How MAF equips national staff for advancement in ministry

By May 20, 2022

Indonesia (MNN) — It is deeply impactful to advance the Gospel by partnering with local Christians in different countries. But Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) takes it a step further — by intentionally investing in their national ministry staff.

Waren Lelewa is an aircraft mechanic with MAF in Papua, Indonesia. Through the Joyce Lin scholarship fund, the ministry sent Lelewa to the United States to earn his aircraft maintenance license.

Matt Harris, MAF Indonesia’s Director of Maintenance, has worked with Lelewa for eight years and says, “He didn’t have a lot of experience when he joined us, but he’s got a lot of mechanical ability and talent. Working with him early on, we were able to see his ability and also just his desire to see the Gospel go forward through MAF’s airplanes, serving the national Church, and the missionaries that work in these remote areas of Indonesia.

Waren Lelewa (Photo courtesy of MAF)

“[Lelewa’s] talents were there and we said we have to figure out a way to help him with the whole licensing process and to get him to be able to participate long-term in the MAF ministry in Indonesia.”

Due to limited aircraft maintenance licensing opportunities in Indonesia, MAF found a school in Virginia where Lelewa could enroll. The advent of the pandemic forced him to complete the first year’s courses online. But in August, Lelewa was allowed to travel and complete his studies on campus.

Following his studies, Lelewa received the 2021 James Rardon Student of the Year Award by the Aviation Technician Education Council (ATEC) and Northrop Rice Foundation. The honor is given to one aviation maintenance technician student in the US for outstanding academics and community involvement.

“Waren is doing exactly what God has designed him to do,” says Harris. “He’s a gifted technician and has a heart to serve, and it’s great to see that recognized.”

Waren Lelewa (Photo courtesy of MAF)

When MAF links arms with the local Body of Christ and invests in national staff, it ultimately paves the way for both to better reach remote and isolated people with the Gospel.

“One of the huge benefits of the national staff is they don’t return to their home country for furloughs. So they’re a very stabilizing influence in our ministry. Plus, they bring the context of understanding the culture,” Harris says.

“We get to be that iron sharpening iron. They encourage us and we encourage them. Pray for that growth — that we continue to grow the relationships amongst the national staff and the expatriate staff, that we will be able to work together in harmony and love for one another, that these guys would be able to continue to grow in stepping into more advanced roles within the ministry.”

Also, Harris asks, “Pray for Waren and his family as they’ve returned and settled back into life in Indonesia. And there [are] going to be other people we pray and hope that will go and also be able to participate in training in the US and return and join in.”

You can support MAF Indonesia’s national staff and their trainings. Just click here to donate and search for “4070-Indonesia National Staff Training” fund.

The Joyce Lin scholarship fund, which provided for Lelewa’s training, is named in honor of an MAF pilot who was tragically killed in an aircraft accident roughly two years ago.

“There are many people who love Joyce and they actually, out of their love for Joyce, gave towards MAF. Joyce’s family felt it would be very appropriate for the funds that were given to actually be applied towards national training. National training was something that was near and dear to Joyce’s heart.”

Waren Lelewa and his family (Photo courtesy of MAF)

Harris says of the ministry’s loss of Lin and her continued legacy, “It’s just a testimony to God’s grace and goodness in the midst of tragedy, that this is something that He was able to bring out of that tragedy — the ability for Waren to go and be trained and to come back better equipped to join in the ministry with us.”

Learn more about MAF Indonesia here.






Header photo of Waren Lelewa, courtesy of MAF.