Bibles for Ambuluwa!


What does a day in ministry look like for us here in Papua New Guinea?  I don’t think we will ever fully know what to expect…other than to expect the unexpected!

Usually our days involve regulatory meetings, hosting meals, shuttling arriving and departing guests, security issues, or any number of other logistical elements of coordinating a team of some 130+ national and expat team members spread across one of the most geopolitical diverse countries in the world.

I have asked our pilots that we if have any flights with space available going out and returning, to please let me know.  During any given month, we land at an average of 212 airstrips across PNG.   It is truly essential that as Country Director, I develop a good understanding of the villages, people and partners that we are serving.  So grabbing a chance to fly out and back is always a pleasant change to the daily schedule.

All too serious, I’m looking out as we make our way through the mountains to Ambuluwa.

On Thursday morning, I received an unexpected surprise.  A flight was headed out to Ambuluwa, about 35 minutes away from our home base of Mt. Hagen.  I checked my schedule, moved a couple of meetings, grabbed a headset, and climbed aboard one of our 6, GA8 Airvans and headed to Ambuluwa with pilot Remi Van Wermeskerken.

Descending into the mountain valley, the dirt strip is seen out Remi’s window.

The village of Ambuluwa is nestled high up in the mountains at an altitude of 6,150 feet above sea level.   The significantly up-sloping dirt airstrip is surrounded by towering, lush, green, jungle rain forest.   As we circled the airstrip, I was surprised at the numerous waterfalls tumbling down the steep mountain faces hemming in the Ambuluwa valley.

I had the opportunity to meet with residents of Ambuluwa, and ask about the impact of MAF. What does MAF mean to them?

Landing up the airstrip, we came to rest at the top where the airstrip plateaus.  As is normally the case, the village residents came out in great numbers to meet the MAF plane.

This man was showing me the path through the mountains. 1 1/2 days walk to the nearest road.

As I asked the residents about options, they informed me that the closest road was nearly 1 1/2 days walk…for them.   For us…it would probably be closer to 2 or more days.  MAF represents their lifeline for medical evacuations, supplies, and on this day…BIBLES!

As the freight and passengers were unloaded, Remi met with a man who had come to get Bibles.  I was humbled as the man took everything we had and asked if he couldn’t please get more.  More people wanted to have their own copy of the Bible in their language.  We emptied our box and assured the man that more would come on the next plane.

Climbing aboard the plane with more passengers for the return trip to Mt. Hagen, I reflected upon the impact of MAF.  Today, for the village of Ambuluwa, we had brought much more than physical nourishment, but hope, joy, and peace through the delivery of the Word of God.

What other impact does MAF have?  Well in 2016 alone, across the globe, we:

  • Partnered with more than 2,000 organizations such as Samaritan’s Purse, Campus Crusade, Wycliffe Bible Translators, the Nazarenes, and more!
  • Served in 37 countries
  • Flew more than 60,600 flights to remote, isolated locations
  • Daily delivered more than 41,800 pounds of precious mission cargo to build God’s Kingdom

The total impact is difficult to measure.  But as once tribal fighting  villages, are now erecting churches, and  the morning mist is welcomed with praise and worship songs,  it is easy to see that MAF truly is helping to transform isolated communities physically and spiritually in Christ’s name!

Now, sitting once again in my office, looking out on the ramp as Remi is departing with another load of hope for the village of Simbai, I find myself reflecting on how this can happen!  None of this could be possible without the MAF Partners and Families standing behind us!  You are the wind beneath our wings!

I close with this quote, one of my favorites from John Wesley:

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” 

Each day Connie and I thank the Lord for allowing us to have just a small part in His plan for reaching the ends of the earth.  And we thank the Lord for each of you…who partner alongside of us!  Today it was Bibles for Ambuluwa…how about tomorrow?

Yours and His for the harvest…

Todd and Connie Lou

Our MAF partner page.

Hick-ups with a purpose…a pilot’s journal


Connie and I are so blessed to be leading such a tremendous team of servants.  This is a great story written by one of our pilots about a couple days in the life of MAF!

Story and photos Remi van Wermeskerken

Today was a bit of a mess. My schedule was supposed to have been Madang-Nankina-Madang-Dusin-Madang-Simbai-Madang-Simbai-Madang with the Airvan P2-MEW.

