MAF Couple Honored for 50 Years of Marriage and 43 Years of Missionary Service

Nampa Mayor Proclaims Friday, Sept. 26 to be John and Cora Lou Miller Day

John and Cora Lou on their wedding day
The Millers and their two sons in Irian Jaya
The Millers with Nampa Mayor Bob Henry
Top: John and Cora Lou on their wedding day. Center: The Millers and their two sons in Irian Jaya. Bottom: The Millers with Nampa Mayor Bob Henry.

NAMPA, Idaho — In a special ceremony Wednesday at Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) headquarters, Nampa Mayor Bob Henry proclaimed Friday, September 26, 2014, to be “John and Cora Lou Miller Day.”

Friday is the Millers’ 50th wedding anniversary. The proclamation also honors the couple’s 43 years as missionaries with MAF, a global missionary organization that uses airplanes and technology to support Christian and humanitarian work in remote parts of the world. John currently runs MAF’s machine shop and supervises volunteers.

The Millers met as students at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, where John was training to be a missionary pilot and Cora Lou studied piano performance. The couple married in 1964 and joined MAF in 1971. They served in Papua, Indonesia (then known as Irian Jaya), for 26 years. In 1997 they returned to the U.S. to work at MAF headquarters.

“John and Cora Lou have dedicated their lives to sharing the Gospel,” said Gene Jordan, MAF’s vice president of human resources. “As a missionary pilot, John flew helicopters and airplanes, including float planes. He landed on short, rugged airstrips created and maintained by the local villagers. John also repaired and maintained the airplanes. In addition to raising two rambunctious boys, Cora Lou served as flight coordinator, bookkeeper for the base, hostess for visitors, cook for conferences, pianist for worship services, and hair dresser.”

Though quiet and unassuming, the Millers are pioneers who lived in remote areas near people groups known for cannibalism and violence. Their life together is an adventure story that includes surviving a helicopter crash in the jungle, safely landing an airplane in the mountains after engine failure, and experiencing true miracles brought about through prayer.

But beyond that, “John lives out what a husband should be, “ said Jordan. “That is the true measure of a man.”

The mayor’s proclamation stated, “John boldly proposed marriage to Cora Lou at Fairplains Cemetery in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Cora Lou accepted his proposal in spite of the lack of a romantic presentation.”

Cora Lou laughed as she explained the situation. “We had already talked about getting married, but John didn’t want to give me the ring until he had my father’s approval. My father was concerned that John and I might argue a lot, as I have a temper and he thought John might too, since he’s a redhead. But Mother had seen John’s calm spirit, and since we had both been called to mission work, they gave their permission. After that stressful situation, John and I went for a walk in the nearby cemetery. It was beautiful, like a big park, and John gave me the ring.”

“They have a weird marriage,” said Pastor Keith Waggoner of Grace Bible Church in Nampa, where the Millers worship. “The dictionary says that weird means ‘something or someone touched by the supernatural.’ Their lives have undoubtedly been touched by the presence of God Almighty.”

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