The Co-pilot team is standing at the top of Rondon Ridge looking over Mount Hagen
Tajs Jespersen

The MAF youth team from Denmark visited PNG and got a taste of both the challenges and the unique beauties and culture the country has to offer.

Story by Tajs Jespersen

The team called “MAF Co-Pilot,” had come to PNG to experience the work of MAF and to meet the people of PNG. The experiences that would come their way, would not be forgotten by the eleven participants.

What is MAF Co-Pilot?
MAF Co-Pilot is a network consisting of young people, standing together to reach the isolated people of the world.
Right now the Co-Pilot programme exists in MAF Norway, MAF Denmark and MAF Sweden, but more countries are starting their own Co-Pilot.
Each country facilitates youth events to learn about the work of MAF and some of them plan trips to MAF Programmes to experience mission work.

After a long journey to Mount Hagen, with long delays on the way, they went straight from the airport to the village of Ialibu in Southern Highlands Province, where a surprise was waiting for them.

We got off the bus and there were hundreds of people drumming, singing, welcoming us in their own way with beautiful dresses,” said another of the participants, Nathali Bak

Ialibu Community singing traditional welcoming songs for the Co-pilot team
Tajs Jespersen
Ialibu Community performing a "singsing" for the Co-Pilot team.

The community had prepared a traditional pig mumu (Burying food with hot stones in the ground) for the visitors. Their welcome was something special for the team.

“My personal highlight of this trip would be the visit to Ialibu Village. It was definitely something that I could not have expected. It was a cultural shock because everything was just so different and they just greeted us with such love,” said Lara Lystgaard Pihl who was the travel leader for MAF Co-Pilot.

We've really got to experience how important it is that MAF is in PNG
Lara Lystgaard Pihl

For Jonatan Ekberg, one of the participants, traveling to a traditional haus kunai (Grass hut) to spend the night was both nerve racking and inspiring.

Traveling in the dark and walking in mud, with puddles going up to your knees, all in the dark while you don't know how far you are going, the guy just said, ‘we are soon there’ and then we continued on for like half an hour,” said Jonatan. “It was quite something, but really amazing. Seeing how happy they were just to have us, they caught some fish and showed their gratitude towards us.”

Ialibu Community preparing a traditional mumu.
Tajs Jespersen
Ialibu Community preparing a traditional pig mumu

This love towards strangers is one of the things Jonatan will take home with him from the trip.

“They showed all of this gratitude towards us because some other Danish people a long time ago had shown them Jesus,” said Jonatan. “They would say ‘we brought them Jesus,’ but we didn't. It was somebody else. It just meant so much to them.”

Part of the visit to PNG was spent helping out at the MAF headquarters in Mount Hagen. To Lara, this was what impressed her the most.

“We've really got to experience how important it is that MAF is in PNG, because there's such a need for people who can go to the remote places,” said Lara. “We heard about their work and we saw them in action working on the planes. I really learned how well organised and how professional MAF is as an organisation.”

Some of the Co-Pilot's working at MAF Headquarters, Mount Hagen
Tajs Jespersen
Co-Pilots working at the MAF headquarters, Mount Hagen

As Nathali reflected on the visit to Ialibu village and the importance of bringing Jesus to isolated people, she had a message about MAF’s work.

“I think that is the work that MAF is doing. They are bringing Jesus to isolated people and they are making it possible for us to dance together with Jesus in heaven,” she said.