Our Odyssey

A Little About Our Odyssey

12 Step Program To Becoming a Missionary Pilot Family:

  1. Be slightly crazy
  2. Have faith God wants you to use your passion to serve Him and benefit others 
  3. Quit your job
  4. Sell as much stuff as possible
  5. Move from Pullman, WA to Portland, OR to start aviation maintenance technician (AMT) school
  6. Learn that you still have a lot to learn
  7. Get a part time job while in school and practice serving others 
  8. Graduate from AMT school two years later
  9. Choose a mission agency and find out the country of service  
  10. Raise a large team of financial and prayer supporters 
  11. Move to the country where you will be serving and spend several months with a tutor learning the language
  12. Assimilate into the culture and start the actual mission work as a pilot 
Photo of MAF Medical Evacuation Flight

You're may be wondering why so many steps. The main reason was an educational one.
Though as a commercial pilot, Joe had some of the qualifications required of a missionary pilot, he still needed to obtain what is known as an A&P. "A" stands for airframe and "P" stands for powerplant (AKA an engine). An aviation maintenance technician (AMT) commonly holds both of these certificates. A&P certificates are certificates issued by the FAA that says the holder is allowed to make repairs and inspection of airplanes, and is authorized to sign off that they are airworthy after a repair is made. The reason that this is a requirement for a missionary pilot is because the remoteness of the areas of operation of missionary aviation necessitate that the pilot be able to maintain and repair his or her own aircraft.

All this meant a geographic move for our family to Portland to participate in a FAA approved school for AMTs, at Portland Community College (PCC).

In July 2017, we joined Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) and received an assignment to Lesotho in Southern Africa. We spent several months secruing pledges of financial support and more importantly, prayer support from people who feel called to partner with us in this mission. In early 2018, we underwent several months of training at MAF that included standardization training for maintenance and flight, as well as cultural assimilation training. We arrived in Maseru, Lesotho in June of 2018, where we now live.

Our primary task in the early months of our time in Lesotho was language learning with a tutor to learn Sesotho. At the same time, our family began the process of assimilating into the culture, a process that will take years, as will continuing to learn language. On some days, Joe works on inspection and maintenance of MAF aircraft. Soon he will also be flying on some days. Currently he is in the process of being "checked out" (receiving training on special procedures for landing and taking off at the many challenging mountain airstrips) and when that is finished, he will be cleared to fly solo, engaging as a pilot in the life-saving work that MAF does in Lesotho.

And that's why we're describing it as an odyssey.

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