A Warm Welcome for PK-MEE

Welcome, plane.

It’s so nice to finally meet you. What’s your name, painted in blue on your side? PK-MEE? I’ve been an admirer of yours for the past three years. It’s been quite a long road—or…flight?—for you. Hurdles…setbacks…struggles…. Maybe you’ve wondered if you’d ever make it here to Palangkaraya, Indonesia. Maybe you’d nearly given up hope.

Story photos by Rebecca Hopkins.

But I just watched you land, and, wow. Well done. You’re the type of plane that can land in short spaces or long, on water or on land. You’ve been tested and modified and remodified. Your type isn’t only a float plane, and now, after so many adaptations, no longer only a land plane either. You’ve been so many places—born in Idaho (but never meant to stay there). You’ve traveled all over America, then ferried across the globe, then spent the last year in Papua, Indonesia…waiting. (We’ve all been there.) You’ve had many addresses, and are so adaptable, but you’ve never quite belonged to any one place, to any one type, either.

Welcome to your new home. This river is where you’ll work and live and play. It may feel foreign to you at first, but you’ll learn to enjoy the feel of tropical rains on your skin and you’ll soon look forward to watching Borneo sunsets at the end of each day. And someday you’ll never want to leave this river and its people.

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About these people—particularly your teammates: You won’t meet everyone who has been part of this whole thing, of bringing the work here, of bringing you here. Some work in other places, like Jakarta or Papua or the States. Some lived here, but have moved on. One has passed. They all cared. Some, though, are still here, ready to work with you, excited to see how far you can go, how much you can carry, how you’ll respond to the things the community asks you to do. They want you here—Did you see Pak Agus and Pak Abet and Pak Ogasto and Pak Sugi and Tim and Kathy waving and clapping and cheering when you glided across the river that first time? Did you hear any of their prayers? Remember, you need them to do this with you. They can go far, too. They respond to needs and carry so much and have hung in there during their own long journeys, too.

Prayer of dedication with the MAF team in Palangkaraya.

The Hopkins family: (L to R) Rebecca, Evan, Renea, Eric, and Brad.

That’s your job, really, to be part of others’ journeys. You might carry a brand new baby, or someone who’s spending their life serving others. But many days will be hard. You might hold sickness, trauma, pain, loss and death inside of you. It’s a privilege to live so closely to the vulnerable, but also can feel heavy, so heavy you’re not sure you can get off that water to take them where they need to go. And sometimes you need others to help you, too. Sometimes you might be broken yourself, might need someone else to help you heal. (We have people for that.) Some days, you’re pretty sure everyone thinks you’re not gonna make it, but that’s when you’re at your strongest and bravest. And through it all—the good days and hard days—your Designer will be with you, on the journey, helping you navigate everything.

Welcome to your new life, the plane called MEE.

1 Comment

  • Virginia Buchanan says:

    Becca, this is an amazing story. You must seek publication as a cchildren’s story. You need illustrations too. I’m serious! At least published in an MAF publication for parents to read to children.

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