Listen: Ian McDougall in conversation with Stephen O’Doherty.
Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) are one of the busiest airlines in the world. A Christian registered charity they go where others, quite literally, fear to tread.
These motivated and generous people are there helping out and spreading the practical love of Jesus during natural disasters, famines, conflict, any kind of need. Ian McDougall the General Manager of MAF Australia Group spoke recently on Open House about the incredible work the organisation do in remote an isolated locations in Australia and around the world.
Nowhere is too hard to go
Mountains. Jungles. Swamps. Unrest. No roads. MAF overcome these barriers to bring hope to the isolated. They aim to mirror the love of Jesus in everything we do. He cared for people physically and spiritually, meeting the needs of the people around Him, regardless of who they were.
Millions of people cannot access basic medical care, clean water, schools or receive the Good News of God’s love, simply because it’s too dangerous or time-consuming to reach them. MAF provide flights for 2,000 aid, development and mission organisations to enable them to transform lives.
Aid and Development
MAF enables the work of around 2000 organisations. It can range from water wells in South Sudan, food security in Timor-Leste, medical supplies in Kenya, disaster prevention in Bangladesh, education or programs in Arnhem Land.
MAF helps improve living conditions and enables thousands of families to develop safe, healthy, and productive communities. They work with organisations like World Vision, Save the Children, Samaritan’s Purse, Habitat for Humanity, YWAM, Unicef and many, many others.
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The barriers created by natural disasters can be overcome by MAF. In the wake of natural disasters and civil wars, MAF aircraft can take off and land on short, crude airstrips to reach those in greatest need. MAF provide reliable, timely delivery of emergency supplies and personnel. Food arrives in time to alleviate hunger, medicines and emergency medical evacuations save lives, and goods and supplies improve living conditions.
MAF aircraft have played critical roles following the Boxing Day Tsunami in Indonesia, Hurricane Felix in Nicaragua, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and the 2015 earthquake in Nepal. A MAF plane is a welcome sight to people who have lost so much.
MAF communications further facilitate relief programs. Agency and relief efforts are more easily coordinated through MAF technology networks, even when an entire nation has lost electrical power.
Indonesian Tsunami Appeal
On September 28, 2018, a deadly earthquake and tsunami hit the coast of Indonesia. MAF is providing disaster relief flights to facilitate aid efforts on Sulawesi Island. MAF is a locally registered foundation in Indonesia and is in an ideal position to provide aid and support.
It is currently estimated that:
• 1,900 people have lost their lives (and many more are seriously injured)
• 71,000 people have lost their homes and are displaced
• 141 evacuation sites are sheltering these people
MAF team got straight to work
The MAF team arrived in Palu on Tuesday the 2nd Oct and immediately set to work.
“Some of our first flights were to evacuate school children from Palu back to their homes in the Ampana area,” said John Woodberry, MAF’s global director of Disaster Response.
“They had been waiting at the hangar for a couple days before we even arrived. They were hungry, so we fed them as well. We’ve also been flying in personnel from other relief agencies that are arriving to help.”
Since a lot of communication infrastructure has been damaged by the quake, MAF has set up a VSAT communication system at the Palu airport. This allows aid agencies to communicate with their teams in other places.
MAF have launched an Indonesian Tsunami Appeal. MAF is a registered charity in Australia and donations over $2 are tax deductible The Appeal will help MAF reach the isolated communities affected by the disaster with relief, medical supplies and hope.
There is an estimated need of approximately $140,000 AUD to cover the emergency relief flights. If more money than needed is raised the remaining funds will be used to support other programs where the need is deemed to be the greatest.
As the apostle Paul puts it, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Rom 10:15). Over the past 70 years, thousands of those beautiful feet have stepped on and off MAF aircraft in remote corners of the world.
To help fulfil Jesus’ Great Commission, MAF enables and supports:
- Missionaries and local evangelists to unreached people
- Indigenous church workers to isolated villages
- Church capacity building through discipleship, skills training, and leadership development
- Scripture translation and distribution
On top of this, MAF staff are missionaries themselves. Living in community with the people we serve means that MAF staff have an incredible opportunity to share their lives and their love of Jesus Christ. Many of our staff are involved in leading local bible study groups and supporting indigenous church mission. They may be pilots, engineers, technicians and managers by trade, but they are missionaries by heart.
For those in remote or isolated communities an MAF flight is often the only way to get life-saving care. MAF respond quickly and effectively to save lives and ease suffering caused by accidents, disease, disasters, deadly epidemics, and complications of childbirth. Thousands are saved each year as MAF speeds patients to hospital, turning days of ground travel into mere minutes.
And even more are saved as MAF transports doctors, nurses, and medicines to patients in minutes instead of days or weeks. Epidemics are prevented with vaccines and medical personnel transported by MAF.
On top of this, MAF communications networks advance healthcare by providing reliable voice and computer connections that allow remote facilities to access medical services and systems a world away.
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