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.
Todd & Connie Lou