As someone with a long-standing interest in both aircraft and world mission, this book had immediate appeal to me! But you don’t have to be an aviation nerd to enjoy it.
Above and Beyond is a very well-produced coffee table style book that traces the story of Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) from its origins during the Second World War up to the present day. The chapters focus on the successive decades of MAF’s development, and within them we read the stories of pioneering MAF pilots, the missionaries they carried, and the peoples they served.
Interspersed are profiles, with photos, diagrams, and fact boxes, of the aircraft that have been part of MAF’s fleet over the years. Also included are fascinating overviews of many countries where MAF has operated, such as the war-torn and famine-stricken nations of South Sudan and the DRC, Papua New Guinea with its remote jungle communities, and Arnhem Land in Australia’s Northern Territory.
Other sections feature accounts of MAF’s involvement in disaster response operations in the wake of earthquakes, the Boxing Day tsunami, or the Rwandan genocide. The book is illustrated throughout with wonderful and beautiful photographs from past and present.
MAF’s work stretches beyond flying missionaries, pastors, and evangelists, to include support for humanitarian organisations and NGOs. But its Christian foundation and ethos is presented clearly in the book. A lovely double-page spread explains the place of prayer in MAF’s ministry, and tells of the omnipotent, omniscient, and loving God to whom we pray.
While it is not a book of theology, it does set MAF’s important practical mission firmly in the context of serving God, loving the world, and supporting the church in its fulfilment of Christ’s Great Commission.