What we do is dangerous. There are many risks our families face as they serve around the world. The risks associated with flight might be the first that come to mind as we fly in busy airspaces and land on some of the most challenging airstrips in the world. In some programs, the risks on the ground can be even greater than those in the air when political instability, riots, and war threaten their security.
Currently we have staff in the Democratic Republic of the Congo who are flying medical response teams into the heart of the Ebola outbreak. When they depart, the plane tires are disinfected to prevent the transmission of this deadly disease beyond the current outbreak zone. The pilots’ temperatures are also taken upon arrival at the base before disembarking to ensure they are not showing any signs of illness. Our dedicated families continue to willingly serve in circumstances like these, despite the personal risk, to reach people in desperate need of hope and tangible help.
They are not unaware of the risks. In fact, many of our Pilots will tell you that it was the story of Nate Saint, MAF pilot in Ecuador who, along with 4 others, lost his life while following God’s calling. It is their confidence in the calling that God has placed on their lives that allows them to go despite the hazards. They have chosen to serve God in ways that risk their lives.
MAF takes risk seriously, and we have robust risk management systems in place to estimate, monitor, and manage the very real risks that come along with our ministry. Ultimately, we thank God for His remarkable provision of safety for our staff. We recently celebrated some amazing milestones, with Pilot Jason Marsh completing his 5,000th flight hour while serving in Papua New Guinea, and Pilot Michael Dupuis achieving 2,500 safe landings. Those are noteworthy achievements for any Pilot, add to that the complexity of the airstrips that they fly into each day, and it is truly remarkable!
When I think about the choice our missionaries make to serve God in the face of such risks, I am personally challenged: what would my reaction be if I was asked to serve in a way that held similar risks? I hope that I would respond in the same way our staff do each day.
I am privileged to support them in their work. If you are not already supporting an MAF missionary financially and with prayer, consider changing that today. Your donations help them to continue to reach these dangerous areas of deepest human need through their work with MAF!
In Angola, we primarily provide medical flights. In Kenya, there is a mix of flying partner NGOs, the local church, and medical flights. In Papua New Guinea (PNG), we encounter some of the most unique landscapes, and difficult flying, in the MAF world.
When I visited PNG, I was struck by how challenging it is to live there; with its thick jungle and mountainous terrain not only are there few drivable roads in existence, in most areas there is not even the possibility of building them. Flying is sometimes the only way to link a village to the rest of the country, outside of walking for days on foot or by canoe on the jungle river. The approaches and takeoffs from the mountain airstrips MAF flies into take an incredible amount of attention, experience, and skill – even a seasoned pilot will take at minimum 3-4 months being trained in-country before going solo.
In PNG, MAF is very invested in the remote villages; flying in food, building supplies, school materials, and supporting Bible translation work, as we do in many other countries. We also export the crops that these villages grow, bringing them to markets and then returning with the revenue or goods that the village has requested MAF to buy with the funds generated. In PNG, we are an integral part of the social infrastructure of the country – without MAF flights, many of the remote villages would have no way of selling the produce that they grow.
On one flight in the Twin Otter, I watched as the villagers loaded dozens of 50kg bags of coffee beans they had grown, trusting MAF to take it to market and return with the revenue from their pain-staking labour. The Twin Otter can carry upwards of 1,800kgs of coffee in one trip – depending on the current commodity price of coffee, one load can be worth a staggering $2,700 to the village.
As we took off, the two pilots up front and myself in the back jump seat, I considered the incredible level of trust that load of coffee represented. The villagers trusted our pilots to bring back the money from the sale of this cargo, their main source of income. They have been working with MAF so long, seeing that our pilots care, come to help and are trustworthy. Some of these pilots have served the people for decades, and their witness is a key part of MAF’s spiritual impact in PNG.
We appreciate the incredible level of trust you demonstrate each time you donate to the work of MAF! Your generosity keeps MAF staff and planes ready to respond in any circumstance. You’ll read in this issue of Flying for Life how the support of people like you allowed us to immediately respond with emergency flights to support the people of PNG in the aftermath of devastating earthquakes.
Your contributions to MAF make an incredible difference around the world. Thank you!
For some, personal ministry may mean neighbourhood children playing in their yard, or sharing a meal, while for others it’s leading a ladies quilting club with Bible study to help share God’s love and word. Still others teach at local schools or run a weekly kids’ club in the slums. In so many ways, our families have a deep and lasting impact on the people that they live amongst beyond the flights that they help to provide.
