In September 2017 the Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) headquarters in Mt. Hagen, Papua New Guinea received an interesting request.
The Yamka community, greater tribal clan(s) living around the area of the airport (Kagamuga), wanted to have a celebration honoring MAF for its more than 65 years of service and commitment to rural communities of PNG. This would also be an opportunity to share the mission and vision of MAF with those of the community who were new or were unaware of the nature of the ministry.
Work began on organising the first-ever gathering of its type, which would include more than 30 different churches from across all different denominations. From Baptist and Lutherans to Nazarenes and Adventists, the plan was to celebrate our commonality in Christ, and to share the mission and vision of MAF.
The meetings started on Monday, 6 November, and continued nightly through Saturday morning, 11 November, when it culminated with a full day of final celebration.
“I was truly amazed at the enthusiasm, engagement and passion demonstrated by the community!” shared Todd Aebischer, MAF Papua New Guinea Country Director. “Night after night, regardless of the weather, the community came out by the hundreds and worshipped the Lord, listened to the word of God, and honored the ministry of MAF. It was truly a humbling experience.”
Many of the churches gave special presentations—one had the theme of, “Go light your world!”
The thanksgiving offering that was given by the community to MAF was unimaginable! In a rural area of the country where many are subsistence farmers, the people of the Yamka community truly caught the vision of blessing those in isolated communities. At the finish of the celebration on Saturday, the community presented MAF with a cash offering of 48,419 Kina (19,735 $AUD).
The intention is that the cash offering will be the “kick start” money to open a new flying medical/dental work to nine remote villages in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea.
This did not include other in-kind donations such as fruits, vegetables (photo at top), several chickens and two pigs! These “in-kind” offerings are being distributed among various community charities as well as MAF national and expat staff.
Beyond the offerings, perhaps the greatest outcome of this six-day gathering was a new spirit of unity that was developed within the community! To see some 30 different churches come together for the common purpose of worshipping the Lord—this was a blessing beyond belief!
MAF’s vision of sharing the love of Christ through aviation and technology, especially among isolated people. Each day, in pursuit of this vision, MAF-PNG planes make an average of 41 flights, serving 212 airstrips/villages per month and transporting nearly 500 medical evacuation patients per year.