Africa (MNN) — You think gas prices are bad with the U.S. national average currently at $3.71 per gallon? Try being a pilot where one gallon of aviation gasoline costs $14-$18.
Because of the extreme fuel expense, the Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) Fleet Campaign is working to replace older aircraft with eight refurbished ones to improve their ministry in African countries between now and June 2016.
MAF USA President John Boyd says, “We’ve termed it ‘fleet optimization.’ It sounds grandiose. It really means that we’re looking to be good stewards of what God has provided for us through the airplanes and what we think we need to be looking at for the future in terms of our fleets of airplanes: the type of airplane we use, what is the best application for it.”
The campaign is also seeking funds for two new hangars. One hanger is already fully funded and will be built in the West Democratic Republic of Congo. They still need support for the second hangar in Lesotho as their current one doesn’t have enough room to shelter all the aircraft from frigid weather.
The MAF Fleet Campaign costs over $13.9 million to fund. So far, they only have 15% of their support. The next project needing funds is a Caravan aircraft for the West Democratic Republic of Congo.
And the need is urgent. According to Boyd, “It appears to us that parts of Africa–particularly, for example, the Congo–are experiencing somewhat of a reversal of Christian presence and impact in that country. And with that in mind, using the aircraft as our tool that God has given us to reach into those remote and inaccessible areas…we recognize that part of our challenge and our mandate as leadership is to look at what aircraft we’ll be looking at for the future.”
MAF’s work is crucial to encouraging the church in regions of Africa, especially since they reach into regions so remote and treacherous that let’s just say they probably won’t make it on your vacation list. Flight is often the only way to reach a people group when roads and terrain hinders other avenues of travel. They currently has 143 aircraft serving in over 35 countries.
The Joshua Project records 435 people groups in African countries in which MAF ministers. 81 of those people groups are classified as 'least reached with the Gospel message.' In advancing the Great Commission, MAF’s aviation ministry includes medical assistance, disaster relief, mobilization of missionaries, and community development through aid.
To communicate further unity in their work, on Wednesday August 15 MAF organizations all over the world released a new logo to be used by all of their bases. Boyd says the logo gives them a unified, global look as they seek to do the Lord’s work.
Boyd shares how you can join them in their work. “We’re looking for God’s people to partner with us obviously in prayer and financially as we raise the funding to purchase the right kinds of aircraft and then refurbish them here prior to going overseas for service.”
Click here to donate to the Caravan aircraft for the West DRC, the immediate project for MAF's Fleet Campaign.