FAREWELL FOR THE LITTLE FAMILY
On 1st May, witnessed by many of the Mt Hagen HQ and Base staff, Andy Little flew his last flight into Mt Hagen as a Checking pilot in order to do Michael Dupuis’ bi-annual line check on the Cessna Caravan. That flight marked the end of about 5.5 years with MAF PNG for the Little family. We’ve seen the Littles arriving in PNG in December 2011 as a family of 3; and now we sent them off as a family of 5.
Two days later a farewell afternoon tea was held at the Base for the Littles to send them off with thankfulness and our blessings. Many people shared why we are going to miss the Littles – not only are we losing a pilot, we are losing a family who ministered to many people by their smiles and gentleness and willingness to go the extra mile.
However, this doesn’t mean that the Littles are leaving MAF. Not at all! They’ll transfer to the Aviation Training Centre, Mareeba, where Andy initially starts working as pilot instructor, but with the aim soon to take over the position of Chief Flight Instructor.
Reflections and Encouragements
For Mif, the journey with MAF was and still isn’t an easy one. But it is definitely one that God is directing. As she reflects on the past and is looking to the future she wants to share some of her thoughts, especially addressing the ladies within MAF:
“I want to thank all of you because you have been a part of this season of our journey and I have learnt much from you. I have learnt about hospitality, cooking tips, grace, forgiveness, stress, being a part of a team and looking after each other. I have learnt how important these things are for being a part of a community. When we came from Melbourne and were sent to Kawito it was beyond anything I had experienced before and it was such a different way of life and I have learnt many lessons from that. So it has been a struggle to readjust my expectations to the thinking that I will be moving on from PNG back to Australia and it is disappointing. Disappointing to not be ‘on the front line’ and seeing the difference every day. But I know God has a plan.
The verse that has particularly resonated with me these last few months has been Proverbs 3:5-6 which says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths.” The part about ‘lean not on your own understanding’ rings true. Because I can see there are needs here and important work to do and everybody is stretched to the limit and I had thought we would stay many years. Yet I know there are needs elsewhere and MAF International have said it is more important to get the training school running and in line with MAF’s vision and that is the role they have seen us fit to do. I have wrestled with this because the need here is immediate but I can see how this role will hopefully multiply the efforts here. God has been helping me to readjust my expectations and he has been so faithful in affirming this decision in many ways. I’m so glad we are still going to be a part of the same team working for the same goals of spreading Christ’s love to remote peoples and I’m starting to look forward to this change.
I’m so thankful that you all have been in our lives and for your faithful examples of Christ’s love you have been to me and for all the things I have learnt from you. I want to encourage you to press on in Christ and that while we don’t understand why God does some things the way He does, He will make straight our paths and we must trust in Him as Proverbs 3 says.“
Flights to Remember
Paul Woodington spent Andy’s last week flying ICUS (In Command under Supervison) with him in the Caravan. “It was very special as we were able to overnight in Kawito where Andy was able to enjoy the place again and say goodbye to so many friends he made over the last five years. The program ended up with a wide typical range of flying. Andy was able to sell all the Bibles in his Bible box, we flew a medevac of a very sick and old frail man to Tari, and we took missionaries as well.
One day we flew right up until last light flying a body charter. A young man had been hit by a huge logging tractor at Sasereme and the community called MAF Kawito base for a medevac. However, by the time Andy and I got there it was then a body charter. We took the body with the father and other family members to Daru hospital, several of which were policemen.“
“A week later,“ Paul continues, “I had my first C208 solo flight and flew to Kawito. A double body charter out of Daru was part of the program. Over the weekend, the grief stricken father had a heart attack and died in Daru. I flew both bodies together back to Kawito, their final resting place. At Kawito there were many policemen in full uniform and the whole community came to pay their last respects. A very sad day.“
Photos Emma McGeorge, Mandy Glass, Paul Woodington
June 1, 2017 / png_comms1 / 0