The MAF Blog: Worldwide Pulse

Posts Tagged ‘africa’

Family Near and Far

Posted on: June 25th, 2014 by Jill Holmes  |  Leave a comment

Jill Holmes speaking at her church in Mozambique.

Jill Holmes speaking at her church in Mozambique.

Recently I was asked to share the message at our local church here in Mozambique. The Sunday morning I was assigned happened to be Family Day, which is unlike any U.S. holiday. I had the opportunity to talk about the importance of family, our responsibilities to family, and what it means to belong to the family of God. I mentioned to the congregation that although I left my family when I moved to Africa, I instantly had family when I got here because of the relationships we have with our brothers and sisters in Christ. I love to think about the family reunion we will have when we get to heaven and how there will be people from every nation and tongue together worshipping God.

But, there is still something about your own family. I can’t say that I’m currently homesick living here so far away from my family, but this time of year it really feels like we are missing out on a lot. We have family members graduating, getting married, having surgery, going on family vacations—and when you aren’t there, it feels like it didn’t really happen. Family members grow and change while we are gone, and so do we. When we reunite, we aren’t the same people anymore.

How do you reconcile the importance the Bible puts on family with the clear call from God to leave your family to go live on the other side of the world? I am so thankful to have family members that are supportive of the work we do and cheer us on from afar. I also thank God for the technology that lets us stay connected regularly. Thank God for family!

Fighting the Wind

Posted on: June 11th, 2014 by Justin Honaker  |  Leave a comment

035155-Lesotho-PP-2010Q4ACircling the remote mountain airstrip I see both windsocks standing straight out, indicating lots of wind. My onboard GPS is talking to me and I don’t like what it says. Around 20 knots crosswind, I calculate. My heart is thumping and my palms are sweating. My hopes for landing are not high.

The day’s scheduled flights are canceled on account of strong winds. We leave medical emergency flight requests open on a case-by-case basis. A request for a teenage girl in need of a blood transfusion comes in around noon. At her particular airstrip we are able to take a lot of wind, so it’s an acceptable risk.

Trying to line my Cessna 206 up on final, it looks like I will exceed that acceptable risk. If I don’t land, I fly home and other arrangements will have to be made for the patient. I cannot let that compromise safety, however. The left rudder pedal is slammed to the floor; the airplane is at its maximum control input. If I can keep the airplane flying straight down the runway, I can land. And if not, I’ll need to return home, without the patient.

I’m barely keeping the airplane straight, definitely at my maximum personal limitations, and chuckle as decision time rapidly approaches. “This isn’t going to work,” I think out loud. But as if on queue, the airplane locks itself straight with the runway and on centerline. I pull the power, expecting to reject the landing at any moment, but trying to give the landing every opportunity. I touchdown firmly and apply heavy braking. I am down and safe on the ground!

My passenger/patient is not doing well. I tell her it will be a very bumpy ride but that she is less than an hour from the hospital. She seems too sick to understand, or care. Getting airborne again, I radio ahead for a wind report. My heart drops with the reply: it will be another landing, right to maximums. By God’s grace, I’m able to land again safely, and the girl makes it to the hospital.

It Takes A Village – Part 2

Posted on: May 14th, 2014 by Kimberly Baker  |  Leave a comment

Continued from an earlier post

Working on the Lebakeng airstrip. Photo by Matt Monson.

Working on the Lebakeng airstrip. Photo by Matt Monson.

Despite our best efforts to alert government entities, healthcare workers, and the villagers about the possible airstrip closure if someone didn’t take ownership and fix it, nothing had been done—that is, until now.

On April 24, 80 community members, several clinicians, and ten MAF staff (about half of our team) met together in Lebakeng to make the needed repairs to the airstrip. The community recognized the need and the benefit and invited us to help them, not the other way round. The cost? Two flights and enough food to feed everyone. A small price to pay when you consider the number of lives that will be saved by keeping this airstrip operational. We worked shoulder to shoulder fixing the airstrip and making enough food for the crowd.

After the work was done and everyone was fed, we presented the Gospel and gave out audio and hard copies of Bibles in the Sesotho language—one for each village represented. Over 20 were given out that day and more were needed! We believe some there were hearing the Good News for the first time!

Hearing the Good News in Lebakeng. Photo by Matt Monson.

Hearing the Good News in Lebakeng. Photo by Matt Monson.

We praise the Lord for this partnership and pray that news will spread to other communities in similar circumstances. We are thrilled for this opportunity to partner with the Basotho—to work side by side and to hopefully give them a sense of purpose and ownership of this lifeline for their community. And it gives us the chance to share the love of Jesus in the most practical of ways. To give our time, two flights, and a meal in exchange for lives saved… lives that will have more time on this earth to hear about Christ. This is what our ministry in Lesotho is all about!

No Place Like Home

Posted on: February 5th, 2014 by Kimberly Baker  |  Leave a comment

Now listen, daughter, don’t miss a word: forget your country, put your home behind you. Be here—the king is wild for you. Since he’s your Lord, adore him.” — Psalm 45:10-11

Recently I said goodbye to six friends who came for a week-long visit—two of them being some of my closest and most cherished friends. To say it was bittersweet is putting it mildly.

Lesotho, Africa

Lesotho, Africa

HOME. It is a word filled with deep emotion, smells, sounds, and fraught with meaning. Lately I have come to realize something: I can no longer define a single place on this spinning planet 3rd from the sun as “home.” This is both unsettling and exciting all at the same time. You see, until I stepped out in faith and obedience I didn’t fully understand a truth of Scripture. We, the Body of Christ, were never meant to be comfortable here… Earth was never supposed to feel like home. Oh, but it can be so comfortable! Filled with yummy foods, beautiful scenery, amazing experiences and people who we hold most dear—but all these things are to point us towards our real home, our forever home in the presence of our beloved Savior, even Jesus!

035957-Lesotho-2010Q4B-GAs a missionary, I live in this tension where southern California, the only home I knew for 40 years of my life, is no longer home for me. And the natural thought would be, Well then, surely Africa is now your home. Ah, but this also isn’t home. For me and for many other missionaries, home lies somewhere in between. So no matter where I find myself there is a sense of not fully belonging, of never feeling completely “at home.” But this difficulty, this tension, this complex life circumstance is a treasure! The truth for me now, and I pray it will ever be true until I’m face to face with Jesus, is that I’ll always be longing for home. Longing for the place where I will fully know, even as I am fully known.

Top Ten Blog Posts For 2013

Posted on: January 6th, 2014 by MAF  |  Leave a comment

Sometimes serious, sometimes funny. The MAF bloggers entertain and enlighten us about life as an MAF missionary or give us a new perspective on the ministry. We hope you’ve enjoyed each of our blog contributors this year. Just for fun, let’s take a look back at some of the most widely read blog posts of 2013.

A sleepy passenger. Joe Perez tags along on a flight with his dad. Photo by Daniel Perez.

A sleepy passenger. Joe Perez tags along on a flight with his dad. Photo by Daniel Perez.

#10—What happens when you try to make a simple pancake breakfast in Haiti. Turns out it’s anything but simple.

#9—Thanksgivings in Indonesia may be different than what this MAF wife grew up with, but they’ve become some of her most memorable ones.

#8—What’s it like to live in an aviation town? Here’s a glimpse of life at MAF’s Wamena base.

#7—The advantages of flying the new KODIAKs are evident as this MAF pilot takes us through one day in the KODIAK.

#6—While MAF pilots must focus on what’s in front of them when operating the plane, it’s what’s behind them that matters.

#5—As told from the perspective of an MK (missionary kid), the heartbreak that comes from leaving Congo. This one received a bundle of encouraging comments.

#4—When a new staff person had the chance to tag along on a training flight, he first had to overcome his own fears about flying. (I think it’s safe to say he’d do it again in a heartbeat.)

Showing the “JESUS” Film in Namialo, Mozambique. Photo by Jill Holmes.

Showing the “JESUS” Film in Namialo, Mozambique. Photo by Jill Holmes.

#3—An MAF family shares reflections on their first term of service in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

#2—Some thoughts on “delicious” landing procedures, or some of the hazards to watch for upon landing, including pigs and cows.

#1—Three things you may not have known about MKs … our most widely read post of the year!

A huge Thank You to all of the MAF blog writers that contributed in 2013. Blessings to all of you in 2014! We look forward to more of your stories in the coming year.

Blog writers in Africa: Kimberly Baker, Nancy Burton, Nick & Jocelyn Frey, Owen Fuller, Jill Holmes, Lydia Hochstetler (MK Corner), Megan Harrell, Justin Honaker, Gerd LePoidevin

Blog writers in Haiti: Karen Broyles, Christine Harms, Liz Schandorff

Blog writers in Indonesia: Rebecca & Sean Cannon, Amy Chin, Dave Forney, Daniel Geaslen, Natalie Holsten, Rebecca Hopkins, Joy Neal, Daniel Perez, Linda Ringenberg, Ellie Scheer, Jonathan Smith (MK Corner)

Blog writers at headquarters: Ashleigh Boyd (MK Corner), Chris Burgess, Sarah Gorenflo (MK Corner), and Jim Manley

Blog writers in other areas: Laura Macias (Costa Rica); Lady “M” and our Between the Verses contributor (restricted-access countries)