Our mission is to be a part of reaching the nations with the gospel of Christ by training the next generation of mission aviators. As full-time missionaries with Proclaim Aviation assigned to SMAT in Ionia, Michigan, we get to be a part of equipping families to share the love of Jesus in remote areas of the world where aviation provides access to medical care, transportation, and the gospel. One of the biggest blessings is getting to know the students and their families, encouraging them in their technical training, but also seeking to mentor and support them personally and spiritually during their time here. We regularly invite students over to our home for dinner and fellowship, and Angie also gets to know the women students and student wives in her role helping to lead a bimonthly women's Bible study. As a flight instructor on the flight side of SMAT, Paul primarily divides his time between teaching ground school classes, giving flight instruction in the planes, and pre-flight / post-flight briefings with his students. The rigorous 12-month curriculum of ground school and flight instruction is well structured to equip the students for the specific demands of mission aviation overseas. Flight training in Michigan requires the schedule to remain flexible so that when God provides good weather the students can be in the air. We appreciate prayer for many good weather days, stamina for the flight team, and good discipleship opportunities with each student.
I grew up in Sierra Leone, West Africa, where my parents ministered among the Loko people and completed a New Testament translation for them. Having been raised in a Christian home, I heard the Gospel and watched it being lived out in my parents’ lives from the time of my earliest memories. I cannot pinpoint the specific time I came to saving faith in Christ, but I do remember clearly understanding my need for a personal relationship with the Lord and for forgiveness of sin, when I was nine, one evening after family devotions in Sierra Leone. At 12 years old, at a missions conference in Illinois, I committed to serve the Lord wherever and in whatever way He led. In my senior year of high school I learned about the need for aviation in missions. The Lord provided in a wonderful way and allowed me to attend Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and graduate as a pilot and aircraft mechanic from Moody’s aviation program, then located in eastern Tennessee. During my time in Tennessee the Lord brought Angie and I together. Loving and serving the Lord together with her has been the greatest joy of my life.
I grew up in a small town in Iowa with wonderful parents and one older sister. We were active in church, and I remember asking Jesus into my heart around age 10. I didn’t tell anyone, but read my Bible more and tried very hard to be good. In college, God used some foolish choices and a Christian roommate to show me that I was trying to follow God with one foot and keep my other foot in the world. He opened my eyes to my sin and need for forgiveness, and the grace He offered, not because of what I’d done, but because of what Christ had done for me. It was a turning point in my life, and it’s amazing to see that I have yet to stop learning more about the depths of His mercy and love.
That next year, I began looking into teaching overseas (I was getting my elementary education degree). When I met Paul and found out he was studying to become a missionary pilot, I was fascinated – with the man and with missions! – and worked to find out more about what he was wanting to do. It was easy for me to join him in pursuing missions as our life work, and it has been a privilege to use the gifts and interests He’s given us to help people know the truth of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.