Before its departure, the MAF Mareeba team came together outside their hangar, praying for its journey to Mt Hagen, captained by MAF PNG’s Flight Operations Manager Brad Venter as well as its destined purpose to serve the people of remote Papua New Guinea.
P2-MEW is the 5th of the six brand new Cessna Caravans C208 MAF PNG is receiving this year as part of their fleet transition to the single type C208 fleet.
The registration P2-MEW honours the longstanding relationship to the German Lutheran Mission 'Mission EineWelt' (Mission One World). Today, Mission EineWelt is the Centre for Partnership, Development and Mission of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria.
The centre fosters relations with Lutheran partner churches in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Pacific Region. (https://mission-einewelt.de/en/)
Over the past decades, this Mission supported MAF in many different ways. In 1977, the Lutheran Mission handed over their own mission aircraft, three Cessna C206, to become part of the MAF fleet.
“Later, they sponsored a Cessna C402s and a GA8 Airvans, the electronic flight bags our pilots work with as well as recruiting and sponsoring many pilots over the years,” said MAF.
After its refuel stop at Horn Island, and ca. 770 nm and 4.50 flight hours later, P2-MEW touched down in the early afternoon at the Kagamuga airport Mt Hagen.
“P2-MEW wasn’t greeted in the traditional manner of a water salute by the airport’s Fire Department, but rather got washed down with a heavenly rinse due to the rain at arrival time. Also, current construction works of runway and taxiways at the airport resulted in space restrictions for all aircraft at the airport needing room to take off, land and load or unload during the busy afternoon.
“After the custom and quarantine officers were done with their required admin work, the aircraft was unloaded. Then, our Mt Hagen based MAF team came together to dedicate our new aircraft, P2-MEW, to its service for the people of remote PNG.”
In his speech, Godfrey Sim, MAF PNG's Church and Community Partnership Manager, addressed the significance of the strong partnership with Mission EineWelt (MissionOneWorld), which is quite unique but also stands for many other organisations and people backing up their operations through financial support, staff and prayer.
“Then the team gathered around the new aircraft in a big circle, and Hudson Higlett, wife of our IT Manager, spoke words of thanksgiving and blessing to dedicate this aircraft for its purpose to serve the isolated corners of Papua New Guinea’s highlands and lowlands.
“P2-MEW’s First Operational Flight On Monday, 30 September, receiving a compressor rinse by the engineering team and after the thick morning fog finally lifted, our brand new Cessna Caravan P2-MEW took off towards Yambaitok for its first operational flight, serving the people of remote Papua New Guinea. Onboard were a pastor and another passenger.
“P2-MEW was piloted by Captain Mathias Glass and JanIvar Andresen, who is currently being trained for operational flying.
“Waiting at Yambaitok was our MAF PNG Ministry team who spent the weekend on invitation by this community to run an outreach program, sharing the gospel in different ways to encourage the congregation there.
“Preparing for departure, some of the community posed with the pilots and outreach team in front of the new aircraft acknowledging their appreciation for MAF.
“P2-MEW was the fifth Cessna Caravan, C208, out of six which MAF PNG is receiving six over the course of this year. The first one, Mike Alpha India, arrived on February 11 this year, and flew its first mission the very next day facilitating a flight for the German ‘Mission EineWelt’.
“Our Madang based traffic officers were very proud to greet Mike Alpha India on its first operational day and organised a water salute by the Madang fire truck, all to the surprise of pilot Mathias Glass.
“They scheduled the program for the day, starting off with a flight for the German ‘Mission EineWelt’.
“Waiting at Madang, were the German Dr Traugott Farnbacher with his wife Esther and two Madang-based Lutheran pastors. Dr Farnbacher has been a missionary in PNG for many years but for the past 15 years, he has been leading the mission department of 'Mission EineWelt' for PNG/Pacific/EastAsia.
“Dr Farnbacher, with his love for PNG, recruited and supported a number of German pilots during his time of service at the mission’s headquarter, knowing firsthand the need of reliable and safe air transport for their own missionaries and the support of the local churches and even more so, when it comes to medical needs.
“In February, the four were heading to Wasu, a 40-minute flight along the East-coast of Madang (compared to a 14-hour boat ride!). The Lutheran Church runs the Etep Rural Hospital in the Tewai-Siassi district of Morobe, nestling uphill from Wasu airstrip and serving a population of 150,000 people in the area.
“There were two doctors working at Etep Rural Hospital who were both recruited and employed by the German mission and which Dr Farnbacher wanted to personally encourage one more time. This marked Dr Farnbacher's last visit to the area as he was retiring just a couple of months later.
“On the way back, a midwife and another hospital staff member were on board; going to Madang and Lae for administrative business.
“To name one of our aircraft P2-MEW is honouring and acknowledging this valuable partnership between the two organisations, ’Mission EineWelt’ and MAF, to see isolated people physically and spiritually transformed in the Name of Jesus.”