MISSIONARY OF THE MONTH FOR DECEMBER IS
MISSION AVIATION FELLOWSHIP
This Christmas we are going to donate our Christmas day offering to support the work of Missionary Aviation Fellowship in East Africa.
In July this year for the first time in 20 years, the United Nations declared a ‘famine’ in two regions of southern Somalia. The UN defines that a famine entails that at least one fifth of households face extreme food shortages, acute malnutrition in over 30% of people, and 2 deaths per 10,000 people every day. The United Nations warned that the ‘famine’ could quickly spread to other parts of southern Somalia also experiencing drought conditions, and possibly also to parts of Ethiopia, and Kenya. The horrifying combination of conflict, prolonged drought, high food prices and dire poverty is forcing thousands of Somalis to flee. In September Dadaab refugee camp, in Kenya near the Somalia border had swelled to the size of Bristol – some 370,000 people, new refugees are arriving every day. More than 12 million people are affected across the Horn of Africa. Children remain extremely vulnerable with more than 400,000 children remain at risk of death in Somalia. To understand more of what is happening here are the words of a MAF Pilot Adrian Rose who has returned to East Africa after an autumn trip to the UK:
“MAF Kenya has been helping in the famine relief effort in a few ways. A new shuttle service has been set up twice-weekly to Dadaab, 250 miles northeast of Nairobi. Here there is a small town and a major refugee camp. The shuttle is frequented by organisations including World Concern, the Lutheran World Federation and Samaritan's Purse. People often assume we carry food. Well we do sometimes, but in a large scale famine a small aeroplane can only begin to supply the need.”
MAF aircraft are carrying personnel who are involved with distribution, pastoral care, medics and medical supplies.
To quote one worker on seeing refugees: "... people arrive with mostly nothing, but they still have the dignity that God has given all of us made in His image. God is calling us to love our neighbours…
It felt very strange being in the UK with its abundance of food and other "stuff" flowing out of every shop and website all the time knowing what millions were experiencing in Africa. Even in Nairobi we have access to plenty of goods to buy. Yet only a flight away in the same country so many are suffering.
A colleague here reported a feeling of helplessness at just being the pilot of the aeroplane. Lord God how do I even begin to help?
One flight was chartered by local churches in Nairobi to carry over a tonne of food collected for the people of the Turkana region around Lodwar in Northern Kenya. The recipients sent a letter back expressing their gratitude that others were praying and caring for them.
As South Sudan settles into independence it too suffers the same food shortages. Even though there has been a good rain season the infrastructure just does not support getting food to people in need. MAF has been flying many tonnes of "Plumpy'nut" food bars to stricken areas. This food just keeps some children from starving. Just.
We’re now back in Kenya doing our part. Thank you for helping us share God’s love with our neighbours. "
Adrian asks for the following prayers:
Thank the Lord for opportunities to love our neighbours, wherever we are in the world;
Please pray for poor people in Nairobi who are especially hit by rising food costs due to shortages;
Please pray for MAF pilots flying the extra shuttle flights to Dadaab, that they would be a good witness to all on board and to people they meet on the ground;
Pray for Lindsay Rose and the children while Adrian is away on overnight trips;
Please continue to pray for the work of MAF in the countries of East Africa.
If you have access to the Internet you can add your prayer to the MAF prayer wall. On the wall you can see other people’s prayers and get more information about how people are being helped and cared for in this crisis