When MAF pilots make medical evacuation flights they don’t always get to see the happy endings. But when they do, it’s a satisfying flight.
MAF pilot Justin Honaker was closing the rear cargo door before embarking on his first flight of the day to the village of Methaleneng in Lesotho, Africa, when a vaguely familiar face grinned back at him. The man rattled off something in Sesotho and pointed to his 10-year-old son next to him. Justin realized what the man was asking: “Do you remember us?” And then, Justin recognized them…
Five days earlier, I had been to Methaleneng. The father and son, Motlatsi, were on board. Motlatsi was lethargic, incoherent, and barely conscious, after being hit in the head with a stone. He and his father made the 2.5-hour trek to the clinic. I remember buckling Motlatsi’s nearly limp body into the back seat of the Cessna 206 that day, his spastic movements hampering my efforts. I remember his eyes darting aimlessly about the cabin and wondering if he wouldn’t be better off on a stretcher (that I didn’t have with me). I remember feeling that there was little hope for the boy.
On this day, however, Justin hardly recognized Motlatsi, who was now bright-eyed and grinning, happy and coherent. “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing!” Justin said. Now, the only remaining hurdle to getting the father and son home was the gusting wind wreaking havoc on the sky over Lesotho. Methaleneng had been unlandable the day before.
From 9,500 feet, Justin pondered the miracle in the back seat of his airplane and prayed that one day Motlatsi would know his Savior as well. As Justin circled overhead at Methaleneng, he saw a limp windsock and marveled again at God’s protective hand over Motlatsi’s life.