My husband and I had the privilege to travel to Nampula, Mozambique, as volunteers for the MAF program there this past month. We spent three weeks offering our services in construction and assisting the MAF team in moving to a new hangar. As a 21-year-old newlywed wife who has long had a passion for missions, I was very excited to experience “life on the field,” and have a chance to meet and shadow long-term missionary wives and mothers. Little did I know how sobering that experience would turn out to be!
I have never met such amazingly strong, brave, and resourceful women as the MAF wives—they exude peace and contentment and support for their pilot husbands who are often gone overnight on various flights, or staying late at the hangar. They are a vital part of the work being done through MAF, and I truly see them as heroes of the faith as they serve day in and day out, trusting God through every hurdle.
And there are many. Hurdles, that is. Cooking takes twice as long in a kitchen with no A/C, dishes are hand washed and need sanitizing, laundry is dried on a line, ants and bugs and geckos share your home, power is far from reliable, as is water pressure. Mosquito netting is draped over every bed, and applying bug spray is part of the morning routine. The MAF families live out of necessity in the securest of homes—bars on every entrance, numerous padlocks, high walls around the yard, barbwire, gates, and a night guard. I tagged along on a grocery shopping trip, and the sweet wife I was with was in constant prayer as she navigated the crazy roads and traffic. I watched as she hired a guard to protect from anything being stolen off her vehicle, politely declined numerous vendors who flocked around her, and calmly made her way through the grocery store that had cockroaches and rotten meat.
As we drove to the mission school to pick up her kindergartener, she shared with me that sometimes the struggle of living in an impoverished country and the pain of being separated from loved ones back home almost overwhelms her. But her next words really inspired me: “Natalya, there is nowhere else I would rather be! After the years of support raising and language school, I am so happy to finally be where God has called us.”
The sacrifices she and the other wives have made are worth it in light of the higher calling of obedience to the Lord, and that’s what makes these housewives heroines.
Be sure to check back next week when Natalya writes about the MAF pilots.