Flying for Life

By Brian Marx

The MAF Nabire team, in Papua, Indonesia, goes to great lengths to save a woman and care for her newborn twins.

“She is in and out of consciousness and continuing to lose blood; she needs a medevac.” I was almost out the door for my 6 a.m. flight when this message came through on my phone. The night before, twin boys were born to a young gal in the village of Bina. The boys were healthy but Tarisi, the mama, could not deliver the placentas. The missionary team that helped with the delivery had requested a plane.

Dem warriors carry Tarisi on a makeshift stretcher. Photo by Brian Marx.

Aulina, a local woman, holds the twins while Tarisi is strapped to the floor of the plane on a stretcher. Photo by Brian Marx.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the midst of COVID-19 restrictions it is not so simple to transport passengers. Phone calls were made and Paul, our office manager, came in on his day off to write the necessary letters. Patients are required to show a letter from their village clinic requesting a transfer to the hospital in town. Problem is Bina’s closest clinic is a two-day walk away! Thankfully, MAF is in good standing with the COVID-19 office here. Several years ago I transported a woman critical with cancer; she was the wife of the man who runs the COVID-19 office! Despite it being a national holiday, we had permission within an hour.

Alex (MAF) prepared the airplane, making sure I had a stretcher, belts, sanitizer, and thermometer (to check for COVID-19). I verified loading was secure (supplies for the mission team there) and launched for Bina. Just under an hour later I touched down on the 14% slope of Bina’s mountain airstrip. Six warriors carried Terisi to the plane. Aulina was chosen to accompany her because she speaks Indonesian and limited Dem (Tarisi only speaks Dem). We arrived in Nabire around noon. Nathan (another missionary) and Alex were ready with the vehicle to take them to the hospital.

 

1) Office manager Paul comes in on his day off to obtain permissions for the flight; 2) Heather Marx gets her blood tested; 3) Brian Marx gives blood; 4) Night guard Marthen texts encouraging Bible verses to Terisi.

Meanwhile, on my lunch break, the phone rang again. It was Alex: “Hey, we need blood. The doctor wants four donors before he can do the procedure. Do you know anyone who is O+?” My wife, Heather, and I both happen to be O+, so we headed straight to the hospital. Seth, a missionary, also responded and turned up shortly. Elimas, one of our night guards, and a youth from Paul’s church also came. All were poked and pricked and tested; finally, three of us were accepted.

Alex and Nathan championed for the patient. They ran errands to buy formula for the babies and food for Aulina and Tarisi. Then, they drove far out to a group of Dem believers who could come support Tarisi. In time, Tarisi perked up and was able to have the procedure. Heather watched the boys so Nathan and Abby could launder the patient’s clothes and help with other practical needs. Tarisi recovered quickly and was released. Nathan helped find a place for them to stay while waiting for COVID restrictions to be lifted.

A healthier Terisi treasuring one of her babies. Photo by Heather Marx.

Most tribes here believe twins are a bad omen—one is evil and should be put to death. You can imagine our excitement to introduce our own twins to Tarisi. I didn’t even recognize the patient, she looked so much healthier than the day of the medevac!

Praise the Lord for this opportunity to share Christ’s love. Pray the Dem tribe will one day soon embrace the gospel.

 

Update 8/11/20: Praise God! Tarisi and Aulina were finally able to return to their village today, along with the twins, of course. 

 

Tarisi returning to her village after COVID-19 lockdown ended. Photo by Brian Marx.

Aulina holds one of Tarisi’s twin boys on the way back to their village. Photo by Brian Marx.

4 Comments

  • Avatar Bert Neuhof says:

    Phenomenal story !! …thanks for making it public

  • Avatar Katye Freeman says:

    Love this!! Thank you for sharing!!

  • Avatar Dina says:

    May the Lord use you more and more for His own Glory and the spreading of the Lord’s Love. what you are doing is more powerful than preaching. you are serving with unconditional love and that speaks more!! God Bless you and keep you safe.

  • Avatar Pebble Anne says:

    It is wonderful to realize what a difference caring can make from people who give of their talent and courage anywhere in the world. I loved being educated to the people and culture of Papua. Sharing your experience did that for me.
    God’s Word brings you to others, and your words bring us there.
    Thank you for all you do, including writing about it.

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