American Christian Missionary Joyce Lin Dies in Plane Crash Delivering Coronavirus Aid in Indonesia

Joyce Lin

A 40-year-old American missionary from Maryland, Kodiak pilot, and IT specialist for Idaho-based Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), Joyce Lin, died in a plane crash on Tuesday delivering COVID-19 supplies to a remote village in Indonesia.

She was transporting rapid test kits, food, and school supplies to a village in Papua. MAF spokesman Brad Hoagland said, she took off from Sentani International Airport at 6:27 a.m. and made a call two minutes later. According to local police, a search-and-rescue team found her Kodiak 100 airplane crashed into nearby Lake Sentani and discovered her body from about 40 feet under the water.

A Papua police spokesman, Ahmad Musthofa Kamal, said Lin seemed to have technical problems two minutes after takeoff. She sent out a call and requested a return to the airport but the control tower lost contact with her.

Lin was an experienced pilot and a certified instructor. David Holsten, president of MAF said, "Our hearts are broken as we grieve her death, but we are also encouraged knowing that she gave her life to work that she absolutely loved doing."

He added, "Joyce embodied so much of what we love to see in MAF staff. She was following a call from God to serve others. Joyce was invested in the local culture and maintained a deep connection to her family, friends, and supporters around the world. She was professional in her IT work and in her flying, and well-loved by those she served."

She joined the Christian ministry after earning two degrees in engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Then she earned her Master of Divinity degree at Gorden-Conwell Theological Seminary.

Keith Doyle, who works in the IT department at Gordon-Conwell said "She was a very competent pilot, top class. She had a lot of joy about her. She had a lot of joy about her. She was quiet, but very thoughtful and very methodical. She was a brilliant engineer and you could see that in her thinking. There was never any rashness or impulsiveness."

Lin is quoted as saying in her online memorial, "I am privileged to be serving the many churches and missionaries in Papua who continue to reach out to isolated villages so that people can be both physically and spiritually transformed."