After working diligently for 10 years to build an airstrip, the people of Tibul in Papua, Indonesia, welcomed the first MAF airplane to land at their village. The new airstrip means that Tibul and 15 to 20 surrounding villages will now have access to education, medical care, and discipleship.
Until now the nearest airstrip was three miles away, which meant a rough eight-hour hike—a daunting barrier separating them from the outside world.
“One important aspect will be the medical emergency flights we will be able to do whenever they call us,” said Kees Janse, one of the MAF pilots who made the first flight into Tibul. “A lot of these flights are pregnancy related. When a delivery is taking too long or is not going smooth, we pick the woman up and take her quickly to the hospital.”
Besides providing lifesaving flights, MAF’s service will support a new primary school, which the villagers are planning to build. MAF will be able to fly in building supplies, as well as books, desks, and teachers.
Janse hopes that having a school here will attract an evangelist or pastor to Tibul. He says that typically evangelists have to travel back and forth to a place while their families remain at home so their children can attend school.
“Now it will be a whole lot easier for an evangelist with a family to settle here and there will be more continuity, hopefully, with bringing the Gospel in here,” Janse said.
The area was initially reached by missionaries in the 1980s but has lacked consistent Christian leadership since then.
“I think the biggest need for this area [is] discipleship, the growing and knowing the Word and applying it in their lives,” explained Janse. “There is some basic knowledge but very little application in their daily lives. So there’s a lot of witchcraft still going on and a lot of fear for the spirits.”
Doors are opening for Tibul and the surrounding area thanks to the hard work of the villagers, the service of MAF, and your support. Physical and spiritual transformation happens when barriers are broken down. A grass airstrip has the potential to impact the people of this area for generations to come.
You can help support the ministry that MAF makes possible to remote villages throughout Papua by adopting the MAF KODIAK PK-MEA. Learn more about the airplane and how you can make an impact on the lives of isolated people in Papua.