In Kinshasa, DR Congo, I visited a local market with several of our staff members and I was struck by one interaction in particular. A Congolese woman in the market began following alongside us, wanting to help us shop. Although they had just met, one of our female staff members gave this woman a big hug when she approached and, even though I was only able to understand a little of what they said as they conversed in French, at one moment I heard this staff member say to the woman, “We are different on the outside, but we are the same on the inside.” This simple interaction gave me a new appreciation for how deeply our families embrace the people around them and share the love of God with them.
In a time where we hear so many stories about the lack of peace in the world, it is refreshing to see examples of people from different cultures and backgrounds coming together to achieve amazing things. Whether it is building a school, constructing a new runway or doing dental care in an area with no regular dentist, at MAF we see every day the difference people can make when they seek out ways to demonstrate the love of God to others.
Romans 12:18 instructs us, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Peace is not always possible, there are times where it may escape us, but we are always working towards it. The impact of our actions, both big and small, on the world around us is so important. We are capable of bringing the outworking of God’s peace to a world that is in such need of it.
Your support enables not just our planes, but our staff, to go the distance to spread God’s message of peace, in tangible and deeply impactful ways! Thank you!
MAf also supports the work of young people who, through the example of their parents, are using their time and skills to minister to those in need around them. Their perspective is forever changed by what they’ve experienced and the dedication of the people around them. If MAF were a private company, we’d have an enviable distribution network. We have staff who can go the last mile to some of the most remote areas of the world. But unlike a private company, we don’t do this to sell products or raise brand awareness, but rather to impact lives – many of them young lives like the ones mentioned above – with the physical and spiritual transformation of Jesus.
Your support, your prayers, and your donations are impacting the next generation. Whether it’s a medical flight that saves a young person’s life, building materials to help a community recover after a natural disaster, or the Bible translated into their heart language, the flights that you fuel are bringing a better future to young people in some of the world’s most remote areas.
Thank you for joining us in our mission to share the love of Christ, and impact generations of people in His name!
One thing that stood out to me on this trip is the number of Ministry Advocates and volunteers we have. We would arrive in a city and find our venue set up, busy with dedicated people prepping and preparing ahead of our arrival. They helped immensely throughout the event to organize and support us so that everything ran smoothly.
I also had the chance to reflect on the quality of our MAF pilots. Flying with them in the Kodiak, I was reminded again that MAF has some of the world’s very best pilots. They could have worked anywhere but they have chosen to commit their lives to missions. They serve in difficult and demanding areas to fly much needed supplies that would otherwise be out of reach, or very difficult to get, in these isolated areas.
At each stop we enjoyed hearing from a current MAF missionary. A common theme that came up again and again with our speakers was that we are supposed to be loving those who find themselves in the most desperate circumstances. People who have been forgotten, the poor, the lost, the helpless – we can’t forget about them. In fact, MAF’s ministry is built around helping to reach these people with the love and care of Jesus through the use of our planes.
MAF planes carry the sick, the wounded, aid workers, doctors, food, water, supplies, building materials, livestock, medicine, Bibles…and so many more ‘things’ that I couldn’t possibly list all of them here. The value of the things that we carry is not found in their financial worth, but rather in the hope they bring, and the visible sharing of God’s love they demonstrate. I’ve said before that the world needs more Jesus. While He was on earth, Jesus tangibly cared for those around Him and we help bring His love to the world by the way we care for those in need.
A familiar quote says, “Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.” MAF missionaries preach the gospel every day, by how they love and serve those around them. Through your support of MAF’s ministry, you help us share the love of Jesus in places that are probably some of the hardest to reach in the world!
None of this would be possible without your dedication and support. Thank you!
We work alongside dedicated partner organizations to impact the lives of people in need all over the world for the better. From HALO Trust and their demining operations in Angola, to TearFund and their stabilization center in South Sudan where they feed malnourished children, to the rural healthcare workers in PNG, to delivering shoeboxes for Samaritian’s Purse in Mongolia, MAF aircraft enable a wide range of services in areas they would otherwise struggle to reach.
Our work is important, but more important is what motivates us to do it. Simply, it is to show the love of God and share the message of Jesus.
From the beginning, our mission and vision is to share God’s love through aviation and technology, so that isolated people may be physically and spiritually transformed in Christ’s name. We use aircraft to spread the Word of God and bring the helping hands of Jesus to areas of the world that are especially difficult to reach. Areas where a flight can mean the difference between life and death.
It’s a message that we can be confident and bold about sharing, so that people around the world not only know what we are doing, but why we are doing it. We’re performing humanitarian roles to share God’s love in very real and tangible ways, and to share the gospel of Christ.
