How you are bringing light to Papua through MAF and our partners
Lights glimmered across the village of Mamit—cutting tiny holes in the darkness blanketing the lush landscape.
This scene would not be noteworthy in most of the world, where city lights often shine so brightly they blot out the stars. But in Mamit, tucked away in the remote mountains of Papua, the only thing more incredible than the very presence of these lights hanging in thatched huts is the impact they are having on the villagers.
A Dark Past
The first missionaries arrived to this region in the early 1960s. They found a tribe mired in spiritual darkness and warfare. Revenge killings were rampant. Women at work in their gardens, even children at play, were fair game for these people who were brutally slaughtering one another.
“Bringing the Gospel made it safe to walk through enemy territory because the people repented and stopped warring. They started listening to the Gospel,” said Esther Dale, a missionary with World Team who has served in Mamit with her husband, Wesley, for decades.
The Dales continued the work of the earlier missionaries—teaching at the local Maranatha Bible School—which has grown to 254 students—equipping the tribe to grow in their faith, and finding ways to meet physical needs.
A Lamp unto my Feet
MAF played a key role in opening doors for spiritual and physical growth in this region.
“Everyone looks forward to MAF flights coming in,” said Esther. “The alternative is not very palatable. If we wanted to go without MAF, we would have to trek up and down mountains for hours and carry everything that we want to bring in. So they’re our lifeline!”
MAF helped Wes by delivering the supplies to refurbish a small hydroelectric system. This system used water from a local stream to provide electricity to the entire village. But the amount of power produced is very limited, about 3,000 watts—or 75, 40-watt bulbs for the entire village.
The Dales also noticed something happening in the community.
While the Bible School made it possible for students and pastors to be trained in God’s Word, the Dales were seeing that, over the years, many of the second and third generations were turning away from the faith.
And then something clicked.
Let there be Light
Lightbulbs are notoriously unreliable in Indonesia. They break easily, are difficult to transport, and at 40 watts can eat up a limited power supply. But LED lights are a different story. They are more reliable than incandescent bulbs, and at 5 watts per bulb the number of lights in Mamit could grow from 75 to 600.
Rather than haul hundreds of light bulbs over steep mountain trails, the Dales asked MAF to fly the lightbulbs and other supplies into Mamit.
But what impact does light have on this village? Quite a big one.
Families are staying up past dark and reading Bibles that are illuminated by the LED lights in their huts. No longer bound by darkness, they are able to greatly extend the amount of time they spend studying Scripture.
“Moms and dads are turning on their lights at night and they’re studying God’s Word, and they are passing that truth on to their kids,” said David Holsten, MAF regional director of Indonesia. “The parents can ask children now to tell them about specific Bible stories, and the children are able to repeat them!”
The physical illumination of the village is bringing a deeper spiritual transformation. Because of your support, MAF and our partners are able to shine the light of Jesus Christ in some of the darkest corners of the world.
“The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” – John 1:5
Story ran in FlightWatch vol. 4, 2016.