For 10 years, MAF mechanic Roger Clark took care of Cessna 206s in Lesotho, and a King Air in West Africa before that. Now, he and his wife, Barb, and their children have returned to serve in the States. Coming back has not been easy. They have found it infinitely harder returning to the U.S. than when they first packed up and took their children, babies then, overseas for the first time 15 years ago.
They set down deep roots in Lesotho as their children grew and eventually entered high school. ”As your kids get older, they start to form opinions of their own,” explains Barb. “Instead of just telling them what you’re going to do and dragging them along with you, their opinions become part of the decision-making process.”
Before they knew it, the Clarks were at a difficult crossroads: Should they continue mission life in Africa, transfer to another program, or serve in a mission role in the States so they could focus on launching their kids into adulthood? They chose to spend a term in Idaho but hope to return to Africa one day.
While Roger still gets to work on the familiar C206s, he is also applying his mechanical skill set to new and bigger airplanes, like the KODIAK and the Caravan.
“I know the people who will be flying the airplanes. I know that Dave LePoidevin is going to fly the Caravan for the flying doctor service in Mozambique. I know right where he’ll be, what he’ll be doing, what it will look like, smell like, and feel like. I like that perspective.”
The role MAF mechanics fill at headquarters is vital to MAF programs around the world. They’re maintaining planes that are used to train incoming missionaries, and they’re prepping or repairing aircraft for the field. One staff member likened it to getting the “farm equipment” ready for the harvest.
Missionaries like the Clarks are part of the huge support system at MAF’s U.S. headquarters who bring valuable firsthand experience to their roles.
It might seem like the needs are less for missionaries serving in the States, but that’s not the case. Returning missionaries need support, encouragement, and prayers like never before.
“It can be a bit daunting, says Barb, but we believe God’s going to provide. He always does.”
The Clarks need people to become their ministry partners. If you’d like to support the essential work they’re doing, please visit maf.org/clark.