Advocate Summit 2018 Resources

If you were unable to attend Advocate Summit 2018, please click HERE to access resources shared with the attendees.  These are PowerPoint presentations, printed materials and other resources from the speakers. We are working on getting the videos of each speaker edited.

For Advocate Summit 2018, we asked MAF-US field staff from around the world to share their “why”.  Why do they serve with MAF? Why do they stay in the most isolated places on earth to serve?  Those videos can be viewed below.

Why Videos

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Chance Encounter on Sinful Sunday

Chance Encounter on Sinful Sunday
How a rainy afternoon on a Kentucky airstrip reminded me that God is still in control.

As I write this, it’s been 10 days since the end of the annual Advocates Summit that took place at MAF Headquarters in Nampa.

It’s been 10 days since I’ve had Dutch Brothers coffee – an Idaho staple – and advocate Paul Pfluger convinced me to drink the caffeine-infused “Annihilator.” I’m STILL climbing the walls and chewing small pieces of bark, by the way.

It’s been 10 days since I ambushed Gene Jordan with a camera in the MAF chapel and snapped a surprise selfie. As I walked away, savoring how the camera captured the surprised look on Gene’s face, Gene may have said something like, “That better not end up on Facebook!” I posted it anyway.

It’s been 10 days since I told advocate Craig Talsma that he HAS to start listening to Dr. Albert Mohler’s “The Briefing” on a daily basis because it’s one of the coolest podcasts out there. (It’s been TWO days since he admitted I was right, by the way.)

And it’s been 10 days since Mike Snodgrass challenged us all by asking why we’re doing any of this, to begin with.

————————————-

“What’s your Why?”

That was the theme of this year’s Summit, and as the two days went by (three if you count the fried chicken dinner we had on Wednesday night), we heard from people on-site at MAF US Headquarters in Nampa, Idaho, and from missionary families – live and recorded – out in the field. From Jeremy and Jodie Toews, Brad and Rebecca Hopkins and Kayla Harder in Kalimantan, to Daniel and Kacy Bristol in Papua, to Chad and Jamie Dimon in Nyankunde, they opened their hearts and shared the reasons that drove them to the uttermost ends of the earth.

Some responses were heartwarming. Others were convicting. Others were humorous.

Some answers came unexpected and unbidden. On Thursday, when two dismantled Cessna 185s arrived at MAF Headquarters (they had been shipped from Kalimantan, Indonesia, several weeks earlier), Larry Whiting became unexpectedly emotional when he remembered one of the reasons he spent roughly 30 years of flying in Indonesia: namely a boy he watched grow up into a man who chose to follow Christ in Kalimantan.

“The guys in the village he went to tried to kill him on more than one occasion,” Whiting said, his voice cracking and his eyes tearing up. “He’s now retired, but he loves evangelism so much he’s moved upstream to another village and he’s working today there.”

So what was MY why?

Full disclosure: During the two-day Summit, I didn’t take many notes (Translation: I didn’t take ANY notes). But at the very end of the Summit, when Mike Snodgrass challenged us to come up with three reasons WHY we were volunteering for MAF – and to WRITE. THEM. DOWN. – I knew it was time to set the video camera aside and grab my new, MAF-branded ballpoint pen.

Here are the answers I came up with, taken word-for-word from my workbook:

  • I want to serve Jesus because of all that He’s done for me – and because serving Him is the only worthwhile thing that matters.
  • I love airplanes and aviation – and I love that they can be used to serve Jesus.
  • I love telling stories using print, online and video mediums.

The latter, I felt, summed up my value to MAF. As far as aviation goes, my knowledge is rudimentary at best. At the moment, I’m just a student pilot – one who will hopefully have my PPL ticket by the time the next newsletter comes out. I’m not mechanically inclined. I don’t know any other languages. I have no short- or long-term mission trip experience.

I’m just am an amateur journalist who shoots and edits amateur videos and writes articles for the CONNECT newsletter.

I have to admit, hearing other advocates give testimonies at the Summit about churches they’d spoken at, hangars they’d manned booths in, individuals they’d witnessed to, it made me rethink my approach. They were telling the MAF story to people who’d never heard it before. I was preaching to the choir.

