A legacy of service and giving

How the daughter of MAF missionaries continues to support the ministry through planned giving


By Natalie Holsten


“I just grew up with MAF.”

Debbie Lowrance is the daughter of pioneering MAF missionaries, Hobey and Olivia Lowrance, who served in several Latin American countries, southeast and central Asia, and MAF’s headquarters.

Debbie is not only an MAF “missionary kid” but she’s also a longtime supporter. Recently she chose to name MAF as a charitable beneficiary in her living trust, a decision born out of her love for the organization, and a continuation of the legacy established by her parents.

Hobey and Olivia met in Ecuador in 1949, set up by fellow missionaries. They married then began a life of service together. Debbie’s three older brothers were born in Latin America. By the time Debbie came along, her family had just moved to MAF’s headquarters, then located in California.

mission aviation fellowship charity pilot family in Ecuador

Hobey and Olivia Lowrance with two of their sons and Waorani women in front of their home in Shell Ecuador. Photo from MAF archives.

“When I was little, I knew everybody in MAF, who worked at the office, and the history of people,” Debbie recalled recently. “I knew of lot of missionaries around the world. I was just part of a big extended family.”

When Debbie was 12, her parents took an assignment in southeast Asia. While her parents were based in Indonesia, she attended boarding school in Malaysia. On school breaks she was able to join her parents and occasionally fly with her dad into the remote jungles of Papua, then called Irian Jaya.

“He would let me tag along with him when there was room,” Debbie said.

On one memorable flight, they landed at an airstrip that had tight margins. The aircraft’s load was limited for takeoff, so Debbie had to wait at the airstrip. “I was 14 or 15 and weighed 100 pounds,” Debbie remembered with a laugh. “It made the difference, so I had to wait while he flew this man out and came back for me.”

When Debbie was 15 and her family transitioned back to the U.S., she remembers having her world rocked, going from a small mission school to a large public school with thousands of students. “I had a bigger shock going to the United States,” she said, contrasting that to her move to Asia.

At the age of 18, Debbie went to Ecuador with her parents, a dream come true for her, and her parents, who were returning to serve for three months. They stayed in the original house where her parents had lived in the 1950s. She was able to work in the hospital during her time in Ecuador, go on trips into villages, and fly with her dad occasionally.

“That was a highlight with both Irian and Ecuador, getting to do flights with my dad,” she said.

Her family’s involvement with MAF from the early days, and her own travels as a child and as an adult to different MAF programs have given her a deep appreciation for MAF’s ministry.

“I know MAF,” she said. “I believe in what they’re doing.”

A bout with cancer and a brother’s urging led her to pursue setting up a living trust. “I knew at some point I needed to get my affairs in order.”

With a living trust, Debbie will continue to support the ministry that has been so important to her family through the years and is helping to share the love of Christ with people in isolated places. “MAF is near and dear to my heart,” Debbie said.

To learn more about how you can be a part of MAF’s mission and leave a lasting legacy like Debbie’s, including resources to help you get started, visit maf.org/estateplan.



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