The first Hick-ups: No passengers and bad weather
But… the flight to Nankina couldn’t happen because the truck bringing the passengers and goods had broken down. Fortunately the passengers to Dusin were ready, but as they didn’t have a full load we added 75 kg of goods for Simbai. I landed in Dusin as the low cloud was getting worse I and took off just in time, perhaps by two minutes, or it would have been completely closed in. Simbai, which is only a 7 minute flight from Dusin, was completely closed by low clouds. After trying to get down and trying to find a hole to descend through, I had to return to Madang as my fuel was starting to run low.

More Hick-ups: Cancellations, to many overnights and the plane due for inspection
By the time I got back to Madang, weather in Simbai had improved enough to go there again but the passengers for the second flight to Simbai had cancelled. We had to figure out how to most efficiently get me and the plane to Simbai and to Goroka as there was no loading back home to Madang and the next morning I’d have an empty load to Goroka to get there for training with Sebastian Kurz. With already 3 nights away from home this week, I wasn’t too keen on another night away. When we found out that there were 3 passengers from Simbai to Goroka, it seemed the right thing to do to save MAF a lot of expense and just fly Madang-Simbai-Goroka and overnight there. However we figured out that my plane would be due for an inspection before the end of the week and Sharlene Coker, Flight Operations Coordinator, suggested that I swing by Mt Hagen today to swap planes which changed the routing to Madang-Simbai-Mt Hagen-Goroka.

The Outcome of the Hick-ups: A last minute compassionate flight..

Sebastian flying ‘casual‘ to assist an urgent flight request.

The rest of that flight was quite uneventful and because I was quite high in duty hours, I was looking forward to having a short day, getting to Goroka by 2 pm and calling it a day. But whenever we seem to have a short day (seldom…), something happens. And as my plane was parked and being washed in Goroka and I was ready to go home, Sebastian dropped by and suddenly things got urgent in the office. A man came in asking for a charter to pick up his daughter in Chimbu, who had just given birth to a baby who had died. The clinic in Chimbu did not have formalhydrate so they needed the mom and body of the baby brought to Goroka for burial as soon as possible. It was now 3 pm and the weather didn’t look all that great. Sebastian, who wasn’t even in his flight uniform as he only wanted to check on the next day’s training program, was very keen to help this distressed family. So we quickly got the plane ready, and took off to show Christ’s love to this family.

When boarding the plane it was hard for the mother to let go of her beloved baby for a few seconds so she could climb into the Airvan.

It was very difficult to see the mother constantly kissing her little deceased baby, knowing that she will not have a mother-child relationship with this baby she had carried for 9 months. I can’t imagine the agony she must have been in.

The passengers boarding the Airvan P2-MEW.

It was good to be able to support her and the family during their sad time.   What started out as a very frustrating day with lots of hick-ups, turned into a day where all those circumstances caused this flight to Chimbu to happen. If all had gone according to plan, there wouldn’t have been time to add the Chimbu flight.

Another Last Minute Call: A Medevac

Sebastian calling his Goroka base for a weather update while on the ground at Wabo, he finds out about the Junkaral medevac request

Only a couple of days later, when we were about to leave on our last training flight of the day, there was suddenly another emergency call from Jungkaral. A young teenager had fallen out of a coconut tree and badly broken an arm and a leg and they wanted to know if we could assist.   To pay for the flight, they only had seat fares for two people to Madang. So we had a lot of decisions to make. Madang was out of the question as we’re training in Goroka and I would end up with way too many flight and duty hours at the end of the month. Because we don’t normally fly to Junkaral and could fill up the plane, this medevac would have to be declared as a charter flight.   After discussing this with Sebastian, we decided that this is one of those medical emergencies that MAF has some extra funds for. So we departed towards Jungkaral. Due to the late afternoon, clouds were already up to 10,000ft so we had to climb over those and then start a rapid descent into Jungkaral.

Upon landing we were amazed that the community was carrying the boy without a stretcher or mattress without him crying or complaining, even though he had multiple broken bones. Many of the women were wailing, as if someone had passed away.

We got the young man to Goroka in the late afternoon and our base staff transported him to the hospital. I don’t even want to try and imagine what they would have done if MAF had not been able to help and the community would have had to transport him through the jungles for days or weeks to the nearest hospital.


Your prayers and partnership are what keep our planes “Flying for Life!”

Thank you for partnering with us as together we connect isolated people and see lives physically and spiritually transformed in Christ’s name!

Todd and Connie Lou

Our Partnership Page