“It’s as simple as just wearing your MAF gear,” advocate Paul Pfluger said (I’m paraphrasing). “I  can’t tell you the number of people who’ve asked me about MAF just from seeing my t-shirt!”

“How does that work?” I asked. “I wear my MAF stuff all the time, and nobody ever asks me anything.”

___________________

The trip home from Nampa to Louisville gave me lots of time for introspection.

I’ve often said  the MAF Advocates Summit is a lot like those old Zig Ziglar business seminars: you walk out of it energized, inspired and ready to get to work.

The word in the back of my mind was “intentional.” “Intentional” is a buzzword these days – and for good reason. We need to be intentional in what we do: intentional about our prayer lives, intentional about our Bible reading and intentional about how we look for ways to build God’s kingdom. As for me, I wasn’t just going to be intentional about my work for MAF, but also for any way God might choose to use me.

I had a brief layover in Dallas, but it wasn’t long before I was ready to board American Airlines Flight 5992, from DFW to SDF, the final leg of my trip back to Louisville. It was Saturday afternoon. As I waited at the gate, they began boarding for passengers with special needs. I saw a boy – probably about 10 or 11 – walk by himself and disappear down the corridor that led into the plane. He looked miserable.

About 15 minutes later, I was among one of the last groups to board. As an airline passenger, I love window seats. In fact, for the life of me, I can’t understand people who prefer aisle seats – or worse – pick window seats, only to shut the windows. In my book, those people need to be incarcerated.

So you can imagine my disappointment when I discovered that my seat was all the way in the back, in an aisle. Next to me was the boy, alone, looking sad as ever. And instead of a window, there was only a curved wall where the window should have been.

I tried to mask my disappointment as I sat down, awkwardly. Then my sense of purpose kicked in. I may not like the circumstances, but God had placed me here for a reason. This kid looked sad and dejected, and maybe God wanted me to be a light to him. Maybe God placed me here at this moment to cheer him up.

“How ya doin?” I asked, holding out my hand and smiling. “I’m Travis.”

He looked pitiful as he shook my hand, grumbled his name and looked away.

I tried again.

“Where are you from?”

The kid grumbled again.

No matter. I was going to cheer this kid up. Somehow I was going to be a blessing. I was being intentional. God had put me next to this kid for a reason, and I was going to be a light and a witness–

“Excuse me sir?” It was the stewardess. “I apologize sir, but we’re going to have to move you. The plane can’t take off unless we have someone sitting in the window seat next to the emergency exit. I’m really sorry for the inconvenience.”

I can’t say I was upset. But I didn’t understand what God was doing. I was supposed to be a blessing to this kid. I was being intentional.

So instead, I sat next to a girl who unfortunately had no interest in talking to me.

I never saw that kid again.

_____________________

The next morning, I was not being intentional.

It was Sunday, and I had planned on going to the 9 a.m. church service, but it was already 7:30 and I didn’t even hear the alarm go off. Not getting home until midnight the night before, after six hours on a commercial airline flight will do that to you.

I did manage to make it to my 10:45 Adult Bible Fellowship class (which is the same thing as a Sunday School class, but if my church called it “Sunday School” we wouldn’t have the cool “ABF” acronym).

Then it was on to Sinful Sunday.

Sinful Sunday is an annual fly-in that takes place at Lee Bottom airfield (64I), a 4,000-foot grass strip in nearby Hanover, Indiana. Hosted by the Bluegrass Chapter of Women in Aviation, it features $5 hot dogs and hamburgers, as well as $5 ice cream sundaes. Proceeds go toward the local WIA chapter.

(They call it “Sinful Sunday” because they’re feeding you ice cream, NOT because they’re sacrificing goats or anything.)

After church, I ran home changed into shorts,  a t-shirt and donned my MAF cap. (I wish I could say I did it because I was prepping for a ministry opportunity, but really I did it just because it is a cool hat.)

Admittedly, it’s not as awesome to drive to a fly-in as it is to fly to a fly-in, but I had no access to a plane Sunday afternoon. Usually, a flight in a Cessna 172 from my home airport, Bowman Field (KLOU), to Lee Bottom takes about 20 minutes. It takes about an hour to drive that distance.

By the time I arrived, the event was wrapping up. Rain was in the air, and encroaching storm clouds had chased away most of the pilots who had been there earlier in the day. All of my friends from the flight school had already left.

