A Time for Transition

“Sometimes, life’s challenges are tough to deal with. You will succeed if you focus your thoughts on how to overcome the challenge.”  – Catherine Pulsifer

It is back to school season.  It happens every year and is considered routine.  Yet, the back to school vibe is everywhere making itself known by:

  • the plethora of notebooks, pencils, and backpacks crowding the stores
  • families making the rounds like coveys of quail to required physicals needed haircuts and clothing stores
  • school buses making practice runs in the mornings
  • public swimming pools closing

not to mention the general franticness in the atmosphere that says:  Transition underway!

Routine Transitions

In some ways, we are always in transition.  We:

  • arise in the morning, live out a day, then head back to sleep
  • go to work (or school), move from one activity to another, then back to our nests at home
  • get in our cars, drive somewhere, take care of business then return

Most transitions are routine, efficient, even mindless with little risk.  However, what about transitions:

  • from a familiar routine to a new one?
  • involving more than just you?
  • involving some or a lot of risk?
  • involving moving into an unknown situation?
  • or one forced upon you, that broadsides and smacks you in the gut?
  • Ones that turn just plain ugly….
Transitions Turned Ugly

When it comes to the back to school thing,  I am more of an observer, dodging the various activities surrounding that aspect of this season.  However, it happens to be the time of year I make my annual rounds of physical checkups.  Routine right?

Not so much.  This time last year a bad report broadsided me as a result of the annual physical exam.   What it was is not important now, but it plunged us into the world of medical protocols and unwanted attention.

I immediately formed a support structure.  One that was simple, firm and kept me and my Christian values, not the medical establishment, in charge.   It consisted of:

  • surrounding myself with a small but powerful group of like-minded Christian prayers
  • leaning on my spouse and those like-minded believers for support
  • educating myself on options in my case – inside and outside of mainline medicine
  • streamlining my activities while keeping a strong daily routine
  • refusing to make the condition the center of my thoughts, words, or activities
  • choosing to trust the Lord at a whole new level

I am happy to report, all is well.  The treatment I took is a distant memory with barely a burp in our lives.

By Nancy Cullen, Advocate

Advocate Opportunity Ideas

In our role as MAF Advocates, we strive to partnerconnect, encourage, and effectively represent the ministry within (our) sphere of influence.”

So, with who do we connect, encourage and partner and who is in our sphere of influence? As it turns out, everyone! Advocates around the country have spoken to groups and individuals, philanthropic organizations and churches – often with wonderful results.

Here are a few ideas gleaned from Advocates:

  1. Church (yours, family and friends): Find churches mission leaders and Sunday school teachers to leave brochures and your card.
  2. Colleges: aviation-specific and regular, Christian and secular. Speak to department heads and career counselors. Find out about career days and if you could set up a display.
  3. High Schools, Middle Schools Elementary Schools, Christian and secular. Seek out career days, assemblies, and special event weeks. Speak to principals and guidance counselors at HS/MS.
  4. Subscribe to SocialFlight. Follow an EAA local chapter, a local airport FBO and/or flight training centers on social media. Explore Women in Aviation and other aviation organizations.
  5. Kiwanis Clubs, Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs, and retirement homes often need speakers.
  6. Home school centers, homeschool co-ops and home school websites.
  7. Post and share appropriate MAF items on social media.
  8. Anyone else you can think of! One young-at-heart Advocate hands out MAF flyers and pamphlets to bank tellers, his barber, store clerks and more. An Advocate airline pilot tells of being nicknamed Jungle Pilot for his enthusiastic telling of MAF’s story to fellow pilots, crew, and attendants!

A term often heard at MAF HQ as well as in the field is “Team.” We are not in this alone. Your Regional Managers, fellow Advocates, Mobilizers, and the wonderful support team at HQ are all available to partner or team up with you! If you have an idea for an event or opportunity but aren’t sure where to go with it, please do not hesitate to reach out!

~ Craig Talsma, Northeast Regional Manager ~ Advocate Wing


Advocate for The MAF Teacher Project

For the past 7 years, I have been working as a volunteer coordinator with Education Equals Hope, a non-profit organization that offers opportunities for children in desperate and difficult situations to attend school.   My mission experiences have been in southern Haiti.  One of my top priority challenges each year is to raise funds to pay the dedicated teachers of our church school at our ministry site in the rural Haitian countryside.  Without qualified teachers, we cannot have a school.  Without a school, we cannot offer children hope for a better future.

