On the 13 Jan, after 6 flights and a few visits with friends and family in different places, we arrived in Nampa, Idaho. We began MAF Candidacy class on Jan 15.

Our class

Coming from a smaller MAF program like the one in South Africa, we didn’t know 100% what Candidacy Class actually was. It is described as the ‘engagement’ phase of this marriage-like relationship between families and MAF. A time to ‘check each other out’ and see if we want to tie the knot.

We are here with 6 other families (one for just a few days, and they have already moved into the field for a 2 month service). The other families are all from the USA, and from various stages of life. Each family feels a strong call into mission work with MAF, and we bonded by our common call and all being in the same stage with MAF.

We are staying in visitors apartments that MAF owns. They keep these apartments in great condition, and they are available as a service to missionaries who are either in the process of training, or who are home on furlough. So we have enjoyed having a warm and comfortable place to call home for this month.

Top Left: MAF HQ, Top Right: The apartments, Bottom Left: MAF Offices, Bottom Right: Our home sweet home for a month.

The classes are aimed at giving us a healthy and realistic view of what MAF does. We have presentations from each regional director, explaining the work in each region where MAF operates, as well as presentations on what to expect, and how to deal with working across cultures. We also spend a lot of time talking about the ‘Why.’ So many operators focus on what they are doing, and they forget about why. MAF is driven by they why and it has been amazing to see every member of staff coming back to that reason, and showing that the why is what motivates them to be so professional and to strive for a great standard.

On Tuesday this week, the other families officially heard which region they are assigned to. They had a lot of input into this, and it wasn’t like in the South African defense force when my dad said ‘I’ll serve in the Air-force or the Navy,’ and based on that they sent him to the Army! Everyone has been really excited about their assigned region, and there will be families going to Indonesia, Africa and Latin America. For us, we are a little different in that we are on loan from MAF SA, to go specifically to Lesotho. So no big surprise!

Our turn to talk at Chapel

Our turn to talk at Chapel

On Wednesday the candidate class led the chapel service at headquarters. , which was a lot of fun. We heard stories from each of the families about where they are from, where they are going, and a few fun and crazy stories from their lives. We are a diverse group: a former F-16 and Reaper pilot, an IT specialist/bassist/pilot who also rock climbs pretty seriously, a Nashville musician, a Puerto Rican, an aerobatic pilot, a South African flight instructor (oh wait, that’s me) and more! We have had such fun with them and look forward to the next steps.

Monday, we launch into 2 weeks of classes about “Ministry Partnership”. This is the phase where we learn about inviting others into our ministry work, and giving them an opportunity for ringside seats to what God is doing around the world through MAF.

Top Left: The mountains around Idaho, Top Middle: Inside the MAF training hanger, Top Right: Farms nearby where we are staying, Bottom Left: Idaho landscape, Bottom Middle:MAF is in a well named street, Bottom Right: Jane playing on the MAF jungle gym.

Thank you for following along with us. We are excited about being with MAF, and taking part in their mission to share the love of Jesus by reaching outward and helping isolated people in real and important ways.

Our next few months

We will be at Pulane Children's Centre for Christmas.

We will be at Pulane Children's Centre for Christmas.

It’s worth taking some time to explain the process for getting our family to ready to serve with MAF in Maseru. Currently, we are accepted to MAF South Africa. Before we are ready to work ‘in the field’ with MAF, there are certain training steps to work through. Our situation is a little different, because we will be ‘loaned’ to MAF USA, because they oversee the Lesotho program. As such, our training will be with MAF USA.

In January we fly to Dublin for a week to spend time with friends of ours, one of whom also happens to be our pastor. Why do we have a Pastor who lives in a place we’ve never lived? Good question, with a simple answer: We developed a great relationship with Rob and his wife Patrice on their mission trips to Pulane Children’s Centre. Therefore, it made sense that someone like Rob should be the person Emily and I go to on spiritual matters, and to also be linked to Rob’s church, Liberty Church in Dublin, as a base of spiritual support. So, that week in Dublin will be important in preparing us to serve in Maseru.

MAF Headquarters in Nampa, ID

MAF Headquarters in Nampa, ID

From there we fly to Idaho, via Dallas (I think I can hear two happy grandparents from here). In mid-January Emily and I start a two week training course with MAF called ‘Candidacy.’ This is a way for us to be aligned with the vision and mission of MAF, and to develop relationships with the people at the home office who look after the not so glamorous tasks of admin and HR.

The following two weeks we attend a course to assist us in support raising. During this time we will also be focusing on reaching our support goal, which we need to achieve before we can be online in Lesotho.

We then have a break during February, where we will travel, meeting friends and family, as well as continuing to work on our support raising.

I'm itching to get into a MAF plane and standardization training! This picture is from some recent flying I did in SA.

I'm itching to get into a MAF plane and standardization training! This picture is from some recent flying I did in SA.

March, ahhhh, the time I am most excited about. Flight Standardization. I’ll be flying a Cessna 206 Turbo in Lesotho, which might not sound spectacular to those of you know know airplanes. But, what is spectacular is where we need to be able to get these 206’s into and out of! Mountain flying is a whole new ball game, and MAF recognizes a need for serious, focused training. I’ll spend 3-4 weeks doing this very specific training, learning to handle the 206 safely in Lesotho’s mountains and remote airstrips. What has always impressed me with MAF is their absolute focus on safety and professionalism, which are the goals of the Flight Standardization training.

In April, we will return to South Africa, and then Lesotho. We still have a fair amount of unknowns: Where we will live, how we move our belongings to Maseru, when I will actually start flying, and so forth. These questions will probably only have answers as that time draws closer.

Our family is excited about these next steps. We know that traveling, being away from home for so long, and support-raising are all pretty stressful things. But with our goal in sight, we hope and plan to enjoy every moment. We would love your prayers of support for this process, and as we chip away at our support goals, we would love to talk in more detail with anyone who is interested in helping.