Originally, I had big plans for what I was going to do. I was going to shoot some still pictures. Maybe get some video. At least meet up with some friends. Now all I wanted to do was scarf down a hot dog and some chips and scram before the weather hit.

“Are you from MAF??????”

The question came from a wide-eyed young woman who noticed my MAF hat as I was loading potato chips onto my plate.

I stammered.

“Actually, I’m just a volunteer, I’m –“ then I recovered. “YES I AM.”

She was incredulous.

“I actually thought about flying for MAF!”

The silence was so piercing you could almost hear the ketchup congealing on my hot dog.

“You need to meet the president of our local Women in Aviation chapter!” she continued.

A few minutes later, I was shaking hands with another, middle-aged woman.

“We would love to have you bring an MAF booth to our Women in Aviation Career Day event in October!” she said. “Do you have a business card?”

I did not. I was not being intentional. It seemed like a half-mile dash back to my car to retrieve my MAF advocate business cards and brochures, but I returned a few moments later. I took down their names and numbers. I promised to be there in October.

A few minutes later, the storms rolled in and we all went home.

On the drive home, I was excited. Potato chips flew everywhere. In the 20 minutes or so I had been there, I had only managed to accomplish one thing: I had somehow managed to ACCIDENTALLY STUMBLE INTO an MAF ministry opportunity. I had met two women who were interested in MAF, and now I had the chance to share MAF with several more in October.

As the rain poured down and my windshield wipers streaked, it seemed to me less and less likely that today’s meeting had been a simple coincidence. I don’t think it was by coincidence that, months earlier, I had shot a video of pilot Kayla Harder sharing her testimony – a video that would be perfect to show at a WIA Career Day event.

The more I thought about it, I – and the two women I met – had been at exactly the right place, at the right time.

Sometimes the most important thing isn’t that we’re intentional. Sometimes the only important thing is that He is.

TRAVIS K. KIRCHER is an advocate for MAF. He can be reached at tkircher@maf.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MAF President Introduction

After 17 years of service with MAF in Indonesia, David and Natalie Holsten have transitioned to the U.S. David will begin to serve as MAF’s President and CEO on July 16.  Looking back on their time in Indonesia, David and Natalie are grateful for the relationships they had with both nationals and teammates, and the opportunities they had to show God’s love to others, especially those living in isolated areas. Their first 10 years in Indonesia were in the province of Kalimantan, on the island of Borneo, and for the last 7 years, they lived in the province of Papua, formerly known as Irian Jaya. Throughout this time David served in a variety of roles within the organization.

David shares, “Throughout our time with MAF we have faced numerous challenges, but we have also been blessed to see the hand of God clearly displayed. It has been so rewarding to be part of a work that provides a service to others that is critically needed. It is our desire to not only be a part of addressing the significant physical needs of others but to also be a part of impacting them spiritually, helping them grow in their walk with the Lord. We want the message of the Gospel to be clearly displayed in what we do.” Hebrews 6:10 is a verse David turns to when faced with demanding challenges. “In the midst of difficulties, it is encouraging for me to remember that the Lord will not forget our efforts to minister to others.”

Natalie has had involvement in a variety of ministry during their time in Indonesia, including kids clubs, leading small group Bible studies with Indonesians, teaching high school English, and mentoring a group of high school Papuan girls. While she misses living in Indonesia, she is excited to be involved at MAF headquarters. “Our time overseas has taught me so much about the goodness of God, and His faithfulness. Zephaniah 3:17 has been a special verse for me this past term. It says, ‘The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save, He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with his love, He will rejoice over you with singing.’”

David was raised in a Christian family on a farm in northeast Colorado and lived as a teen in Savannah, Georgia. He became a Christian at an early age and was nurtured in his faith through his family, his church, and youth group involvement. He received a B.S. in Missionary Aviation Technology from Moody Aviation and holds a commercial pilot’s license with multi-engine rating, as well an airframe and power plant mechanic’s license. Prior to joining MAF, he worked as a flight instructor with Moody Aviation for two years.

