CRMF’s Michael Wakefield, based in PNG, discusses the role of CRMF in a post-missionary era.

In the early 1950’s as missionaries cut trails into remote jungles in PNG and MAF were beginning flying operations across the vast remote countryside, it became obvious that a form of communication was desperately needed.  CRMF entered PNG to answer this need, putting the first radio on our network in 1957.  Since then HF radio has been the sole communications lifeline for many remotely located Missionaries, Churches, schools and health centres.

Later CRMF became involved in electrical work, short recordings for Christian radio broadcasting, and various other ‘technically related’ support activities that would help spread the gospel in PNG.  The 1990’s and beyond saw a global rise in technology, and with that CRMF also introduced a computer department, started selling satellite phones, and developed internet email via HF radio.  In more recent years our services to the Church and community have grown to include Satellite internet support and computer networking.

So these have been our services to the Christian community in PNG so far.  But what is happening now?  Well over the last seven years that I have lived in PNG I have observed the following:

  • • Technology worldwide continues to change at an increasing rate.  But this change is not just restricted to the western world, it is bounding into PNG too.  Therefore there is definitely a continuing need for CRMF to interact with technology and help the Church of PNG come to terms with this rapid change.
  • • Missionary numbers in country and particularly in the remote areas continue to decline.  This is not just restricted to other missions but also CRMF’s own ability to keep providing the services we always have.  It also means that now the Churches of PNG are mainly run by local people.  For us this means two things: often they require help in the area of technology, and also the sources of funding that the churches can access is reduced.
  • • The introduction of a new mobile phone company in 2006 has had a massive effect on communications, even reaching many remote locations that once relied only on HF radio.  Although many still rely on HF radio, I cannot say it is as crucial for all remote people as it previously was.
  • • Missionary needs have also changed.  Whereas before the HF radio was their only contact with the outside world, now most require internet and access it through mobile phone signals or satellite technologies.  Whereas before CRMF was their only source of technical supplies and advice, now many source their technical items from overseas.
  • • With rising western trends and a young population, the old ways of doing mission aren’t as effective as previously.  This is especially true in the cities, where new forms of social media (such as facebook) and communication (SMS) influence them heavily.

So what does this mean for CRMF and its future?  Firstly without a doubt there is still a need for our traditional ministry of HF radio communications and technical advice, however this service is now more valued by the national Church rather than missionaries.  These changes also mean we have to adapt as we continue to evaluate new technologies that may be of benefit to the Church.

With these thoughts in mind, hopefully you can see why we started the Learning Technologies ministry at the end of 2010.  This ministry is very much involved in researching current and new technologies and finding what is useful to the church, such as small cheap solar charged audio devices, mobile phone ministry applications, and possible new ways of delivering bible training digitally.

Most of these technologies are not developed by CRMF, they just require someone to re-discover them, understand them, and then tell the Churches how they can use them.  We believe this is staying true to CRMF’s calling of “serving the Church and community through radio communication and technical services”, by staying relevant to the needs of the Church today.

Please pray with us as we do our best to help the Church of PNG grow in a time of rapid technological and social change, and pray that the Lord will bring those people we need to continue to give the Church the best tools available.

Click here to discover more about CRMF

CRMF (Christian Radio Ministry Fellowship) is a ministry of MAF International.

Article source: http://www.maf.org.au/news/n/the-times-they-are-a-changing-120703


Report by MAF UK’s Adrian Went

I have spent the last few weeks arranging many flights up to the camps near to the northern borders of South Sudan. This a disputed border with Sudan and there have been a number of battles and bombings which have forced thousands of people from their homes.
We carry a lot of staff, medicines, water pumping and building equipment for the organisations that run the camps. In other areas of South Sudan we fly for organisations, such as Christian Mission Aid, who work with local churches on outreach, aid, relief, health and community projects.

Saving time

I was able to join a flight going 280 miles north of Juba to Jaibor taking a team to help with the work there. The staff live amongst the community in the square compound you can see from the picture – to the right of the runway as we landed.

They live far from any town and even a journey of 10 miles to the next village can take many hours. The only ways to reach Jaibor is by air, or by a Nile canoe on the river. The materials to construct their hospital ward, day centre and eye clinic (left to right below) have been flown there by MAF planes.

9 out of 10 would die

The whole area is often infested with sand flies which carry the parasitic disease kala-azar. This principally affects poor, remote communities such as Jaibor where there is limited access to healthcare and affordable drugs. We often carry the medicine to cure patients, when it is available, to various affected areas across South Sudan.

The medicine is expensive, but usually effective, however without treatment nine out of ten patients will die. Christian Mission Aid and other organisations provide this treatment whilst working with local churches are reaching out to people in a practical way and saving lives every day.

Pray

Please pray for the team as we help with the issues faced by those affected by the border conflict in South Sudan and for the safety of our flights as the rainy weather causes further difficulties in the air and on the runways. (We have pulled two planes from muddy parts on runways in the last few weeks!)

Please pray for the continuing safety of the team in Juba; whilst we are a long way from the border fighting we did have an attempted break-in at our compound that was prevented by a soldier living close to us, who fired warning shots, causing the robbers to run off.

