Changed by Grace

MAF Plane in Papua

The unique role that you’ve played, through MAF, in the lives of the Moi people of Papua, Indonesia

News spread quickly through the village and reached the missionaries living with the Moi tribe. A newborn baby girl had been tied up in vines, placed in a net bag hanging from a tree, and left to die.

The missionaries found the newborn and quickly cut away the vines so she could breathe—saving her life.

Missionaries, Rich (left) and Stephen (right),  quickly cut away the vines.

Sixteen years before that day, MAF began supporting the work of these missionaries as they built their homes, learned the Moi language, and began translating Scriptures. Even before the airstrip was completed in 2008, MAF’s partnership enabled the families to live in such a remote village. When the missionaries were finally able to share the Gospel in the Moi language, the tribe was transformed as, one by one, the people began to put their faith in Christ.

“MAF has coordinated and co-labored with us in more ways than we could possibly list; from air-dropping supplies to us before we had an airstrip to dropping everything to service us after we opened our airstrip—serving as our pilots but also buying supplies, being dorm parents for our kids, servicing our radio … and the list goes on,” said Stephen, one of the missionaries.

Years later, when the Moi were still young in terms of their faith, the missionaries had many opportunities to teach the people God’s ways. The near tragedy with the baby girl was one of those teachable moments.

The baby’s parents, teenagers at the time, were some of the first believers in the Moi tribe, yet they still held to some false beliefs. Since the father had been away for several months of the pregnancy, and the baby had continued to grow in the womb, he assumed his wife had been unfaithful and ordered her to kill the baby after giving birth.

Which the mother intended to do by abandoning the baby in the tree.

The missionaries cared for the baby for the first week of her life and named her Emma Grace. They also explained to the parents how babies grow in the womb and how children are a gift from God. Since the first chapter of Exodus had been translated into the Moi language, they were able to share the story of the Hebrew midwives and how they saved the Israelite baby boys from being killed, despite Pharaoh’s orders.

God worked in the young father’s heart and, praise God, he accepted the baby back into their home.

 

Grace Growing

Emma Grace in 2016. Photo by Jacinda Basinger.

Today Emma Grace is a bright, vivacious little girl who attends kindergarten at the first-ever elementary school in the Moi village in Papua, Indonesia, which opened in the fall along with a clinic. Emma Grace loves to sing and made up this song about her Savior:

Jesus’ blood opened the way for me! It opened the way for us!”

Emma Grace sang out.

His blood set me on the right path,” she continued. Her classmates repeated each verse in response.

“God, in his unique way, uses an airplane to play a pivotal role in the Moi people growing to know Him. If you take the KODIAK away from the situation, it just doesn’t happen. You don’t get the teachers coming in, the missionaries being able to be there, the supplies that are going in…  It’s a beautiful partnership, and a privilege to be on the front lines of what He’s doing,” said David Holsten, MAF regional director of Indonesia.

Moi students in class. Photo by Nathan Fagerlie.

Those of you who have supported MAF’s work through the years have played a part in the Gospel reaching the Moi people, saving Emma Grace’s life, and now educating her and the other children—and bringing health care—in the Moi village. Thank you for being a partner in this transformation that will affect this generation of Moi and future ones to come.

“Over the years the Lord has slowly been building His church in the Moi,” said Stephen. “As we have been here as eyewitnesses of the amazing things that God is doing, I have thought many times about those who have partnered with us in this endeavor, who have to walk by faith without perhaps realizing or seeing just how much they’ve played a part in reaching the Moi.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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