The MAF Blog: Worldwide Pulse

Archive for July, 2012

Ten Things to Love About AirVenture Oshkosh!

Posted on: July 31st, 2012 by John Boyd  |  1 Comment

The last week of July is one of my favorite times of the year. It’s when I am able to rub elbows with aviation enthusiasts from around the world at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, affectionately know as “Oshkosh” to flying fans. It’s the world’s largest aviation exhibition, and they say that some 500,000 flying fans pass through the AirVenture gates each year.

For those who have never attended Oshkosh, I’ll try to give you a sense of the scope. Have you ever been to a state fair or similar event? Envision that fair, replace the animals and agricultural exhibits with everything aviation, multiply the size by 100, and there you have it. Vintage aircraft, untralights, helicopters, missionary aviation displays, gizmos and gadgets … whatever your flying passion, you’ll find it at Oshkosh.

Here are my favorite things about the AirVenture event.

10. Fly to the event and camp with your plane! That’s what so many do. As you approach the event site you’ll drive by acres and acres of small planes parked on grassy fields, with a tent tucked under the wing.

9. Aviation History. It’s in the museum, on T-shirts, in the air. It’s everywhere!

8. Amazing airshows! Be part of the audience as vintage aircraft fly in formation and acrobatic planes tumble across the sky.

7. Missionary Aviation Collaboration. MAF, JAARS, New Tribes, MMA, SMAT, and so many others involved in mission aviation … we share a display area and work together to tell the missionary aviation story.

6. Meeting those who have travelled far! It’s so fun to hear the different accents and meet those who have encountered MAF in different countries.

5. The Orbis plane. It’s an eye hospital in a DC-10, on display at AirVenture!

4. The amazing MASA people! This team of local folks cares for all the missionary aviation personnel at AirVenture, providing all meals, ground transport, and housing. We couldn’t do it without you!

3. Daily devotions. Every day, after breakfast and dinner in the MASA tent, missionary aviators share from their hearts.

2. Spending time with those who dearly love MAF. AirVenture provides a unique opportunity to connect with those who hold MAF close to their hearts. Thanks for all you do to enable this ministry!

1. Opportunities to tell others about the love of Jesus. Every day, staff from MAF and other missionary organizations have opportunities to share about our savior with flying enthusiasts. The harvest is plentiful!

Playground Parenting

Posted on: July 30th, 2012 by Gerd LePoidevin  |  Leave a comment


While visiting our adult children in the States this summer, I took my two-year-old, Anna, to the playground for some run-around time. I found someone there I wasn’t expecting.

A young mother was already there with her two children––a girl (about 8) and a boy (about 3). For the hour we were at the playground, I never heard a harsh word from her. She never belittled her kids; she was only kind and encouraging. She offered to push her daughter on the swing. When her little son got nervous about climbing to the top of the play structure, she asked if he wanted her to help her; she didn’t wait for him to panic. She joined in the children’s pretend game when they wanted to ride the bear figure. She helped them find a stick so they could run it across the bars to make “music.playground” It was a hot morning, and the mother made sure the kids had something to drink frequently. She had also brought some raspberries as a snack. I could tell the kids were content and happy, secure, and respectful to their mother and each other. I could go on…..

I was simply brought to tears by her godly and exemplary behavior. Did she know how affected I was? Did she know that she pointed me to the best Parent there is? Probably not, but she did it anyway. I realized afresh that my own behavior in public, with or without children, sends a message. I want to be full of grace and compassion so that others will see the Father in me.

It’s no surprise seeing other parents and their children at a playground, but I didn’t expect to find my Father there. It was so good seeing Him!

One of Those Days

Posted on: July 25th, 2012 by Sarah Desjardine  |  1 Comment

You can never tell what a day will bring no matter where you call home … but this seems to be doubly true when your home is a small island In Indonesia, at least that has been my experience. Some days are a welcome respite, like the rainy, almost cool day we had earlier this week. Other days bring challenges that I would rather have skipped.

Recently I had one of those days that I would have been happy to forgo.

While I was out visiting a friend our house was broken into. I came home to a damaged window, drawers that had been rummaged through, a missing laptop computer, and the results of the sickness the dog suffered (all over the floor) as a result of the poison the intruders gave her.

