Indonesia (MNN) — On the island of Papua, Indonesia, wild jungles and tall mountains mark the landscape. For people who live in Papua’s remote villages, medical issues can quickly spell disaster.
Mission Aviation Fellowship flies into hard-to-reach areas of Papua with aid and Gospel hope.
According to MAF pilot Dennis Bergstrazer, “There are roads that are starting to be built, but still they are in very poor condition. Most of the airstrips that we go to have no roads at all.
“We’re sort of a lifeline to folks living interior as well as the church and the church workers — the pastors and evangelists and laypeople. That’s the way they get back and forth.”
Part of MAF’s work includes medical flights for remote people living in the island’s interior. Bergstrazer says they conduct several medical flights a month in Papua across their five bases.
Recently, Bergstrazer flew a sick four-year-old boy from a remote village to a hospital in Timika. The little boy had been sick for so long that his eyes and skin were yellow and his stomach was swollen.
“His father came with, but his father has never been to Timika nor does he speak Indonesian. He just speaks the local language…. So his uncle came with as well then because he had been to Timika before and he does speak Indonesian at least a little bit.”
Bergstrazer flew the trio to Timika. Then, he and his wife, Rose, drove them to the hospital in the ministry’s car.
Right away, the doctors ruled out malaria — a common disease transmitted by jungle mosquitos. Bergstrazer continued to check in on the family, and doctors discovered the little boy had serious liver problems.
“It’s fairly common for something like that to happen where folks are living interior. Unfortunately, he had probably been sick for a month. This was the first opportunity he had to jump on one of our airplanes and get to someplace where they had some medical care.”
Bergstrazer says moments like this give MAF pilots and families the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
“I think the Lord gives us those opportunities to just be in the right place at the right time to show compassion and love toward those in need.”
MAF needs more people to join them in Papua and serve as Christ’s ambassadors to remote people.
“There’s especially a need for teachers,” Bergstrazer says. “We have a mission school on the coast and one interior. Our folks can serve remote places because they’re confident that their children are getting a good education if they’re in boarding school on the coast. But we have a critical need for teachers to instruct in various subjects — kindergarten through high school.
“We need pilots and mechanics too. We are so short here. We have five bases and we have anywhere from one to ten families working at these different bases, but we’re all short. We’re probably operating at about 20 or 30 percent of what our capacity is for pilots and mechanics.”
Meanwhile, please pray for the hospitalized little boy. Ask God to give the doctors wisdom. Pray for complete physical healing for this child and spiritual comfort for him and his family.
Header photo courtesy of Mission Aviation Fellowship.