MAF 2019 Advocate Summit

“Change the Ending,” the theme for this year’s MAF Advocate Summit, kicked off on the evening of June 12th and continued through June 13th and 14th at MAF Headquarters in Nampa, Idaho. The first evening and the following two days included presentations from MAF’s HQ staff as well as a variety of live Webinars and videos with missionaries from across the globe.

The presentation in person on the evening of the 12th from Stan and Rhonda Unruh who have been abroad in a wide variety of locations focused on the “Mundane” slogging that “Change(s) the Ending”. Abundant prayer and surprising answers from God, both negative and positive, were parts of their day in/day out. Friendships across culture, and at times high risk were highlights. When asked about a suddenly closed door during MAF’s work in Nepal, Stan simply replied without hesitation God did not want MAF operating fixed-wing aircraft at that time in Nepal. That faith and matter of fact transparency were refreshing.

CEO David Holsten addressed the Advocates on Thursday morning. For a variety of attendees, it was our first live exposure to the new President of MAF. David’s energy and delight in what he does were infectious. I particularly enjoyed hearing a brief synopsis of his meeting with the aircraft executives who are building some of the most heavily used planes in our fleet. Who better qualified to address such an audience about their own product? David’s use of video clips and enthusiasm for their ability to allow people to visualize what we do was encouraging. Visual speaks!

MAF certainly uses some great technology to “Change the Ending.” Alexis Adams’ information on the use of Virtual Reality, MAF’s Oculus Go, at airshows during her Mission2Serve presentation and the inclusion of a brief instruction manual in the Advocate Summit Handbook was cutting edge. (Click HERE to access that handout) Tech Resources’ drone technology from Atalie Snyder and Jonathan Young’s presentation for the mandatory measuring and updating of information required for our remote airstrips was also fun, economical, and good stewardship of time saved.

Director of Ministry Awareness, Mike Snodgrass, focused on the need to feed our souls and to slow down to do it. “Be still and know that I am God,” (Ps.45:10.) and “The Lord will fight for you, you only need to be still,” (Ex.14:14) were two verses Mike asked us to consider. I was reminded of God’s delight in us when we ask Him to go before us. Mike used these passages plus others of Jesus retiring to a solitary place to commune with the Father amid hectic ministry to encourage us to do likewise.

Nearly every session had a live Skype session or video of MAF staff serving overseas. CEO David Holsten’s video with a family serving in a high-risk area talked of security and safe room information. I found the reports from Africa Regional Director, Souleymane Kouyate covering ministry in the DRC, Lesotho, and Mozambique to be of interest, particularly in the face of the multiple cyclones that occurred in the latter two areas earlier this year. Our people are at risk with the continued Ebola outbreaks in the DRC, and how we react to keep families safe was reassuring.

We have Disaster Response people around the world, trained and able to drop their regular ministry areas and respond within 24-48 hours made me proud of MAF. John Woodberry, MAF Disaster Response Manager, detailed the amazing contribution MAF has made to emergency disasters within this last year. Our response time is phenomenal. Often our first on the spot Aerial Assessments spur local governments to gear up with greater speed. Our footage is being picked up by major network news agencies as up to the minute for disaster torn regions.

Ministry Partnership Director Dave Blomberg’s presentation on how “Teachers Change the Ending” reminded us that not all is positive. We have missionary families leaving the field because they cannot obtain a quality education for their children. Our response at the Summit prompted the MAF Teacher Project, an initiative to make Advocates aware of the critical need for teachers and funding for teachers.  This need is extreme.

To start each day, we had two different music worship teams made up of MAF headquarters staff. To say they were accomplished is an understatement.  Dina Paris and Susan Davis, our Southern and Northern Advocate Regional Managers did great emcee work keeping things moving, but that doesn’t begin to cover the tech crew’s visual and sound work or the background crew that kept us in snacks and meals, and then there are all the excellent presentations that I didn’t mention. Kudo’s to you all for a great MAF Advocate Summit.


By Paul Gibson

Check It Out!

Weren’t able to come to the Summit this year? At the Summit but want to hear the presentations again? Click HERE to access the presentations and recordings of Change the Ending Advocate Summit! If you need your login and password for Bynder, please reach out to


Presentation Resources: A Story from Nyankunde

MAF in Nyankunde

Below is a story for you to use in your presentations. There is also a PowerPoint presentation of this story on the intranet. You can find it here:(CLICK HERE)

Pastor Samaite

This picture is not parents with their children. This is two couples who graduated from the Nyankunde Bible School. Pastor Samaite (pronounced Sam-atay) and his wife Ruta are in the middle. They are from a pygmy ethnic group. They are the first to graduate from the school among all their people.