Natalie was born and raised in Savannah, Georgia. She credits a strong Christian heritage and her grandfather as the instruments that led her to Christ at the age of 11. Natalie says, “My interest in missions grew through volunteer work at my grandfather’s inner-city church and through a mission trip when I was 15.” Natalie received a B.A. in English from Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, North Carolina. After finishing college, she worked as a newspaper reporter in Tennessee. David and Natalie met in high school, dated long distance during college and married in June 1996.

Click the link to view a message from David Holsten to our Advocates!

 

Everybody Oughta Know!

Over the past 2 years, MAF has been working to create our own Vacation Bible School (VBS) curriculum.  This program offers a unique combination of personal Bible learning for elementary school-aged children along with an introduction to the world of mission aviation.  Each day, Crew Members will learn an important Biblical truth they can apply to their own lives; and, they’ll see how Mission Aviation Fellowship applies the same Biblical truth in our ministry of reaching the world’s most isolated peoples with God’s love.  For a sneak peek, watch the Everybody Oughta Know! sing-a-long video.

Here’s what’s been happening and what’s next in regards to our VBS project:

Updates – what’s been completed in the past 6-8 months

  • 2nd song produced – “With All Your Heart”
  • Main stage sets built
  • Photo/video shoot of sets and characters
  • Curriculum reviewed and proofed
  • Manuals formatted and designed
  • Videos created (VBS promo, sing-a-longs)
  • VBS starter kit created
  • Churches registered to “pilot” our VBS

Next Steps – what’s on the horizon

  • Take photos and videos of VBS in action
  • Receive feedback from pilot churches via survey
  • Make changes/improvements to our VBS program based on input in the survey
  • Create VBS microsite
  • Official VBS launch towards the end of 2018

We are excited about this wonderful opportunity to share mission aviation with kids!  If you have questions or know of a church who would be interested, please email Mike at msnodgrass@maf.org.  Thanks.

 

What is your Why?  MAF Advocate Summit 2018 June 7-8

But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. 1 Samuel 12:24

We had a fantastic Advocate Summit in Nampa, Idaho.   Wish you all could have been there!  If you missed it, Advocate Team Leader John Penny (Wichita, KS) wrote a highlight below of what all happened at the Advocate Summit.  See attached photo of all the Advocates who attended this year.  Hope you enjoy these highlights and make plans to attend next year’s Advocate Summit in June 2019!

Wednesday Evening

We had a Welcome Picnic with Fried chicken and pie!  MAF Pilot, Brian Shepson shared with us.

Thursday

We started with worship and an icebreaker to identify “What’s your Why”—why am I an Advocate?

Throughout both days we saw several “What’s Your Why” videos from all over the MAF world (see Summit Resources article to view videos)

Mike Snodgrass (Director MAF Ministry Awareness) started off with an explanation of the theme of the Summit.  He talked about My Why, Your Why, Our Why.  What is your passion? You can be more effective as an Advocate if you know why you are doing what you do.  We need to wake people up!  As Director of Ministry Awareness, Mike’s group covers:

  1. Advocate Wing
  2. Volunteers
  3. Church Partnership
  4. Events
  5. Work Place Giving.

Mike talked about MAF’s mission statement and the Go, Send, Serve model

 

MAF President John Boyd spoke about Relational Proximity.  The whole Church, taking the whole Gospel to the whole World.  We have to be more bold everywhere.  We need to be one voice for Jesus.  Our job is to evangelize, not convert.  We need to partner with people and organizations.  As Advocates, we have the power to do this.  Emphasize unity as we all serve the same God.  Some verses on unity:  John 13:35, John 17:11-23 and Ephesians 4:3-4

 

Tim Strauss gave an update of the Eurasia Region.  He started by asking the question, “What would you do if you had one minute to live?”  Would you spend the minute doing something that made you happy or would you serve God? Think of your life as one minute and the rest is eternity.  He gave us program updates on all the closed countries MAF serves.  There is a great need for pilots/mechanics in this region.

 

Chris Burgess talked about telling stories.  We are essentially telling a story about MAF and the Gospel.  We are also telling our personal story.  Dovetails with our Why.  We have to capture people’s attention.  God doesn’t use slogans or abstract truth…He used stories.  Our stories should be clear, concise, and structured. He emphasized the difference between noise and music.  He used Donald Miller’s “7 elements of story structure”. (He used Star Wars and Luke Skywalker as an example).

