The Close of 2017…Lands Traveled…Lives Reached


As we look back at 2017, in some ways it seems like an eternity, in other ways it seems like the year has passed by in the blink of an eye.

Half of the year was spent in the Philippines, followed by nearly a coast to coast home assignment speaking tour, then came General Assembly in Indianapolis,  the whirlwind of ending one chapter and starting another with Mission Aviation Fellowship.  Travel, training, orientation in Australia, and arrival in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. Then came finding our feet, learning the language, a village orientation stay, and now the steep learning curve of discovering all of the aspects of serving as Country Director for one of the most complex Mission Aviation Programs in the world.

October 16, the official transition to Country Director.

There are days when it just makes my head spin.  But in the midst of it all, we feel so humbled that God would allow us to have just a small piece in His plan of reaching some of the most remotely located people in the world with the message of Hope, Healing, and Peace that comes through a personal relationship with Him.

The Tabubil base.

This past week found me visiting several of our remote bases (Madang, Telefomin, Rumginae, Kiunga, Tabubil) visiting with our staff, installing some security locks, fixing the base truck that broke down with us in it and observing the impact of MAF.

Lucy – Base Manager from Telefomin.

Over and over again, as I speak to the people living throughout the country, I hear them say that Mission Aviation Fellowship is their only link to the outside.

 

Medical evacuations (some 500 flown each year), medical supplies, Bibles, educational materials, building supplies, water tanks, village medical officers,  store goods…the list goes on and on.

Pilot Remi Van Wermeskerken delivering Bibles at Ambuluwa.

Here around Mt. Hagen in the Central Highlands there are some roads.  But this week as I flew to the west toward Papua (Indonesia), we passed over the cloud-shrouded peaks of the Muller Range rising from sea level to more than 12,000 feet high, and beyond saw nothing but jungle rain forest and winding rivers as far as the eye could see!

Incredible terrain – impenetrable accept to the strongest!

And yet hidden there, below the jungle canopy, are those whom have yet never heard the Gospel message.  Those who are subject to tropical maladies from which they will die, without the life-giving medicines and resources brought by the MAF planes.

So as we reflect back on the journey of 2017, we say thank you!  Thank you to each of you who has prayed for us, partnered with us, those of you who have in the final hours of 2017, sent in ministry partnership gifts.  We couldn’t be here without you there.  This is truly a team effort.  Together we are working toward and realizing the physical and spiritual transformation of the people of Papua New Guinea – in Christ’s name!  From our hearts to yours – thank you for making a difference!

May the Lord guide and keep you this New Year!

Todd & Connie Lou

A Medical Evacuation Every Day…and Then This One!


When I received this message from one of our pilots, Paul Woodington, who serves along with his wife Clare in Wewak, one of our 6 MAF bases, situated on the N. Coast of Papua New Guinea, I had to share it with you!  Be sure to read to the end…you will be blessed!


I send you this email about yesterday’s drama for me and the Wewak team. The Pryors are a very thankful family for the help we provide for their family and ministry…yesterday it was extra special.

Jesse Pryor is a second generation missionary in PNG. They have built a clinic and many times we have helped MEDEVAC seriously ill patients.

Yesterday I received a request to MEDEVAC Jesse’s son out of Samban. It was one of the most difficult and complex decision making tasks I have undertaken. But, we did our utmost to help.

It was late. I was already flying a MEDEVAC from Edwaki to Wewak, a man with a broken leg lying down in the plane in considerable pain. The Caravan was over half full and heavy. Yet, the task was to divert for an hour late in the day. Land in Samban. Pick up the family of four, three of which are large. Think about the weight and tail-wind for takeoff. Factor in a draggy surface penalty and recent rain. How low was the fuel? What reserves did I have?  How close to last light? Could the man with the broken leg manage another hour in the plane?

On the surface, it seems I would not be ticking many boxes so I declined. After a rethink, I found I could tick all the boxes if I diverted direct to Samban not via Wewak. Jacob (base agent) was invaluable acting as intermediary between myself on the radio and the very concerned father.

So, we lifted 10 people out of Samban, one a small baby. The Caravan with a four knot tailwind became airborne half way along the strip passing 200 ft over the fence.

It made me realise how fantastic this plane is and to thank God for His wonderful provision of the Cessna Caravan for the SEPIK area of Papua New Guinea. As I engaged the autopilot and looked back at the load, I felt a pang, a tear jerking sensation. I experienced a real community feeling on board.  Elijah, the Pryor’s son with a burst appendix, was throwing up in a bag comforted by his big sister. Another woman was attending to the man with a broken leg, which was badly swollen. Katie, Jesse’s wife, was showing another lady their newly adopted PNG baby. I shared what was left of my lunch and passed around water, and gave pain killers to the stretcher patient.

I want to share this with you because this plane makes a real difference to people’s lives. The Pryor family needed us for their own family this time. We were able to help in the most difficult of circumstances. Not many planes would have fuel for an hour diversion or the capacity to lift this load out of a marginal airstrip.

When the plane landed at Wewak, it was near dark due to the overcast. When I got home it was dark.

This week I have done a MEDEVAC every day. Despite the difficult times we are all living, the mission community here is pulling together!


Here in Papua New Guinea, on average, we fly 41 flights each day, visit more than 200 airstrips (communities) each month, and provide more than 500 medical evacuations each years.  For many of those living in these communities, we are their only connection to the outside world, short of a several days walk…a walk that in this case… for this missionary family… would have been impossible with a ruptured appendix.

This is only possible because of the MAF Family.  This family is a united team across multiple countries and cultures.  You are part of this team – and we thank you so very much.  Thank you for your continued prayers, partnership (encouragement and financial) and for your commitment to impacting the isolated people of the world with the transformative message of hope and healing through Christ.

Yours and His for the harvest,

Todd & Connie Lou

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