The MAF Blog: Worldwide Pulse

Posts Tagged ‘africa’

No Place Like Home

Posted on: February 5th, 2014 by Kimberly Baker  |  Leave a comment

Now listen, daughter, don’t miss a word: forget your country, put your home behind you. Be here—the king is wild for you. Since he’s your Lord, adore him.” — Psalm 45:10-11

Recently I said goodbye to six friends who came for a week-long visit—two of them being some of my closest and most cherished friends. To say it was bittersweet is putting it mildly.

Lesotho, Africa

Lesotho, Africa

HOME. It is a word filled with deep emotion, smells, sounds, and fraught with meaning. Lately I have come to realize something: I can no longer define a single place on this spinning planet 3rd from the sun as “home.” This is both unsettling and exciting all at the same time. You see, until I stepped out in faith and obedience I didn’t fully understand a truth of Scripture. We, the Body of Christ, were never meant to be comfortable here… Earth was never supposed to feel like home. Oh, but it can be so comfortable! Filled with yummy foods, beautiful scenery, amazing experiences and people who we hold most dear—but all these things are to point us towards our real home, our forever home in the presence of our beloved Savior, even Jesus!

035957-Lesotho-2010Q4B-GAs a missionary, I live in this tension where southern California, the only home I knew for 40 years of my life, is no longer home for me. And the natural thought would be, Well then, surely Africa is now your home. Ah, but this also isn’t home. For me and for many other missionaries, home lies somewhere in between. So no matter where I find myself there is a sense of not fully belonging, of never feeling completely “at home.” But this difficulty, this tension, this complex life circumstance is a treasure! The truth for me now, and I pray it will ever be true until I’m face to face with Jesus, is that I’ll always be longing for home. Longing for the place where I will fully know, even as I am fully known.

Top Ten Blog Posts For 2013

Posted on: January 6th, 2014 by MAF  |  Leave a comment

Sometimes serious, sometimes funny. The MAF bloggers entertain and enlighten us about life as an MAF missionary or give us a new perspective on the ministry. We hope you’ve enjoyed each of our blog contributors this year. Just for fun, let’s take a look back at some of the most widely read blog posts of 2013.

A sleepy passenger. Joe Perez tags along on a flight with his dad. Photo by Daniel Perez.

A sleepy passenger. Joe Perez tags along on a flight with his dad. Photo by Daniel Perez.

#10—What happens when you try to make a simple pancake breakfast in Haiti. Turns out it’s anything but simple.

#9—Thanksgivings in Indonesia may be different than what this MAF wife grew up with, but they’ve become some of her most memorable ones.

#8—What’s it like to live in an aviation town? Here’s a glimpse of life at MAF’s Wamena base.

#7—The advantages of flying the new KODIAKs are evident as this MAF pilot takes us through one day in the KODIAK.

#6—While MAF pilots must focus on what’s in front of them when operating the plane, it’s what’s behind them that matters.

#5—As told from the perspective of an MK (missionary kid), the heartbreak that comes from leaving Congo. This one received a bundle of encouraging comments.

#4—When a new staff person had the chance to tag along on a training flight, he first had to overcome his own fears about flying. (I think it’s safe to say he’d do it again in a heartbeat.)

Showing the “JESUS” Film in Namialo, Mozambique. Photo by Jill Holmes.

Showing the “JESUS” Film in Namialo, Mozambique. Photo by Jill Holmes.

#3—An MAF family shares reflections on their first term of service in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

#2—Some thoughts on “delicious” landing procedures, or some of the hazards to watch for upon landing, including pigs and cows.

#1—Three things you may not have known about MKs … our most widely read post of the year!

A huge Thank You to all of the MAF blog writers that contributed in 2013. Blessings to all of you in 2014! We look forward to more of your stories in the coming year.

Blog writers in Africa: Kimberly Baker, Nancy Burton, Nick & Jocelyn Frey, Owen Fuller, Jill Holmes, Lydia Hochstetler (MK Corner), Megan Harrell, Justin Honaker, Gerd LePoidevin

Blog writers in Haiti: Karen Broyles, Christine Harms, Liz Schandorff

Blog writers in Indonesia: Rebecca & Sean Cannon, Amy Chin, Dave Forney, Daniel Geaslen, Natalie Holsten, Rebecca Hopkins, Joy Neal, Daniel Perez, Linda Ringenberg, Ellie Scheer, Jonathan Smith (MK Corner)

Blog writers at headquarters: Ashleigh Boyd (MK Corner), Chris Burgess, Sarah Gorenflo (MK Corner), and Jim Manley

Blog writers in other areas: Laura Macias (Costa Rica); Lady “M” and our Between the Verses contributor (restricted-access countries)