Break-ins are one of the common trials of missionary life, so they were something I was prepared for in the abstract, but the reality was a different matter. I stood there scared, feeling sick, utterly and emotionally hijacked.

By evening, the mess had been cleaned up, the police report given, and the window temporarily secured––all thanks to the help and support of great friends. As I lay sleeplessly in bed the thoughts came to me: We are here to serve these people, yet they violate our home. Why? Why wasn’t our house protected, LORD? Where were You?

Then came the thought, or was it a still, small voice…

What will you choose to believe about Me?

And really, isn’t that what our lives hinge on, what we choose to believe about our God, especially on those hard days or months or years that we would opt out of given the choice?

MAF base in Kalimantan IndonesiaI lay in bed, I breathed, and I tried to let the truth of who God is wash over me. He is the God who never changes, never fails, is always in control, who, dare I say it, cares more about developing my character than making life easy because he loves me that much. He is the God who stays by me, stable in the midst of the storms that will always come.

But I have to choose to believe those things … I’m learning more about that through each up and down of life in Indonesia. The choice is mine, it’s everyone’s. Today I strive to choose peace, calm, and trust … and I hope the same for you.

The Oshkosh Experience

Posted on: July 24th, 2012 by John Boyd  |  Leave a comment

When I reflect on my life, I realize many of the big dreams God planted in my heart that have come to pass. One of those dreams late in my life was to fly for MAF — and that dream eventually came true.

But there are also the little dreams, the things that don’t seem super significant in the overall scheme of life but are important to us. For me, one of those dreams was to attend AirVenture in OshKosh, Wisconsin.

Soon after I became interested in flying, I heard about this show in Oshkosh. It was the mecca for every pilot and aspiring pilot. And I never ever thought I would have the opportunity to attend as I lived in South Africa, halfway across the world from Oshkosh.

But in 2009, God fulfilled that dream. I attended AirVenture for the first time. With more than 500,000 coming through the gates of the show each year, it truly is the one event that pilots don’t want to miss.

You are living, breathing, eating, and sleeping airplanes. It’s constant aviation talk and the unveiling of new aviation technology and equipment. If you’re not careful, you’ll catch yourself drooling over the latest gadgets or state-of-the-art airplanes.

And for us at MAF, it’s an opportunity to share with others in the aviation industry about what we do while we connect over a shared passion: flying.

It’s those little things — those little dreams — that affirm again and again that I am right where God wants me to be.

It’s the Little Things

Posted on: July 23rd, 2012 by Karen Broyles  |  Leave a comment

If you ever visit my house, you’ll find a little wooden box sitting on my dresser. There’s nothing too unusual about the box… hand-carved, a few scratches here and there, and “Haiti” engraved on the top. There are hundreds like it, with street vendors on every corner of Port-au-Prince selling them. What makes mine so special? Christians sometimes look back over their lives and try to see how God brought them to the place they currently find themselves. For me, a constant reminder that God is intricately involved in even the smallest detail of my life is my little “Haiti box.”

About 30 years ago, an old missionary named Joe visited my church. He shared stories of a land where people didn’t know Jesus, where people worshipped spirits instead, and constantly struggled to survive from day to day. Poor Joe was later cornered by a wide-eyed, curly-haired little brunette who asked question after question about the place and people he served. I’m not sure if he did it out of desperation or if it was just Joe listening to the Holy Spirit’s leading (I’d like to think the latter), but he reached over on his display table and picked up this little wooden box. He handed it to me and said, “God told me to give this to you, little lady. I know God’s going to do amazing things through your life…” Little did Joe know (or maybe he did…) that God was planting a seed in my heart for the people of Haiti.

For years I kept the box on my dresser, not knowing what God had in store. As Michael (my hubby) and I were sitting in MAF’s conference room in Redlands, California and heard the words, “We feel like God is leading your family toward Latin America,” I broke down in tears. I’ll never forget Karlene Stehling looking at me and asking, “Is that a problem? Are you ok?” I laughed and tried to pull myself together, reassuring her and the others at headquarters that I was very happy with their decision. Later that week, in one of his last acts as the Latin America Regional Director, Dave Fyock told us MAF needed us in Haiti. And here we are, nearly six years later, passionately carrying on Joe’s legacy and sharing God’s love with those around us.

When I get discouraged, I simply take out my little box. It reminds me that God sees the big picture and that He is always at work in my life.