WE RUN, THEY FLEW, YOU PRAYED
In Kompiam, November was MAF Marathon month. For students of Kompiam International School, the airstrip never looked so long or so steep, and our appreciation of MAF has never been so deep as it is now.
Kompiam is a remote out-station in Enga Province, PNG, and the home of Kompiam District Hospital. This hospital services a district of about 60,000 people living far and wide in villages nestled among the rugged mountains of this Highlands Region. Kompiam International School (KIS) is a small school that supports the function of the Hospital by providing a satisfactory standard of education for the children of hospital staff and some members of the community.
MAF has served the Highlands of PNG for more than 60 years. Over the years they have flown people without number here and there, evacuated the sick and injured for life-saving treatment, transported produce for needed economic development, and ministered the love of God through distribution of Bibles and personally sharing the Good News. What would we have done without them?
So, when the Conwell family, who have lived and worked in Kompiam for the past two years, came up with the idea of running a marathon to help raise awareness of MAF’s challenging and indispensible role in the world, Kompiam International School got on board. The idea was to run the length of the airstrip and back (ie. 1 mile) each day for 26 days in the month of November, which adds up to a marathon (26 miles). It was hoped that this would be a catalyst for much needed prayer support as people around the world would be provided with prayer points and be stimulated to pray as the marathon was run, mile by mile.
“Was it fun?” the students of KIS were asked. In reply, there were a lot of “No’s”, a “Sometimes”, but McGween (16) summed it up when she said, “At the beginning it was fun, but it got harder as the days went on.”
The students have all done so well to keep at it consistently every day (except some Sundays) for the month. As you can imagine, the novelty wore off quickly and then it became a matter of sheer determination to not give up.
“It helped us to remember MAF and know what it is like for them when it gets hard,” mused Chelsea (10). This became an important lesson for all of us. There must be many days when MAF pilots and support staff alike lack motivation to keep doing what they do, but out of determination they faithfully meet the demands of the day.
Apart from the “hot days” and “stitches”, which were some of the negatives identified by Kondy (10) and Nicholas (8) respectively, McGween noted that sometimes by-standers would tease and make fun of the runners as they made their way down the airstrip yet again. It made us realise that often people don’t understand the reasons why we do things or they have different values that cause them to question our priorities. This was a character-building opportunity for the students as not one of them chose to pull out because of this. We came to value each other more and appreciate the support we gave each other, even when this support was lacking from others around us.
In some way, we hope that doing this marathon has demonstrated a measure of support and appreciation for MAF, even among many others around that may be tempted to laugh or sneer at the work they do, whether out of ignorance or different loves.
But it wasn’t all bad. The ‘best things’ about the experience were forthcoming – “good exercise” (McGween) and “getting fit” (Phoenix 12); “selling things” (Kondy) like “Muffins” (Nicholas) and the “2nd hand sale” (McGween) which was to raise some money to give to MAF.
Kondy stated that she was looking forward to the end, a sentiment that reflected how many of the students were feeling. It forms a challenge for all of us really, not merely a wishing away of a difficulty, but an acknowledgement that the end is what gives our present difficulties focus and meaning.
May we all, MAF included, be encouraged to press on toward the goal, the end-point of what God has placed in our hands to do, so to eventually hear His precious voice, “Well done, my good and faithful servants.”
By Karina Mills and the students of Kompiam International School.
Photos Russel Conwell, Mandy Glass
December 7, 2014 / png_comms1 / 0
Categories: Kompiam MAF Marathon