The MAF Blog: Worldwide Pulse

Archive for the ‘General’ Category

I Would Have a More Effective Ministry in America

Posted on: March 17th, 2015 by Joy Neal  |  5 Comments

Joy with her son at the playground

Joy with her son at the playground

Last summer I spent a month visiting my family in the States. One afternoon I was watching my son at the playground when it suddenly occurred to me that I understood the language and culture of every person at that park. The realization felt like a super power that I needed to try out. So I moved to another bench and struck up a conversation with a woman who was wearing a dress I own in another color. We talked about how versatile the dress was, and then her job, and then our kids…

From then on I was hooked. I took walks just to meet and greet neighbors. I found there were endless ways to start a conversation in a checkout line. I had an hour-long conversation with a woman I met at Starbucks and ended up praying with her over some concerning news she had just gotten about her pregnancy.

Indonesia has Starbucks, too! Whenever Joy is in the capitol city, she enjoys seeing how the baristas spell her name.

Indonesia has Starbucks, too! Whenever Joy is in the capitol city, she enjoys seeing how the baristas spell her name.

When I returned to Indonesia, I felt a little discouraged. What was I doing trying to minister in a country were relationships take years to build and my communication skills would always be lacking? I could be praying with strangers at Starbucks… while drinking Starbucks!

A few nights ago I sat cross-legged on the floor with a family that had suffered two minor motorcycle accidents in the same week. I wanted to pray for them but was feeling depleted in Indonesian, so I asked if I could pray in English. As I started praying in a language that no one understood but that everyone was agreeing with, I realized that if anything were going to happen—if hearts were going to be blessed, if anyone was going to be healed—it would have nothing to do with “my effective ministry.” It would have nothing to do with my communication skills or cultural insights. It would be because a God who transcends culture and language was at work.

Which, of course, was just as true when praying for someone at Starbucks in my home country. I was perhaps just too excited about my language superpowers—and my latte—to remember.

Lesson from a Lizard

Posted on: March 9th, 2015 by Linda Ringenberg  |  3 Comments

Lizard in IndonesiaBecause I have sons, I have been trained to love the geckos that live on our walls here in Indonesia. Unfortunately, these little creatures can sometimes become victims of ill-fated accidents, like being toasted along with the bread.

And that is just what happened as I was preparing breakfast.

I turned the toaster upside down and the unlucky lizard fell out on to the counter amongst the crumbs. There he lay, sort of shriveled, dead for all I knew.
To my surprise, when I picked it up on a tissue, it was actually breathing. Not having the heart to dispose of it before it was dead, I placed the gecko on the tissue inside my bedroom and finished the breakfast routine. I even whispered a silly, little prayer. “Lord, would you let it live?”

After the boys were out the door, I went into my room to get something and I noticed the lizard wasn’t on the tissue. As I tried to get it back on, it fled from me. Not quite normal yet, but able to move. And I heard God whisper to my heart, “Linda, I raise the dead.” I stopped and cried. God had just given me a message that I needed to hear.

We had been working through the effects of a painful situation that had wounded many. Each time I came to the point of entrusting it to God, a fresh wave of revelation would arise and make me angry and grieved all over again. And it just felt …HEAVY.

That morning God gave me a visual reminder, through a little lizard, that He alone can raise the dead. And that I could entrust the situation and those affected by it to Him. He was still God, He cared, and He had the power to bring the wounded back to life.

The Importance of Being There

Posted on: January 22nd, 2014 by Justin Honaker  |  Leave a comment

honakerSweat drips from my forehead and seeps into Mrs. Mofolo’s T-shirt as I count the chest compressions. I hadn’t realized I was sweating. It’s already been almost five minutes of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) with no response. I’m not giving up yet though.

Mrs. Mofolo was in labor several hours before I even arrived with the airplane. Somewhere on our fourteen minute flight to the hospital things became drastically worse for Mrs. Mofolo. She has drifted into shock and is unconscious by the time we land. To make matters worse, it’s New Year’s Day and no one is answering the phone at the hospital so there is no ambulance waiting for us.

She is too heavy for me to get her out of the airplane by myself, so I hold her head upright to keep her airway open. I’m trying to keep her with me by talking to her. My arm begins to burn with the weight of her head and the awkwardness of the small aircraft seats. I’m praying out loud for God to touch her and her baby and for His will in their lives, and hoping beyond hope for a miracle.