  1. A character(s)
  2. Has a problem
  3. Then meets a guide
  4. Who gives them a plan
  5. And calls them to action
  6. That action either results in
  7. Success/Failure

People are looking for a purpose.  Help them find it.  As you share MAF with people be ready with why you are an Advocate, have some stories that explain why you do what you do, why MAF does what it does, and stories from the field.

 

Break out Sessions: Campus Tour, Tech Resources, Fleet Update

I (John Penny) went to a break out session with Doug Harrison, Director of Tech Resources for MAF.  He talked about The Golden Circle which is a TED talk given by Simon Sinek. We talked about the Connect Box and the Tech Resources side of MAF.   I encourage you to research MAF’s Tech Resources workings.

Advocate Nancy Cullen went to the MAF Fleet update and shares these highlights:

Warren Veal, Dept. Manager, Aviation Maintenance Support, gave an update on the MAF US Fleet.

  • A Kodiak Amphib has now made its way to Papua and is in service.  It replaces the Cessna 185 (CB)  and Cessna 206 that we saw come home while at the Summit!
  • Raising funds to replace a Cessna 206 (serial number 10) currently in the DRC
  • T210T has been moved to Tajikistan
  • PK-MAN CS 206 has been moved from Achi Papua (closed the base) to Sentani

Projects–aircraft donated to MAF and refurbished for sale or some go to the field

  • CS 207 is headed to Haiti
  • Cessna 172 may be headed to Laos to be a third aircraft in the training school if the contracts come through for local students
  • U206 (turbo Cessna) donated will have the engine changed out to a normally aspirated engine and sent to Haiti
  • All Cessna Caravans are being upgraded to G600 navigation = $100 k per upgrade

Other aircraft donated

  • 2 Mooneys – in process
  • A Viking – for sale
  • Luscombe – for sale
  • Thrush – sold
  • Motor glider – in process

There are 45 or so aircraft in the MAF US fleet – but it is in flux at the moment.

David McCleery gave an update on Latin America talking about Mexico, Guatemala, Edutech Mission, Ecuador, Suriname, Brazil, Honduras, and Venezuela.  There are people working for MAF from Latin America that are wanting and starting to work in Central Asia.  It’s a good thing.

 

Friday

Several Advocates took early morning flights on MAF aircraft.

Once again, we started with worship and “What’s Your Why” videos.

Brock Larson gave an update on Indonesia.  “If MAF doesn’t fly, people die”.  There were some troubles with permission to fly recently.  The people MAF serves spoke up.  The government said MAF could fly but we had to work through the Christian church! That is also a good thing.

Gene Jordan, MAF’s HR guru, spoke on the Short Why, Intermediate Why, and Long Why.  Gene is a master at telling stories.  He gave some stories of his time growing up in Ecuador and of his time as a pilot.  He talked about pilot/mechanic shortages.

Souleymane Kyoute gave an update on the African Region.  Spoke about Senegal, Mali, DRC, East DRC, Mozambique and Lesotho.  He mentioned there are family conferences in Uganda Advocates can serve the field staff.

The next session was on Connecting with MAF: Ministry Partnership, Mobilization, Major Donors, Church Partnership and Giving Programs.

Dave Blomberg spoke on Ministry Partnership (brochure here).  We have 192 support-raising families, 10-12 pre-field staff, and ongoing funding requirements.  Effective May 1st there is a $400 increase in monthly support requirements.  A family needs to raise $8400 per month.  Single $6800 per month. Have you ever wondered where all the support goes?  Click here to find out!  Are there any MAF missionaries who call your state home? Here is a spreadsheet of home states for all Field Staff.

Ron Hilbrands with Mobilization talked about relationships, specifically, combining the skills, passions, educations, etc. of Advocates, Regional managers, MAF staff to accomplish what we are doing.

Morty Lloyd with Major Donors talked about aligning people’s passion with ministry.  He mentioned the team we have in Wichita and the possibilities we have here.

Mike Snodgrass spoke about Church Partnership.  We have the opportunity to build stronger relationships with churches.  We can educate churches about missions and how MAF fits in.  We can contact MAF staff with ties to our area and see what we can do to for both them and their home church.  This is a key area to talk about.  We have MAF staff from Kansas and Wichita.  If we are finding it difficult to “get into” a church, let’s focus on missionaries from those churches, contacting them to see if they would help us get into a church to speak, educate, and serve.  I think we can have more success by using the “back door” to the church.  We are Advocates not only for MAF but also for the missionaries serving with MAF.  We work for them.

