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US Pilot Dies Flying COVID Test Kits to Villagers

Joyce Lin is killed in remote Indonesia
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted May 18, 2020 11:40 AM CDT

(Newser) – A pilot in a small plane went down in a remote part of Indonesia last week, and the fatal crash is making headlines in the US. It turns out the pilot, the sole person on the plane, was an American missionary named Joyce Lin who was flying COVID-19 test kits to villagers. Coverage:

  • The crash: The 40-year-old Lin took off in her Kodiak plane from an airport in Sentani on May 12 for the remote village of Mamit in the Papua highlands, reports CNN. About two minutes into the flight, she radioed that she was in trouble and asked to return to the airport, but the tower then lost contact, per Christianity Daily. Lin's plane crashed into Lake Sentani.

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  • Relief flight: Lin was a missionary for the Mission Aviation Fellowship, based in Nampa, Idaho, reports KTVB. She was attempting to fly COVID-19 rapid tests to villagers, along with other supplies.
  • A missionary: Lin, the daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, grew up in Colorado and Maryland, reports the Washington Post. She went to MIT to study computers and seemed all set to settle into a career in IT upon graduation, she says in a YouTube video. But feeling dissatisfied, she joined the missionary group instead, and she spent the last decade working on her pilot skills so she could help isolated communities, per the Post. She became certified to fly solo in March.
  • Unique role: "A lot of times when people think of a missionary, they don't think of what I do," she says in the video, compiled as a tribute after her death. "They don't think of flying a plane or fixing a computer. They think of someone out there evangelizing, and that's just not what we do most of the time." Lin had been in Indonesia for two years and spent part of that time learning the language.
  • Tribute: "She died doing what she loved, serving the people she loved in a place that she loved, that she felt deeply, deeply called to," close friend Christy Geaslen tells the Post. An MAF colleague, Brock Larson, adds: "She was just completely content." Lin is survived by her parents and two sisters, according to a bio on the MAF website.
(Read more missionary stories.)

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