MAF Advent Adventure

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Day 1

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Day 1


In the attic, Mike found a diary and old map
With the story of how MAF began.
Mike decided, for his Christmas mission,
He had an exciting plan!

Each page was filled with pictures and tales,
One for each country in which MAF flies.
From the first of these nations until the last
He’d provide much-needed supplies.

Now, jump inside Mike’s MAF plane,
There’s so much to learn and see;
Though Christmas is fast approaching,
There’s still space for you and me!

Diary checked and journey logged,
Mike folded the old map away.
As his plane took flight, soaring high,
He wondered who he’d meet today!

Mike’s little plane touched safely down
In the jungles of Ecuador.
He stepped out of the cabin and looked around
It’s a great place to explore!

Up to the aircraft came a smiling man,
Jaime Saint was his name.
Many years before, his grandfather Nate,
Had visited this place in his plane.

Some violent men from the jungle
Had killed Nate and all his friends.
But their story’s inspired many folk since,
Because the warriors made amends.

‘There are snakes in this jungle,’ said Jaime,
‘They’ll harm you if they bite.
Is there anti-venom in your plane,
So our nurse can make things right?’

Mike had just the thing in his plane,
So Jaime smiled at the sight;
Happy the villagers would be okay
Whenever they got a snakebite.

Mike climbed back into the pilot’s seat
And began his important checks.
He turned to the next page of the diary
To see where he’d be flying to next.

Day 2

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Day 2


Diary checked and journey logged,
Mike folded the old map away.
As his plane took flight, soaring high,
He wondered who he’d meet today!

Mike touched down at the next place on his map:
South Sudan – a dry, dusty place.
A family of six was waiting for him,
Each had a big smile on their face.

‘We’re here to help the Laarim people,
But we can’t buy fresh food, you see.
We must get our fruit and veg flown in,
If we want to have them for tea!’

‘No problem!’ said Mike, as he opened the hold,
‘You can have the fruit, cabbage and beans.’
‘Thank you, Mike!’ the mother said,
‘We’ll stay healthy by eating our greens!’

Mike climbed back into the pilot’s seat
And began his important checks.
He turned to the next page of the diary
To see where he’d be flying to next.

Day 3

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Day 3


Diary checked and journey logged,
Mike folded the old map away.
As his plane took flight, soaring high,
He wondered who he’d meet today!

Landing in a place called Wanakipa,
Mike found himself surrounded
By friendly Papua New Guineans,
Looking astonished and astounded!

A lady called Harriëtte called up to him,
‘We were praying you had Bibles in your hold.
My friends want the Scriptures for themselves,
But my very last copy’s been sold.’

‘Let’s take a look,’ said Mike, looking around,
Before emerging with a crate.
It was full of Bibles in the Tok Pisin tongue.
‘Thanks,’ said Harriëtte, ‘Now that’s really great!’

‘Thanks!’ said the villagers crowding around.
‘Now we all can read of God’s love.
We hoped you’d be able to help us,
When we saw your plane flying above.’

Mike climbed back into the pilot’s seat
And began his important checks.
He turned to the next page of the diary
To see where he’d be flying to next.

Day 4

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Day 4


Diary checked and journey logged,
Mike folded the old map away.
As his plane took flight, soaring high,
He wondered who he’d meet today!

Mike’s next stop was the island of Papua,
Where he planned to pick up some fuel.
He’d also spend time with some children
Who attended a missionary school.

As Mike touched down on the airstrip,
A girl ran towards him, called Grace.
‘We’re going to help in a far-away village,
Could you fly my class to that place?

‘We’re going to clear stones from their airstrip,
‘Do you have anything to use in your plane?’
‘I always carry some shovels,’ said Mike,
‘For use when there’s bumpy terrain!’

So the children jumped into Mike’s aircraft,
And they flew to a place far away.
The villagers were so pleased to see them,
‘Thanks for coming to help us today!

‘We rely on your planes in our village.
With no stones, you can now land with ease;
Bringing doctors, teachers and pastors
To provide us with their expertise.’

Mike climbed back into the pilot’s seat
And began his important checks.
He turned to the next page of the diary
To see where he’d be flying to next.

