Wednesday afternoon at 2:30pm saw the entire MAF PNG operation grind to a halt. Planes came to rest, engineers put down their tools, admin staff switched off computers and ground crew gathered in their yellow jackets…

The occasion? The bi-annual MAF International Day of Prayer.

This is a unique and much-anticipated opportunity, which brings MAF staff together not only in PNG but around the world. As a global team, Mission Aviation Fellowship sets aside these prayer days to worship, fellowship and focus again on why we do what we do.

The theme for November was “His Perfect Peace”, and the Mount Hagen team came together to sing, speak, listen and pray as we meditated on this phrase and its implications for our work within the MAF vision and purpose.

What a privilege to gather as a multicultural team of believers, working and serving for His glory in Papua New Guinea!

Watching the MAF promotional video

Preparing to split into prayer groups

Our Country Director shares a word of encouragement

Not even the heavy rain could drown out our enthusiasm!

Several spouses traveled from Hagen town to the Airport to join us

A quiet moment of shared reflection and prayer

Breaking off into smaller prayer groups

Fervent prayer

A giant prayer circle as we draw to a finish

Nawi shares about peace as presented in the Bible

Hudson, John and Merna led us in beautiful worship

Mary closes the event in open prayer and praise

Mt. Hagen, Papua New Guinea (PNG): Back in September we received an interesting request here at the Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) headquarters in Mt. Hagen, Papua New Guinea.

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 excellent 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 Crusade of its type.  It was planned to be a gathering of 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.

Praise and worship was a major part of the nightly celebrations!

The crusade started on Monday, November 6th, meeting nightly at 6:30pm and continued through Saturday morning, November 11th, when it culminated with a 9:30am-4pm 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 – here the theme was, “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).

Incredible offering of fruits and vegetables.

This did not include other in-kind donations such as fruits, vegetables, several chickens and two pigs!  The intention is that the cash offering will be the “kick start” money to open a new flying medical / dental work to 9 remote villages in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea.  The 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 6-day crusade 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, well…this truly was a blessing beyond belief!

———-

Mission Aviation Fellowship has the vision of sharing the love of Christ through aviation and technology, such that isolated people are physically and spiritually transformed in Christ’s name.   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.

Thank you to the Yamka Community and to all of our faithful friends, partners, prayer warriors and supporters! Without you – the fulfilment of this Kingdom vision in the highlands of Papua New Guinea would not be possible!

 

“I really want to thank you for flying the S.A.L.T. team to Simbai and Goroka in June. What a blessing! Thanks so much for making it possible for the team to go to Simbai. Thanks for all the effort and for the subsidy!“

MAF didn‘t fly some cooks into remote Simbai to promote a special brand of salt and to teach the people there how to use it in their diet. The group MAF flew put Jesus’ words “You are the salt of the earth“ [Mathew 5:13] into practice, not seasoning people’s meals but more so people’s whole lives!

S.A.L.T. stands for Scripture Application and Leadership Training. It’s a two week Bible course that is run in remote areas. It is mainly taught by Papua New Guinians, which makes the teaching very powerful, since they know the culture and the way the people think.

The quoted thank-you note above, MAF received from Marjan Aubrey, the Pacific S.A.L.T. Coordinator, and continues, “It is so special to work together in God’s Kingdom. It’s special to see that we need each other to reach the people with God’s Word.“

So what happened at Simbai?

From 9-22 June a team of eight S.A.L.T. facilitators were dropped by our MAF plane at at Simbai, Middle Ramu, Madang Province. Then they hiked to a nearby village to run the S.A.L.T. course for the Asai people group. Fred Igami, who was the team leader during the Asai S.A.L.T. course reported:

 

The Lord has done Great Things among the Lives of the People

“The course commenced on Monday morning, 12 June. There were four denominations in the community: Church of Christ (the hosting church), Anglican, Baptist, and Christ for the Nation.

Monday afternoon Fred received a text message from Crystal, the interim Pacific S.A.L.T. Manager  who is organizing all the logistics for our team.  MAF changed the schedule of our return trip, from 26 June to 22 June, because of national elections. So I told the team and the course participants to teach three lessons each day, including Saturday.

