International (MNN) — When you think of a missionary, you may think of someone who majored in Biblical Studies or Missions during their undergrad years, maybe attended seminary, and is now planting churches and evangelizing others for Christ overseas. This can be an accurate depiction, but it’s not the only kind of missionary needed for the spread of the Gospel.
If you are a pilot, mechanic, teacher (elementary ed or high school), IT professional, or business administrator, Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) would love to talk to you about how you can join their ministry!
Ron Hilbrands, MAF’s Manager of Mobilization, explains a bit more about Mission Aviation Fellowship:
“MAF has worked with disaster relief, with the poor, we do a lot of medical relief flying, so we’re serving people that are physically in need. We also work alongside Bible translators and missionaries reaching people in remote areas that don’t have the Word of God. MAF flights allow kingdom workers to labor and stay in those remote places by bringing supplies, mail, medicines, and flying them where they need to go. So many people in the world are isolated, but ‘isolated’ doesn’t just mean in the jungles. Communities can be isolated by violence and political situations and religious barriers, not just geography.”
Really, MAF is all about serving in a support role for missions worldwide. And that often looks like coming alongside other ministries and being their hands, feet, and often wings!
“We work alongside a lot of different missions organizations that bring the Gospel into the most remote and isolated places,” says Hilbrands. “More recently, we’ve been able to go into closed countries with a certain technical expertise that allows us to be the hands and feet of Jesus.”
So what exactly would serving with MAF look like?
Hilbrands breaks it down: “MAF has always been known as an aviation organization. We’ve been doing that for 70 years and we continue to do that, using the airplane to go into areas that can be very inaccessible, in countries that don’t have a strong infrastructure. So we’re always looking for pilots and aircraft mechanics, which is really the backbone of MAF’s ministry.
“But along with that, we’re looking for IT professionals — people that have strong abilities in system administration, network administration, application developers, field IT support specialists, people that can work on computers overseas in the field in remote places.”
In addition to those more technical roles, MAF’s need for teachers serves a very important aspect for missionary families in the field.
“As we live in remote areas, we often need school teachers to meet the needs of our staff. For missionary parents, the education of their kids is very important. So if we want to keep staff overseas and on the field, we have to make sure that we take care of the kids. We’re constantly looking for school teachers, primarily elementary ed, but some high school teachers as well,” says Hilbrands.
“MAF also looks for administrators – people that can take care of the logistics and administrative functions that we have as an organization on the field.”
There are several different aviation ministries in the missions world. So what makes serving with Mission Aviation Fellowship different?
“Mission Aviation Fellowship is probably the largest, but our uniqueness is that we serve all kinds of different mission organizations. Most other aviation groups support just their own mission. So if their mission decides to leave the country, then the aviation part of their mission would go with them. MAF is not affiliated with any denomination or mission, but is an independent ministry. So we’re able to support a lot of the other missions in the field. In one place we might be serving hospitals and local churches and development groups. In another country, it would be a completely different set of organizations.”
Hilbrands shares, “One of the reasons I joined MAF was because of the diversity of ministry it had around the world. We setup our programs to meet the unique needs of the people that we serve, so each program and each location can look very different.”
At the heart of Mission Aviation Fellowship’s work with airplanes and educators, administration and aid relief, is really the message of the Gospel.
“I think of Indonesia when the tsunami hit, when the earthquake struck in Haiti, when the earthquake hit Nepal, and we were able to immediately go in and start operating, serving as a first responder to the meet needs of people who are suffering.”
Hilbrands speaks from personal experience, “I’ve been to couple of those disasters. I was actually able to [respond to] the Haiti earthquake and also in Nepal, and to see people responding to the Gospel because of their physical needs being met. Their hearts are open to the Gospel perhaps for the first time because of the response of groups like MAF…. Those are probably the most exciting times for me as I look at how the Gospel can impact people that are especially hurting and suffering, and it gives them hope really for the first time.”
If you’d like to learn more about serving with Mission Aviation Fellowship, and what specific roles they need to fill, check out their website here!
Once you reach out to MAF, they’ll start communicating with you to see if you’d be a good fit for their mission work. “We have staff in different parts of the country that visit schools and meet with people who might be interested. We can help folks determine how to best use their gifts to serve Christ, whether that’s with MAF or in another role.”
Even if you don’t have any of the skillsets they’re looking for, or really just feel moved to pray, please lift up Mission Aviation Fellowship in your quiet time with the Lord.
Hilbrands shares this prayer request: “It’s always a battle to get visa paperwork and importation paperwork completed. This can make it difficult for our staff to get overseas. I think this is a spiritual battle as we have people and airplanes waiting to get into a country and begin serving the Lord, but are instead stuck waiting for paperwork. Please pray about this.”