It’s because we want more people to know about Jesus. There’s power in that message. People can and are being changed. The world needs more Jesus.
Thank you for helping us spread the Good News!
One of the things that became very evident on my most recent trip is that as they serve in these programs around the world, our missionaries are on the front lines. Challenging situations are part of their lives every day. Some of them serve God in difficult political climates, geographically extraordinary areas and places of extreme poverty. In each case, MAF missionaries go to “the end of the road” and beyond to share God’s love through aviation and technology.
Over the holidays I had the pleasure of speaking with an MAF donor who expressed his gratefulness for these families that are willing to go to these places to serve God. The reality is that without supporters like him, and like you, we could not reach these areas. We are thankful for you, as you partner with us to see the tangible love of God reach people in some of the world’s most remote places. Thank you!
As we look ahead, the need for workers in the field is astonishing. In 2017 we will continue to invest resources in recruiting new staff who are called to serve overseas. From pilots and AMEs to managers, teachers and IT specialists, it takes a variety of skilled and passionate people to carry out MAF’s ministry.
We are also looking forward to using technology in new and exciting ways to enhance MAF’s ministry around the world. An e-learning classroom solution for remote schools utilizing the Raspberry Pi, a leading edge miniature computer, is being developed and deployed.
We are focused on growing to meet the incredible needs in the countries that we serve in as God leads and directs us. Thank you for being our partners in mission! Your interest and support enables us to meet our mission and vision, for God’s glory.
Whether gifts are big or small, God is the source of them all. In my previous career as a high-tech entrepreneur, we frequently linked increased marketing or product improvements with increases in sales. We linked doing more with getting more. God’s economy is different. At MAF, I am reminded time and again that God wants us to be faithful to do the work, but He is the one who brings the harvest. Each and every one of your donations helps us to extend God’s love into some of the most remote and isolated areas of the world.
Your donations are enabling us to reach new places, like Myanmar, with hope and healing in the name of Christ.
Your donations also allow us to be ready for situations we cannot predict; like Hurricane Matthew that recently tore through the island nation of Haiti. MAF aircraft were there and ready to evacuate people to safety both before and after the hurricane struck. Your gifts allowed us to be able to immediately fly survey flights to assess the damage, helping our partner organizations to plan their response and get aid to those in the hardest hit areas as quickly as possible.
No matter how remote an area or how unexpected the situation, your donations help to fuel MAF’s work, sharing God’s love through aviation and technology.
The focus of the MAF Home Office staff is to serve and support our overseas staff to the best of our ability so that they can, in turn, help and serve those around them. By caring for and supporting our overseas staff with details like insurance, donation processing, correspondence, and member care, they are better able to focus on the needs of their program, and the people they are there to serve.
We also support our staff in prayer. Prayer is one of the ways we are privileged to join with you, our supporters, in God’s work through MAF. We really understand our supporters don’t only give of their finances to support MAF’s mission, but also support our staff by praying for them, and for MAF. We know how important that is! We have seen God answer prayers for our staff and organization in amazing ways.
Stuart King, one of MAF’s British founders, recently wrote this prayer for MAF’s ministry:
Lord, thank you for your peace, protection, and provision. We pray that MAF will always have:
One purpose – the glory of God
One pathway – the will of God
One passion – the love of God.
In Jesus’ name, Amen
I hope that you will join with us in praying this prayer for MAF and our staff around the world.
Thank you for your ongoing support of MAF’s work!
Our Aircraft Maintenance Engineers (AMEs), are constantly at work in the hangar and beyond, ensuring that our planes are in top working order, that inspections are carried out and that problems are found on the ground and not in the air. Teachers are another vital part of our staff as they impact Missionary Kids and local children in the classroom, (and outside as well!), on a daily basis. Their service allows families to serve in areas in desperate need without worrying about their children receiving a proper education. There is also our IT staff who work diligently to maintain and develop internet and communication infrastructure that is so vital to MAF’s work in remote areas where such infrastructure does not always already exist.
You will see evidence from our Annual Report that there is another significant part of our team enabling MAF to carry out lifesaving flights each day. Each one of you, our supporters, who have joined MAF through the giving of your finances and prayers, plays a significant role in seeing our mission accomplished with every flight!
Since starting with MAF I have been amazed at the number of people I have met who have an MAF story. Not because they have worked for MAF, but because they have been involved with an agency that MAF has supported. Whether it was a flight to get them to and from the field, or a life-saving medevac or supply drop, MAF was there to help in the work God had sent them to accomplish. You find MAF in the weirdest places – which is a good thing! It allows us to serve alongside more than 1,500 partner organizations, enabling them to reach these isolated places with greater speed and safety, multiplying the effectiveness of their resources and work.