Day 5

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Day 5


Diary checked and journey logged,
Mike folded the old map away.
As his plane took flight, soaring high,
He wondered who he’d meet today!

The next stop for Mike was Brazil,
And the city of Porto Velho.
As he carefully landed his plane,
He was met by a very nice fellow.

‘Hello, my name’s Dr Eddie,
Could you take me to the Purus River?
With my colleagues, Tanya, Viviane and Rose,
There are toothbrushes to deliver.

‘The four of us are all dentists,
So we offer everyone our assistance.
Without us their teeth may get bad,
As the nearest town’s such a long distance.

Mike was happy to lend a hand,
So he helped the four dentists to board.
How happy they were to work together
And demonstrate the love of the Lord.

Mike climbed back into the pilot’s seat
And began his important checks.
He turned to the next page of the diary
To see where he’d be flying to next.

Day 6

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Day 6


Diary checked and journey logged,
Mike folded the old map away.
As his plane took flight, soaring high,
He wondered who he’d meet today!

The remote mountains of Papua New Guinea
Are Pastor Jinga’s home.
He needs a radio to speak to his friends
Because he can’t do it by phone.

‘Could you set up a radio?’ the pastor asked,
‘We have no power or electrical wires.’
‘Of course!’ said Mike, reaching into his bag,
And pulling out some pliers.

Mike carefully connected the cables
To the rooftop solar panel,
So Pastor Jinga could then talk to his friends
By tuning in to the appropriate channel.

‘I can hear my friends!’ the pastor cried,
‘And speak to my head office too.
Thank you, Mike, for all your help.
God bless MAF, and God bless you.’

Mike climbed back into the pilot’s seat
And began his important checks.
He turned to the next page of the diary
To see where he’d be flying to next.

Day 7

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Day 7


Diary checked and journey logged,
Mike folded the old map away.
As his plane took flight, soaring high,
He wondered who he’d meet today!

On Mike flew, for miles and miles,
Across the blue Indian Ocean.
He landed in Kenya in Africa,
Where he heard a great commotion.

Mike heard a call, ‘Hi, it’s Alpha here!’
Then he saw a great giraffe!
The pair had been friends for years and years,
And had shared many a happy laugh!

‘Come and see RedTribe’s beadwork;
They make jewellery to sell.
It gives these ladies the money they need
To buy medicine and food as well.’

Remembering Christmas was coming near,
Mike thought of an excellent plan.
‘This jewellery would be great for my mum,
May I buy some if I can?’

Mike thanked the ladies for the jewellery,
Which he soon stowed safely inside.
Then he turned with a grin to Alpha,
‘Will you join me for a ride?’

Mike climbed back into the pilot’s seat
And began his important checks.
He turned to the next page of the diary
To see where he’d be flying to next.

Day 8

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Day 8


Diary checked and journey logged,
Mike folded the old map away.
As his plane took flight, soaring high,
He wondered who he’d meet today!

After a couple of hours in the air,
The friends landed in the DRC.
Heading towards the hangar,
They were greeted by MAF staff with glee.

‘Hello Mike, and Alpha too,
Could you help us with your plane?
We need to get some measles vaccines,
We’re so happy that you came.’

‘We’d love to help you,’ Mike replied,
As he unloaded vaccines they could use for injections.
‘Where do you want them delivered?’ he asked.
‘You will need to give us directions.’

‘They’re to go to the village of Lisala,
But be careful they don’t get too hot.
Because they’d no longer be effective,
And we’d have to throw out the lot.’

The people gave a sigh of relief,
‘Now our children will be protected!
Measles is a nasty disease,
But thanks to you, they won’t be infected.’

Mike climbed back into the pilot’s seat
And began his important checks.
He turned to the next page of the diary
To see where he’d be flying to next.

Day 9

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Day 9


Diary checked and journey logged,
Mike folded the old map away.
As his plane took flight, soaring high,
He wondered who he’d meet today!

After crossing the Atlantic Ocean,
The pair arrived at MAF’s Suriname base.
In the middle of a tropical rainforest,
It was a hot and sweaty place!

‘Hello, Mike, can you help our friend?
She’s about to have a child.
We need to get her to hospital now!’
‘We’d be happy to help,’ Mike smiled.

