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 firstname.lastname@example.org for the location. Our next prayer meeting is on 5th June 2017.
Highly Qualified to Serve
Seraj Islam, MAF’s Quality and Safety Manager in Bangladesh, feels proud to serve with MAF
When speaking with Md. Serajul Islam, MAF Bangladesh’s Quality and Safety Manager, it would be useful to carry an Aviation Acronym dictionary to use as reference. The 65-year-old highly qualified Bangladeshi rattles off acronym after acronym in his list of jobs, aviation authorities, certifications, safety terms, and required manuals to be updated.
There’s the AMO, CAAB, CofA, MCPM, ANO, CAR, SMS, and SAG, to name just a few – all connected to his job.
Seraj works part-time for MAF Bangladesh. His second job is for a helicopter company located next to the MAF hanger, also working as Quality and Safety Manager. His work requires some level of perfection as mistakes could mean that an important document or manual won’t gain approval, or certification not renewed. As Safety Manager, lack of diligence could mean injury or death.
For example, in September of 2016 MAF’s AMO (Approved Maintenance Organization) certification came up for renewal, but the CAAB (Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh) required a complete re-write of the MCPM (Maintenance Control and Procedures Manual) before renewal would be approved.
“That was a big project and Seraj was very involved in this,” Mark Blomberg, MAF Bangladesh Country Director explains. “They weren’t going to approve our AMO unless we re-wrote the entire manual. Without the AMO, we can’t fly. It was a huge deal. We received two-month extensions while we worked on this, and it went through four revisions/submissions to get it right. Seraj spent a lot of time on this and worked closely with Darren Lydeamore, MAF’s Maintenance Support Manager in Australia. It was finally approved on the 1st of March.”
Seraj, a Muslim, started his career in aviation in 1968 when he joined the Pakistan Air Force as an apprentice Avionics Technician. Five years later he joined the Bangladesh Air Force where he would stay for 25 years, working on helicopters, fighter, cargo, and Russian aircraft. Other work included Radio Workshop Avionics, Surveillance Radar, and supervisory positions.
In 1998, Seraj retired from the Air Force to try his hand at owning his own computer sales and service business but it wasn’t easy and he returned to what he knew best: aviation. Putting his skills to work once again, Seraj worked for GMG Airlines, United Airways, Regent Airways, Novoair, and finally ATL where he works part-time.
“I enjoy working with Seraj,” Mark says. “He takes his job very seriously and really desires to see things done right, which I appreciate, considering his job is to assess the safety in which we do our work as well as the quality. The ‘Safety’ part includes the whole program, not just the aviation side. It could include an extension cord running across the middle of our office that would be a tripping hazard, or making sure our houses have fire extinguishers. It’s encompassing.”
Proud to be Part of MAF
Being a Muslim in a Christian organization isn’t a problem for Seraj.
“I’m happy and feel proud to be a part of MAF because it’s an organization that gives service to humanity, a vehicle to help people who need help,” Seraj says. “MAF is giving support to organizations that are helping people and I’m a part of that. This is an excellent job. It’s a very good opportunity that the Almighty has given me to do a little for humanity.
“We are all creations of God. When we see humanity, we do not discriminate who is Muslim, Christian, or Hindu. Suppose someone has fallen in the water and he’s going to die. I’m not going to find out if he’s a Muslim or a Christian. I am to jump in and save him. Ninety-five percent of the people here are Muslim, so this service is not for Christians only. It’s for all. There is no discrimination. I pray to the Almighty that he gives me more and more opportunity to serve longer so that this area is helped.”
 AMO: Approved Maintenance Organization; CAAB: Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh; CofA: Certificate of Airworthiness; MCPM: Maintenance Control and Procedures Manual; ANO: Air Navigation Order; CAR: Civil Aviation Rules; SMS: Safety Management System Manual; SAG: Safety Action Group.