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Archive for December, 2011

Lessons Learned

Posted on: December 30th, 2011 by Between the Verses  |  Leave a comment

“Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:9-10

The last day of school before break, I was having a mentor meeting with one of my teachers. By five o’clock, she and I were both ready to close the door on the school term. As I was leaving, I noticed a K-W-L chart on Christmas. Her local first grade students had posted what they Know, Want to know, and Learned about a study on Christmas.

“How did it go?” I inquired of the unusual occurrence in our closed context.

Her weary face lit-up with joy. “Look at their questions! ‘Why is Jesus important?’ ‘Is Jesus God’s son?’ ‘Why did God send Jesus?’ ‘Why are gifts given on Christmas?’ Can you believe this?”

I marveled at the sharing opportunity. “How did you respond?”

“I couldn’t believe, after being sick all week and not wanting to be here, I was given this opening. I thought for a few moments and decided to tell the Good News story. For the first time in the whole year, my 22 first graders were mesmerized and I was uninterrupted for twenty-five minutes. Their faces were glued to mine the WHOLE time!”

She pointed to notes that were on the Learned section of the chart. “God loves me.” And, “God gave a Gift.”

We both wiped our eyes and the fatigue of months of work proved itself in ways we hadn’t imagined.

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.” Isaiah 40:28

The Sampler – Five Stories from 2011

Posted on: December 29th, 2011 by MAF  |  Leave a comment

As we close out 2011, here’s a look back at five stories from the year that capture the essence of MAF’s ministry. The collection is pulled from our own newsletters and videos, plus news clippings and radio broadcasts.

MAF pilot, Ryan Cuthel, flies a World Vision team into Dadaab refugee camp to bring food and supplies.

  • MAF Kenya flies relief aid to famine victims in the Horn of Africa. John Woodberry, MAF-US Disaster Response manager, was on location to survey the needs there.
  • The secret to one family’s successful ministry in Ethiopia and the Kingdom legacy they left behind. (FlightWatch Spring 2011, page 3)
  • MAF played a key role in fighting cholera and measles epidemics in Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • In Papua, MAF makes it possible to reach the unreached.
  • Training matters. That’s why back-country flying in Idaho is the key to preparing MAF pilots for tough conditions on the field.

God’s Plan for Timeless Congo

Posted on: December 27th, 2011 by Nick Frey  |  1 Comment

It’s interesting the way one day flows into the next. We put limits on them and say “at midnight we shall start to call this a new day.” We dissect the day even further into hours, minutes and seconds. At least, that’s what we do in our North American culture.

In Africa, the sun rises at about 6 a.m. and sets 12 hours later. I knew this fact well in advance of arriving here in September but didn’t think it would significantly affect our lives. Because of this constant, the seasons also don’t change too much. What this does is create an environment in which is it hard to tell one day from the next, or one month from the next, or even one year from the next. And so time just keeps flowing on and on. Not much preparation is required for “winter,” not much attention is put toward creatures coming to life again in “spring,” and not much is recorded in terms of one “summer’s” heat to the next.

Culture here seems to have frozen. Because of the monotonous way time unfolds, it remains, in many ways, very similar to biblical times. The biblical principal of needing to care for the poor, for orphans and widows, is very visible. Oral stories and traditions are extremely valuable. Transportation and traveling is quite difficult.

There have been many Bible passages that have come to mind as we explore this country. I can almost picture Jesus walking down a dirt path and seeing a blind man sitting beside it, begging passersby for money or food. People crying out for justice and truth are everywhere. Then I think of Jesus saying “blessed are those…”

MAF Missionary Family, Nick and Jocelyn FreyI have no doubt in my mind that God has been preparing Jocelyn and me to live here since the day He brought us into this world––weaving the strands of time together so that we learned the lessons we needed and met the people who’d help us along. His majestic symphony has been played out as we chased “our” dreams––of flying, photography, psychology, and others––all to be used for His glory instead of our personal gain.

We see much opportunity here. This place is rich with beautiful people, many of whom love God and serve Him with more faith than I have at times. Abundant in resources and overflowing with gorgeous landscapes, this jungle land shows off the greatness bestowed it by the Lord.

As we follow the way God has put before us, we are eager to serve Him with Mission Aviation Fellowship here in Kinshasa, DRC. It’s almost like being royalty if you belong with MAF, whose history here stretches far and wide. We are proud to be a part of the good reputation MAF has and we hope to continue improving it.

Though it may seem like times don’t change and weather stays the same, we know that God’s plan is being worked out in this land and its people; and we are excited to discover what’s around the next corner!

Holidays Traditions

Posted on: December 23rd, 2011 by John Boyd  |  Leave a comment

Jason Chatraw discusses the different ways MAF President and CEO, John Boyd, has celebrated Christmas with his family while serving with Mission Aviation Fellowship in different parts of the world.

 

Running Time – 7:00 minutes

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The Christmas Art

Posted on: December 22nd, 2011 by Jim Manley  |  2 Comments

That Christmas morning I was off duty. Mike listened to the radio for emergency calls. I sat across the road, adorned tree behind me, front window view before me. In the distance a towering storm moved slowly across the Amazon Jungle. Wind lashed treetops. Rain drenched leaf, ground and animal. Monolithic, powerful, and oblivious to the affairs of men, it advanced inexorably to assault the Andes Mountains.

But the affairs of men continued. The distinctive crack of the long propellers fitted on our C-185’s announced Mike’s take-off. I, however, turned as Regina shepherded excited kids to the awaiting gift pile. Always a good time. Always a special time. Always the essence of Christmas — the generosity of giving, the humility of receiving.

Meanwhile, during our fun, a rare giver never made it to the hospital, but died aboard Mike’s airplane. Andrés Mashient succumbed to cancer at 60 having lived among people who rarely reached 50 before accident or spear claimed them. No one recognized the infirmities of old age.

An Atshuar Father

He and I spoke no more than a half-dozen words in the same language. I came from middle-class California. He came from the Atshuar tribe of the Amazon Jungle. I studied science, math, literature and flying in college. He learned nature’s ways, spear making, and the art of ambushing animal and man. I pursued an aviation and business career. He practiced witchcraft and revenge killing. I met Jesus as a hitchhiking hippie. He encountered Jesus in a dream.

The Lord transformed Andrés from fierce warrior to compassionate father. He spent years seeking out those he orphaned, rescuing those he found. He brought them together, raised them as his own, and shepherded them as they married. When they became parents they stayed with him in the village they named after him — Mashient.

To me, Christmas meant star-covered snowy nights, hot chocolate, carols, and lighted trees. Andrés saw snow only as the white peak of a distant volcano. His people’s music had just three notes. He drank chicha made from pre-chewed yucca, ate bananas, giant catfish and tapir. His Christmas differed from mine in all respects — except one.

Andrés possessed nothing to give. Instead, he imitated our Father by becoming a father to the fatherless. He broadcast God’s good will to lost boys and girls. He gave what he could not keep to the powerless who could not repay.

Here on Earth I rejoice that Andrés now delights in the undimmed Father of Christmas. And I do revel in our own celebration, dim shadow though it might be. But I confess that, in this season I still miss my surprising friend and how he taught me the art of giving by giving himself.