Maman Josée Ibaya

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A few weeks ago we had the privilege of retiring Maman Ibaya. She has worked for MAF for 30 years! Her commitment and hard work has been an inspiration. We are blessed to have known her. Here is Nicks speech he presented at her going away party.


Our Mama. 
Maman Josée Ibaya. 
This name is almost always associated with the MAF in Congo. "You must call Ibaya" is a sentence I hear perpetually. If it is necessary to know the information about a flight in the past, present or future “The only person you need to call is Ibaya. "
Ibaya was hired at MAF on April 14, 1986. She was just a young girl looking for work, but I don’t know if she expected a lifetime at our organization but that is what she recieved. It was the director of the time a Mr Jon Lewis, in 1986, who hired her as a "receptionist, secretary of director, flight follower. "
We were in contact with Jon, and I just wanted share a little bit of what he said.
 “It is a privilege to offer some thoughts on the outstanding contribution of our sister Ibaya. I consider it an honor to have hired Ibaya, because although there are many MAF employees around the world, there are very few who have had the consistent impact that Josée. As she is often the first person seen at the MAF office, it was Ibaya who has been the face of the MAF. And It was a positive face and one that well represented the reputation of the entire organization. Surely when people think of the MAF, they think of Ibaya. " He adds," As Ibaya knows, not all the Congolese staff at MAF have completed their careers, that is why today is very special! Because she has finished well. "
A while after she started with MAF, the girl found a young boy. His name was Mr Lumona Augustin and on December 12 in 1992 they were married at Sims Chapel. Before long she was not only was advancing in her work and with her husband, but soon 2 became 3! The baby Lumona Fideline was born on Oct. 15, 1993. Then she really became Maman! Then, the little Lumona Noella was born on 25 December 1995, and their family was full and filled with joy. We all know that eventually she became not only mama of two, but mama of us all at MAF Kinshasa!
The time continued as it does without stopping, and MAF moved from our office at CBCO towards Kintambo magasin, settling into the ECC in Gombé. It was Tom Howard who was director at that time and his wife Valli also worked in the office with Ibaya. So Mama Ibaya took her life, her belongings and her office and she opened the new MAF office at the ECC in September 1999. It was there she remained faithfully manning her desk until today.
At the ECC she also worked alongside Mr Greg Heller and often his wife Ruth Heller. Greg also, had a few words to share.
 “This is the end of an era! You were the face and voice of the MAF in Kinshasa for as long as we were in Kinshasa. Even in Lubumbashi, we heard your HF radio voice during flights. I did not know to whom the voice belonged, but it was obvious that it was the voice of the "big boss". When I was the program manager in Kinshasa, I appreciated your many years of experience, your good command of the English language, and your thorough knowledge of missionary and expatriate communities. May the LORD lift up his countenance on you and give you peace.”
After the departure of Greg Heller, our Ibaya remained. That's fidelity, is not it? How many missionaries and directors, missionary children, and others has she known?... Only God knows! MAF then transitioned to Garth Pederson a program manager, who is still with us tonight, and who will later share a word. I'm not finished yet! ;-)
Then there was also Ron and Roz Wismer, who could not be silent either.
It is with sadness but with contentment also that we convey our message to Ibaya. The world is constantly changing and despite this we sometimes have difficulty changing ourselves. Since the first day we saw her at CBCO in 1987, we enjoyed her smile and her mind. We did not know at that time how much she would be involved in our lives.” Ron was director from 1995 to 1998. Ron admired and relied heavily on Ibaya in order to arrange the flight schedule. Then as Ron and Roz returned to Kin from 2011 to 2013, they had the blessing to benefit from a little more time with Josée. Ibayas influence in their lives will never be forgotten.

And finally for me. I have the difficult duty, but also the privilege and honor to retire our sister, our maman, our beloved in the Lord, Josée Ibaya. The only thing I can add in relation to what the other directors have already said is that MAF in Kinshasa from today will always have a void. And you, Ibaya, you will also have a void. But what does the Bible teach us? God Himself He creates voids, and I believe that is so that we always bond ourselves to him, and bond ourselves to others. Who must fill these voids? ... it is God Himself.
To help you a little with this void and to remember us by, we wanted to offer you a gift. So that you can continue to arrange the planes and flights as you please ... Here is a small model MAF Cessna Caravan.
Thank you Maman, and may God keep you and guide you.

Mamaa Ibaya in her element :-) We miss you!