As an information technology (IT) specialist with MAF, I’m part of one of the organization’s most cryptic ministries. Many people easily understand the role MAF airplanes play on the mission field––bringing workers and supplies across jungles, rivers, mountains, and deserts while saving days of ground travel time––yet few people seem aware of our IT work. To be quite honest, until a few years ago, I didn’t know anything of MAF let alone their IT ministry.
My wife Stephanie and I felt called to missions, but we didn’t know how we would be able to serve. Neither of us was trained or experienced as a teacher, pastor, church planter, or other “typical” missionary occupation. My schooling, military training, and work experience involved working with computers, networks, and radios. Stephanie was enjoying being a mom. How could we serve? A little searching on Google led us to MAF’s website.
MAF flies doctors, missionaries, humanitarian workers, and teachers to parts of the world they might otherwise never reach. Have you ever stopped to think about the needs these workers have once they get there? Doctors need to research diseases and treatments. Bible translators need to submit their translation work for review. Humanitarian workers need to submit supply requests. Teachers need access to teaching material. These workers get lonely, and miss talking to friends and family back home. Often the resources we take for granted every day are not available on the mission field.
This is where MAF steps in with IT as a ministry. We provide tools like satellite Internet access, consulting, and technical support, which allow all these ministries to carry out their work more effectively. With communications technology in place, these workers can order supplies, conduct research, collaborate on projects, access online learning resources, and stay in contact with loved ones more easily than ever before. As with the airplane, the technology MAF uses is overcoming barriers and bringing new ways to teach, serve, and communicate to the ends of the earth.