How to get started in missions as a pilot with MAF

International (MNN) – Yesterday, we gave you a glimpse into a day in the life of a missionary pilot with Mission Aviation Fellowship. Maybe God is already stirring your heart to consider serving as a pilot too. We’re sharing today with Ron Hilbrands, MAF’s mobilization manager, about how to become a missionary pilot with their ministry and what it takes.

Mission Aviation Fellowship flies ministry partners, humanitarian personnel, and aid into areas off the beaten path. And MAF pilots serve as tangible extensions of God’s love in all their flights.

(Photo courtesy of MAF)

Every year, Hilbrands says they get a lot of inquiries from would-be pilots. But, before anything else, they want to know the heart behind the inquiry.

“Part of the process is finding out the heart of the person that really desires to do this. Because if you just look at pictures of missionary pilots, it can look kind of glamorous going into these remote airstrips. But God calls us to serve him. And so, first of all, we look at the heart of the person. If we feel that God is calling them into this, we want to hear their testimony. We want to hear how God has moved in their life.”

After all, many can pass the qualifications and licensing to become a pilot. But someone who flies for missions needs to recognize their role is, above all, a service to the Lord. MAF emphasizes this by requiring all their pilots to complete at least 12 college-level credit hours of Bible courses.

The ministry also encourages their pilots to have a secondary skillset. For example, Hilbrands says, “Maintenance on airplanes is huge in terms of keeping the airplanes flying. And so a lot of our pilots are also mechanics. More recently, we’ve had different skill sets come in as well. Right now we have a pilot I.T. technician role where the person is a pilot but also [utilizes] I.T. skills, computer science skills…. Another area might be pilot and admin, someone who’s got strong administrative skills.”

MAF-US serves in 17 different countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Together with MAF International, they work in a combined 37 countries around the world.

(Photo courtesy of Sean Cannon with MAF)

So where should you start if you want to learn more about becoming a missionary pilot? A great place to start is at MAF’s recruitment page here!

Hilbrands says you can also meet an MAF mobilizer near you to learn more about their pilot requirements and qualifications. “We have…mobilizers right now that are scattered around the country. So if someone lives in a particular state, they very likely could have a mobilizer come visit them or they could talk to them directly in their own area there. And the mobilizer…could give a lot of information.”

You can also call MAF headquarters toll-free at 800-359-7623 and ask for recruiting or mobilization.

In addition to pilots, MAF has a variety of other service opportunities. “We recruit schoolteachers for our missionary kids. Those can be short-term. We need computers science majors, I.T. technicians for field work…. Even though we have aviation in our name, we have a lot of other needs as well. So we always encourage people to at least contact us and see if their skillset might match what our needs are.”

And something anyone can do, no matter where God has placed you, is pray for and support MAF’s ministry. Ask the Lord to open doors of opportunity for MAF to advance his Gospel. Pray for the encouragement and stamina of MAF’s missionaries and personnel. And pray for more people to enter an eternal relationship with Jesus Christ because of MAF’s loving service.

If you’d like to support MAF financially, click here.

“There [are] still tremendous needs out there. One of the things that we continue to do and the responsibility that I have is making sure we have enough personnel around the world to do the job that God calls us to do. And I just want people to know that the need is still great, the harvest is ripe.”