Jungle Runway Lays Path for Evangelism
Missionaries recently traveled to the village of Mokndoma in Papua, Indonesia, with a goal to bring help and healing to those who live there.
"Our goal here is to plant a church that can reach out and reach the rest of the Wano people," missionary Tim Ingels said.
But first they had to find a way to get to the Wano missionaries. To do that they needed an air strip, something that would take years to build, working mostly with shovels and sticks.
"Two years of work to get this thing done," Ingells said.
The project has been completed.
"To see the plane, circling by the first time is just surreal; it's just like, it's happening and he comes in and lands and you just feel the emotion, you know," he added. "It's so cool to have an airplane land, touch the ground."
The plane belongs to Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF).The group serves people living in isolated areas where transportation or communication is difficult. They enable the work of some 1,500 churches, healthcare organizations, relief agencies and mission groups. They also deliver Bible translation teams.
"We're here to celebrate the finishing of the complete Bible in the Hupla language," MAF pilot Mike Brown said.
"We've been partnering with the missionaries that have been working to translate this thing for years and years and years and so it's just great to be able to come and join them in the celebration," Brown explained.
The group also flies mercy missions.
Missionary Rebecca Ingels recalled one of those missions involving a litle boy named Mika.
"He was climbing in some trees yesterday with some other kids," she explained. "He fell and a branch impaled his abdomen."
"A man that was there finally notices him and pulled that branch off and ran to our house and we could feel this piece of wood in there, like an inch, inch and a half long really clear just above where it had gone in," Ingels recalled.
A frantic call for help was placed by shortwave radio to MAF.
Brown shared how they prayed for the boy: "Lord we just pray that infection hasn't set in and that the doctor can quickly take care of that issue and the he and the family can come back here. We put these things in Your hands, in Your name, amen."
Mika and his family were flown to a hospital where doctors found that the wood had pierced both small intestine walls. He was rushed to surgery. In less than a week Mika had recovered enough to be flown home.
"We are really thankful because if that wood had stayed in there any longer, it could cause infection," Brown commented.
"In another day or two it could've made things much worse," Ingels said.
The airstrip is also used to fly newly trained Wano missionaries to other parts of the island, to share the word.
Each year MAF-US serves more than 600 non-profits, local government and mission organizations all over the world.
They enable ministries to provide isolated people with vital services and goods, while sharing the love of Christ in a tangible way. Some call them God's air force.