A new ‘9-1-1’ system brings community together in Ecuador.

By June 21, 2005

Ecuador (MNN)–When you think of Mission Aviation Fellowship, you don’t normally think of radio.

However, MAF President, Kevin Swanson says they’ve just launched an innovative program that connects the isolated tribal groups with their base in Shell, Ecuador.

In the Amazon basin region of Ecuador, the dense jungle and ever changing rivers create living barriers, making it difficult for people groups to get help if they have an emergency. Swanson explains, “We’re working on putting in a series of 60 two-way radios in these villages which will allow them to communicate with our base and if they have any kind of an urgent need or whatever, they’ve got a way of contacting us now. This has literally become their 9-1-1 system.”

The Ministry of Health uses MAF flights to send healthcare teams into the jungle to provide preventative immunizations and rural health education programs.

They hope as many as 2,300 flights a year will be dedicated exclusively to the air ambulance program. Aside from medical emergencies, Swanson says the radio system is also useful for alerting villages to traveling missionary or evangelism teams. This network will also enable missions and local churches to coordinate evangelism and discipleship programs.

More importantly, it fosters the sense of community, says Swanson. “When the radio is turned on and there’s contact with other villages, and with the MAF base, people actually gather around the radio so they can hear what’s going on. It’s really giving them a sense of connectedness to the outside world.”

That often means when the Gospel is shared, it spreads quickly.

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