Moving back in
Five years after withdrawing from eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) due to fighting and increasing insecurity, Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) is moving back in.
In September 2002, MAF’s base in Nyankunde was the site of heavy fighting between two tribal factions. An estimated 1200 people died in the fighting. As a result, the mission hospital was shut down, and all other mission work in the area came to a sudden stop. MAF’s base was destroyed, and its equipment looted and personal effects pillaged. In the midst of the conflict, MAF was able to conduct several evacuation flights.
Since then, our team has been operating from a displaced position in Uganda, regularly flying into DRC and bringing vital help.
Pilot Joey Lincoln, along with his wife Suzanne and their baby Brooke, have moved to Bunia, DRC, from where they will set up MAF’s flight-following office. From there, they will facilitate the reconstruction of the former base at Nyankunde.
In 2003 MAF evacuated 2000 people from Bunia during intense fighting between rival militia. Suzanne writes, ‘Bunia is very safe and stable now, and we have seen the Lord’s clear hand leading us as a team and as a family to make this move’.
Eventually, it is hoped that the entire operation can be moved to Nyankunde, but further analysis and construction needs to be done. A second family will join Joey and Suzanne later this year, but initially the rest of the team will remain in Uganda.
In addition to setting up an office in Bunia, Joey will continue to fly the Cessna 206 around eastern DRC. Suzanne shares, ‘This is a major highlight for us as Joey will no longer have to “commute” to Bunia, which has been at least three hours per day. This will enable MAF to serve the people of the DRC so much more effectively’.