One of the things that I have really come to appreciate as a pilot serving with MAF is the clarity of purpose and direction of the organization. (Click this link to read MAF’s mission and values). MAF has partnered with organizations over the years that share the same values and objectives. Soon after we arrived in PNG we learned of a brilliant strategic partnership that is advancing the Gospel to remote locations in a way that could not be imagined by MAF’s founding pilots.
Christian Radio Missionary Fellowship (CRMF) is providing technology that allows MAF to carry a Wi-Fi hub aboard the aircraft fleet in PNG. Each aircraft has a small, battery-powered device that contains .epub and other versions of the Holy Bible in over 200 different PNG languages (Tok Ples). It has movies such as “God’s Story” and “The Jesus Film” which can be downloaded from the Wi-Fi hub in less than 2 minutes each. A variety of music in the Tok Pisin language can also be downloaded. There are a number of apps including daily devotions and Bible studies in a number of languages.
The most amazing thing is that these resources are free to anyone who has a smart-phone or similar device with Wi-Fi capability. There is no charge to the end-user as the resources are provided by donors from around the world. In PNG, the cellular networks are growing rapidly and connecting many hundreds of villages that have been cut-off from access to the rest of the country. Inexpensive smart-phones from Asian manufacturers are becoming more commonplace. We have witnessed first-hand, how the movies, Bible studies and music are enjoyed by many in the community, even those without smart-phones. During our time in Tsendiap, we watched several families crowding around the tiny screen of a smart-phone watching the Jesus Film in their own language after downloading from the tiny Wi-Fi hub that we brought with us for testing.
When an MAF aircraft lands at a remote airstrip, a quick wave to the pilot is all that is needed and the Wi-Fi hub is switched on. A few minutes later, the downloads are completeL all without futher intervention of the pilot. In a few short minutes dozens of downloads can be completed. The Wi-Fi home screen and instructions make the whole process simple, in any language.
The Wi-Fi Bible is quickly gaining in popularity and it is now being tested on some public motor vehicles (PMV’s) which are the mainstay of road travel in PNG. Wherever the Wi-Fi Bible sign is seen, downloads are available for free. With growing success, this resource may become a regular part of MAF’s fleet of aircraft in more and more countries fulfilling MAF’s purpose: to share God’s love through aviation and technology