Follow my journey as I embark on an adventure to serve as a pilot with Mission Aviation Fellowship. I am currently preparing to head overseas in early April.

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Commissioning service

My commissioning service was held last Sunday, 17 March. This was a momentous occasion where my church 'officially' acknowledged that God has called me to serve Him through MAF and send me with their blessing. I also had the opportunity to say a few words, so I gave an update on what it is I'll be doing when I go, what God has been teaching me, and thanking key supporters. Mark Fox then shared a bit about MAF and spoke about 'Our Assignment' as Christians - which is to share the good news about Jesus with others.

The service was recorded; you can listen to it here.

We finished off with a potluck lunch, which gave everyone a bit more time to hang out and celebrate with us. It was great to have family and friends present (including some who had come all the way from Auckland!).

It was a really great time; as you will hear in the recording I was a little emotional, but that's to be expected. I think what got me the most is when Mark said, 'The time has come.' It has indeed - next Wednesday is the start of a whole new chapter in my journey.


Sharing a few words

A pretty full house!

Being prayed for by the elders, MAF staff in attendance, and my home support team

Mark Fox sharing from Acts 20:18-27

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Presentation update

The last few weeks have been really busy with presentations and other events - all while I'm trying to get ready for moving to Queensland on 27 March! But it's all good - raising support is important, and talking about God's call on my life also helps keep me focused on why I'm doing this.

Here are some pictures of what I've been up to:

Presentation at St Mary's Anglican church, Whitby, 17 Mar

Marton Bible Chapel, 24 Feb

MAF 'Touch and Go' promotional flights at Feilding, 1 Mar

Presentation at Capital Vineyard Church, 3 Mar

If you haven't been able to make it to one of my presentations, the service at St Mary's was recorded. You can watch the video online (my section runs from 22:00-53:00).

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Acceptance plan

Earlier this week I received my Acceptance to Field plan. This is basically the MAF equivalent of being told, 'You are cleared for take-off''!

In a nutshell, here are the key points:
  • I will be leaving NZ sometime towards the end of March.
  • I will be attending MAF orientation from 1-5 April. This will be held at TreeTops lodge and it seems that I have already met a few of the speakers and participants!
  • Immediately after MAF orientation I will have Line Pilot Standardisation (LPS) training at Mareeba for 4 weeks. So far there are two of us on this course. LPS will ensure that we are following the MAF procedures and checklists and flying 'the MAF way'. This will most likely be done in a turbocharged GA8 Airvan
  • After I complete LPS I will start instructor rating training. This is expected to take 6-8 weeks and take us through to early July, which is when the flight training centre will have its next intake of students and I will officially start working!

Here are some of the logistics I need to get sorted between now and the end of March:
  • House renovations (bathroom, front door, garage) and prepare the house for renting out
  • Sort through all my possessions into 'take now', 'take later', 'storage', 'keep with house' and 'dispose'
  • Apply to have my NZ pilot's licence recognised in Australia
  • Finish up at work (final day 22 March)
  • Complete pre-orientation paperwork and LPS homework

Monday, 11 February 2019

Tararua tramping

Last week had fantastic weather, so my best friend and I took a couple of days off work and went tramping. We'd actually had this planned for a while - as I learned at Transition Training, it's important to plan some 'last time' activities. So this was our last time tramping together, for now.

The track we chose was from Holdsworth to Kaitoke. This follows the Waiohine and Tauherenikau river valleys, so is generally quite an easy walk and under the trees most of the time. It also holds significance for the two of us, since it was the very first multi-day walk we did together, back in January 2014. We found it a lot easier this time! I guess 5 more years of experience and walking well over 1000 km together will do that for you. It was great to be able to reminisce and to create new memories.

Crossing the Waiohine river, just before Totara Flats

One of my favourite huts - Totara Flats

Totara Flats looking north, day two

A tricky bit of track

Tutuwai Hut

Crossing the Tauherenikau river

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Talking about money

It makes the world go round.

It also makes missionaries squirm when we have to talk about it! (See this article for an honest description of what support raising is like)

But it's natural for supporters to ask questions, so I'll do my best to address the common ones here.

How much do you have to raise?

