Story Mandy Glass. Photos MAF Mareeba (MM), Michael Duncalfe (MD), Brandon Coker (BC), Mandy Glass (MG)

MAF Mareeba: Delivering a Caravan

11 February 2019
Senior Instructor Andrew Little departed Mareeba at 7:51 am on a 7-hour ferry flight to bring a brand new Cessna 208 to the PNG programme. In the past weeks, Mareeba Engineers completed all required MAF modifications and inspections to enable it to be of great service with MAF Papua New Guinea.

Before Andrew’s departure, the Mareeba staff was getting together early in the morning to pray for a safe trip.

As he departed for PNG, the pilot performed a ‘wing wave’ maneuver. “Nice touch, Andy!“

MAF Papua New Guinea: Can you spot the aircraft P2-MAI on this map?

Its engine was on early and the schedule for the ferry flight was to fly from Mareeba via Horn Island to Mt Hagen. We expected “Mike Alpha India” to land about 1:30 pm at Kagamuga airport. The weather was looking good for the day which was a huge answer to prayer.

P2-MAI is the first of the six new Cessna Caravans, C208. Upon its successful arrival and after the aircraft was unloaded and customs cleared, our Mt Hagen based staff were holding a dedication ceremony placing this new aircraft into ministry here in PNG.

‘Mike Alpha India’ has arrived!

After 5,4 hours in the air and covering a distance of 765 nm, Mike Alpha India touched down at the Kagamuga Airport, Mt Hagen at 1:58 pm, welcomed with a water salute by the Mt Hagen Airport Fire Brigade and witnessed by all our Mt Hagen based staff and families.

We as MAF PNG are thankful to God and to all the donors who made it possible to have the first of six brand new Cessna Caravans come to PNG and to be dedicated to serving the people in the remote areas. Thank you, God, and God bless all those that give willingly to this ministry.

Mt Hagen – Madang – Wasu – Madang – – Mt Hagen

This was the program for our newly arrived Cessna Caravan P2-MAI on its firsts operational day of flying.

Landing at Madang after its first leg, the plane was welcomed with a water salute by the fire truck there, all to the surprise of pilot Mathias Glass. 
Our Madang based traffic officers were very proud to greet Mike Alpha India on its first ops day and facilitate the program for the day.

Waiting at Madang, were the German Dr Traugott Farnbacher with his wife Esther and two Madang based Lutheran pastors. Dr Farnbacher has been a missionary in PNG for many years, but for now 15 years, he leads the mission department of ‘Mission Eine Welt’ for PNG/Pacific/EastAsia; a mission organisation of the Lutheran Church of Bavaria.

The four were heading to Wasu, a 40-minute flight along the east coast of Madang (compared to a 14-hour boat ride!). The Lutheran Mission runs the Etep Rural Hospital, nestled uphill from Wasu airstrip and serving a population of 150,000 people in the area.
Currently, there are two doctors working at Etep Rural Hospital who are both recruited and employed by the German mission.
This marks Dr Farnbacher’s last visit to the area as he is soon retiring.

On the way back, a midwife and another hospital staff member were on board; going to Madang and Lae for administrative business.

Early February marks the beginning of the new school year for PNG. Three teachers and their families were booked to fly with us to Simbai for their first ever assignment at Kanainj Primary School; about a two days walk away from Simbai (10nm via air). We could see Kanainj from the air but couldn’t land. Kanainj is a very short and steep airstrip and therefore requires special training and checking flights for our pilots; unfortunately, Mathias Glass hasn’t been checked on this particular airstrip yet.
By this stage, the weather became more and more challenging and more and more clouds were touching and covering the ridge lines, filling the valleys and making it very challenging to find the way into the Simbai Valley. 4nm before Simbai, the pilot had to make the decision to continue to Mt Hagen as the weather didn’t allow for safe visual operations.

Without MAF, Mission Work cannot be done!
This statement comes from an Austrian missionary, Friedemann Urschitz, who grew up in Papua New Guinea and who still reaches out to the remote communities in the Sepik. By walking many extra miles through the jungle, he encourages and trains people for the benefit of the next generations.
Below is his thank you message he recently sent to MAF. Today, Friedemann Urschitz works as the Director of Liebenzell Mission Austria.

Thanks to MAF I could get around to remote villages to conduct courses and get airstrip equipment repaired and visit churches over an 8-week mission trip to the East Sepik Province. Without the flights into remote villages, I could not have done that many visits and courses.

