As the Second World War ended, most of those who had served were simply focused on getting back home, eager to rest and recover from the chaos of the past few years.
But God moved the hearts of a group of likeminded Christian airmen from Australia, New Zealand, England, America and South Africa to keep serving – in a different direction.
Many years later, the organisation that they formed – Mission Aviation Fellowship – is celebrating 75 years of delivering practical care, essential services and Christian hope to people in need all over the world. Elisabeth Carter, from MAF, explains that MAF Australia will mark this occasion on Thursday 25 March with a live-streamed Virtual Gala Event, and you are invited!
From destruction to peace
Carter explains there is a lot to celebrate. Those airmen 75 years ago had a wonderful vision. They’d seen what technology was capable of in the worst possible sense. Now, with the war over, they wanted to make sure that aviation technology was no longer used to wreak havoc and destruction, but to bring peace, help and the love of God to those in remote areas.
From tragedy to a new hope
MAF Australia began, in affiliation with fellowships in the UK and USA, with one plane and one pilot, Edwin ‘Harry’ Hartwig. MAF commenced ministering from an operational base in Papua New Guinea, where the local Lutheran Mission met the cost of the aircraft and equipment and MAF provided the pilot and an engineer.
But the early years were not easy. Tragedy struck when Harry Hartwig’s plane flew into a mountain in PNG in poor weather conditions, leaving the fledgling organisation with no aircraft, no pilot and no funds. However, our Father in Heaven continued to bless the work by making people and finances available to continue.
Fuelled by the faithful support of generous donors, MAF has grown into a worldwide network enabling the work of aid and development agencies, missions, local churches and other national groups. For 75 years, MAF has been serving isolated people by using aircraft to fly in the essentials of life, provisions and disaster relief during emergencies, life-saving medical care, and Christian hope.
Today, globally, there are about 130 MAF aircraft in service. Every five minutes, one of these aircraft is either taking off or landing, bringing hope to isolated communities. This is only possible through the generous supporters that still hold to the original vision: to share God’s love through aviation and technology.
Come celebrate with Colin Buchanan.
It is this rich heritage of faithful Christian service and support that MAF will celebrate with its Virtual Gala Event on 25 March, 7 – 8 pm AEST – a special event honouring the past 75 years and celebrating the future of MAF.
Hosted by award-winning singer-songwriter and television and radio personality Colin Buchanan, it will be an evening of fun, music, memories, celebration, and prayer. It will also be a chance to hear from MAF supporters, staff and alumni about the work that has been done and the work that continues today – and stories of the powerful impact that supporters of this unique mission have contributed to over the last 75 years.
Supporters from across Australia and around the world can gather and join in this live-streamed and free event and talk to other attendees via a chat function on the event platform.
It will be a great opportunity to share in the excitement of this significant mission milestone and celebrate how God has empowered MAF to see isolated communities across the world physically and spiritually transformed in Jesus’ name.
To join in the fun, visit: http://maf.org.au/75
Special thanks to Elisabeth Carter and MAF for the information on this event.
Jeremy Dover is a former sports scientist and Pastor
Jeremy Dover's previous articles may be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/jeremy-dover1.html