The Simeon Society: David Tester

Tuesday, 13th November 2012

The Simeon Society was delighted to welcome David Tester, a volunteer for Mission Aviation Fellowship. MAF is a charity that aims to serve other organisations by providing access by plane to areas that would otherwise be hard to reach; one preacher in Tanzania, for example, was able to reduce a four and a half hour trek to reach one village to just six minutes in a plane. A fleet of 130 light aircraft, flown and supported by around 1200 staff, allow access to countries such as Papua New Guinea, Sudan and Liberia, as well as 22 other nations, (with over 2,500 destinations in total) to provide humanitarian aid, deliver medical and building supplies, respond to emergencies and natural disasters, and spread the Christian Gospel to people who would otherwise never have had a chance to hear it, following the call to spread the word of Christ “to the ends of the earth.”

On average, a MAF aeroplane takes off or lands every three minutes, and this on some of the most inhospitable airstrips in the world – they may be built into steep hillsides, hacked out of dense jungle or simply right in the middle of a dense group of the villages they service. 529 lives were saved through the charity’s work last year in Papua New Guinea alone. In north Tanzania, largely through the work of MAF, Christianity was brought to the Masai tribe, allowing a group that had previously not been exposed to the Gospel to have a chance to assess it for themselves. As a result of this, since 1985, the number of Masai Christians has gone from none to over 3,500.

Many in the audience had not heard of Mission Aviation Fellowship before, but Mr Tester gave an eye-opening and interesting talk that provided fascinating insight into a charity which has managed to achieve significant success and improve the lives of thousands without stepping into the limelight. The meeting, as ever, was concluded with drinks and brownies.

Mark Austen (WFM)