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Ups and Downs and Praises in Between

From clean water to evacuations and safe arrivals

MAF pilot David Petersen had just landed in Goma, eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), with a wildlife conservation team. Shortly after his passengers had disembarked, David was approached by some gentlemen from Michigan who had been stranded. Their flight from Goma to Kisangani had been canceled, and there wouldn’t be another one for several days.

These men were with Genesis Waters, a ministry that provides clean water solutions and the living water of Jesus Christ for unreached people around the world.

“We were able to quickly charter our flights to Kisangani and back to Goma, and we worked with MAF’s US office to quickly and efficiently pay for the flights,” said Ken Watkins, president of Genesis Waters.

Photo by Ken Watkins, Genesis Waters.

A long delay would have greatly limited the amount of work the team could accomplish given their short time in the country. But David was able to fly them 310 miles into the forest along with all their supplies. From Kisangani, they took canoes and went to villages up and down the river.

“We distributed 100 water filtration kits that can be mounted on buckets to provide a simple household filtration system. We also distributed 150 solar powered audio Bibles in both the French and Lingala languages,” said Ken. “This work would not have been possible without the assistance of MAF!”


Another recent flight popped up suddenly due to the deteriorating security situation. David explained that there are more than seven active rebel/militia groups in their operational area, and it can be discouraging at times.

“On my journey into missions a wise person told me, ‘The easy places are taken.’ He meant that we as missionaries going purposefully to the more broken and remote areas were bound to face difficulty—and that difficulty is evident here every day,” said David.

Last April a rebel group crossed the river and attacked the village of Lolwa, which is home to a Christian mission station and hospital.

“I got the call and flew in the next morning to evacuate the medical missionary family and a few others,” said David. From his vantage point in the sky, David could see the roads for miles in either direction were lined with people fleeing into the forest. They were joining the other 5,000,000 displaced people in Congo.


Along with the occasional unexpected or urgently needed flight, there are MAF EDRC’s regularly scheduled flights. MAF’s air-bridge shuttles take place three days a week, providing safe transport for around 1,000 people a month over dangerous areas.

An MAF air-bridge flight takes passengers from Bunia to Beni in the DRC. Photo by Lemuel Malabuyo.

David says these shuttles are “the only reliable form of safe transportation over the many armed groups that lurk in the forest and along the muddy, winding dirt roads.”

One day he was checking his manifest to see who would be on the shuttle. He smiled when saw that his passengers were made up of Bible translators, Samaritan’s Purse workers, national doctors, national pastors, war reconciliation ministry team members, various DRC government personnel, a Christian radio station operator, and more.

“In total 83 people were able to continue various ministries and tasks thanks to these small aircraft,” said David. “Despite the many schemes of the evil one to destabilize this region, the Lord is at work!”


This story was first published for MAF’s Flight Crew members. To learn about this community of monthly givers and the impact they are having, go to


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