MAF has similar challenges finding qualified teachers for missionary kids.  Missionary families in some locations are fortunate to have accredited local schools available for their children to attend.  In locations where these schools are not available families are faced with considering homeschooling or sending their children away to boarding school.   For a variety of reasons, homeschooling may not be a viable option for some families.  The boarding school option separates a child from their family for long periods of time.  If you are a parent, try to imagine what it would be like to have to send your child to a school outside of the area or country where you live and serve.

MAF has a philosophy that God and family are the most important things we have been given to invest in.  Because of this many missionary families feel compelled to leave the mission field rather than endure this separation of family members.  The answer to this difficult problem is to provide qualified teachers for the schools in these particular locations.

The MAF Teacher Project was introduced at this year’s Advocate Summit as an initiative to make us, as Advocates, aware of the critical need for and funding of teachers for our MAF missionary kids.  The goal of this project is to raise $50,000 to help place teachers on the field so our missionary families can continue to serve knowing their children will receive a quality education where they live.

So far, the Advocate Wing has raised $3,550.00 to support The MAF Teacher Project.  It’s now “Back to School” season. What better time for us to share this need with our friends, family, donors, contacts and make a financial donation ourselves to invest in this critical project?  Please join me in praying for, advocating for and investing in the teachers who have made a commitment to serve the children of our dedicated MAF missionaries.  Let’s change the ending for these teachers and missionary families!









by Advocate Joyce Pipkin in Columbia, SC


CFC Season Starting – New Strategy

Hello Advocates! You have been critical partners for MAF’s participation in the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC).  Thank you!

We are diving into this season with a new strategy that may impact your involvement.

  1. Marketing: We are working with our federation (Community Health Charities) to utilize the best CFC marketing data and invest in digital marketing. We have been experimenting with this on our own the past two years, and now we can take it to the next level.
  2. Events: This is the part that impacts you the most.

a. Giveaways – We are going to trial two new giveaways for the CFC. Along with the balsawood airplanes, we will be giving out mint tins and sticky note pads branded with MAF and our CFC #10989.

b. Event Locations – Based on recent data and training we received, we are sliming down our event strategy to target a few key zones. You may hear from me soon if you are in one of these zones. This will mean fewer events, but a more strategic investment of our resources and of your time.

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to give me a call. Your feedback is extremely helpful and I always value hearing your questions, concerns, and ideas.

Holly Syreen

Advocates Overseas

We stepped off the plane in Maseru, Lesotho full of excitement, ready to begin our experience. We were eager to meet the team and see what God is doing in this small country at the south of the African continent. Six months before we were looking up Lesotho on a map to find this country we had not heard of before. Despite being unfamiliar with Lesotho, we were familiar with MAF. We have been serving as Advocates for 5 years; and working toward applying full time in the coming year. In 2013, we visited the base in Tarakan, Indonesia. With our MAF background we felt like we had a decent idea of what we were in for on our vision/service trip. Expectations however are seldom accurate, and it was a blessing to be able to replace what we imagined with the truth and specific images of what God is doing in Lesotho.

Being able to visit someone in their home is a great gift. To be welcomed into a home is to get a unique view into their world – the place where they have their favorite books, pictures they cherish, and their style on display. To be brought into a home is to be brought into a private world where you can learn and grow faster in relationship with someone. As part of our vision trip, we were able to visit several of the MAF families in their home and get a beautiful glimpse into the life of a missionary pilot.

We came to Lesotho wanting to help with their annual family conference and see a day in the life of a missionary family. We received that and so much more. During our stay we met a new culture, saw new ministries growing, saw God’s love in action, and learned more about ourselves. Mostly we experienced how God works in diverse ways and saw his relationship with people in action. Often in our daily life we can miss seeing God move because it becomes mundane or normal. This trip allowed us to step out of our routine and the familiar so our eyes could open to how involved God is in reaching people.

From the first time we learned about the trip, we got to see God work building our trust and expanding our view of Him. We had to trust Him with our finances, our children, and our talents. It seems people going on mission trips always end up with the funds somehow and we were no exception. Being on the requesting end of a newsletter was a difficult place for us as are generally the ones sending a check. It stretched us in a new way to ask for support. We really did feel so blessed and unworthy to receive the support we did. It was humbling and we realized how God does want us all to work together. He created us to be a team and thrive in relationship with each other. The conversations we had in discussing our plans for the trip opened so many doors even before we stepped on a plane.  Even conversations at the chiropractor organically led to MAF as the main small talk in May and June is “What are you doing this summer?” At this point our dentist, mom’s meet up group, chiropractor, and coworkers have been able to hear about MAF just from that simple question.