Sleeping Sickness in the Congo

Posted on: November 20th, 2013 by Owen Fuller  |  Leave a comment

arrival_at_zobiaAs I get off the plane in Zobia, the other passengers and I are greeted by dozens of villagers. Our drive from the airstrip to the MSF (Doctors Without Borders) compound takes about 45 minutes, most of it through Congolese jungle. At times the bamboo and other trees almost form a tunnel over the road.

clinic_staffHere at Zobia, MSF operates a clinic to combat sleeping sickness. Among its symptoms are fever, disruption of the sleep cycle, paralysis, neurological problems, and death. It’s a terrible illness, and the work MSF is doing here is saving lives. Running a base like this in the middle of nowhere involves a lot of logistical challenges. MSF has been using a system for basic email and phone calls over satellite to communicate with the outside world. The VSAT dish I will install here will give them broadband Internet access—right here in the jungle.

Unfortunately, we discover that some of the pieces to the dish did not get shipped to Zobia. I’ll be stuck here for four days. Worse still, MSF will have to wait a couple more weeks for their VSAT. Not wanting to make the trip a total loss, I decide to walk down to the clinic to get a firsthand glimpse of the work they’re doing.

patients_in_clinicAt the clinic there are several patients. They happily agree to let me photograph them. They’ll each spend about a week and a half here in one of the small common area treatment rooms. However, they’ll eventually return home well, thanks to the work MSF is doing here.

To learn how you can join with MAF to bring medical help where it’s needed most, visit

Missionary’s Kid or Missionary Kid?

Posted on: November 6th, 2013 by Lydia Hochstetler  |  Leave a comment

As kids on the mission field we often think that God only calls adults, and the adults drag their kids with them. When we think we are only here because our parents were called, we end up seeing ourselves as a Missionary’s Kid instead of a Missionary Kid. Especially in a big city like Kinshasa, we start to wish we were somewhere else and don’t notice the opportunities for us to be missionaries in our own right. But that’s slowly starting to change for me as our high school youth leader has been challenging us this year to get out there and do something.

Earlier in the year our youth group went to the Salvation Army’s senior citizens’ home, and ever since I have felt called back. Now, as a Missionary Kid, I go there every Saturday to teach them new games and crafts. As the language barrier decreases, I hope they will be able to teach me a few things too.

lydiaFor our high school youth retreat recently, we decided to do something different. Instead of going to a river or to the caves like we normally do, we chartered an MAF plane and went to a small village called Kikongo for a weekend. We set up tents and camped behind one of the missionary houses. While we were there, we helped some of the villagers with their chores. Three of us went to shell peanuts, and two other girls went to haul water (which amused the other people hauling water greatly) while the guys cut down tall grass and trees with machetes. On Sunday we went to their French service where our group sang a song during offering—ours was just one of many songs sung by many different choirs! Monday we boarded the MAF plane again and went home.

I’m so glad God gave me the chance to serve at the senior citizens’ home and to go on that short weekend mission trip. As I take advantage of these opportunities I gain more understanding of how to live as a Missionary Kid instead of a Missionary’s Kid.

A Change Of Heart In Africa : Part 4 of 4

Posted on: September 27th, 2013 by Ashleigh Boyd  |  Leave a comment


Continued from a previous post….

That same night, Emily and I went with Mr. Harrell to watch him coach some young boys in soccer—a ministry he and his wife Megan had started themselves.

Coach Rich Harrell with the team.

Coach Rich Harrell with the team.

We watched these boys play on a dirt field, with holes and glass everywhere. And yet, they were all smiles. Some of the older boys from a second team were there too, practicing and helping the younger boys.

Halftime antics, including a back flip or two.

Halftime antics, including a back flip or two.

“We’re a family; we take care of each other. Coach takes care of us; we take care of him,” said Victor, the team captain for the older boys, and the first one to join the soccer ministry.

The boys got together and sang the national anthem, and they also danced for us. They are all incredible dancers.

I never thought I had a bad attitude until I met people with a reason to have one, and didn’t.” — Ashleigh

Talking to the boys and hearing about their living conditions and family problems left me speechless. I didn’t even know what to feel. All the “problems” I had going on at home, all the selfish things I was worried about vanished. Just like that. God showed me that none of that matters. The only thing that matters is my relationship with Him. He was breaking my heart to fill it with a pure, honest love for Him and His children—for His ministry and how He wants to use me. He was slowly stripping away my insecurity and my doubts, taking away all things superficial and teaching me to trust in Him. Because that is the only way I will ever be able to make an impact.

The boys in action.

The boys in action.

With God on my side everything is possible. And even now that I’m back in Idaho, I know that I want to do the impossible.

I long for the day I can return to Lesotho, but until then I am praying that I will be content living here as I finish high school and actively pursue the Lord and His purpose for my life.