Six years ago, Peter and Miriam De Winkle, and their kids, were living on a dairy farm not far from MAF’s headquarters. Peter operated and maintained equipment and managed operations on his parents’ 2,000-cow farm. Things took a big turn for the de Winkles—and the biggest changes still lie ahead.
Today, the De Winkles are MAF pre-fielders, preparing to serve in Suriname as a pilot/mechanic family.
“It was a big surprise to us that God was able to change the course of our lives. We’d assumed that we’d just be farmers for the rest of our lives,” said Peter.
The seed was planted when Peter and Miriam met another long-time MAF couple in their small group. As Peter learned more about MAF, his interest grew.
“I loved the way that they served and spread God’s kingdom around the world,” said Peter. “I wanted to be involved in that.”
“We both are so passionate about helping people,” said Miriam. “And Peter is very technical… It’s amazing how God lined up our skills and our passions and gifting with MAF.”
At first, Peter thought he’d be a mechanic. He had a background in maintenance and wasn’t a pilot. But after taking his first flight lesson, he was hooked.
“There were still huge barriers to overcome, such as the flight training,” explained Peter. “But we said, God, if this is really what you want us to do, then we’ll keep going as long as you make a way. And He did.”
When the De Winkles discovered that MAF had a program in Suriname, a Dutch-speaking country in South America, they felt another tug on their hearts. Both come from Dutch families, and Miriam grew up speaking Dutch. They couldn’t help but think: What if we go there one day?
“It’s been amazing how God has directed us toward Suriname in our hearts, and towards the people,” said Miriam.
Peter is looking forward to being able to bless the people of Suriname by providing medical evacuations, and transporting missionaries and supplies.
In the meantime, the De Winkles are working on building their support team. They hope to make it to the field in the fall.
While it all seems a bit surreal, the couple has been reassured throughout this journey.
“We’ve given it up to God over and over again,” said Peter, “and He’s guided our paths. It’s really because God has laid it on our hearts, and he has opened the door for us to go.”
Is God calling you to join with the De Winkles in blessing the people of Suriname through MAF? To join their team, visit maf.org/dewinkle.