Through the EDRC National Pastors Flying Fund, we were able to fly Samaite and Ruta to the closest area strip to their home area in the outskirts of the jungle to serve their people.

This year, they came back for a review with the school and MAF. We asked him the biggest challenge he is encountered. Samaite shared transportation is the biggest issue within their ministry.  To be able to move around to visit different pygmy villages they serve.

We have a project to buy motorcycles for pastors in the northern part of the country, so we asked him if this is an option. Samaite said a motorcycle wouldn’t work because he is unsure he could locate fuel for the motorcycle.

MAF Missionary Jon Cadd discovered the best option and asked the team to find Samaite a bicycle his size.

Most of us learned to ride a bike when we were very young or don’t even remember learning to ride. Our two brothers were tasked to teach Samaite to ride a bike. Jon Cadd took a video (shown in the powerpoint presentation) of Samaite learning to ride:

We are each a small but important part of this success. Praise the Lord for each link in the chain, serving here and there for the advancement of the gospel!

Pastor Samaite and his wife Ruta are the first pygmies to go through the Bible school in Nyankunde.

After graduation, their desire was to go back into their home area to start ministering to their people in their own language.

Through the EDRC National Pastors flying fund, we were able to fly them back to the closest airstrip to their home area.

After a year of ministry to his people, Samaite was able to come back to debrief with the school and with MAF and one of the challenges they faced was transportation.


Connecting The Dots – Kingdom Style, Taking the Long View on Seeds Sown

“Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.”  Luke 13:18-19

Summertime brings trips, vacations, reunions, fly-ins and all sorts of non-routine activities.  Along with the much-needed R and R break from the routine, I find the Lord ordering my steps in it all. In July, my husband and I attended a couple of mini-family gatherings and a pre-50th meet-up of his high school Fraternity.

These events could seem just things to do, places to go and isolated dates on the calendar, but I found a theme running through it.  One example is the 50-year meet-up.

This gathering of my husband’s high school chums brought the usual reminiscing and telling tales.  You see, this “fraternity” was a late 60’s version of a gang.  It was not legal as far as the school was concerned.  Most of the activities were questionable at best for this was B.C., before Christ.  Several almost did not graduate due to a particular caper I will not go into here.

After high school, the gang went their separate ways for the most part but stayed in touch.  Then, David, my husband received Jesus as Lord and Savior.  He was the first of the group to do so, and the change was noted among the others.

At one point, shortly after he was saved, David decided to drop by and see the mother of one of two of the boys (twins). During the visit, he told her his testimony.   She relayed that to one of the twins, Dennis.  He says he was so taken by David’s kindness in visiting his mom and of her witness to the change in David, that a seed was sown in his heart.  Some years later, he accepted Christ.

Dennis went on to bible school and he and his wife have served in Hanoi as missionaries for over 25 years.  Dennis also led the father of one of the other guys to the Lord, which resulted in Scott, the son, receiving Christ.  Four down – six to go….

As we gathered that Sunday, we all marveled that:

1)  This group of trouble makers had survived at all given the antics they go up to.

2)  A missionary and an ordained minister emerged from the group and the rest are productive members of society.

3) At the way the Lord seeks and saves the lost – the extent to which He will go is amazing.

I was also able to share my advocate role at MAF which opened up even more conversations. Summertime seeds.

Seeds: a kind word, a visit, a card, a phone call, a prayer.  How our Lord takes the smallest of actions, a weaves together a story, even a 50-year-long one.

~By Nancy Cullen, Advocate in Wichita, KS

It’s Here! 2019 Second Quarter AIR

Each quarter, the Advocate Wing takes a step back to acknowledge how God has used our Advocates! Each presentation you give, each one-on-one discussion you have, and each Ministry Opportunity Report (MOR) form you complete are evidence of God answering our prayer. The Advocate Wing Leadership Team prays for God to open doors for you to share MAF and He does!

Click HERE to check out the latest Advocate Impact Report for 2019!


Additional Notes!

  • Why are MOR’s so important? Click HERE to read Mike Snodgrass’ recent article on this topic!
  • Send in pictures!!!! A picture speaks a thousand words, as they say! We want to share how God is using our Advocates! Make sure you take pictures and send them our way for future reports! Email your photos and reference the corresponding Ministry Opportunity.



