As a bit of family news, we want to show you the write up that MAF’s team in PNG received in the national paper yesterday. MAF has had a presence in PNG for 61 years now and, as you will see, are very appreciated!

We are so proud of the work of all our teams scattered throughout the world. They are, in a very real and tangible way, transforming lives spiritually and physically in Jesus’ name.


Minister praises MAF’s efforts

The National, Thursday 18th October, 2012

CIVIL Aviation Minister Davis Steven has some generous words of appreciation and praise for the Missionary Fellowship Aviation for its contribution to the country over the past 61 years.

The MP for Esa’ala open said MAF was not just another ordinary airline company but, a “very special” one carrying out a “special role” in PNG.

Speaking at the Kagamuga Airport yesterday about MAF’s dedicated service and celebrating the arrival of its new Cessna aircraft from Australia, Steven said: “I want to thank and congratulate MAF on behalf of the people in the country for playing a very significant role in serving the remote people where no other aircraft could serve.

“I see a new partnership with MAF because this is not just another ordinary airline company.”

Steven said MAF’s dedicated and committed service was highly appreciated.

MAF’s operation manager Patrick Williams said the new plane brought the total number of aircraft to 15 in the country.
He said MAF served 250 rural airstrips in the country.

Williams said the new plane, worth K3 million, was donated by overseas missions in Poland, England, Norway and Sweden to support the work of MAF in serving the rural people in the country.

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Dr Allan Sawyer (left) is an obstetrician/ gynaecologist who has been in private practice for the past 20 years. He has been on five mission trips with Samaritan’s Purse and World Medical Missions, four of them to PNG.

Wanting to minister again in PNG, God gave him the vision for this trip. He asked the Kopfs, a missionary couple with New Tribes Mission (living with the Hewa people in the Enga Province of Papua New Guinea), if they could benefit from a medical team coming and teaching a Community Based Health Care (CBHC) and Village Childbirth Attendant (VCA) Course. The Kopfs were enthusiastic about the idea but expressed the great need also for a dentist. So Dr Allan began lessons from an Oral Surgeon friend on how to extract teeth.

After raising the funds for the trip, Dr Allan set about putting together a team. CBHC Director Dr. Becky Morsch, Kudjip missionary physician Dr. Stephanie Doenges, a team from Samaritan’s Purse and two PNG nationals came together to join the mission. Before they knew it, they were gathered in Mt Hagen ready for the MAF flight to Fiyawana where the New Tribes Mission (NTM) helicopter would shuttle them and their equipment to Yifki.

On a mission! - The team travel to FiyawanaOn a mission! – The team travel to Fiyawana

Even though Fiyawana was not a safe place (the Kopfs had vacated it following a murder at their door), none of the team wanted to return to Hagen, so they decided to stay in the Kopf’s old house overnight. As he watched the plane fly off into the sky, Dr Allan had a lump in his throat, but still felt that God would protect them. Their night was uncomfortable, spent on the floor and settee cushions, eating snacks, nuts and fruit.

The following morning they were woken by the roosters but at least the rain had stopped and the helicopter was able to arrive. MAF pilot, Nick Swalm who was flying in fuel for the NTM helicopter, came armed with hot coffee and cinnamon buns for everyone, which was received enthusiastically.

It took the entire morning to shuttle all the team, their supplies, and jet fuel from Fiyawana to Yifki. They were met by nearly a hundred of the Hewa and neighbouring tribes who turned up to hear them teach and to be treated for their medical and dental problems.

Everyone, even the animals, were welcome in the classroom set up by the localsEveryone, even the animals, were welcome in the classroom set up by the localsThey started the CBHC and VCA class immediately after lunch in the open class room, with a Hewa man named Faimpot translating from Pidgin to Hewan. Dogs, chickens, roosters, and a young cassowary wandered in to ’listen’ to the teaching. Dr Allan and his wife Teresa, along with Dr Stephanie, started up the medical clinic (just one tiny room!) and began to see patients.

“That night we set up a small projector and speakers to show the movie ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ in the outdoor teaching area. The Hewa people had only ever seen a movie crowded around a small laptop computer,” Dr Allan said. “The large image that we projected thrilled them. I didn’t realize that it was a 2 DVD movie, so we finally had to call it a night half way through the movie and explain that we would finish it tomorrow night. We poured ourselves into bed, physically and emotionally exhausted.”

Matthew Galman (left), one of the PNG nationals on the team, spent the first few days covering personal hygiene issues. They took 150 toothbrushes and 150 tubes of toothpaste, so Matthew explained to his students how to brush their teeth. The people had never even had a toothbrush before. Dr. Stephanie and Dr. Becky spent an entire day on normal childbirth. 

Then the following day Dr Allan (right) taught on complications of childbirth, including the management of delivery of the placenta.

The people were extremely grateful for the five-day course. They told the team that they never heard of, nor been taught, so many things. The men particularly were so grateful for being taught about childbirth so they could help their women when birthing. They explained that no other doctors had ever come to help them.

To express their genuine gratitude, the various tribes got together and cooked four enormous pigs and served a feast for everyone who had come to the training. They gave the team their spears and the women gave the ladies hand woven bilums (large open bags) that they had woven from tree bark.

Dr Allan recalled the partnership of MAF in this project: “This experience would not have been possible if MAF was not serving in PNG. Without MAF, it would be extremely difficult, and the cost of reaching some of the remote areas where missions serve, would be prohibitive. We were extremely grateful for the service received from MAF. Pilots Mike Davis and Nicholas Swalm were particularly helpful. Nick brought us hot coffee and breakfast the next day at Fiyawana when he knew that we had been stranded at the airstrip all night. That was very considerate!”

“MAF is a vital partner essential to our ministry in PNG”, Dr Allan Sawyer wrote, “We couldn’t do it without them.”


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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.

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