Nungwaia
My first village MAF flew me to was Nungwaia. I was born in PNG and lived my first 9 years in Nungwaia, the first village my parents worked with SSEM (South Sea Evangelical Mission) which later became the SSEC (South Sea Evangelical Church).
Shortly after we had landed, the pilot sold almost a full box of Bibles and some reading glasses to the village people which came to greet me at the plane.
In Nungwaia I serviced the Deutscher Lawn Mower which they use to cut the airstrip grass and then handed out solar lights to church pastors and church leaders from 11 different local churches. I could hold a course with the church leaders over the weekend. Some of the pastors and church leaders had to walk three days to come and meet me in Nungwaia. On Sunday more than 1000 children from various local churches joined the pastors and church leader and we had a combined service together.

Ambunti
My second flight took me to Ambunti, the mission base of Pacific Island Ministries (PIM) situated right next to the mighty Sepik River. Here I spent most of my time in the mission’s workshop to get some equipment and machines fixed. I stayed there 10 days until MAF could take me to my next destination.

Moropote
Moropote is about a 30 minutes flight from Ambunti. There I tried to fix the tractor, but I need to order spare parts and maybe I can get it running again on my next mission trip.
From Moropote I walked to three different villages to visit churches, have church service with them and give teaching and training to pastors and church leaders.

Getting to those villages was not an easy walk, each taking about up to 2-3 hours one way through the jungle and swamps.
If MAF wouldn’t fly to Moropote, the only other way is a one and a half days canoe trip up the Sepik, Sio and Nageg River and then walking for some hours through swampy jungle.
I had wanted to visit some more villages, but because MAF did not have a plane for some days in the Sepik Province, these visits had to be postponed for another time.
Thank you for giving financial support to MAF so that MAF is able to subsidise flights to remote bush villages. Without MAF, this mission work cannot be done and many people wouldn’t get any service. Many villages don’t have a teacher or a nurse and missionaries and church leaders would not be able to do visitations and give courses which are in desperately needed. No medevacs could be done and many more people would die and suffer.
Many thanks to all supporters.

Please pray for Friedemann as he currently is again on his way to Papua New Guinea with a tight schedule to continue teachers’ training at Ambunti, to build a teacher’s house at Yatoam, to visit the church in Moropote and then to walk to Bitara inspecting the airstrip the community is building, just to name a few of his project which all require MAF flights to transport him, local team members and (building) supplies to the various places.

But this is exactly what we as MAF are here for in Papua New Guinea, to be a catalyst and carrier for help, hope and healing.

Bless you as you pray for Friedemann’s mission trip.

When baby Lazarus was born, he died three times and had to be resuscitated. Hence he was given the name Lazarus. Sometime later, we were doing hospital outreach in the ward where there are mothers and babies. And there was Lazarus, sick, looked after by his mother. So we prayed for him and he became well. He has since come sometimes to my Friday kids group with his brothers. He is about 2 now. He has been starting to try to sing some of the songs with us. He is very active and curious. A very precious little boy!

Lois and Neal Semanison are missionaries with Interlink Ministries, on loan to MAF. Neal is working in the Engineering Department, currently putting together a training curriculum for engineers. The Semanisions are from the US and came to PNG 2012.

 

Lois is on a spouse visa and does not have a job or official role with MAF. but she has a big heart, loves chocolate and has lots of time on hand which she turns into blessing the people in the community.

Her background is that of 31 years working as a social worker. When she came to Mt Hagen, after eight days of language training (Tok Pisin), she got involved with a Brazilian missionary couple who were starting a prep school in Polga, Jiwaka Province. Lois shares, “Lillian, a national friend, and I would go once a week to share a Bible story with the children. I began to visit people in the hospital and about 2.5 years ago, I started to visit the prison in town as well. I also have a group of kids that meet in my house on Friday afternoons where I share a Bible story, songs, a craft and some food. I have as few as 9 and as many as 17 children coming. In addition, I have devotions with the compound guards every morning and I provide meals for the guards. I have made friends with a number of nationals so I have many visitors.“

The Lazarus story above and the ones following below are some glimpses of Lois’ ministry to be a living testimony of the love and care of our Heavenly Father, who does not want one of his sheep to go astray. 