The A-B-C’s of the Advocate Teacher Project

We are launching a project exclusively with the Advocate Wing to invest in MAF’s invaluable team of teachers. Teachers invest in missionary families in countless ways, enabling long-term overseas service and providing quality education for our amazing Missionary Kids (MKs).

In addition to the multiple teachers already on the field, three new teachers will head overseas this month. Praise the Lord for His provision of staff! Let’s celebrate and pray for open doors to share about this investment opportunity.

With a nod to our elementary school years, here’s the break down of this project.


A – Achievable

Our goal is to raise $50,000 for the upcoming school year to help cover the cost of placing teachers on the field. If each Advocate aimed to raise $500 this month, the goal would be more than met!


B – Bolstering

We can bolster our teachers and encourage them as they work hard for our MKs.




C – Crucial

Time for support raising is often short for teachers as they need to arrive before school begins. Teachers’ ministry is essential for keeping missionary families on our bases, and they need financial support to fill these roles.

On behalf of our teachers and the Ministry Partnership Department, thank you for investing in the Advocate Teacher Project! Click HERE for a video message from some of our teachers heading out onto the field!


MAF Aviation Camp 2019

This year I had the amazing opportunity and privilege of participating as a flight instructor at the MAF Aviation Adventure Camp. This camp is a truly unique, once in a lifetime opportunity for teens interested in aviation. The week begins with 12 high school aged teens meeting, most of them for the first time, at the MAF headquarters in Nampa and riding on a bus for 2+ hours along highway 55 northbound to Cascade, Idaho.

The camp is primarily geared towards aviation. The days consist of flight and ground school instruction, building gliders, learning about ground and air navigation, as well as many other adventurous non-aviation activities. The days are packed full. We are going from sunrise until bedtime and the week flies by (pun intended!)

When the kids arrived at camp, I really had no idea what to expect. I volunteered for the camp last minute and was excited to see what God had in store for the week. The bus arrived Sunday evening at “The Depot” in Cascade. Twelve kids piled off the bus full of energy and enthusiasm. You would never know the kids just met three hours earlier. The activities commenced immediately, with team building and ice-breaker games after dinner.

Starting Monday morning, each student got a half-hour flight lesson with a CFI. The rest of the morning was spent building a glider, which was later used for flight competitions. Over the course of the week, the students learn to taxi, take-off, maneuver, navigate, and land an airplane. This is an amazing accomplishment for just one week of flight training! Each student showed incredible personal motivation and maturity in their ability to learn, participate and grow throughout the week both as an aviator as well as a Christian.

Every day, along with the aviation activities, we had morning devotions and evening speakers. We heard from MAF pilots who spent most of their lives serving Christ in other countries through aviation and technology. The students were able to hear firsthand, miraculous and inspiring stories about how God has used, and is currently using MAF around the world to share God’s love and mercy with people who otherwise would never even have heard the name of God. The campers also learned about schools such as Moody Aviation, that equip their graduates with all the tools and skills needed to apply to be a pilot/mechanic for Mission Aviation Fellowship.

The week gives students a full dose of what MAF stands for, the real-life application flying for MAF, and how they can be involved even right now. As an Advocate, I was able to share with the campers how even as a civilian charter pilot I have opportunities almost daily to share about MAF and be a witness for people around me. I was so honored to be able to spend a week working alongside MAF staff and volunteers, who give 110% of themselves every day to further the kingdom of God. I know each one of our campers left camp feeling enthused for their futures and I cannot wait to see how God uses them.



By Rebakah Walsh

The Advocate Wing Welcomes a NEW Regional Manager!

Craig with his wife, Cherry, and grandson, Asher!

I was born in famous Kalamazoo, Michigan to parents who loved the Lord. Dad taught music at the Christian School and in Church while mom, with the tougher job, raised two rambunctious boys. Later, we moved to Grand Rapids to attend high school and college. My wife, Cherry (like the fruit as she says), and I dated in high school and college and later found each other and married. I received two step-children in the bargain and later a fantastic son and daughter-in-law and four wonderful grandchildren. My mother passed away quite young and my father later remarried and now both 91 year-old dad and my new mom are doing great. My older brother Steve is doing well, too.

My Mission Aviation Fellowship journey began when I decided to take flying lessons. Two of the five instructors I had during my training were young men building time to fly for MAF, Pete Neal and Ricky Lundholm. Both had a heart for the Lord and were excited to begin their mission work. I caught their enthusiasm and decided to forgo some flying and get onboard with MAF, too.