We’ve been on the ground 27 minutes and there is still no sign of the ambulance. Trying to do CPR from the seat of a Cessna 206 is not graceful. Eight minutes have passed since her last breath. I’m exhausted. And Mrs. Mofolo is gone.

I’ve done my best. I’m exhausted, physically and emotionally. As I’m praying I’m reminded that I am not always privy to God’s plan. A strange peace sweeps over me and I sense God’s love, even in the midst of this tragedy. It’s a hard thing, but I’m humbled that God chose to use me today.

Flights like this highlight the importance of MAF Lesotho’s flights, which make healthcare and emergency treatment available to nearly 300,000 Basotho people living in mountainous regions. Unfortunately, tragedies like this are common with 25% percent of the population dealing with HIV/AIDS.

Training Flight Part 2 – Engine Failure

Posted on: January 16th, 2014 by Chris Burgess  |  Leave a comment


This post is part of a series of blog posts describing a training flight that a new MAF staff person tagged along on. These training flights help prepare MAF pilots for their field assignments overseas. Past posts include How To Convince Yourself It’s Safe To Fly, MAF’s Delicious Landing Procedures, and Preparing For Takeoff.

photo 4“MAYDAY! MAYDAY! Engine failure! Three souls on board!”

The canyon walls rose around us as the plane dipped sharply. It looked as if I could reach out and scrape the rocks on either side of the plane with my knuckles—the same knuckles that were currently gripping the seatbelt as my stomach rose to my throat.

Earlier that morning we took off from the Nampa airport, adjacent to the MAF headquarters. It was a crisp, autumn morning and the Treasure Valley stretched out beneath us—bordered by the foothills of the Rockies to the north and the Owyhees to the south. The mountains rose to meet us as we crossed the Snake River.

“We are going to practice a ridge crossing,” said MAF Chief Pilot Brian Shepson into the headset as the Cessna approached a 6500 foot peak.

photoFlying through mountains can be dangerous, which is why MAF equips its pilots with procedures to increase situational awareness. One of these procedures is a “ridge crossing.” When approaching a mountain ridge or other terrain that might obscure vision, a pilot brings the plane to the edge of the ridge so he can see what lies beyond before circling back to make a second approach. This prevents the pilot from crossing a ridge blindly and unexpectedly flying into a taller mountain or other obstruction that could be hidden by the ridge.

Lying just past this particular ridge was a narrow, red-rock canyon called Leslie Gulch.

As pilot candidate Chris Ball made his second approach of the ridge crossing, Brian gave an unexpected instruction:

“Simulated engine failure. Bring the plane down through the canyon and find a place to land.”

Chris calmly dipped the nose of the plane into Leslie Gulch and relayed a simulated “mayday” call.

I, on the other hand, was not so calmly squirming in my seat looking for something to grab onto and wondering if the pilots had remembered to pack enough parachutes.

“Aim for that green patch,” Brian told Chris.

photo 1Chris guided the speeding plane through the red rock columns toward a narrow airstrip bordered by a few trees. The Cessna skimmed a few yards above the grass on this mock landing before rising up and out of the canyon again—leaving behind several confused cows and one passenger who wished he had brought an extra sick sack.

This training flight was going to be a little more exciting than I thought—and we hadn’t even made it to the lava field yet…

A Blessing In Disguise

Posted on: January 10th, 2014 by Laura Macias  |  Leave a comment

CapsWhen you start packing to move overseas, you begin by selecting the sentimental “stuff” that you think you can’t live without. For my husband and me, our favorite sports caps were a clear choice. He loves Notre Dame football, and I love the Boston Red Sox. The sports caps made it on the list to take to Costa Rica. That meant we would not only get relief from the sun but we would also be able to take a little bit of America along for the journey.

Although we wore our cherished sports caps in the lush tropical climate during the first half of 2013, the rainy season arrived in full force during the second half of the year and soon the team caps hung on the wall. There was no need to reach for them on mostly cloudy days.

IMG_6758Six months have passed and the rain has ceased. One of the small drawbacks of living in the tropics is the presence of mold. Our beloved caps fell victim to the pesky fungus as moisture slowly spread around the rounded crown and brim near the team logos without our notice. We could no longer wear them.

After the initial disappointment, we realized an important lesson: No matter how hard we cling to our valuables, our most prized material possessions will always be susceptible to decay and loss. It’s important to hold loosely to the physical while setting our sights on things above.

May the words of Jesus echo in our hearts and minds as we make Him the object of our affection.

Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.” — Matthew 6:19-21