Hi Refuge family,
There have been some changes in the specifics of what we are doing with MAF that we would like to share with you all. At the end of last year there were some changes in the Arnhem Land program (which included having an excess of pilots to be trained and checked off) which resulted in us being asked to serve temporarily in Mareeba this year. Hans is now an instructor here at the Flight Training Centre (FTC)—more on the FTC later. More recently, we agreed to stay in Mareeba for an extended time of 2 years. This came about after Hans had a meeting with the Aviation Director for MAF, who explained that MAF have a real need for pilots who are also trained instructors, who can then become check and training pilots. Check and training pilots are required in all of aviation to train pilots up to the safety standard, check pilots off, and authorise them to fly.
After seeking advice in prayer and mentorship, from both our supporters and MAF itself, we made the decision that we could best serve MAF with the qualifications we possess by staying here for a longer period. Throughout this time we felt we had to lay down the desire to be in Arnhem Land; and we realised that God had placed us in Mareeba for this season for a reason. The outcome of the extended time in Mareeba will result in Hans being trained to be a check and training pilot, and gaining more experience as an instructor. This will, in turn, enable Hans to plug into any MAF program in the future with the valuable experience he will gain here over the next couple of years. We don't fully know what the future holds after that, but we are trusting God sees the bigger picture.
So, more about Mareeba. The MAF base in Mareeba has a few main purposes. Firstly, they supply engineers to maintain the aeroplanes in the Asia Pacific programs, such as Bangladesh and Timor Leste. Secondly, the Flight Training Centre (FTC), where Hans works, trains people mainly to be MAF pilots. Mareeba is also a support base for the Asia Pacific programs, offering other support as well. The FTC itself is fairly young and developing, and one thing we have begun to incorporate into the program is regional outreach: supporting very remote and struggling churches; and potentially aboriginal communities. For example, Hans recently returned from a safari flying two ladies around the Torres Straight Islands encouraging the churches there. The FTC are also heading to a very remote town this weekend to support a tiny church of only three people by serving them and their community for the weekend. In addition to all of this, the flight instructors here who are check and training pilots will be lending out their services to other programs in the region, for instance Arnhem Land and Timor Leste. They will possibly travel to these programs for a few weeks, a couple of times a year, to check and train the pilots that are in the programs there.
So, as you can see, the job here is quite diverse!