Alpha helped the lady up the steps
Into the back of Mike’s plane.
He made space for a nurse and the baby’s dad,
And then they took to the skies again.
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No sooner had they left the ground,
When Mike heard a little cry.
A tiny baby girl had been born
In the air – 200 feet high!

With mother and child both doing well,
To the hospital Mike flew.
As he safely landed his little plane,
All would be well, he knew.

Mike climbed back into the pilot’s seat
And began his important checks.
He turned to the next page of the diary
To see where he’d be flying to next.

Day 10

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Day 10


Diary checked and journey logged,
Mike folded the old map away.
As his plane took flight, soaring high,
He wondered who he’d meet today!

Following the map, Mike and Alpha flew
Across the world to Australia.
They were met on the runway by a smiling man,
Carrying a huge box of paraphernalia.

‘G’day,’ said the man, ‘My name is John,
I’m an MAF engineer.
I fix our aircraft and keep them aloft,
Would you like to help me here?’

Mike grabbed his trusty toolbox
From the back of his little plane.
He joined friend John in the hangar,
‘Let’s get these planes flying again!’

The pair worked all day with their spanners and pliers,
Paintbrushes, hammers and drills.
Soon one of the planes looked shiny and new,
Ready to fly far over jungle and hills.

Once the paint was dry, Mike thought about
The adventures the planes had had.
John gave him a spanner as a souvenir,
Which Mike thought he’d save for his dad.

Mike climbed back into the pilot’s seat
And began his important checks.
He turned to the next page of the diary
To see where he’d be flying to next.

Day 11

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Day 11


Diary checked and journey logged,
Mike folded the old map away.
As his plane took flight, soaring high,
He wondered who he’d meet today!

Northwards Mike flew on a fine sunny day,
To a place all covered with sand.
‘We must be in a desert,’ he thought.
‘It’s Chad,’ Alpha said, ‘a dry land!’

Down below, Mike spotted a camp,
With little tents all in a row.
‘I’ll land and help these people,’ he said,
‘They may need me to fly some cargo.’

Mike landed the plane and was met by a man,
‘I hope you can help us,’ he said.
‘We’re catching some very rare dama gazelle,
So that poachers don’t trap them instead.

‘We have a gazelle that needs taking
To the safety of our game reserves.
Would you fly her in your little aircraft,
So she can live the life she deserves?’

With tubes on her horns to protect the plane,
Alpha helped Becki the gazelle inside.
They flew her to the safety of her new home;
She seemed to enjoy the ride.

Mike climbed back into the pilot’s seat
And began his important checks.
He turned to the next page of the diary
To see where he’d be flying to next.

Day 12

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Day 12


Diary checked and journey logged,
Mike folded the old map away.
As his plane took flight, soaring high,
He wondered who he’d meet today!

Next stop on their Advent adventure,
The friends flew to Kalimantan.
On the Indonesian island of Borneo,
They were determined to lend a hand.

Standing below by the airstrip,
Three MAF ladies were waving a greeting.
‘Could you fly us in your plane, please Mike?
We have to go to an important meeting.

‘We’re helping to translate the Bible
From English into Punan,
So people can read the Good News
In the language of Kalimantan.’

The ladies thanked Mike, and Alpha too,
‘You’re playing an important part
In enabling people to read God’s Word
In the language of their heart.’

Mike climbed back into the pilot’s seat
And began his important checks.
He turned to the next page of the diary
To see where he’d be flying to next.

Day 13

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Day 13


Diary checked and journey logged,
Mike folded the old map away.
As his plane took flight, soaring high,
He wondered who he’d meet today!

The next stop, Australia’s remote homelands;
Arnhem Land, their destination.
As Mike landed the plane, folk seemed to be
In the midst of a great celebration!

Mike and Alpha joined the crowd.
There was cheering and applause.
Right at the front, giving out many gifts
Was what looked like Santa Claus!

‘Mike? Alpha?’ he said with a smile,
While walking towards the pair.
After removing his beard, they clearly saw
Their good friend Foxtrot standing there!

‘I’m giving gifts to all the children
Who live in the Laynhapuy homeland.
May I join you on your journey?
I could even give you a hand!’

The trio took off, to the next place,
Where the kids waited eagerly below.
When Foxtrot Santa give them a gift,
Their faces were all aglow!

