Following the Frontline 2012 conference, I set an aim of reading a book a month. The test of my success was to write a review. Well, this has been our “book at bedtime” for more than four weeks!
Hope has Wings 50th anniversary edition by Stuart King, published 1993 by Marshall Pickering tells the story of Mission Aviation Fellowship.
The book begins with a dramatic retelling of an air crash that almost finished MAF before it got off the ground. Stuart King and Jack Hemmings were crossing the mountains on their way back to Nairobi when strong down draughts forced the Gemini into a wooded Mountainside. Despite this major setback, and a lack of enthusiasm from the missionaries on the ground, MAF began regular services in 1950 from a base at Malakal in southern Sudan.
Fifty years and many political revolutions later, MAF was regularly ferrying missionaries, medics and government personnel in thirty aircraft across 9 African nations.
Stuart King was personally involved in the operation in its early years, and gives vivid descriptions of the hazards of flying into remote places, including landing on a soft airstrip and flipping the plane on its nose. There are encounters with awkward government officials and seemingly eccentric missionaries.
As Stuart moves to the UK to oversee the growing operation, the story loses some of its personal drama. But all through the book we see the importance of God-given vision married to technical skill and sound business sense. Above all we see the faithful determination of MAF families and the missionaries they serve in difficult circumstances, which has turned the dream of two young RAF pilots into one of the most respected non-govenrmental organisations in the world.
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