such sadness describing their leader and turmoil in their country, jumped with joy shouting “praise God” when I pointed to the sky and told him we have only one leader and He has you covered. He almost knocked me over with his excitement and love for Jesus. I could go on and on, but I will end this story with this…

The world we live in will always have turmoil. There will always be riots, protests, and roadblocks along the way. The good news is we will also always have God to lead, guide, and use us for His work. It’s a privilege and honor to serve with MAF and now I can say from experience we truly are sharing the love of Jesus Christ through aviation and technology so that isolated people may be physically and spiritually transformed.

 

 

By Katie Moen, MAF Print Shop Coordinator 

UPDATE! Haiti Hangar Door!

A wise MAF missionary once shared with me, “Blessed are the flexible, for they will not be bent out of shape”. This has proved true time and time again, especially with the Haiti Hangar Project.

In mid-September, the hangar door arrived at the port in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Praise God! Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, it is still sitting at the port. Increasing unrest in the country has caused delay after delay in moving the hangar door from the port to the MAF hangar.

A few weeks before the Mission2Serve team was scheduled to depart for Haiti, we received word the hangar door would not be ready for installation. We went back to the drawing board and decided it best to split into two teams: Team One would continue on as scheduled to complete other projects and Team Two would wait for confirmation the hangar door was ready.

 

Team One arrived in Haiti on September 21 and had a most excellent adventure! Advocates Mark Turpin and Marv Brown arrived a few days ahead of the team to prepare the projects. Our main focus was a non-operational MAF guest house in need of some TLC. Advocate Scott Schoonmaker, MAF Canada Development Officer Ed Voth, MAF-US Print Shop Coordinator Katie Moen and I cleaned, scrubbed, and painted our little hearts out. Because of the unrest in the country, it was difficult to move around the city. Most often our team stayed in place at the MAF guest house. Josh Moen, Katie’s husband and journeyman electrician, was able to spend a few days at the MAF hangar preparing the electrical wiring for the hangar door. One morning the entire team made it to the MAF hangar for a quick peek before collecting food and supplies to spend the day with David and Erin Simon in anticipation of increased protests.

Our team returned to the US on September 28, and even though we weren’t able to complete the project we had hoped, we were encouraged by the sacrifices our MAF families make to serve in the hard places in this world. We were able to spend time with each family during our visit which was by far the best part of our time there.

Team Two is still on hold. Please be in fervent prayer for the country of Haiti and the safety of our staff. Before the hangar door is released, paperwork needs to be processed.  Often times, customs workers are not able to make it to their office due to roadblocks and protests. Once the paperwork is processed the container with the hangar door needs moved a short distance from the port to the MAF hangar. The last update I received is the short distance is currently unsafe to travel.

We trust God is in control and will continue to grow us in flexibility.

 

By Alexis Adams, Events Manager

 

The Poor are With You Always

“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…

~ By Nancy Cullen, Advocate

First Day with MAF

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.