Elisha Moita began preaching in 1977, when he was aged just 16. ‘I really believe that God created me to become evangelist’ Elisha shares – ‘it is my ‘God call.’
Amid a humanitarian crisis looming over war-torn South Sudan, a flight came carrying something literally 'cool' and life-saving for 50,000 children.
MAF Timor-Leste received an urgent call to help 23-year-old Elizita Cardoso, a young mother whose joy at expecting twins turned to fear at signs of complications.
One Bible was all it took to change the life of evangelist Elisha Moita.
The evangelist was born in a remote village on the shores of Lake Natron in northern Tanzania. He describes himself as being, ‘just a normal Maasai following my tradition,’ when he was given a copy of the new testament and came to faith.
He explains, ‘One day the Lord called me by vision, and he told me that I had to change. I had to become a Christian. I didn't even know what Christianity meant or what it was!’ As the words of the Bible sunk in, he says, ‘My heart became very comfortable and encouraged. Since then, I started to speak what is written in the Bible.’
In the beginning, Elisha walked huge distances from village to village sharing the Gospel but this was fraught with danger and he had several close calls with dangerous animals. One day when he was in Malambo, an MAF plane came from Moshi and when it’s pilot Peter Hampson heard about his story he offered MAF’s help to fly him to visit Maasai people in the area.
The number of Christians Elisha served increased nearly tenfold, from 63 to 600, from that time onwards. Many more of his countrymen have come to Christ since then.
Elisha has also opened The Maasai Bible School which is helping to overcome barriers for Maasai Christians. Evangelists no longer have to leave the area or study the Bible in Swahili – a language many don't speak. Instead, they can stay closer to their communities and embark on their ministries sooner.
Today, Elisha visits Malambo every month with MAF for two to three days at a time. As well as sharing the Gospel, he helps communities to access treatment when they’re sick - caring for their body, soul and spirit. During a recent trip, he arranged for a woman in childbirth to be flown out of a nearby village. She reached the hospital in time to deliver a healthy baby girl.
Evangelists like Elisha, and the simple life-giving words that they share, are a big part of why MAF still serves in Tanzania. Four decades after his ministry began, Elisha is covering as much ground as he ever did to bring others to Christ. It’s a privilege for MAF to share his journey and his calling to support, and to build the growing Maasai church.
Change the ending
That one Bible changed Elishas’s life and the hundreds of people who have come to Christ since then. MAF flies bibles to communities all around the world, working with evangelists to spread the word of God.
It costs about £6 to deliver 1 Bible and change the recipient’s life.
One flight was all it took to change the lives of 49,483 babies and children.
Children rarely die of measles in the UK because they are routinely inoculated against a range of childhood diseases. It is a level of provision that is rare in South Sudan, where conflict and an under-funded health system – coupled with high rates of malnutrition and poor living conditions – leave children even more susceptible to this highly contagious disease. MAF is working closely with NGO partners to fly emergency food and medical supplies to try and change the outcome for these children.
Alicia Morcombe, Medair’s Health Manager, explains how the need for a vaccination campaign had become apparent in Aweil, South Sudan. ‘The more communities we visited, the more people told us of children dying of measles. We even heard about one community that was burying children every day who had died from preventable diseases, including measles.’
‘There was no time to lose after our assessment,’ Alicia recalls. ‘We were able to launch the measles campaign in a week. Medair contacted MAF to request a flight from Juba to Aweil to deliver the vaccines as quickly as possible.
‘It was imperative that the measles vaccines were kept cool. A long and bumpy trip on insecure roads was out of the question. The vaccines wouldn’t remain cool enough.’
Looking at the six large coolers securely tied down in the back of our Cessna Caravan, MAF Pilot Chris Ball said they were the biggest coolers he’d ever seen. Measuring 3 feet long by 2 feet high, the coolers held thousands of vaccines to inoculate up to 60,000 children.
‘It was,’ Chris said, ‘a pretty amazing sight.’
Just three hours after take-off, Chris landed in Aweil and unloaded the huge coolers of vaccines. This enabled our partner Medair to vaccinate an astounding 49,483 babies and children and halt the spread of a large-scale measles outbreak that was tragically claiming many young lives.
Change the ending
It cost just 12p to deliver each vaccine on this flight. That’s 12p to save one life.
MAF regularly works with partners to deliver medical supplies to isolated communities and save lives. Help us fly more life-saving flights today.
One flight to change the ending for Elizita Cardoso and her unborn twins.
Back in 2013, MAF Timor-Leste received an urgent call to help 23-year-old Elizita Cardoso- a young mother whose joy at expecting twins turned to fear when she began to show signs of pre-eclampsia pregnancy complications.
The speedy delivery of both babies was vital but, living in the rural town of Suai, Elizita faced a nine-hour journey on poor quality roads to receive the medical treatment she desperately needed in Dili.
Fortunately, within 90 minutes, MAF’s GA8 Airvan had left Dili, collected Elizita, and brought her back to the capital for an emergency caesarean. The outcome? Two beautiful, healthy babies, delighted parents, and a new family able to return home to Suai a week later!
One MAF plane made the difference between life and death.
Our teams rarely hear anything further from the patients they fly but, in October 2018, pilot Jonathan Lowe had the happy opportunity to return to Suai and catch up with Elizita and her twin sons, Forino and Farino. The 5½-year-old twins have flourished over the years since their difficult birth and got a chance to climb in the plane and see what it’s like to be a pilot, checking out the controls and listening in to the radio.
For Jonathan, it was an amazing experience to see the joyous result of just one of the many medical evacuation flights he has flown as an MAF pilot. He said, ‘I had some time while waiting for my passengers in Suai so I thought I would to go to the nearby village to see if I could find the twins. It was wonderful to see they are doing so well, and growing up strong and healthy with the excitement of school next year ahead of them.’
These are lives that they, and their mum Elizita, wouldn’t be living if it wasn’t for MAF.
Change the ending
Every day, our 27 programmes receive calls to carry out urgent life-saving medical flights. In Timor-Leste alone we have carried out more than 1,800 medical evacuation flights to date, saving thousands of lives.
£20 could buy a jerrycan of fuel to help fuel a lifesaving flight like this.