I have been set a fundraising target by MAF International that works out to around NZ$71,000 (US$55,000) per annum. That sounds like a lot, but if you break it down, it's slightly under $6000 a month. If 40 people gave $50 a month and another 40 gave $100 a month, the total would be covered. See the 'fuel gauge' to the right which shows where my support level is at right now.

What does the money cover?

Donations given to support staff working overseas covers a living allowance, housing (for programmes where staff live in compounds), travel to and from the field, insurance and superannuation. It also helps to cover some of the programme costs in terms of aircraft operations, maintenance etc.

How much of my donation stays in New Zealand?

NZ donations towards overseas work are handled by the Flying for Life Charitable Trust, which transfers the money to MAF International to fund the overseas programmes. None of the money given for overseas work is retained in NZ.

Are donations tax-deductible?

Yes - the Flying for Life Charitable Trust is registered with the Charities Commission. At the end of the tax year you will receive a receipt which you can use to claim your donations rebate.

I get paid fortnightly, do I have to support monthly?

You can support at whatever frequency suits you - weekly, fortnightly, monthly, quarterly, annually etc. Also, you can support through whatever method you would prefer - credit card, automatic payment, internet banking, cheque... MAF is grateful for every dollar that is given; we don't want to impose any barriers on people by telling them how or when they should give.

If I make a one-off donation towards your support, does it count?

Yes - one-off donations are counted as being spread over four years.

I can't commit to regular donations, but I want to support you. Is it ok if I just give when I am able?

Absolutely - you can donate by credit card via the website, or contact the MAF office for internet banking details or if you would like to send a cheque.

I started my support before you went to the field. What has happened to that money and what does it get used for?

Donations given while I am still in NZ are held in the Flying for Life Charitable Trust and released to MAF International when I go to the field. This money is used to cover some of the costs involved in relocation and getting established when I arrive (air fares, shipping, training etc.).

Where else does MAF get its money from?

MAF receives donations from support of staff, general donations (e.g. fundraising events and bequests), government aid grants, business donations, and profits from flights charged at commercial rates.

How does MAF charge for the use of its planes?

Different types of organisations (e.g. missions, local churches, secular aid organisations) are charged at different rates depending on their alignment with MAF's mission and vision. Some flights (e.g. medevacs) are performed at little or no cost to the passengers and these are subsidised through donations. Other flights (e.g. transporting media or government officials) are charged at commercial rates and the profits are returned to the funding pool.

What's the best way for me to donate?

Regular donations are the most helpful - contact the MAF office for more information on how to set these up. One-off donations are also gratefully received; these can be made by contacting the office, or via credit card at the website.

Have you got a question that hasn't been answered? Feel free to ask via a comment.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Festival One 2019

Festival One is held at the end of January every year and is one of the big events on MAF NZ's promotional calendar. This year it was once again at Mystery Creek (Hamilton). 

We had two displays: one in the 'precinct' with other missions groups, and our own marquee outside with the plane. We had a good response with lots of people coming to talk to us.

Part of the tent city at Festival One

The MAF marquee and plane on display. Most people didn't realise it had been flown in!

Holding the fort in the precinct with Olivia from the Auckland office

The Saturday night free barbecue for 4000 people gave me a new
appreciation for what Jesus did with the loaves and fishes! (Matt. 14:14-21)

Monday, 21 January 2019

Brand new Cessna Caravans at Mareeba

Since Mareeba is home to the MAF heavy engineering base responsible for maintenance on aircraft operating in Papua New Guinea (PNG), Arnhem Land, Timor-Leste and Bangladesh, the brand-new Cessna Caravans that are heading to PNG this year are currently here, being refitted for MAF operations.

After my assessments for today were finished, I had the opportunity to sit in 'row 2' while one of the engineers was signed off by a flight instructor to be able to taxi the aircraft and perform ground engine tests. The engine makes a lovely sound and hopefully it won't be too long before I'll get to fly one myself!

Getting ready to take the Caravan for some taxiing practise

Engineer John and instructor Andy performing checks before starting the engine

You know the plane is heading for PNG when the passenger
briefing card is written in Tok Pisin (Pidgin English)

A very impressive aircraft!