Along with our finances, we had to trust God with our daughters. We left our two girls, ages 2 and 4, with family while we were away. While it was nice to know they were enjoying the pool with cousins instead of with us for the 36 hours on airplanes – we did miss them as this was the longest we had ever been away from them. God reminded us He is their creator and father; He loves them even more than we can. It forced us to remember they are a gift we are responsible to care for, but ultimately, they are His. We have to daily release their care to Him and seek Him in what is best for them. Working through this is a struggle against anxiety that taught us to release our desire for control over to God, and we were thankful for the grace and mercy He gave us through the process.

We signed up to lead worship and the children’s program for the Family Conference, which was a leap of faith in a new way for us as well. There were many new stretching experiences that made us lean into God’s strength. Often as we prepared, we felt too inadequate to lead, but God would remind us that our main objective was to show up with His love for everyone and He would lead us. We knew God was with us because amid our fears we could lean into Him and experience peace. Beyond that we experienced the joy and wonder of growing closer to Him and seeing more of His creation.

Being able to listen to the families in Lesotho made the idea and theory of MAF come to life for us. As Advocates, and soon to be applicants, we’ve spent a lot of time learning about MAF and imagining what it would be like to serve, but that cannot match stepping into a base and living it. Hearing families’ daily struggles, what it was like for them to move, why they continue to serve, and all the ways God reveals himself in their lives gave us a bigger picture of MAF, our world, and mostly God. Being at a base allowed us to talk with several families and hear how different all their stories are. It opened our eyes to how big God is to use so many people and circumstances to reach a common goal. Every family has unique stories of God working, not only in getting them to Lesotho, but in what they are doing there now. Each person has a ministry in Lesotho that is so well suited to their gifts. It was encouraging to see how God used each person specifically.

Along with getting to speak with the American MAF families, visiting Lesotho gave us a special opportunity to speak with MAF national staff. They are fluent in English, so the language barrier was minimal. This was completely different from our time in Indonesia as we don’t speak Indonesian. Getting to communicate directly with the national staff was extremely valuable. Without a communication gap, we could talk with the Besotho about why they chose to work for MAF, their struggles, and their hopes for the future. As Advocates, we’ve been asked about the response MAF gets in the countries where they serve. Now we’ve had a chance to hear firsthand what they think of MAF coming to their home. We also got to see examples of the relationship the government of Lesotho has with MAF. We had assumed that all relationships with governments and MAF were strained at best however in Lesotho they have a great relationship.

It was so helpful to have conversations with people actively in the global field of MAF, but mostly we got to see a bigger view of God’s work. We saw His work in us before, during, and now after the trip. We saw what He has done and is doing in Lesotho. The work that has been put into building relationships with the Basotho is being blessed and directed by God’s hand. You can see God’s love and determination in the staff to reach the people around them. The new program for Lesotho flying pastors is one example of how God is using the people to expand His ministry, but there are so many exciting ways His love is spreading in Lesotho. Because of our visit we get to bring that news and joy back with us and share it in our community. Our family has commented how much more driven we are since our return to grasp onto opportunities and relationships. The fire for God’s Kingdom is catching and visiting a place and people where you can see it growing spreads that fire. We will always remember these firsthand experiences and look forward to the day we can not only make more of our own but allow others to visit and bless them as we have been blessed.

By Advocate Grant Mugge

Events Update

In June, we had the opportunity to take two training aircraft to the OCEANetwork Homeschooling Convention in Albany, Oregon. Dan Whitehead and Brian Shepson flew students and their families in the MAF 206s. “This year we flew less passengers but made more connections.” – Brian Shepson

In July, Advocate Bill Koss hosted Experience MAF Chicago at his local airport in Aurora, Illinois. J.A. Air Center opened their hangar for our presentation. Investors were invited to this community event. Brian Shepson and David Holsten piloted the Kodiak and offered rides to the public. The audience enjoyed David’s presentation on how God is using MAF worldwide.

After Aurora, the Kodiak flew to be displayed at AirVenture Oshkosh 2019 in Wisconsin. This year’s exhibit featured four new MAF tents. The staff came from around to the world to represent MAF. Despite heavy storms at the beginning of the week, the attendance at AirVenture was at an all-time high. Guests were able to experience taking off and landing in MAF planes by virtual reality.

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 martinah.brown@maf.org.


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 advocatewing@maf.org and reference the corresponding Ministry Opportunity.