MAF flies NI missionary Maud Kells back 'home' to Congo

Published: 9 Dec 2015

Updated February 2016

On Friday 4 December 2015, MAF had the honour of flying Maud Kells back to the village of Mulita, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where she was the victim of a shooting attack in January 2015. Less than a year after the MAF medical evacuation flight that saved her life, she returned to a joyful celebration.

Hundreds of people gathered at the small grass airstrip to greet Maud as she stepped off the plane. A brass band played while the crowd waved and cheered her arrival.

'Great excitement!' she exclaimed. 'It’s really nice to see them again… they’re always very welcoming.'

Maud Kells welcomes in Mulita in DRC after arriving on an MAF plane. Photo by Mark & Kelly Hewes

After exchanging greetings with local village and church leaders, Maud and MAF pilot Dave Jacobsson were escorted through the village in a parade of celebration. The procession ended at a makeshift amphitheatre where a ceremony with singing, dancing, and preaching was held in Maud’s honour.

'The whole community was there,' Dave said. 'I think we got a slice of the appreciation, the love, and the concern that the people had for her, and the joy of having her back again.'

After the ceremony, Maud returned to the airstrip to help unload the plane full of medical supplies and gifts she brought with her to Mulita. 'I brought quite a lot of stuff out from home...baby clothes, supplies…literally, everything under the sun.'

Maud Kells unloads supplies and gifts from the MAF plane at Mulita, DRC. Photo by Mark & Kelly Hewes

Maud, age 75, is a WEC International missionary who has served in the DRC since 1968. Her work in Mulita includes helping to build a primary school and hospital, training staff, and teaching at the local Bible school.

'All during the years, I could never have continued the work at Mulita,' she said. 'Without MAF, I couldn’t have done any of it.' 

Maud Kells welcomed in Mulita in DRC after arriving on an MAF plane. Photo by Mark & Kelly Hewes

But she’s not finished yet. On this trip to Mulita, Maud is hoping to finish work on a nursery that she started building before the shooting. 

On the night of January 4, 2015, Maud was summoned from her house in Mulita to the hospital. When she returned home, she was confronted by two masked bandits, one of whom pointed a gun at her. Not realising it was real, Maud reached to grab the weapon, and was shot in the chest. 'I yelled at the top of my voice, but nobody came to help me,' she said. 

'I probably wouldn’t have survived if it hadn’t been for MAF.'

Eventually help did come, and Maud’s condition was stabilized. However, there was no means of communication available in Mulita. Someone would have to travel through the night to the nearest town, 30 miles away. The next morning, MAF received a call requesting a medical evacuation flight for Maud. 'We were really upset when we heard that she was shot,' MAF pilot Jon Cadd said. 'The whole team just jumped into action.'

Maud Kells with MAF pilot Dave Jacobsson. Photo by Mark & Kelly Hewes

MAF staff quickly contacted local doctors and rearranged the day’s flight schedule, A few hours later, Jon landed in Mulita with medical personnel on board and was able to evacuate Maud to MAF’s base in Nyankunde. 

After receiving treatment in the Nyankunde mission hospital, Maud spent a week recuperating in the home of Jon and Cher Cadd. 'So much of the healing process was really MAF caring for me, loving me, and just being so kind and so hospitable,' she said. 

'I probably wouldn’t have survived if it hadn’t been for MAF.'

Maud Kells with MAF's Kelly Hewes on her flight back to Mulita, DRC. Photo by Mark & Kelly Hewes

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