The work done by organizations such as World Vision, UK Aid, HALO Trust and Samaritan’s Purse is supported and facilitated by MAF flights and infrastructure. The pages of this website are full of these connections: from working with the Papua New Guinea Defence Force to deliver food to areas where their aircraft are simply too large to land, to flying children with special needs in rural Mongolia to Reaching the Light ministries where they will receive life-changing physiotherapy, and delivering eye surgeons to remote areas of war-torn South Sudan. MAF is there, working to see these people receive the love and care of God in tangible ways.
You may remember the parable of the Good Samaritan Jesus shared in Luke 10:25-37. Finding a man beaten and robbed by the side of the road, the Good Samaritan didn’t hesitate to help. At the end of this parable Jesus says to those listening to “Go and do likewise”. Sometimes our calling will bring us to the front lines where recognition is abundant, and sometimes we will be actively working where others may not as readily see us.
The important thing is that we are following God’s direction, working together to accomplish the work He has set out for us to do. Thank you for joining with us to accomplish His work!
People like our dedicated MAF Advocates give of their time and energy to represent MAF. Just recently, when an opportunity arose to host an MAF booth at a local Christmas Concert a phone call was made and an MAF advocate was ready and willing to show up at a moment’s notice.
This fall I learned of a lady in the Kingston area who, after reading about the story of Nate Saint and the other missionaries who gave their lives in Ecuador reaching out to the Waorani people, began supporting MAF. She faithfully gave a monthly gift for over 28 years! It was my privilege to thank her in a small way by giving her a small wooden cross that I had carried back from my trip to Ecuador, made from the wood of Nate & Marj Saint’s original house.
Without the faithful prayer support we receive from our Prayer Partners, the work of MAF simply could not go on.
We appreciate each of you, our donors and partners in this ministry, greatly. Publications, such as this Flying for Life magazine, our 2016 Calendar and our Prayer Diary, are our way of saying thank you, and keeping you up to date on how your donations are fueling God’s work through MAF.
Another way we would like to show you our thanks is by offering a Planned Giving seminar, through ADVISORS with Purpose, to all of our MAF donors. When I took this seminar a few years ago, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I learned, even though I thought I already had a pretty good knowledge base on tax laws. These seminars are full of good, solid information about estate planning and no matter which charities you choose to include in your will, by doing this type of estate planning you will most likely reduce the taxes that your estate pays. We invite you to take advantage of this opportunity; I think you will find it is really worth your time!
The Bible tells us that it is not the size of the gift, but the motivation behind it that gives that gift its eternal value: “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)
Thank you for all that you have entrusted to us, to help us accomplish God’s work together.
I was joined on this trip by a couple of amazing and humble MAF donors who provided the majority of the funding for the new Quest Kodiak aircraft being celebrated in Ecuador. We were there to attend the special dedication ceremony being held to mark its arrival and commissioning into service. This mission-centric aircraft has an enormous capability and will be serving the people of Ecuador for a very long time.
We were also able to ride along on a flight that took us to Palm Beach. It was a sobering experience to stand there, the site where Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Roger Youderian, Ed McCully, and Peter Fleming were killed by members of the Waorani tribe. Their prayer was to see these people reached with the Gospel and through His provision, God answered that prayer, though not as anyone had expected and not without great cost. It amazes me to think that the families of these men did not respond with anger, but rather with love and forgiveness. As they sought to do more for the Waorani, they saw many of them accept Christ.
I was struck when we visited the Waorani village that there was no technology to be seen. Little electrically powered conveniences and no water purification system, and yet they were completely at ease with the high tech Kodiak in their midst. Through experience, they had come to realize that the plane was a useful tool that could help them in many ways.
We met Dyuwi Tani who was a member of the raiding party that killed the missionaries on Palm Beach. He shared with me that their village had been praying for more than ten years that God would provide them with a larger aircraft. He fully understood the capabilities that such a plane would bring and the urgent needs it would fill. It was remarkable to see the joy in Dyuwi’s face – he simply believed and always knew that God would provide such a plane. It was incredible to be there to witness God answer that prayer.
As you surf this website, I hope that you will be encouraged by the stories of hope and reconciliation, and the unique ways our partners use MAF in their efforts to reach those in physical and spiritual need.
Psalm 133:1 reminds us “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”
We are blessed to work alongside our partners in ministry who, no matter which organizational name they serve under, are working toward the same Kingdom goals.