Holly Syreen with Giving Programs talked about the Combined Federal Campaign.  She will contact us if there is an opportunity to attend a CFC event.  She has an entire setup/display for those events.

Next, MAF Pilot Brian Shepson gave a great presentation on Presenting to the Future Generations….Kids.  He said if we speak on a 7-year old’s level, we won’t lose the adults.  He was right!  He showed a video of a float plane landing and taking off and acted like he was presenting to a group of 7-year-olds.  Everyone was spellbound.  It was very engaging.  I even thought of using this in presentations to adults.  I could have them imagine their 7-year-old self.  Might be fun.  Brian talked about showing End of the Spear video to a group of adults and simultaneously showing the kids episodes from the Torch Lighters series.  There is one about Jim Ellitott.  Brian also had a geography presentation designed for kids around the fifth-grade level.  He had a satellite image of the world (no political borders). He would ask a student to use a laser pointer to find Ecuador, for example.  Then he would tell what MAF is doing there.

Three Advocates: Christina McClain, Nancy Cullen and Paul Pfluger spoke during a session called Cultivating Opportunities.  Awesome work!  Our own Nancy Cullen spoke about her WHY and how God does not give us a spirit of fear, so why worry and dread.

Some Coming Attractions include:

  1. Using an Oculus Go to show immersive videos about MAF at events and presentations.
  2. MAF VBS program is being piloted by four churches right now.  Changes and improvements will be made by the end of the year and available to churches by the end of 2018.
  3. A “Change the Ending” online campaign coming out in September targeting people who don’t know MAF.

Regional Manager Dina Parris talked about “Apply the Why”.  What is the difference between being a fan for MAF and being an Advocate for MAF.  We talked about some of our successes and challenges as Advocates.

Lastly, Mike Snodgrass led us in a discussion about Why YOUR Why matters.

  1. Without a “why” you will lose interest – sooner or later.
  2. Fulfillment comes when you live your life on purpose.
  3. If you know your why, you will figure out the how.
  4. GOD has a purpose for your life and HE wants to use you as part of HIS plan.

The Great Commission is for all of us.

Figure out YOUR WHY.  Complete this sentence:

I am an MAF Advocate because…..

by John Penny from Wichita, KS

MAF Affinity Credit Card

Airlines have them, stores have them, and even MAF has one. The MAF Affinity Credit Card allows card holders to earn rewards while also supporting MAF and missions. Through a partnership with Christian Community Credit Union, MAF receives $50 for every person who applies and is approved for the credit card.  We also receive a portion of the credit card fees as people use the card for their everyday purchases.

Each year, MAF receives around $60,000 from the credit card program straight into our general fund. In fact, over the course of this partnership, MAF has received over $574,000 in unrestricted funds.

The benefits of the cards are competitive with others, including no annual fee and earned redeemable points for flights, cash back, and more.

If you ever want to share about the MAF credit card, you can request special flyers on the Resource Order Form or you can visit us online.

MAF encourages wise stewardship and does not promote indebtedness.

If you have questions, please reach out to Holly Syreen at hsyreen@maf.org or 208-498-0771.

By Holly Syreen

 

Candy Airplanes

What you need:

Smarties candies

#16 (2.5” X 1/16”) rubber bands

MINT LifeSavers

stick gum

prayer labels (available on intranet under graphics)

Ziploc Snack size bags

If using as a children’s craft, come prepared with the following supplies in a snack size Ziploc for each child: 1 smartie, 1 rubber band, 2 Mint Lifesavers, 1 stick of gum, 1 prayer label. Walk through the following assembly instructions with the class.

Instructions:

  1. Fold the rubber band in half.
  2. Thread the two lifesavers onto the middle of the rubberband. 
  3. Separate the lifesavers (the wheels) and lay the rolled candy between them. 
  4. Now slide the piece of chewing gum into each end of the rubberband for the wings. 
  5. If this does not hold securely, your rubberband might be too long.  If it is just slightly long, one solution would be to make several twists before putting the wings on under the plane between the two wheels.

