In an interview with Naomi Osinnowo, the Evangelical Alliance's editorial content manager, David Leek, head of HR in the UK, says that although the Christian organisation continues to fly holistic support to people in hard-to-reach areas, rising natural disasters and civil unrest make the need for such services and specialist staff even greater.

The developing world has seen no shortage of calamity, conflict, instability and suffering over the past century. Folk just have to turn on the news to see communities torn apart by war, battered by floods or stifled by insufficient medical care. So frequent are these types of news stories, that video footage of people screaming because their relatives have been killed or queueing at public taps with empty half-gallon water bottles because the natural water supply is drying up seems quite ordinary.

For Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), the challenging circumstances endured by many communities around the world – specifically those in remote and isolated places – is much more than a news bulletin. As the organisation flies 2,000 different mission, relief and development agencies to districts that need help and lack the necessary infrastructure to be self-sufficient, it sees first-hand what’s happening on the ground and the inhabitants’ physical as well as spiritual needs.

Although many thought the need for humanitarian work would diminish, in many ways it has increased. The basic needs remain similar to what they were almost 75 years ago, when WWII pilots set up MAF after the war in order to see isolated people transformed physically and spiritually in the name of Jesus Christ,” says David, who has worked at MAF for a decade. There remains an enormous amount of need in these localities! There has been a rise in strife and civil unrest, and climate change has led to an increase in natural disasters, which affect the poor the most.“

These global conditions make the work of MAF more vital than ever. While David delights in how the organisation continues to enable the likes of World Vision, Compassion, Medair, smaller mission agencies, as well as pastors, missionaries and church workers, to name just a few, to provide physical and spiritual transformation to those who are afar off from life as we know it, he says with regret that some of the services that we do provide have been hampered because we don’t have the staff to support them”.

One of the biggest challenges for us is the shortage of experienced staff, including pilots, managers, and licenced aeronautical engineers,” says David, who started his service at MAF as a pilot. Without experienced people, we can’t take the gospel to individuals and families in remote and isolated places.” David explains that MAF sees the gospel as both physical and spiritual, and that they can’t exist separately: When we pray the Lord’s prayer, we don’t stop at your kingdom come’, we also pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

David urges Christians to make God’s will a reality on earth, by walking in justice, love, mercy, light and hope, which characterise the kingdom of God. The gospel is a message for those in the West and those living in the jungles, desert and isolated places where there’s no roads and infrastructure,” he says. Taking His kingdom to the most isolated places in both word and deed is MAF’s mission, but we can’t do it without you.”


David says there is a disconnect between the West and rest of the world, where we live such comfortable lives and take so much for granted, while some of our distant neighbours don’t have access to the everyday things we take for granted”. He therefore challenges Christians to take a few moments to reflect, and ask themselves: can I do something to help?

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