I later met Dave McCLeery and John Lemmon and they cemented my appreciation and admiration for MAF. Dave took me under his wing and encouraged me to join the Advocate Wing team and the whole thing really came together during trips to Advocate Summits and Ecuador.

I am truly blessed to step into the Regional Manager position for the Northeast United States. The territory has many remarkable Advocates and I am excited to support them and grow the Advocate Team so we can support Mission Aviation Fellowship worldwide!


~ Craig Talsma

Finnish Connections

Finland is a country in Northern Europe about the size of California but with a population of about 5 ½ million people.  A portion of the country is above the Arctic Circle. This leads to some very long winters where the days may only get 2 to 3 hours of light. The summer is much different with the night not going dark.  Farmers even plowing their fields at 1 AM.  The people in this land take their summer very seriously and almost all businesses shut down and everyone goes on vacation for one week.  It’s a time of celebration with festivals all over the country.

The Finnish Pentecostal Church takes advantage of this time and holds its church convention for those who wish to attend.  It has become not just speaking sessions and church services with guest speakers from all over the world but also a time to camp, visit, and fellowship with others.  Many Fins look forward to this time as a reunion to meet up with friends and family.  Needless to say it’s a big deal and has grown to around 30,000 people attending over this one week period.  It reminds me of going to Oshkosh as there are campers all over the grass and small tents pitched besides their vehicles.  The large tents that are erected to host the vendors and food suppliers range from 2000 square feet to the largest seating around 6000 people.

Last week, while my wife and I were on vacation in Finland, we were walking through the Mission tent that she said looked like an MAF display.  With anticipation I walked over to introduce myself and was greeted with warmth and enthusiasm by Laura Suomi and Seppo Rikkinen.  Laura handles the communications and fundraising in Finland for MAF and Seppo is a very committed Advocate that dedicates much of his time to come out for many such events.  We connected right away and they began to share their approach that they use to get peoples interest, as well as some of their struggles.  Some of which are similar to ours and others different.  One of the struggles Laura was sharing was the fact that many of the people in this culture are reluctant to step out of their comfort zone and commit to assisting with running a display where they would need to talk to others.

Laura said there were supposed to be six people serving that day but only Seppo showed up.  I told them I would come the next day and partner with them.  I don’t speak Finnish but I was excited to be a part of the team!  The best part was to see how things were handled differently in this culture.  Seppo, on his own, built a fairly elaborate flight simulator he set up for people of all ages.  The simulator had people huddled around waiting to get a chance to land and watch their friends’ crash land.  While their parents were waiting on their children the Advocates got a chance to share MAF.

I walked away encouraged and inspired on how MAF brings people together from all over the word, even in a Mission tent in central Finland.

~Jon Smalldridge

So California


Launching: MAF Teacher Project!

Advocates—at our Advocate Wing Summit in Nampa, ID in June we heard from Ministry Partnership one of the reasons many missionary pilot families leave the field is lack of quality education (ie. Teachers) for their children.

Click HERE to hear more from Dave Blomberg, Director of Ministry Partnership.

This summer we are launching the MAF Teacher Project—an initiative to make Advocates aware of the critical need for teachers and funding for teachers on MAF fields (click HERE to order the Teacher Project flyer).

Our GOAL is to raise $50,000 USD for the 2019-2020 school year to help keep teachers on the field.

We would also love to RECRUIT more teachers!

Check out this Video about how Teachers impact MAF ministry:

To give to this project click here:

We invite you to use your voice and influence to SHARE the Teacher Project!


At the Advocate Wing Summit, Advocate John Pipkin from South Carolina pledged the first $1,000 toward our $50k goal and challenged each Advocate to participate and invest in Teachers for MAF!

If you have any questions or suggestions on how to promote this, please do not hesitate to contact your Team Leader or Regional Manager.

Below is a sample email you are welcome to edit and personalize to share MAF’s Teacher Project with others:


I’m an Advocate for Mission Aviation Fellowship and I would like to share a new project we are promoting to invest in Teachers for MAF.

Teachers are invaluable to MAF’s ministry and their investment in missionary kids is greatly appreciated. Not only do they provide quality education, but they also play a key role in helping keep missionary families on the field. 

I hope you’ll take a moment to watch this video to see the importance of their ministry and the impact on our MAF families. MAF Teachers are a Big Deal

I’ve also attached a project overview that further explains why MAF teachers are needed and why raising financial support can be a challenge in a short window of time. If you want to learn more or have any questions, please let me know. If you are interested in investing in this project, you can donate here.

Thank you for your investment in MAF’s worldwide ministry!