Kowanyama is a located to the north west of Mareeba. It is a town on the Gulf of Carpentaria side of the Cape York Peninsula in Far North Queensland, Australia. Out There Kowanyama (OtK – http://outtherekowanyama.org.au/) in their own words “… is a Kowanyama focused, not-for-profit registered charity run completely by volunteers. What we do in Kowanyama has changed as our relationship to the community deepens, as the community itself undergoes change and as OtK grows/matures … We are always looking for opportunities to be some support to other Kowanyama community initiatives or to serve the community. We provide support to the Kowanyama Aboriginal Church, assist in running the Kowanyama Youth Group, work closely with the local school, the aboriginal community controlled health organisation Apunipima and other agencies, have helped the local aboriginal corporation, Kowanyama Playgroup and Kowanyama Women’s Group in various projects. We are open to anything that serves the community’s well-being although our main focus is on children.”
On Good Friday (March 25th), 2016 a couple of the MAF Mareeba pilots-in-training had the opportunity to put some of their skills into practice. While still a training exercise (it was beneficial for the students and fit their programme, as they need to increase their solo hours) David Graf and Jason Robinson who both have their private pilots licenses, did a little more than they would in an average week at the Training Centre, flying in VH-KBN (Cessna 206) and VH-MFQ (Cessna 172). David Jensen who was training for his Instructor rating at the time, also had the opportunity to travel with them.
Armed with Bibles, donated by the Bible Society, three of the volunteers from OtK, Mel, Joel and Elisabeth, were able to make a trip to Kowanyama that would otherwise have been impossible to do during the wet season here in far north Queensland. While the pilots ‘delivered’ them on Good Friday, the three volunteers remained there, working for a week before Jason Robinson returned to bring them home. They had spent their time helping the local Pastor, running Bible studies, a movie night, worship sessions and helping in the community garden which is used to provide fresh vegetables. They also spent time mentoring the young adults that had grown up through the holiday Bible clubs which had been run by OtK over previous years. The group also provided music and took part in a baptismal service on Easter Sunday which was attended by 130 people.
Jason Robinson writes “When I arrived to pick the guys up, Pastor Wayne and his wife Val came down to the airport to personally thank myself and MAF for flying the team out, otherwise it would have been impossible to run the week of mission. They were also very thankful, for the Bibles and for the two David’s for flying them out.
It was a great experience for me (Jason) after all the years of training to undertake my first real flight with passengers and fly somewhere with a purpose and not just a training scenario. It was a great encouragement to me and reminded me that this is what God has called me to do, in service to him, by using aircraft as a tool to serve others and bring help, hope and the great news of the gospel to people in the remotest areas of this world.”
It was all in God’s timing too, as ordinarily a request like this for Mareeba, would not be possible as it would disrupt the training schedule … however on this occasion the pilots were exactly at the right point in their training and able to oblige, gaining a whole heap of experience that would not normally have been accessible to them.