Article source: http://www.maf.org.au/news/n/maf-in-the-worlds-newest-nation-120705


Report by Jason Russell of Word for the World Baptist Ministries

 

Equipment was shutting down, breaking down, and the rain was coming down! On my return from Guam in April 2012, we were excited because the tractor part that we had waited for since February had arrived. With the tractor down, our means of bringing in heavy supplies like gas bottles, petrol, diesel and building materials was on hold. The weather looked like it was going to break loose any day, which would pin us down on this side of the flood, unable to get supplies to Wipim for ‘Who’ knows how long. We have been tested and tried like this before so this was not new, but a reminder in the lesson of “trust.”

With great anticipation, my son Titus and I replaced the malfunctioning engine part. We had made plans to go down the road on Friday in the tractor to pick up our supplies. As an added bonus we would hire our tractor to the Cell Phone Techos, and the tractor hire would pay for the dinghy hire to get our things up the river. It was a great plan, but everything changed on Thursday when the new part did not fix the problem! “Now what do we do?”

I phoned the technicians in the United States and they recommended another part. This would be another US$150.00, plus some!!! Shipping from the States took two months last time, but we didn’t have two months of supplies left. I called a tractor dealer in Cairns, Australia, – only a 90 minute flight away, and they could get
the part from Sydney. We worked out a plan to courier it, but I made the mistake of giving them our P.O. Box instead of a physical address for delivery. Then another error. I gave them my phone number instead of the pastor in Port Moresby who would receive the part and send it on to the closest town, Daru.

To add insult to injury, our phone network in Wipim went down. It was down for a whole week without any way to communicate with Sydney, the pastor in Port Moresby, Pastor Holmes (who was organizing the shipment of our 6 months’ supply of bulk groceries), or the cell phone company to let them know our network was down!

“What do we do now?”

Normally, we would use our back-up Satellite phone, but the company went bankrupt recently. If these two failed we would use the HF-radio to communicate with MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship), but our cable had unresolved issues. We were basically at the end of our rope. Too often we look to the Lord as our last resort.

Psalms 71:3 “Be thou my strong habitation, …. for thou art my rock and my fortress.”

We had been praying the whole time, but now was definitely a good time for God to work. Psalms 119:126 “It is time for thee, LORD, to work:”

Monday we prayed that somehow God would send MAF on Tuesday. They didn’t usually come on Tuesdays and there was no reason for them to come. There certainly was no earthly way to communicate with them that we needed help.

On Tuesday in our family devotions, we prayed again that somehow the plane would come. At breakfast, Titus prayed again that somehow God would tell the pilots, whose base was 250 miles away, that we needed them to come. The weather had been bad, and MAF rarely came if it was cloudy and rainy like the past week. There had been a deluge of rain; it was flooding in every direction. We were like a lily pad in the middle of a big lake.

After breakfast we all went to work doing our Tuesday chores. I was working under the house with the Bible School men, Ana was grading school work, and the children were doing more work for Ana to grade.
Then suddenly, we heard the drone of a plane in the distance. We all got excited! The children started running around, and I even stopped what I was doing, forgetting the task at hand. The Bible School men had no idea why the Russell family was so excited. Our prayers had just been answered in an amazing way! (Shame on our disbelief!) We could not think of a reason for them to come, except that God moved them to! This should go into “The Book of Awesome!”

I ran upstairs and grabbed my backpack, check-book and bankcard, etc., with the hope that they would take me to Daru and bring me back the same day.

As soon as the plane landed and the engine turned off, I approached the plane and asked bluntly, “Why are you here?” By the look of surprise on the pilots’ faces I realized that the question sounded a bit rude. It probably sounded like, “What are you doing here, get out of here, we don’t want you!”, while actually, we were excited because they were an answer to our prayers!

Captain Clint told us that he was checking in a pilot on our air strip (Brad Ballin), who was one of the new pilot families to man their old Kawito base in the Middle Fly district.

This was even greater news to us because MAF had not had a pilot based in Kawito for over six years! Although the Western Province is the largest, it is also the least densely populated. For most of our area the only way to get around is either on foot or plane. The plane is much more desirable, especially in a medical emergency! This is an amazing step of faith for MAF to make. It does not make much sense financially, but is paramount for ministry.

After that exciting Tuesday, my children commented on how they saw God work. The two youngest drew pictures of airplanes or chickens eating. Titus said, “The pilots talked together and decided to take Dad to and back from Daru. This is another lesson how God shall supply all your needs. Daughter Ruth added, “Dad hopped on the plane to Daru and shopped a little. When he came back he brought our supplies that we needed badly; such as the chicken feed and flour. We were almost out of flour and bread and butter. He also brought along some sweets.”

Libby finished off; “Our little bush station is placed in the middle of nowhere, and there are few pilots or planes in our corner of “nowhere.” When we do receive a visit, it is usually on a Wednesday. But this Tuesday, just when our situation was waxing sober, God—our loving Heavenly Father, Giver of all good and perfect gifts—granted us our hearts’ desire.”

We are so grateful to our great God, “…Who does hear and answer prayer.” His greatness is magnified in that He is able to hear the prayers of His children, and answer that prayer through the submissiveness of another. 

MAF probably had this day planned for weeks, but we didn’t know it. God in His sovereignty does all things well!

Mark 7:37 “and were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well:….”

Article source: http://www.maf.org.au/news/n/god-answers-even-on-tuesdays-120628