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All in a Day’s Work

Routine flights make a lifesaving difference around the world

On a day like this I realize what a vital role God has entrusted to us in this place. I hope you all realize your part in it as well.” —MAF pilot Kees Janse in Papua, Indonesia

On this particular day, Kees filled his aircraft with six patients from three different villages. Their symptoms varied, from a broken arm to severe malnutrition. Yona was in the most serious condition. This six-year-old’s life hung precariously in the balance. But since Kees was able to get him to the hospital, he has a chance. The latest report is that he is still alive and remains in the hospital. Please pray!

Please pray for Yona (bottom right) who is not out of the woods yet. Photo by Kees Jans.
Yona (bottom right) and Ipes (top) share a stretcher. Photo by Kees Janse.

While having that many medical evacuations back-to-back is a bit unusual for an MAF pilot, transporting people living in remote areas to emergency medical care is an everyday event. Around the world, MAF pilots truly do have a vital role in providing hundreds of lifesaving flights every year.

Many of these flights are for conditions that in the rest of the world would be relatively minor, but because these people live in such remote areas even a minor condition can turn into a life-threatening one. Either they don’t have access to medical care or they try traditional, indigenous methods first. Such was the case with 12-year-old Masha, living in Democratic Republic of the Congo. By the time her family brought her to the small hospital in the village of Kikongo, she was in a great deal of pain due to an infection on her left shin, and she could no longer walk.

Masha before her flight to Vanga. Photo by Mark and Kelly Hewes.
Masha before her flight to Vanga. Photo by Mark and Kelly Hewes.

The staff in Kikongo didn’t feel they were equipped to handle such a serious case, so they called on MAF to take the girl to the larger hospital at Vanga. Once there, X-rays revealed the infection had reached her bone, and it was broken in a number of places. Fortunately, doctors there were able to operate and saved the girl’s leg.

Back in Kikongo now, Masha and her mother explained to missionary Rita Chapman that the bone had been compromised and Masha would need to walk with a crutch for the rest of her life. “But, oh my,” said Rita, “that seemed to them like a small price to pay for the privilege of still having two legs for her to call her own.”

In Papua, Indonesia, MAF pilot Luke Bryant was securing a patient, who was wrapped in a blanket, onto the floor of the aircraft in the village of Kwijawagi. When he opened the blanket to determine where to place the straps, he was not prepared for what he saw—a young boy who had been badly burned over most of his body, and he was in extreme pain.

 Luke Bryant with the young boy recovered from his burns. Photo courtesy of Luke Bryant.
Luke Bryant with the young boy recovered from his burns. Photo courtesy of Luke Bryant.

After Luke arrived in Wamena, the boy and his parents were whisked away to the hospital. Luke never saw him again and wondered if he had survived. Then several months later, Luke thought he recognized the boy sitting at the back of the airplane. When he inquired, the boy’s father told him that yes, he was flown out earlier.

“I was so thankful that God let me see this young boy again and know that he made it,” said Luke.

One of two MAF flights that carried preemie quadruplets born in Central Kalimantan (Borneo). Photo by Isaac Rogers.
One of two MAF flights that carried preemie quadruplets to the hospital in Central Kalimantan (Borneo). Photo by Isaac Rogers.

On any given day, an MAF airplane might carry someone pierced by arrows, a stroke victim, a mother in the midst of a difficult labor, someone with appendicitis, a child suffering from malnutrition, a person near death because of malaria, or someone with broken bones from a motorcycle accident or a fall from a tree. The possibilities are endless, the desperation acute when there is no medical care in the jungle, the bush, the mountains…

And that’s why God has entrusted these isolated places to MAF. Thank you for casting a lifeline through your support of MAF, and your prayers.

Update:  Kees reported that both boys were doing well. 


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