The Liberty Gazette
February 3, 2015Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely
Linda: Mike Brown is excited about the trip he is about to make in his organization’s Kodiak, a single engine airplane made for flying in "the bush".
"Today is one of those awesome days for MAF," says the pilot for Mission Aviation Fellowship, which has since 1945 used God-given tools and talents to reach isolated people throughout the world. Mike and other MAF pilots share Christ's love "from dense jungles to rugged mountains to war-torn countries."
A new video released last week by MAF shows the Kodiak making the first landing at a just-completed airstrip in the highlands of Papua, Indonesia. The landing is historic for the little hamlet that has a name that sounds like "Mokandoma".
For Tim and Rebecca Ingles and Mike Wild of New Tribes Missions, who are living and serving in this little village, this brand new airstrip will help them reach their goal – enabling native believers like Liku to reach fellow members of the Wano tribe living further away.
The native tribespeople tried to build an airstrip on their own about 10-15 years ago, but without help they gave up. Then a couple of years ago some help came and now they have a landing field about a half-mile long.
Mike: They heard it overhead, the anticipation welling up in each person standing by the rugged mountain airstrip. Who would be the first to spot the airplane? They have worked hard and waited years for this moment and now the dream is becoming a reality, bringing hope and hard work to fruition. The airplane circles, and finally lands, surrounded by cheers and jumping for joy.
In the video the Wano people can be seen running up to the plane after it shut down, dancing around it in traditional tribal garb, spears, and grass skirts. Then Liku prepares to speak, but first, a fellow tribal member spreads mud on Liku's forehead so he can demonstrate what he's about to say.
He is shirtless, and begins, "You can see that my body is dirty. I didn't know that before. Then our missionaries, Tim and Mike came and it was like they gave us this mirror. After they gave it to me I could see. Ohhh! Look how dirty I am!"
Next, Liku brushes the now dried mud off his forehead and puts on a shirt. "I'm taking this shirt and I'm putting it on. And now the dirt that was on me, do you see any of it?" he asks. Around him you hear, "No, no, we don't see it!"
He agrees, "You don't see any dirt on me now," picks up a mirror and says, "This mirror represents God's Word that our missionaries taught us. I put my faith in that Word. I believe God placed me into Christ, like me putting on this shirt, I was sinful, but now I'm in Christ. So when God sees me, He doesn't see my sin anymore."
With that beautiful and simple expression of his faith, he affirms, "Our people made this airstrip for a reason. We want the story of this ‘mirror and shirt’ to go to our people in other places. The airplane will help us do that."
You can view this and other inspiring videos posted online by Mission Aviation Fellowship. We should soon hear the Wano tribe saying the same thing we do here: Give me a half-mile of road and I can go half a mile, but give me a half-mile of runway and I can go anywhere!