There may never have been a time like this when so many people around the world feel the same way.
Alone. Adrift. Afraid.
It’s only human to fear what the world can throw at us. But, as 2020 – and its old ‘normal’ – fades into history, one thing remains absolutely certain. God will continue to shine His light in the darkness.
The following story spans more than half a century, and is a remarkable example of how your prayers and gifts help MAF spread the Good News to people who were living in fear.
‘We just cried and cried and cried.
I wondered how our lives would go on without my dad.’
On 25 September 1968, American missionaries Phil Masters and Stan Dale were hiking in the Seng Valley, Papua when they were ambushed and cannibalised by warriors of the Southern Yali.
MAF was supporting Phil and Stan as they spread the Good News. It was our aerial survey which helped them identify the remote Southern Yali community.
As Phil and Stan hiked, people from many villages followed them – fascinated by these white strangers. The Yali lived in fear of their ancestors’ spirits, so there was tremendous spiritual resistance to this new god of light and love, Jesus Christ.
Phil’s daughter, Crissie (pictured above far right) was 13 years old when her father was murdered. Until that tragic day, Crissie says she lived ‘a very happy childhood. Our house had a thatched roof and a dirt floor. My dad built us beds and MAF flew in the mattresses!’
‘But I remember when we first got the hint that something was wrong,’ Crissie recalls.
‘Aunt Betty told us that dad was missing. The next day, MAF flew us to the main mission station to be with Mom – then coordinated a search, requesting a commercial helicopter to conduct a proper investigation.
‘A couple of days later, we got confirmation that they’d both been killed. We just cried and cried and cried. I wondered how our lives would go on without my Dad.’
‘Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other,
just as in Christ God forgave you.’
Incredibly, Phyliss Masters – Crissie’s mother – continued sharing God’s love with indigenous tribes for another 20 years, setting up a women and children’s ministry in the process.
In 2010, Phyllis attended a New Testament dedication ceremony in Korupun, Papua. When the Yali leader recognised her, he was moved to tears. He arranged a special meal with all the pastors, made a formal apology on behalf of his people and asked Phyllis for her forgiveness.
‘She knew they were in darkness and never held it against the Yali,’ says Crissie. ‘That day at Koropun – quoting Ephesians 4:32 – she told them: ‘The Lord has forgiven me for my sin and, in turn, I forgive you.’
In August 2020, MAF brought the Good News to the Southern Yali in their own tongue by flying an order of more than 2,500 reprinted Bibles to remote villages. At Holowun, ladies swayed back and forth, chanting in Yali as they waited for MAF’s aircraft to land.
In Oakbisik, (pictured above) people from ‘nearby’ villages arrived after a day’s walk to receive their Bibles.
The very first Scripture to be translated into Yali was the book of Mark, more than 50 years ago. This painstaking act of evangelism was led by martyred missionary Stan Dale.