Group photo of Selah holding a toddler, Jesslyn and Richard and Bernadette Axon
Photo by Mandy Glass

A grateful mum named her son after the MAF pilot who flew her to hospital when she had pregnancy complications. In a joyful reunion, they caught up with the wife of pilot Richie.

Story by Mandy Glass

There’s a reason this thriving little boy in the highlands of Papua New Guinea was given the name Richard. It’s a constant reminder of the MAF pilot who flew his mother to hospital when she was having difficulties in childbirth.

Six years on from that dramatic medevac, mum Jesslyn and young Richard caught up with Bernadette Axon, wife of pilot Richie Axon, at a Christian women’s conference.

Your slogan “Flying for Life” at MAF stands for sick people, for women facing birthing difficulties. Your planes come and rescue our people in need at the different places to save them.
Selah, 'was meri' from Eliptamin

Also part of the joyful reunion was Selah, a volunteer ‘was-mama’ who cares for people receiving medical attention, especially supporting women giving birth.

“Not long after we arrived in Telefomin six and a half years ago, Richie did a medevac for Jesslyn who was having trouble in childbirth, and Selah came along as her helper to look after her while she was in hospital,” Bernadette said.

“Richie brought them from Eliptamin to Telefomin and Jesslyn was able to safely deliver her baby boy, whom she named after Richie to honour the pilot who had saved his life.”

This medevac for Jesslyn was one of the 230 medevacs our MAF planes and pilots flew in 2017.

“Your work, your slogan ‘Flying for Life’ at MAF, stands for sick people, for women like her facing birthing difficulties across the Min area, and your planes come and rescue our people in need at the different places to save them,” Selah said, who has been on many life-saving MAF flights.

The unexpected catch-up happened at the Min Baptist Union Women’s Association Conference at Eliptamin.

“One of the highlights of the conference for me was meeting up with Selah, Jesslyn and Richard,” Bernadette said.

“We often wonder what happens to the people who we help, and it was exciting to see a healthy six-year-old boy and his mother that are alive because Richie was able to help them.

“Selah shared many similar stories of ladies with difficulty in childbirth whose lives had been saved by a MAF medevac, and we are thankful for the opportunity to help these mothers and their babies.”

L-R: Selah with a toddler, Jesslyn with Richard and two of her other children, Bernadette Axon