 

Hospital Outreach

On Mondays at noon, we go to the hospital. Our first stop is usually the special care nursery. There can be up to 12 babies in there. They are premies and babies with special needs. We try to take onesies and maybe soap and tracts and sometimes bananas. Everything depends on how much money I have or on what others bring. We read Scripture with the ladies and pray with them. Sometimes I even have pictures made by my Friday group kids to give them.
“Some time ago, I was visiting the women’s ward along with another missionary. We were visiting a woman who needed to have surgery to repair fistula. The other missionary was involved in working out the surgery at another hospital. The bed next to this woman had a woman who along with 7 other women were going to have hysterectomies. I spoke with this woman and prayed with her. Later, one day as we were coming out of the hospital, she approached me at the gate and told me that the day we had prayed before the surgery, she had confessed her sins to the LORD and had forgiven all those she needed to forgive. She is the only one who survived the operation. The others all perished. I run into her from time to time when I shop at the market. She just glows and we hug. God did something miraculous in her life as well.“

 

I just took the pair of crutches that one of the other MAF ladies got for me from the Aussie second-hand store. The man needing them is still in bed. It was a car accident. He has had skin grafts and a rod inserted in his leg. He expects to be there two more weeks. He is in a ward with many other accident victims. Sadly, the hospital has no crutches or wheelchairs. One young man is totally unable to walk and desperately needs a wheelchair.     

 

 

This photo shows a little boy in the hospital who was very excited to receive a Jesus coloring book. In the background, you can see the pastor that we have visited many times. He fell down a cliff and has been in the hospital for 4 or 5 months. He just had surgery and the nurse said it did not go well. She said he will be in the hospital for 4 more weeks. We have some crutches for him that were bought by another missionary. He believes God has him there for a purpose.

Nirmala, another MAF spouse, and I visited Lina and Jos from Huya in the Hagen Hospital a few weeks back. Lina has chronic renal failure and was flown to Mount Hagen by MAF as there is only a small hospital in their area and no road access. Unfortunately, there is not much they can do here for Lina, but she has been given a blood transfusion. We were able to take them some food items and some medevac packs that MAF missionary women had put together for such situations as this. This couple has three boys, aged 12, 3, and 1, who are being cared for now by the paternal grandmother. Lina and Jos attend ECPNG church and both are Christians. We have visited them twice now and have read the Bible and prayed with them. They may be returned to Huya next week. Unfortunately, there is no dialysis here. 

During situations such as this where there are no family and friends in the area, it has been important to give the gift of presence and most of all encouragement from the LORD. For such a time as this, we are here. 

 

Resources to share – And how you can become a part of Lois’ ministry

When we have the Jesus coloring books from Every Home for Christ, we give them out to kids. I buy color pencils from a store next to the Christian bookstore. I get tracts from Every Home for Christ, buy some from EBC, and buy some from the Christian bookstore. When we have Bibles, we give some out. The best bargain is the Tok Pisin New Testament/ Psalms in Tok Pisin. Someone in Australia sent me some English Bibles, but they are almost gone. 

Sometimes I have reading glasses for those needing them as well. There are maybe thousands of people in the hospital and outpatient so our resources only go so far. We give out the coloring books to children in the wards, sitting around outside and in the waiting room. 

There have been special needs such as those evacuated from the earthquake area. For them, we also bought extra things like slip-on-shoes and blankets. Sometimes I have found out about someone with other needs and have bought them pillows, blankets, clothes. Many stories… 

Sally Lloyd, an Australian lady who grew up in the area which was heavily affected by the February earthquake, shares about Nagei, a woman who lost all her family in the earthquake and for whom Lois organised the crutches: 

“This beautiful lady has a tragic story of loss and helplessness during the earthquake (surviving with terrible injuries and watching 11 family members perish) – thankful for those who have helped her so far and thankful that she is continuing to receive assistance to try to resume her life with her only living child. The walk to her house is very difficult! We were hearing more of her story and I was translating for someone – must admit to breaking down a few times. Her young son has his own story to tell as well!“

 

Persons wanting to send things up here… such as onesies, little caps for the babies and baby size blankets would be appreciated, also clothes for the mothers. We can buy large blankets and pillows in the second-hand store and also onesies, but the need is always greater than the money available to buy them. 

 

If adjustable crutches could be sent that would be wonderful; people here are fairly small. Wheelchairs are needed as well on occasion. I believe the need for crutches and wheelchairs far exceeds the supply what we can source at local second-hand stores.

 

Friday Kids Group

During school holidays, a couple of young boys joined my outreach team, Anderson (about 10 or so) and Tiger (6 years.) The boys love being part of it. On Monday, at the hospital, we handed out cards made by the Friday kids that come to our house. Getting kids involved in caring for others is a good thing. The prisoners love seeing the kids.