At the back is Fred Igami, who was the team leader during the Simbai S.A.L.T. course. In the front is Keh Kudadi, who also was part of the Simbai team. This picture was taken during a training for our team members themselves.

We had a total of 28 participants registered to attend the course, but every day there were more than 40 to 60 people who came to hear all the teachings. As a result Praise God, while we were continuing the teaching each day, the Holy Spirit convinced the hearts of many. During one of the morning reviews, 11 people brought drugs and tobacco, and surrendered themselves, confessed sins and asked forgiveness and gave their lives to God.

At the next morning review, another eight people surrendered and gave their lives to God. On Sunday the 19th the local pastor from the Church of Christ told the S.A.L.T. team to lead praise and worship and to share the Word of God. So we took over and led the service. Another five people surrendered and gave their lives to God.

The total number of 24 souls gave their lives to God. It is so great and awesome that God is doing great things within the lives of the people out there. My observation is,“ Fred concludes, “that the harvest is plentiful, but the believers in the remote areas lack well-trained pastors and leaders to reap the harvest. The team requests prayer for the Asai people, for the Word of God to take root in their hearts and to produce fruit.“

During one of the S.A.L.T. lessons (this picture was taken in a neighboring language in the same area)

After a S.A.L.T. course the participants are asked to do an outreach as part of the S.A.L.T. training. They have to go to another village and teach one of the lessons they received the previous weeks. By teaching others they’ll get encouraged in their leadership roles and do not only receive teaching. In that way the S.A.L.T. concept applies what the Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:2, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.“

Fred continues, “we divided the participants of the course into groups of four people going to different surrounding villages and different churches: one for the Baptist church, one for the Anglican church, and two for the Church of Christ. The audience that come to these outreaches have not been part of the S.A.L.T. course. The total number of 134 adults and 80 children attended the different outreach services and heard the Word of God, which was basically one lesson from the S.A.L.T. course“.

Afterwards, church leaders and other people in the community who had chosen to be occupied with the ongoing election affairs, and didn’t come to the course told us that they did regret it. Therefore they requested that we should come back and help them still hear the teaching, if possible. During the graduation day a community representative said, “All course participants are like a bush knife that has no sharpness; some are blind and cannot see the light. Thank God that He sent the S.A.L.T. team to come and help us. Now we can go back as bush knives, sharpened and ready to use. Light has come into our community“.

MAF’s purpose and vision are to share God’s love through aviation and technology so that isolated people are physically and spiritually transformed in Christ’s name. Partnering with the S.A.L.T. team to provide air service for their teams to reach out to remote communities like Simbai is like our aircrafts becoming a salt supplier, helping to season people’s lives with God’s Word.

 

S.A.L.T.

  • The Pacific S.A.L.T. course is a two week intensive Scripture Use workshop conducted in the village at the request of local church leaders. 
  • S.A.L.T. seeks to encourage a love and wonder of the Scriptures among language communities and to equip local pastors and village leaders to effectively use the translated Scriptures. 
  • S.A.L.T. encourages the study of the Scriptures in their own heart language in order that language communities may develop an understanding of the Scriptures and develop a Christian worldview.
  • HERE you can find out more about the history and impact of S.A.L.T. in Papua New Guinea.

 

Story Mandy Glass. Photos provided by Marian Aubrey/ S.A.L.T.

On the 11th of September 2017, ASPEQ of New Zealand, CASA of PNG and MAF of PNG marked the opening of a 2nd E-Exam Centre in Papua New Guinea, located at the MAF PNG Headquarters in Mt Hagen.

 

Mr Wilson Sagati, Director of CASA PNG, during his speech

Part of the core requirements to becoming a licensed aircraft engineer in PNG is to sit a suite of basic examinations, with a minimum of ten examinations per individual. The range of categories in Aircraft Mechanical Engineering (AME) Licensing are Aeroplane, Rotorcraft, Piston, Turbine, Electrical and Radio.

