IT Fits, IT Works, It’s IT (Arnhem Land)

Posted: on August 9, 2017

MAF is well known for flying because that is the bread and butter of the organisation. However behind the scenes is a long list of skilled people who have made sacrifices to see the vision of MAF fulfilled. These people are pilots, engineers, managers, HR personnel, office staff, builders, IT support personnel and much more. Each person in these roles has a very important place in the bigger picture and vision of MAF.

Without IT (Information Technology) support staff, MAF’s operations would come to a standstill because so much these days is build on a fully functioning and reliable IT system. “It’s the infrastructure behind the scenes, that many are unaware off. These are the tools of the digital world that make things work and it’s a privilege to be part of a larger team that makes sure the goals of the Arnhem Land program can be achieved through Technological tools” – Nevin Urey Arnhem Land IT Support

Within MAF the focus on Technology fits into two different categories internal IT Support and Technology Services. The Arnhem Land program is a good example of how the two of these focus areas go hand in hand. The role of the IT Support person is to help manage the phone, email, network, and hardware systems that the entire team use to complete everyday activities. This means keeping a close eye on making sure systems are updated, running, backed up and when things are broken, replacements are put in place or work around solutions are setup. In Arnhem Land it is not unknown for things to go wrong such as the Internet going offline or a power cut occurs or rodents eating through cabling. Also with the addition of the Electronic Flight Bags (EFB) to the pilot’s set of standard operating gear, this has meant an EFB administrator is required to be in place. This person works alongside the IT Support person to make sure all the iPads are up to date and reliable for use in flight. The IT Support team in both Cairns (Australia) and Ashford (UK) back up the small team in Arnhem Land by offering advanced support in all areas.

To understand the focus of Technology Services, one needs to take a step back in time to the year 2000. Within MAF worldwide a ministry called Learning Technologies (MAFLT) had started to be birthed. The first project was establishing a set of Bible Study resources for Russian pastors. Amazingly, by 2009 MAF LT operated in 18 countries, serving 46 ministries.

Early in 2010 with the introduction of Campbell Smythe (MAF Cairns – IT Support), MAFI Asia Pacific started to take on board the MAF Learning Technologies focus. Campbell was passionate about growing the ministry throughout MAF in Asia Pacific. At the same time Brett and Michelle Nel serving in Arnhem Land saw the need for resourcing people with God’s Word in media format but didn’t have the time or man power to do so. Across in Papua New Guinea the CRMF team were also connecting with the MAFLT US model and looking into how they could use technology to expand God’s Kingdom in Papua New Guinea. (Today in 2017, Technology Services known as CRMF in PNG is flourishing)

In 2011 Peter and Tiina Higham arrived into Arnhem Land with the encouragement by Campbell Smythe and Brett Nel to work on a 3-month project before transitioning to PNG. This project was called Manymak Dhäwu (Good News). After three months, God had other ideas and so the Highams stayed on and since 2011 Technology Services* has had a prominent place in Arnhem Land. (* MAFI changed the name from Learning Technologies to Technology Services in 2013)

Stepping back into 2017, it is clear that MAF Arnhem Land program values the ministry enabled by aviation and technology services because as a team there is a strong belief that both can be used to transform communities. By applying technical understanding and skills, barriers that hinder advancement in isolated areas in the spheres of education, communication, community development and the Gospel can be removed.

To give a better idea and picture on what Technology Services has meant for a program like Arnhem Land, listed are some tools and projects that have been tried and tested in an Aboriginal Ministry context. Some have worked very well, others have not but that is what it takes these days in ministry to find the niche.


It is clear from these few examples that the Technology has been able to be used as a tool to spread the Word of God in Arnhem Land. God’s Word has the potential to bring explosive transformation in the lives of individuals and communities. And so the program can say with confidence that:

NOTE: To view a picture album of Technology Services images, click on this link below:

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