Vision for Ministry Awareness

At this year’s Advocate Summit (June 6-8), I shared my vision for Ministry Awareness, which includes the Advocate Wing, Volunteer Partnership, Church Partnership, Events and Giving Programs.  In short, the vision is for all of us to be “excellent connectors.”  As Advocates, you have a wonderful opportunity to do the following related to the Great Commission:

 

1)      Connect with people – share with people about ways they can “get into the game” in the area of missions.  Pray, give, serve!

2)      Connect people to other people – do you know someone interested in being a missionary-pilot? Connect him/her to our Mobilization team.  Do you know someone with financial means?  Connect him/her to an MAF Development Officer.

3)      Connect people to opportunities – let people know there are many opportunities to be involved in the work of the Great Commission.  Pray for MAF, be an Advocate for MAF, volunteer at HQ, go on an MAF vision trip . . . the list goes on and on!

 

Since many of us are visual learners, take a look at the Ministry Awareness_Vision_Connectors diagram of this vision.  The primary components of missions work are GO, SEND and SERVE.  The points of connection between the people and areas represented in the diagram are endless.  Let me encourage you to make the most of the time you have on earth and be a great CONNECTOR!

 

MAF Scotland

I was able to travel to Glasgow, Scotland in May to meet with Andy Martin, Community Manager for MAF-Scotland.  Andy and I met a few years ago when he was able to attend our 2016 Advocate Summit.  Since then, we have stayed in contact, emailed each other on a regular basis and discussed ways to consistently share information from “across the pond.”  As the Community Manager, Andy is responsible for anything that touches the community in Scotland – churches, volunteers, events, communications, etc.

While I was in Scotland, Andy and I were able to share some great ideas and conduct some events together.  I value Andy’s insight and his big heart for Jesus.  I’m truly blessed to have a brother in Christ and fellow MAF leader in the beautify country of Scotland!

 

Here are some photos from my trip!

 

Mike and Andy

 

Iain Neilson, MAF advocate in Scotland, shows a future missionary-pilot how to land the airplane!

 

Mike and Andy did a radio interview on Heartsong Live

 

Andy presenting MAF to a ladies group

 

Transition

“Blessed will you be when you come in, and blessed will you be when you go out.” Deuteronomy 28:6

One morning recently during my morning quiet time, I was reading through some MAF BLOGs and articles, when I found myself in tears.  This is not a usual occurrence as I am not an overly sentimental person, but a particularly tender spot was touched as I read.

You see, I have never been a missionary in a formal way, but I have lived abroad. Twice.  The first was for just under a year to study at University as my husband worked on his Doctorate.  The second was almost five years in my work with the FAA.  While abroad as Christians, we sought out and formed bonds with fellow believers, expanded our cultural norms not to mentioned learning to function in a new language and country. Both times, we experienced all the effects of culture shock, going and coming home.

It is not the same as traveling abroad, even for short-term missions.  Yes, those experiences are valuable and can be life-changing, but long-term times away is a whole different animal.  Nothing is the same because it changes you, expands you, and adds parts to your being that those to whom you are returning may not relate.  It is an exclusive club.  It hurts, but you wouldn’t change a thing.

As I read this particular BLOG and the transition coming for this family, my heart went out in both prayer and empathy.  Decades ministering while learning, stretching and loving.  Taking risks for the sake of love. Children growing up abroad now coming “home” to a home they do not yet know.  There have been furloughs and visits home, but roots have been put down in other soil and now must be transplanted. Fields of seed, sprouts, and harvest must be handed to another to continue to cultivate.

For MAF this scenario is “normal”, but it does not change the effects it has on the soul of a person.  Of course, as Christians, our Anchor and Rock are in Jesus.  He never changes.  As I cried all the way home on my last time living abroad, I was very aware and grateful for this truth.  At the same time, I was grateful the movie being played on the flight was a real tear jerker so I could process all the emotions pulling at my heart without alarming the flight attendants!

I was also grateful I knew it was time to come home, the Lord was leading and it would be OK.  I knew the Lord’s blessing was mine, even if I felt completely otherwise. It takes time for the heart to catch up to the Spirit.

So dear fellow Advocates, pray for our missionaries as they go, but also pray for them as they come in.  Both directions of travel have their own set of challenges.

By Nancy Cullen