Historically, engineer’s examinations were all taken at the CASA PNG head office in Port Morseby. CASA Australia provided engineers CAR 31 exams in PNG. In early 2006, MAF PNG was approved by CASA Australia to host the Australian CAR 31 exams under an Exam Centre Code of 8100 for a special sitting. CASA PNG sent along an invigilator to facilitate the Mt Hagen Based Exam Centre until August 2013, when CASA Australia introduced a new policy for AME exam special sittings.

The new policy stated that CASA Australia would no longer be accepting applications for overseas special sittings, and therefore MAF PNG would no longer be able to offer a location in the Highlands Region for engineers to sit basic examinations. This meant that, once again, all engineer examinations had to be sat at the CASA PNG Head Office location in Port Morseby.

During the period August 2013 to February 2016, the licencing regulation changed and CASA PNG opted for the use of an electronic examination format. At the same time, a transition from the old Australian CAR 31 exams to the new CAR 66 exams took place. ASPEQ of New Zealand (formerly ASL) launched the new CASA PNG E-Exam Centre located in Port Morseby in February 2016. From August 2013 to August 2017, all engineer examinations were still held at the CASA PNG Head Office in Port Morseby.

Thus, it was a great day for partnership and collaboration between MAF PNG, CASA PNG and ASPEQ, when they united to establish an E-Exam Centre in the Highlands Region. This collaboration will result in pilots and engineers being able to sit CASA PNG examinations without the need to travel to Port Morseby, significantly reducing costs associated with travel to and from Port Morseby, as well as providing some overflow relief to the E-Exam Centre in Port Morseby.

Left to right: Tom Meeks, MAF PNG Engineering Manager; Mr David Sode, MAF Board Member; Mr Wilson Sagati Director of CASA PNG; Mr Bob Brownlie of ASPEQ New Zealand; Mr Reuben O’Connor, Executive Manager Safety Regulation of CASA PNG; Mr Phillip Ine, CASA PNG IT Official; Mr Vivogo Samoa, CASA PNG Exam Invigilator

MAF PNG hosted a small opening ceremony to mark the occasion at the Mt Hagen Head Quarters. MAF PNG was privileged to have Mr David Sode, MAF Board Member, Mr Bob Brownlie of ASPEQ New Zealand, Mr Wilson Sagati Director of CASA PNG, Mr Reuben O’Connor, Executive Manager Safety Regulation of CASA PNG, Mr Vivogo Samoa, CASA PNG Exam Invigilator, and Mr Phillip Ine, CASA PNG IT Official, all in attendance. Managers and representatives from local Aviation Operators were also in attendance.

John Poge, MAF PNG’s Deputy Fuel Coordinator, leading worship

MAF PNG is a Christian organisation dedicated to serving and reaching remote communities through aviation and technology.  As Godfrey Sim, MAF PNG’s Church & Community Partnership Manager, shared in a devotion during the ceremony, this test Centre will facilitate the continued growth of aviation into the future.  Godfrey quoted from Psalm 127, noting that this new facility will further help MAF in its vision to share the Good News through aviation and technology.

In his speech, Mr Bob Brownlie of ASPEQ explained that ASPEQ provides testing services all around the world. It was encouraging to hear that the electronic exam format will be extended to pilot examination in the very near future.

Mr Wilson Sagati was excited to share how the security of the E-Exams of ASPEQ will raise the bar professionally for those taking CASA exams, thereby eliminating fraud or errors from the system, and making the examination process fair for everyone.

Mr David Sode expressed what a privilege it is for MAF PNG to join in partnership with CASA PNG and ASPEQ to help establish a CASA E-Exam Centre at our Mt Hagen Base, which will serve the Highlands and Momase regions directly.

The ceremony concluded with a cutting of the ribbon and a celebration cake. Tom Meeks, MAF PNG’s Engineering Manager, closed the morning’s event in a prayer over the new exam Centre. The first exam of the CASA E-Exam Centre of MAF Mt Hagen was held at 11:00am on the same day, following the official opening.

Exam Candidates can check the following website for information and booking of exams: https://casapng.aspeqexams.com

 

Story: Ainesa Namunu, Neal Semanision, Tom Meeks. Photos: Mandy Glass