Pandemic restrictions mean family cannot attend Joyce Lin funeral

Indonesia (MNN) — A U.S. family is mourning the loss of their daughter and sister from a distance today. Forty-year-old missionary pilot Joyce Lin died in a plane crash Tuesday morning. She was trying to bring COVID-19 tests and school supplies to a remote Indonesian village.

The cause of the accident is still unknown. Lin radioed for help two minutes after takeoff; an Indonesian Search and Rescue team later found Joyce and her plane in Lake Sentani, not far from the airstrip.

Lin is survived by her parents and two sisters. “Because of the travel restrictions that are in place, they’re unable to travel over to Indonesia at this time to be there in-person for Joyce’s funeral. That’s really difficult,” Mission Aviation Fellowship president David Holsten says.

“Joyce’s family has a beautiful testimony; they have a deep walk with the Lord, and His grace and mercy is clearly sustaining them during this time. They have been an absolute joy for us to work with.”

Joyce Lin: a life worth remembering

joyce lin, maf

MAF pilot Joyce Lin celebrating with her teammates at the Sentani airport in Papua, Indonesia, after her first solo flight.
(Photo, caption courtesy of Mission Aviation Fellowship)

Prayer letters posted in October, December, and last month reflect Lin’s passion for what the Lord called her to do. In April’s letter, Lin expressed great excitement regarding the newest chapter of her adventure:

“I completed the initial phase of pilot training and I was signed off to fly cargo and passengers on my own. A new pilot’s first flight without an instructor is called the “solo.” … For me, the solo was a culmination of a 10-year journey to become a missionary pilot. SO many people have helped me over the span of a decade to reach this point, and I am so thankful!”

A memorial article posted here chronicles Lin’s journey from the U.S. Air Force and private-sector employment to MAF and the Indonesian mission field.

“We find ourselves in this place of tension between real grief and sadness at the loss of our sister, Joyce, but at the same time, we are experiencing joy as we reflect on the life that she lived,” Holsten says.

“She was very faithful in her service to the Lord and in the way that she interacted with others… [her life] is really a gift to those of us who remain and is a great source of comfort.”

How to help

This missionary’s God-honoring legacy doesn’t negate her family’s loss. Ask the Lord to comfort Lin’s parents and teammates.

joyce lin memorial

Villagers in Mamit leave notes for MAF pilot Joyce Lin.
(Photo, caption courtesy of MAF)

“There’s never a good time to experience something like this, but of all the times – with what’s going on now (the pandemic) – our hearts were just honestly crying out to the Lord; you know, ‘Lord, we don’t know how much more of this we can take’,” Holsten admits.

“Joyce was loved by her teammates. She was loved by those who were served by her, the different villages that she flew into. You could tell there was a depth of relationship that really went beyond just the few short years that she had served with us.”

In lieu of flowers, consider giving to the Joyce Lin Memorial Fund, which will enable MAF to train Indonesian national staff in more technically advanced skills like maintaining and flying aircraft. MAF will inform the family of any donations made to the memorial fund.

Header image courtesy of Debbie Klynstra via MAF.

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