Thank you for your faithful support of MAF.
Of the many things that I learned over these last few months, and in my experience with MAF so far – is the geographically dispersed, interconnected, and devoted team that makes MAF what it is. Most often we hear stories from our pilots who do the bulk of the frontline work, but there is a large, dedicated team standing behind them to make those flights possible.
Our mechanics and hangar staff keep our aircraft in top working order, and ground staff and managers around the world handle bookings, flight-following and paperwork to ensure the operations run smoothly. Some of our MAF families serve as teachers to the children of other missionary families and those of the wider community in which they serve, making it possible for families to commit to serving in remote areas, knowing that their children will receive an education that will be well regarded when they apply to colleges and universities in Canada and the USA. Others here at home provide vital teaching to the newest generation of pilots and mechanics, while the home office staff strive to support those on the field.
Then there are the spouses who tirelessly maintain their households in conditions much different than those we enjoy here in Canada. They face daily challenges and yet continue to minister, not only to their own families, but also by reaching out with Christ’s love to those in the communities where they serve.
Recently I learned about MAF’s Disaster Response Team. In the wake of the Nepal Earthquakes they immediately jumped into action, heading into a country that many civilians were avoiding or even trying to get out of, to find out how MAF could help. It quickly became apparent that fixed-wing aircraft would be of no use due to the level of destruction and steep sloping mountains where the villages are located. Not to be deterred, they obtained helicopters and began providing all the logistical support and coordination required to put these helicopters into action. In just a matter of days, the helicopters were taking off or landing every 15 minutes, delivering aid through over 40 partner organizations to these people in desperate need.
None of MAF’s work would be possible without another part of our MAF team; You, our supporters and advocates who faithfully pray for and financially support the work of MAF. Every week I am humbled by hearing new stories of how supporters are helping out with specific needs – just incredible. Without your support our flights would only be a dream to those in need – your generous contribution to MAF’s ministry makes them a reality.
In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul reminds us that “ …the body is not one member, but many.” (v.14) and that in Christ all the members are made one. I see this in action every day at MAF. It is amazing to me that every hour of every day, people all over the world are working together to accomplish the work God has given to us.
Thank you for being an important part of our MAF team.
In February of this year, MAF Canada welcomed a new President and CEO, Brad Bell. Flying for Life Editor Beth Round had the chance to sit down with Brad to find out a little bit more about him and his thoughts on his new role with MAF.
Beth Round: What are you looking forward to most about being part of MAF as President and CEO?
Brad Bell: First off, I am enjoying all the learning I am doing about this incredible organization and I am looking forward to continuing on this fascinating learning curve as I continue to settle in. It is inspiring to meet the many families who are serving in countries all over the world. It is humbling to meet some missionary families that have been serving in challenging parts of the world for 30+ years. It is also really refreshing to see an organization with such a kingdom-minded focus.
MAF understands that the kingdom of God is made up of many people, in many nations, in many different denominations, and many different organizations – and yet it is all part of the same kingdom.
So I am most looking forward to being a part of this team that provides meaningful help and shares God’s love in a practical way to people in need all over the world.
BR: What lead you to apply for this position at MAF?
BB: After 26 years I sold my high-tech company in 2014 so I now had free time.
I loved being involved in designing and creating software, but for many years I had wanted to be involved in work that was having more global impact for God’s kingdom. A recruiter working for the Board of MAF contacted me and asked me if I would consider this role. It sounded interesting and as I met with the recruiter and various Board members I became more and more impressed and more and more interested in joining MAF.
I was honoured when, in December, the Board invited me to join the team as CEO.
BR: What do you feel has helped prepare you for this role?
BB: Well without sounding too corny, I guess much of my life experience has helped prepare me. I have been actively involved in church my entire life so I understand the mission and have friends and family members who have had experience with MAF. Starting and growing my own company has taught me so much about design, finance, leadership, and most of all has taught me the importance of mentoring people.
Many secular companies talk about their greatest asset being their people, and in MAF’s case the people are definitely such an incredible asset. My family of course has been a key part of this career journey and they have been flexible and supportive of me in various seasons of extra demands and stress.
BR: What kind of welcome have you received so far?
BB: I was definitely made to feel welcome from day one. Actually even before day one because the Board has been very supportive and welcoming. The staff have been excellent and very patient as I ask many “newbie” questions. I was also surprised at the welcome I received from other ministries and NGOs that are affiliated with MAF.
BR: What is the most random fact you’ve learned so far?
BB: That is an easy question. Ant hills in Angola can be two stories high. What I don’t want to learn is how big the ants are!