Through the decades, we see what 'MAF Technology Services PNG' has achieved through the power of radio - saving lives, sharing the Gospel and connecting the isolated…
'MAF Technology Services PNG' launched in 1956, five years after MAF first established its operations in Papua New Guinea.
Australian WW2 veterans Claude D’Evelynes, Syd McLeod-Jones and Bob Hartnell set up a radio transceiver, which broadcast the Gospel to radio stations and portable short-wave transmitters used by missionaries across Australia and New Zealand.
‘It was in the “olden days” before computers, satellite, mobiles, solar power, emails and WiFi, which we all rely on so much now! How much has technology grown? The Lord is just as faithful today as He was 50 years ago.
If a mission wanted to send a message to Australia, they would call us on their sked time and give us their message. We would relay their message to Telecom in Mount Hagen who would send a telegram to the Australian Post Office. When a reply came back, we would send it back to the mission in the same way. It could take days before they got a reply.’
David Spendlove, one of MAF's first radio technicians
It became clear that the people of PNG needed a reliable communications network. Initially, the team set up a hydro-electric power station to transmit radio from Rugli in the country’s Western Highlands, establishing PNG’s own high frequency (HF) network.
MAF develop HF radio email
For around 40 years, radio was broadcast from Rugli and hundreds of remote people got to hear about Jesus Christ.
MAF flew technicians, like David Spendlove, who installed radios in very isolated villages across PNG.
In 1993, MAF Technology Services PNG relocated to Goroka in Eastern Highlands Province and the team broadcast from a Salvation Army hall until a purpose-built communications centre was completed in 2001.
MAF were one of the first technical providers to develop an HF radio email system for amateur-band radios. It became known as ‘Winlink Global Radio Email, used by NGOs and governments to transmit weather bulletins and emergency relief communications across remote locations.
MAF expand their operations
MAF Technology Services PNG extended their communications centre in 2009 and the ‘Learning Technologies Initiative’ was launched in 2010. This project provided Bible training and resources to remote communities through new technology including Wi-Fi, mobile phones and both audio and printed Bibles.
MAF Technology Services PNG's vision has always been to meet the communication and technical needs of the Church and PNG’s remotest communities, so that every tribe can hear about the Good News in a language that they understand.
In 2016, MAF's David Feka and Joey Redhead installed an HF radio at a primary school in Guasa Village, which is two day's walk from the nearest road.
People like Pastor Jinga – based in the small village of Biaidi in Milne Bay Province – has infinitely benefited from radio technology. Following two years of severely limited communication with people outside of his community, his world changed in November 2019. When MAF installed an HF radio antenna, Pastor Jinga was finally able to communicate effectively with friends, family and colleagues further afield.
Good communication saves lives
In addition to spreading the Gospel, MAF’s technology has proved critical in life-saving emergency situations. When MAF installed a high frequency radio and alarm system for ‘The Hands of Rescue Foundation’ last year, Dr Barry Kirby’s work was transformed enabling him and his team to drastically reduce maternal mortality across Milne Bay Province, which comprises of some 600 islands.
During today’s pandemic, now more than ever, PNG’s cut off communities need access to trusted information from a reliable source to stay safe and protect their families from coronavirus. Using their HF radio network, MAF broadcasted a live Covid-19 Q&A with Dr James Gahare to some 80 radio stations reaching hundreds of people.
Long may MAF's work continue to reach and support Papua New Guinea’s remotest communities - saving lives, sharing the Gospel and connecting the isolated.