Practical Love in Timor-Leste

Practical Love in Timor-Leste

Medevac patients in Timor-Leste generally board the MAF plane with one family member and just a small bag of personal belonging - they didn’t expect to need our medevac services that day.

For most, this will be their first time in an aeroplane, possibly even their first visit to the nation’s capital city of Dili. They may speak a different language to what is spoken in the capital and in most cases, they or their loved one are seriously ill.

Story by Kim Job 

Our hearts ache with the stories we hear about these flights. Pregnant women are the most common evacuation passengers, with complications involving blood loss occurring often. Infants who are struggling to breathe from lung conditions or victims of trauma such as road accidents or a boy who impaled his arm on a tree branch.

Staff member Elizito (Lito) Ximenes gives a medevac care pack to a family member as they board the ambulance to hospital. Copyright Mission Aviation Fellowship

Us MAF wives always pray for the patients, but we were dreaming of something more.  Were there practical needs we could meet?  Was there a way to communicate to them that we were praying for them during this difficult time?

This is how our dream of a care package for each evacuated patient became a reality.  It is a way to communicate to these families that we care about them, we are praying for them and we are willing to help if there is a need.

As we started creating these packs we wanted to use as many local services as possible. We arranged for a local women’s sewing centre to create the bags and re-usable sanitary pads. The Gospel of Mark booklets were sourced from a local Christian organization and colouring books that tell the story of Jesus in Tetun were bought from another mission. We tackled the supermarket, with several boxes of supplies being bought for just the first month’s needs.

'Our hearts ache with the stories we hear about these flights. Pregnant women are the most common evacuation passengers, with complications involving blood loss...' Kim Job

The contents of a medevac pack received by the patients  MAF flies to hospital in an emergency. Photo credit Balz Kublis

The pilot’s wives took over the MAF office one morning as they assembled four slightly different packages. One for women, one for men, one for children and one for babies.  A card attached to the strap of the bag says:

We are sorry for your suffering and illness at this time, and pray that you will recover quickly. We would like to give you this gift. We hope it will bless you during your hospital stay. If you would like someone to visit you to pray with you, please call us. We would love to hear from you again with any updates about how you or your family member are recovering from your illness.”

It was so exciting when the first care packs were distributed with one of our Timorese staff giving the pack to a family with an explanation of what it was.

Jesus’ words, recorded in Matthew 25:40 often echo in my heart as i think about the patients who we transport on our planes, "The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ 

A late medevac flight arrives back in Dili and the patient is transferred to the ambulance. Photo credit Marcus Grey, Copyright Mission Aviation Fellowship.