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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Todd and Connie Lou