Karlene Stehling’s days as a young MAF wife in Shell, Ecuador were busy—flight-following for the MAF pilots, keeping an eye on her toddler son, bookkeeping, and hosting visiting missionaries. After 12 years in Ecuador, she and her late husband, Joe, were assigned to serve at MAF headquarters.
Today Karlene’s ministry looks quite different. She assesses all staff prior to departure for the field, and recommends the best placement for each.3 Many veteran MAF missionaries who serve at headquarters or around the U.S. have seen similar transformations in their own ministries over the years.
This article focuses on a select few of a group of individuals who have served with MAF for close to four decades or more—altogether 592 collective years!
At times the impact of their service is only seen years later. Often these missionaries were impacted by the very people they came to serve!
In 1987, MAF pilot Dan Rogers was held captive by rebels during Suriname’s civil war. “I went back to the interior villages about 10 years after that,” said Dan, “and found out that people who had suffered more in the war than I did had been praying for me!”
Today Dan works in the Fabrication Shop at MAF headquarters and occasionally travels to the field programs to help with special maintenance projects.
Joy Blomberg, manager of MAF’s Campus Expansion Project, fondly looks back on her years in Papua, Indonesia. She recalls a local group with whom she played tennis.
“Few of them knew Jesus in a personal way. I know with certainty that God used me to impact their lives, but I won’t know exactly how until I meet some of them in heaven.”
The Longevity Factor
While their roles have changed over the years, these veteran missionaries still play a key role in MAF’s ability to bring the Gospel to isolated people around the world.
Steve Marx is making a difference in the Purchasing department at headquarters. “Finding and ordering aviation parts for our fleet enables our overseas teams to maintain their aircraft well and on the flight line.”
MAF Mobilizer Perry Pust counsels young people seeking to follow the Lord’s calling. “Many still thank me today,” said Perry, “for encouraging them along their training track until they joined MAF.”
“We want to be involved in encouraging new recruits and members,” said Sylvia Rogers, who cares for the children of MAF missionaries who come through headquarters for training.
Every person in this group wants to finish well. By giving to the Finishing Well Initiative you can help these missionaries continue making an impact as they conclude their time with MAF.
Story originally appeared in the summer 2018 issue of FlightWatch. You can read the entire issue here: