In World War II, aircraft were used to create unprecedented death and destruction. As the war drew to a close, Christian air force pilots from Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and America, all began to have the same thought: “Why can’t aircraft now be used to bring life and hope”
From here, Mission Aviation Fellowship was born. Its vision was simple and wonderfully ambitious: to use aircraft so that isolated communities across the world would be physically and spiritually transformed in Christ’s name.
What started off as a dream is now a global movement, with around 140 aircraft serving 2000 churches, missions and agencies, in over 25 countries worldwide. Thousands of remote communities now have access to healthcare, education, community development, disaster relief and the good news of Jesus Christ.
A lot has happened over the 70 years since MAF was formed, but through all the social change, developments in technology and aviation, MAF’s mission remains relevant: To share God’s love through aviation and technology, so that people have access to help and hope.
We meet for a time of prayer for MAF. If you’re interested to join us, please email email@example.com for the location. Our next prayer meeting is on 6th February 2017.
South Sudan | 2017
Filling the Gap
MAF South Sudan pilot Eivind Lindtjørn talks about why the Cessna 182 is the perfect plane for small NGOs and missionaries working in remote places in South Sudan.
I love the Cessna 182 because it fills a gap that has existed for years where MAF couldn’t offer a small and cheap aircraft. For me, this is what mission and church flying is all about – that they can charter a plane for one to three passengers to fly wherever they need to go – to reach out to a village or to fly supplies – and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. The large Caravan is perfect for big groups or a ton of cargo, but there are also these missions with less funds that need to send one or two guys, or just 200-300 kilos of stuff. The 182 is perfect for that.
It takes us back to the kind of Nate Saint era type of flying. I feel much more connected to our partners. Because of the type of flying that we do, I wait with the passengers and then I go back with them, so I get to know them at a different level. We have prayer fellowship before we go. I feel a part of the ministry when I fly this plane.
I can fly down to Lokitok, a 40-minute flight, with 270 kilos of cargo or two to three passengers for $260 round trip. To drive, it’s pot-holed and there are bandits along the road. It would take them a whole day, so they save both in money and time. We can actually say that it’s cheaper to use that aircraft than to use their car.
That’s why I’m so excited about it and why I love it. Not because it’s a comfortable plane. I’m 191 cm tall. I have to squeeze into this thing! But I would fly it any day.
There were two African Inland Mission (AIM) doctors from the US who have been coming here twice a year for the last ten years. They had to go to Lokitok and stay for a few weeks and develop a clinic there. They only needed to fly those two down there on a very specific date. For that purpose, it was perfect.
Then you have Kuron Peace Village, for example. They were so excited when we got this plane, and they asked me, ‘Are you always available? Can we always charter this plane?’ It’s two days to drive there from Juba, and the roads are insecure and unsafe. They fly in one to three people, or their inverter might be broken for the solar system, so they fly in an inverter, and add on food or whatever they need that adds up to 200-300 kilos.
Bishop Taban, the founder of the Kuron Peace Village, travels a lot. He’s doing reconciliation and flies all over South Sudan. In Kuron, all the tribal chiefs came and had a little meeting under the tree before we left. Then I flew him to Yei where he met with a reconciliation group. He’s so excited and happy to have this plane available.
The Episcopal Church of Sudan (ECS) uses this plane all the time. One day I flew two radio workers installing a system for their station, and another time flew people running a workshop for the church, or a bishop to a board meeting. ECS uses the plane the most frequently.
Filling the gap
Most of the flights are east, west and south because those roads are so insecure. You don’t drive to Yei or Kajo Keji anymore because there are robberies where people are killed. And now it’s cheaper to use the aircraft.
We’re now the only one in South Sudan that can offer the little 182. No one else is filling that gap. If we can’t do it, no one else can do it. If I can’t fly one pastor or one missionary to Torit, he has to drive down. So it’s really meeting a need.