A maintenance specialist’s race against time shows the key part each of us plays.
Mike and Angie Johnson had just returned to the Tarakan base in Kalimantan, Indonesia, after a family conference with other MAF staff in the area. Mike, a maintenance specialist, had a full day ahead of him—working on all three of the program’s Cessna 206’s that were down for maintenance work. Mike went to the hangar, pulled out the tools and began working when an Indonesian worker walked up to him asked about an airplane after getting a call from a village on the radio:
“Mike, are any of these airplanes working … can any of them fly?”
“No, what’s going on?” said Mike.
The worker explained that there was a girl in the village of Long Alongo who had just delivered a baby and was having serious complications. The airstrip at Long Alongo could only handle a 206—not a KODIAK—so this woman’s life depended on one of the three airplanes in that hangar being able to fly.
Mike and Ben Eadie, the other maintenance specialist, looked at each other and determined to get one of the airplanes up in the air.
One Body, Many Parts
“The hard thing about being a maintenance family is that we’re so far removed from the front lines, unlike the pilots,” said Angie. “It’s hard to really know what’s going on. You can lose the big picture.”
Of the roughly 250 family units on staff with MAF, only a small percentage of those are actually pilots. It takes an incredible amount of support and teamwork to enable these pilots to reach isolated people. The pilots are very much the tip of a spear.
The Apostle Paul speaks about the many parts that make up the body of Christ in his first letter to the Corinthians. He says that all the parts are needed for the Body to function effectively. MAF needs pilots, mechanics, support staff at headquarters and around the world, and supporters like you to be able to reach people living in remote places with Christ’s love.
Two and half hours later, Mike and Ben had fixed the 206, finished the necessary paperwork, and were watching Paul College, an MAF pilot, take off to pick up the woman and her baby from the jungle village and take them to a hospital.
“It was the first time I saw that my role as a mechanic could be a direct help to someone,” said Mike. “I know that maintaining our aircraft helps get people to their destinations all the time. But it was pretty neat to be associated with something so critical in the lives of this woman and her baby.”
Jesus did not leave His mission to just a few talented people. He gives everyone the gifts and skills they need to play their part in the work of the Kingdom of God. Just as Mike understood the importance of his role that day, I hope that you understand that yours is just as critical. Each one of us play a part in showing Christ’s love to isolated people like the woman and her baby.
Note: In the print version of FlightWatch, the village name is incorrectly listed as Umtang. We have corrected it here in this online version.
Read the full edition of FlightWatch 2017, Vol. 2: