Then – Sudan
It started life as the simple vision of a few Christian airmen.
To sow the seeds of peace amid the ruins of war; bringing light to the world’s darkest corners. Mission Aviation Fellowship would fly the Gospel to places where men, women and children had never heard of a loving God who longed to bring them back to Him.
That was MAF in 1945, at the beginning of a Christian adventure unlike any other.
It would take five years before the first programme opened in Sudan, then a British Crown colony. Five years of prayers and gifts that eventually saw our aircraft take flight from a grass airstrip in Malakal in support of an unusual group of isolated people.
NOW - SOUTH SUDAN
Pastor Santino (below) meets a lot of people whose lives involve a constant spiritual battle between witchcraft and Christianity.
His message is short and simple – he tells them you cannot serve two masters.
Many people in the now independent nation of South Sudan still believe that sickness is the result of a curse. They continue to visit witch doctors to have the curse ‘lifted' – or to have one placed on an enemy. The cultural pressure on them to consult witch doctors is huge.
Pastor Santino shines a light in the darkness – part of a regular community health evangelism project organised by MAF partner organisation In Deed And Truth Ministries (IDAT).
IDAT and MAF share the same mission – to bring the love of Jesus Christ to remote communities.
Because you are faithful in your support for that mission, we can meet the urgent needs of so many people who would otherwise remain untouched by the Gospel.
Three quarters of a century after MAF began flying missionaries ‘into the unknown’, the battle between good and evil continues in the lives of ordinary people around the world.
Today, MAF aircraft remain at the forefront of a spiritual war that’s continued to rage long after the one that ended in 1945.
One that, on Jesus’ return, will end all wars.
Then – Sudan
MAF started life in southern Sudan partly due to an appeal from pioneer missionary Dr Don McLure. He assured us that the ‘soil’ was fertile for sowing Gospel seeds.
But, the pure clay of that region which would become the physical foundation of our airstrips was another matter entirely. Known as ‘cotton soil’, it was rock hard in the dry season but treacherously soft when the rains fell.
Among MAF’s founders, there were serious doubts that aircraft would ever fly in Sudan. However, the early members of the MAF family had faith – their prayers and gifts were a steady stream of encouragement to try something amazing for the sake of the Gospel.
Miraculously, despite almost insurmountable odds, a network of mission airstrips sprung up over the years, and God extended MAF’s reach into other African and Asian nations.
In 2020, we are asking you to make a gift that will see Gospel seeds planted in new spiritual soil.
NOW - SOUTH SUDAN
Today, MAF’s much-loved weekly shuttle flights are essential to thousands of remote, isolated people worldwide who are desperate for medical treatment and spiritual guidance. People such as those Pastor Santino has been called to serve.
Under a big tree next to the primary school in Malony village, 260 patients are being registered by the IDAT team. The doctor examines them, prescribing medicine where necessary, before they receive pastoral care from Pastor Santino.
On this particular day, 22 people accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and saviour!
Light dawns in the eyes of these new Christians as they abandon their old traditions now they know of a God who created them, and whose love has paid the price of sin for us all.
‘One of the men is a chief,’ says Sabet Kuj, IDAT’s Chief Executive. ‘He says he will go home and discuss Jesus with his family and tell his people that he won’t be practising witchcraft again!’
Sabet then explains to the mother of a critically ill baby that her child needs antibiotics. Mum has been visiting the Spearmaster (the local name for witch doctor) and allowing him to spray her child with chicken blood.
Sabet convinces the mum to go to the clinic and speak with the doctor. Then he prays for her precious child.
‘Community health evangelism brings people together,’ says Sabet (above), ‘and churches are planted out of this work. When other villages see their neighbours are organising and improving their lives, they want the same. Santino graduated from our Bible school some years ago and has planted two churches in Malony!’
Sowing Gospel seeds has led to impressive physical improvements, as well as spiritual. In just four years, IDAT’s medical provision has trebled.
Its 7-bed clinic has expanded to 21 and, each year, more than 52,000 mothers and children receive vital health information and treatment. Nurses and clinical staff are trained across the border in Uganda. Last year, the first female candidate was sent there to train as a doctor.
It will gladden the hearts of thousands of female patients to be treated by a local, female doctor rather than a man. She will also prove that girls can transform their lives beyond the early, arranged marriage which sadly awaits the vast majority of them.
Then and Now
In a country where God alone made it possible for us to launch MAF, our flights now speed up the pace of change far beyond what was once thought possible.
‘We’re so grateful to MAF,’ Sabet continues. ‘The north-western weekly shuttle flights you started in 2018 are a huge blessing. We used to drive for hours and that is always risky because road security is really bad and people get ambushed and shot.
‘It’s just so easy to drive to our local airstrip – it only takes five minutes!’
Please make any gift you can to keep us flying for the sake of the Gospel. During 75 years, countless people have turned to Jesus Christ – will you help us to continue preparing the way for His return?
Thank you for your faithful support.