“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