The Gospel still flourishes even when staff levels are low.
Furloughs and staff departures have left the MAF program in Papua with reduced staff numbers—but the remaining MAF pilots and mechanics are still determined to meet the needs of isolated people as best they can.
“Our sister base in Timika is without any pilots at all, so we’ve been covering their priority flights as well. Unfortunately, this means that we can only meet about 14 percent of the requests we receive,” said Brian Marx, an MAF pilot in Nabire. “With so much demand I make every leg count.”
Despite the lower staff levels, margins are not reduced and flight and safety standards are maintained.
“We admit our inability to sustain the same quantity of work as a team, but we refocus our efforts to be as effective as we can be in the interim,” said Doug Allrich, an MAF pilot in Wamena.
And the hard work is not dampening the joy of MAF staff—or the growth of the local churches.
“Churches are going up all over. Last month, I made half a dozen flights for the Janogo Church of Pogapa,” said Brian. “They are a flourishing congregation which finally has the funds to build a structure.”
Brian flew thousands of pounds of cement, roofing, nails, other supplies, and carpenters out to this project.
“Resources such as building materials for churches are just one of the many things we carry in these aircraft, and we get to do it often,” said Doug. “Last week, I conducted two flights for interior churches. One load was 2200 pounds and the other was 1500.”
And it is not just the MAF pilots who are working hard, the local believers are going to a tremendous effort to see their churches grow and more people reached with the Gospel.
“The amazing thing though is that these churches are often located in villages many hours hike from the nearest airstrip,” said Doug. “The people of Kulet had to walk five hours to the Apahapsili airstrip to pick up their load of roofing and supplies and then carry it all back another five hours to home before making use of it. The commitment of the local church in the face of physical adversity is stunning to us.”
James 1:2 urges Christians to “consider it pure joy … whenever you face trials of many kinds.” And MAF staff are meeting this trial of staff shortages with joy.
“Praise God the Gospel has taken root in this isolated corner of the jungle! It is pure joy to be a part of these things,” said Doug.
If you, or someone you know, would be interested in being part of the work MAF is doing, visit maf.org/serve to find out more.