DR Congo (MNN) — Years of civil war and other unrest forced Mission Aviation Fellowship from their base in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo. That area of the world has been a place of uncertainty when it comes to security. Now, that appears to be changing.
MAF's manager of research and operations support Ron Wismer says, "We're planning to open up a base we had shut down for almost 10 years down in the southeastern tip of the country called Lubumbashi. And, we're excited about sending the Carlson family down there very shortly and hopefully opening that up for service in a short time."
Many things prevented MAF from reopening the base until now. "The unrest within the country has caused us to be a little reticent about opening up certain areas. Also, we haven't had some of the staff available. Fortunately, we have been able to add some new people. We're still looking for more people."
Lack of aviation fuel was also an issue that caused problems for MAF in Lubumbashi. Wismer says since it's near South Africa, "We can get fuel and supplies now through that area. It's in an area of the copper belt, if you will, of the Congo, so there is money there. The problem has always been security, and this time we feel we've got enough security that we can operate."
Since MAF has been there before, they know about the needs.
MAF says the time is right for them to reopen the base. "There are other operators that have not been able to keep up with requests, and now we're able to increase some of the ministry going on in that region of Congo by opening up this base."
Wismer believes MAF will be able to help more than a dozen churches, mission groups and non-profit organizations in this area of the Congo. They could do more, but there is a lack of specially trained pilots. "We'd like to have pilots who have a mechanic's license and who can work on airplanes."