Anyway, July 4 was a big day for Tiger, the 6-year-old who often accompanies his grandmother and us as we do outreach in the prison and hospital. The prisoners like him a lot. On July 4, Tiger gave his heart to Jesus right here in our house. I made a picture sign for him with the date so he could remember his spiritual birthday. Tiger said I gave him that name. I do not remember. He likes it and uses it all the time. Anyway, sometimes the kids sing with me for the prisoners. They help give out the items we have brought for them as well. I have even asked Tiger to pray. His voice is very soft, but it is touching to see him involved.

 

With the Friday kids group in our house, we have been playing Scrabble, but not like Scrabble anyone else has ever played following rules. Basically, anyone who can come up with a word plants it on the board. It helps with the English. Then there are some little ones who just like to have letters for themselves and so I try to help them make words. 

One little boy (Lazarus) thinks the letters are for him just to hold and he put up a big fuss about letting them go. 

You see the group is a mix of ages, which can be a challenge. 

A friend in Australia had sent a card game with Bible figures which you have to match. This is a good game as those who cannot read can see the pictures and get involved in matching.

 

Prison Ministry

While sharing Scriptures with the prisoners recently, I almost broke down as I shared how Jesus took upon Himself our shame, and sin so we could know God’s forgiveness. He took my shameful sins upon Himself and suffered in my place. I noticed one prisoner looking down as I shared this. Jesus had no shame to hang on that tree in my place. He doesn’t want anyone to miss out on this great gift of reconciliation with the God who loves them and sent His only Son to win them back. Well, this week, I am so happy to report that two prisoners prayed with us to receive this gift of salvation personally.

 

Along with the weekly hospital outreach, going to the prison for outreach is a highlight each week for me. God has been providing English Bibles and Tok Pisin Bibles in unexpected ways. Some Bibles we have that were obtained from the US are especially designed for prisoners. Another tool used is sharing written testimonies of other prisoners who have had their lives changed by the Saviour. 

The prisoners are put in cages with no blankets, no beds, only a hole for a toilet and no steady supply of water. They often have only the clothes they came in wearing. As we have been able, we have tried to address some of the needs for blankets, clothes, soap, Bibles, tracts, reading glasses, a scone (yeast roll) and a sweet treat. We were told not to bring fruit as the peels are disposed of in the toilet and clogged toilets are then a problem. The prisoners are given rice once a day. Sometimes the prisoners come from places very far from here, so no one can help them with personal needs.

 

The children in my Friday group in our apartment sometimes make cards or pictures for the prisoners or for those hospitalised.

The number of prisoners varies from maybe 50 to as many as 70. The population is constantly changing. Some are in and out right away and others are in for a while awaiting resolution of their court situation. We do not ask them what their charges are, respecting their privacy. However, sometimes we hear from other sources, such as a newspaper report and so on, why a particular group or person is incarcerated. 

 

It has been my joy to have former prisoners at times stop me in town and tell me that I had visited them while they were incarcerated. Some have surrendered their lives to Jesus and their whole lives have turned around.

I feel like dancing in praise to the LORD! 

I was purchasing petrol for the MAF car that I use and I had some tracts with me so I handed them to the man serving me and some others while I was waiting. The name of the man serving me is Giyus, and he told me he had been in prison when I visited and he had read the pamphlet I had given him. He made a change in his life and now he has this job. He is not yet connected to a church. God is amazing. His Word changes lives.

During one of our hospital outreaches on a Monday, there was a man all bandaged up waiting on a bench for an X-ray or something. He said, “You visited me in the prison last week and gave me toothpaste.” He also said he has decided to turn to the LORD.

 

“Yu gat kek?” (Do you have cake?)

I bake a lot of chocolate banana cakes and share them around with guards who watch the car while we cross the street to go to the produce market, with market ladies who generously give me extra, with an assortment of people who come to our gate, with our guards, and so on. Well, I guess the word is out.

The other day, while I was getting the car filled up with petrol, I decided to give out tracts. After giving out a bunch to passers-by, I saw there was a small bus, and I went over and gave the driver and passengers each one. A woman by the door asked me: “Yu gat kek?” Well, no, not this time. I guess the word is out about the cake, and it made me “laff” (laugh). 

The opportunities abound. 

Thank You, LORD that we can be here for such a time as this.

Thank you all for partnering with us in this venture. 

God is doing amazing things in the lives of people.

Lois Semanison