Unexpected challenges bring new opportunities

Matthew and Carolyn Monson, a pilot-family serving with MAF in Lesotho, Africa, shared this with their supporters a few months back. We thought it would be a timely story to share with you as we’re talking about airplane maintenance this month.


Story by Matthew and Carolyn Monson


The aircraft 7P-CMC has had a persistent fuel leak since we arrived in Lesotho seven years ago. Despite multiple attempts to fix the issue, the leak remained hidden. We knew that removing the wing was necessary to get to the root of the problem, but we never found the opportunity due to our heavy workload—until now.

Removing a wing takes a lot of time and teamwork.

Photos courtesy of Matthew Monson, unless otherwise stated.

As the government continues to struggle with finances in this COVID-19 environment, our flight hours are lower than normal. This season of lockdown has times of frustration and discouragement, as we long for what was and what is missing. Yet, in that struggle, God is near, and He is strengthening and growing us as we walk in faith. Without this slower season, we may have gone another seven years with this fuel problem in the wing. Instead, our maintenance team asked, “What new opportunities has God given us?” In this case it was the gift of time. We were able to address the deeper issues that take time to uncover—in the planes and in our own hearts.

The problem was a tiny rivet, hidden under sealant, that was causing the fuel leak.

In Isaiah 41 we see God renewing the strength of those who are walking and not fainting. As life has slowed down and we’ve reconnected as a family unit through these 12 months of lockdown, we’ve addressed hidden fears and anxieties and learned to navigate the many challenges of 2020 (and into 2021). Like a tiny rivet, “small” unaddressed issues in our hearts will fester until we deal with them. It has been a season of not fainting, as the Lord speaks truth into the broken places within. It’s fall now (in Lesotho) and we feel a new hope as we walk in our Lord’s strength alone.

Pilot family serving Lesotho Africa through MAF charity

Matthew Monson, pilot and country director for MAF Lesotho, with his wife Carolyn and their three children (2019). Photo by Lem Malabuyo.


At the time of this posting, the Monsons are making their way to the U.S. to begin their long-overdue furlough. Prayers for this are appreciated. 


  • LeRoy Kinzel says:

    This reminds me of the Piper PA 28 Cherokee and fuel leaks on the wing tanks which are part of the wing, it is removable after numerous metal screws which didn’t want to be unscrewed. Peeling sealant was coming loose and causing leaks.
    Praise God this didn’t cause a major issue.

  • COLLEEN ST. ONGE says:

    I appreciated your thoughts about the time you (and we) have gone through (and still are!). I think the Lord has done and is doing amazing things in each of us as we turn our hearts toward Him to listen and understand and be healed. I have seen God doing great and mighty things even and in spite of the adverse situations we find ourselves in. So thankful there was tine to “find the leak” and maybe we are each being given time to find the leak in our lives as well. His ways are full of love toward us.

  • Sally Armstrong says:

    thank you for a lesson shared! Praying for the Monson family.

  • Nancy Horn says:

    Blessings to you,Monsons,as you reconnect with your families back home!

  • Marion Ellen Dexheimer says:

    Praying for the Monsons. Praying for renewed vitality with their family here, all issues addressed and solved while they are here, and the fresh wind of God to blow upon them for strength, clarity and commitment.

  • M. Bash says:

    Thanks for sharing this testimony Rom. 8:28
    Too often we focus on the problem, not on the Lord & seeing the new opportunities.

  • Jakob Kanis says:

    Matthew praise God for the wonderful work you are doing!
    I am a retired Church of the Nazarene missionary in Los Angeles, CA. One year my fellow missionary Dale Stotler assigned to Lesotho (living in Maseru) went on furlough to the USA and I took over his work for that year. MAF flew me to Manamaneng and Ha Balejoe. Can you send me per email before this Sunday a map of Lesotho which show those two villages? I like to show my adult Sunday school class which I teach at Pasadena, CA First Church of the Nazarene a map of those two places. Blessings! Jakob Kanis PS I still pray for Lesotho every day.

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