Mike climbed back into the pilot’s seat
And began his important checks.
He turned to the next page of the diary
To see where he’d be flying to next.

Day 14

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Day 14


Diary checked and journey logged,
Mike folded the old map away.
As his plane took flight, soaring high,
He wondered who he’d meet today!

The next place they landed was hot and remote,
MAF’s base in Arusha, Tanzania.
Waiting for them were five doctors who said,
‘We hope you can help us here.

‘We’re beginning a medical safari,
We must reach Gorimba in the west.
The people there have no doctor,
So we’re visiting at their request.’

Mike flew his passengers to the village
Where patients formed an orderly queue.
When they went to a doctor, he said to each one,
‘What seems to be troubling you?’

Once the villagers had been treated,
The doctors returned to the plane.
‘Thanks for the flight, Mike, we’ll be back
Next month to help them again!’

Mike climbed back into the pilot’s seat
And began his important checks.
He turned to the next page of the diary
To see where he’d be flying to next.

MAF began serving in Chad in

1966

Did you know?

When MAF first opened its programme in Chad, they planned a small opening ceremony. But word spread, and soon 7,000 people from villages around the lake showed up!

Look around

Chad is a country of two halves. It’s very dry and dusty in the north, and rainy and tropical in the south.

Wandering people called nomads try to survive in the Sahara Desert, while poor farmers struggle to feed their families in the south. But across Chad, almost everyone is hungry. Roughly 3.5 million people can’t afford enough food, and there is hardly any clean water to drink. There are lots of diseases like malaria which are spread by mosquito bites. Only 14% of teenage girls can read and write. MAF flights help impoverished people by transporting teachers, doctors and aid workers to remote places.

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A little more about Chad...

Location

The landlocked nation of Chad is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south and Cameroon, Nigeria and Niger to the west.

View map

Time

7:39am, 14th May 2021

UTC +1

Fascinating Fact

Zakouma National Park can be found in southern Chad. Created in 1963, it was the country’s first national park, and has an area of almost 1,200 square miles; the size of 43,5292 football pitches! Sadly, the park has seen a reduction in the numbers of wildlife there – especially elephants that were hunted for their ivory.

Weather

Current Weather: 29°C, Clear

It’s pretty hot here in December, over 30°C, which isn’t surprising on the edge of the desert – but it’s not the hottest time of the year! Temperatures can reach into the high 40s during April and May!

Dama gazelle rescue mission

Back in January, MAF Chad was asked by the Sahara Conservation Fund to join them on a mission to track and capture some dama gazelle – a highly endangered species – and move them to a reserve; enabling them to breed safely.

The dama gazelle, one of the planet’s most endangered species, is a symbol of beauty and elegance in Chad. Because the use of guns and vehicles has increased in the Sahara Desert, there are fewer than 100 animals still living in the wild in 4 very spread out and isolated populations in Chad and Niger.

The Sahara Conservation Fund keeps track of these amazing animals and leads the efforts to protect them across both countries.

Using an MAF plane to cover an extensive area, MAF Pilot Phil Henderson and members of the conservation team successfully tracked and tranquillised four gazelles; transporting them to Base Camp Oryx, a secure area where they can breed and prevent the species from becoming extinct.

One of the animals, which had been named ‘Becki’ after MAF Chad Pilot and Operations Manager Becki Dillingham, was flown by Phil in our Cessna 182 aircraft. The gazelle was accompanied by a vet, and had tubing secured around its horns to protect the plane from damage.

It was a particularly exciting flight for Phil because, before that, the only live animals he’d ever carried had been two small rabbits!

Phil later said that, ‘Everyone was very happy to have the gazelles in their recovery enclosure, looking healthy.’

Sahara Desert

The Sahara Desert is the largest hot desert in the world

Isolated

Far away from other places, buildings, or people

Tranquillised

Safely put to sleep for a short time, using special medicine, to make wild animals easier to move around

Extinct

Extinction is when there are no animals left alive of a particular species

Read

Luke 2:8

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.

Pray

Dear God, today we thank You that MAF could help save those dama gazelles in Chad this year. We pray that these beautiful animals don’t become extinct, and that the poachers stop killing them. Amen.

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