An MAF staff member sees God work in the midst of a disaster.
Stanley Lepar’s last day in Sulawesi, Indonesia, was fifteen days after the earthquake and tsunami struck the island on October 12, 2018. Stanley is an Indonesian staff member at MAF’s nearby program in Papua. He came to Sulawesi to serve alongside other members of MAF’s disaster response team—and to find his family.
During the disaster response in Sulawesi, MAF partnered with Samaritan’s Purse and Helimission—a Christian organization that uses helicopters—to bring aid to remote villages devastated by the earthquake. Stanley had been assigned to unload the Helimission helicopter whenever it landed in the city of Palu.
On Stanley’s last day, he volunteered to go on a flight that had been requested by Samaritan’s Purse to bring food and supplies to Lindu-Kanaan, a hard-hit village south of Palu. He knew his wife’s family was from somewhere in the vicinity, though he didn’t know the exact village. His mother-in-law and extended family members had not been heard from since the quake due to poor connectivity of cell towers.
Stanley climbed in the helicopter and they took off with cargo in tow. Once they arrived, Stanley hopped out and began unloading large bags of rice. The villagers began to ask his name and his family history. As they talked, Stanley discovered they had landed in his mother-in-law’s village! It was an emotional time as Stanley met his mother-in-law, her sister and brother, even his wife’s grandmother! They all kept exclaiming what a “miracle” it was. Stanley visited with them for two hours before catching the last helicopter supply flight out.
“This was the best day!” said Stanley. “I was not even hoping to hear from them or see them and somehow, I got to go directly to them. I am so blessed and thankful to God for this amazing opportunity!”
When Stanley arrived back in Palu he had a beaming smile from ear to ear and was talking wildly in Indonesian. His MAF teammate and manager, Rick Emenaker, said, “I don’t speak Indonesian, but I could tell something wonderful had happened. To hear the story brought tears and great joy to the team here in Palu.”
God worked through MAF and its partners on the ground, directing them to just the right village to bring much-needed help—and reunite family members.
Stanley returned home to Papua with quite the story tell, and Rick and other MAF staff continued to work closely with Helimission to coordinate flight logistics for numerous like-minded partners who were bringing aid to hardest-hit areas.
By the time MAF staff departed Sulawesi on Nov. 10, they had helped deliver 98,727 lbs. of food, medicine, and other supplies, and transported 669 passengers, accessing 53 locations.