USA (MNN) — Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), a faith-based, non-profit organization that serves missions and isolated people around the world with aviation, communications and learning technologies, is integrating its field operations worldwide under one international umbrella that will function as an operations entity.
The new structure takes effect on January 1, 2008, and combines the field programs of the U.S.-based MAF with the field programs of other MAF entities in Canada, Europe, Australia and South Africa. MAF President Kevin Swanson says, "While we've worked in very close partnership with each other over the years, we have maintained a distinctiveness. Starting on the first of January, 2008, I'm really excited to say that there will be just one MAF out there operating."
The MAF leadership group and board of directors determined that MAF can accomplish more ministry as one organization than each MAF group can by operating independently, reports Swanson. Coordinating, maximizing and sharing financial resources, aircraft and personnel to match increasing needs and opportunities around the world are the goals of the integration.
"When we first began to explore the possibility of uniting efforts with other MAF organizations, the potential benefits quickly became apparent. I do believe this movement is of the Lord, working His sovereign plan of the ages to build His Kingdom. He led us as we deliberated over the benefits and challenges of integrating MAF operations worldwide," said Swanson.
"Each national MAF organization retains its own identity and respective board of directors, even though efforts and resources are combined," he said. "Also, the various MAF groups, including the US-based MAF, will continue to recruit staff as well as develop funding and resources within their home countries. Each will be fully responsible for the use of donor gifts, grants and their outcomes, remaining accountable to donors and foundations as was the previous practice," Swanson explained.
He continues: "This has already happened in Sumatra and Pakistan, where such relief coordination amplified the MAF impact. A faster and more comprehensive response to disasters in these countries was made possible through combined efforts."
However, the groups won't be making all the decisions. "It will now be the international body that will make decisions such as, 'Where do we open a new program? Where do we allocate the resources? Where do we send the new aircraft?' and things like that."
The new structure for field programs will be led by three regional directors: Dave Bochman, Bill Harding and Chris Lukkien. The three directors also serve jointly as acting chief executive officer until the appointment of an international CEO. A search committee has been formed to find the new executive.
Ultimately, Swanson says, "We're going to have more opportunities for fund raising, which hopefully will benefit us with greater financial resources to invest in this work. So I'm confident that we're going to be able to do more and to do it better.'
Founded in the United States in 1945, MAF (www.MAF.org) deploys a fleet of 134 aircraft worldwide to serve in the remotest regions of 53 countries. Some 1,000 Christian and humanitarian organizations in isolated areas depend on MAF to carry out their work. The ministry's pilots fly more than 50,000 flights a year, transporting missionaries, medical personnel, medicines and relief supplies, as well as conducting thousands of emergency medical evacuations. MAF also provides services in learning technologies as well as in telecommunications such as satellite Internet access, high-frequency radios, electronic mail and other wireless systems,