Where in the World?
Posted: on July 29, 2013
Story by Paul Beck
“M-A-L-U-A-L-K-O-N,” MAF pilot Adrian Rose patiently spells out over his onboard radio. Personnel at another airstrip had asked him to clarify his flight’s final destination; the location was so remote, the South Sudanese staff based en route at Rumbek weren’t familiar with it.
Missionaries serving with Cush for Christ know exactly where Malualkon is though; the airstrip there is vital for their outreach and discipleship ministry to the community in nearby Parot. “MAF has been our transportation vehicle here,” begins Vince Ward, a tall Canadian in his 30s who leads the team of half a dozen international staff in this agrarian setting that exhibits precious few signs of the industrial revolution. “I can’t imagine coming here by road. In the rainy season, if you drove 12 hours a day, it would take four days from Nairobi in Kenya to reach here. We would have to recover for several days too because the roads are so awful. We’re at the end of the line here,” he surmises.
Cush for Christ serves the Dinka people group that inhabit this semi-arid region of northern South Sudan. They are the descendants of the ancient Cush people mentioned several times in the Old Testament. That link does not mean that the population around Parot are all walking closely with Jesus though. The Cush for Christ team is therefore here to strengthen the existing churches in order to plant new ones by training church elders and deacons, operate a radio station, oversee Scripture Union groups in the government secondary schools and run a local Christian school.
The skills that Cush for Christ teach are designed to be transferable, with those passing the course then equipped to train others in their community. With the participants walking from as far as 50 kilometres away to attend the teaching, there is potential to impact thousands with greater church leadership skills.
There are many stories of lives that have been transformed by the Gospel. “Asunta Agau is brimming with joy as you talk to her about what the Lord has done in her life. She was once a drunk and was practicing Dinka witchcraft. She became a believer through the witness of believers in the church and now is a contagious Christian who speaks of what she knows of the Word to anyone who will listen. Whatever training she receives for her work as a deacon and in teaching preventive health education she is sure to pass it on to others. She is also learning how to read!” Vince shares.
Many of the materials and Bibles that Cush for Christ use are flown in by MAF, as is the kerosene fuel that the team use to cook. “It would take two hours to prepare meals otherwise!” exclaims Natalie Faris, a busy mother on the team who already has her hands full with two children to look after and a third on the way.
Cush for Christ are also grateful for the medical evacuation service that MAF offers. Several years ago, Beth, the wife of a former team leader was suddenly struck with severe vomiting and a worrying bulge protruding from her groin. International doctors diagnosed her with a strangulated bowel and gave her 48 hours to live unless she underwent surgery in a country with better facilities than South Sudan offered at the time. An MAF aircraft was dispatched immediately, ferrying Beth to Kenya where surgeons removed ten inches of gangrenous bowel.
“It’s the quality of MAF’s work that reassures us and the friendships we have with the pilots,” concludes Vince about the flights that Cush for Christ charters several times a year. “We are totally relaxed in their hands. MAF has always been very reliable and dependable,” he adds. Those traits are especially important when trying to get somewhere even a country’s citizens can’t find!
*‘And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.’