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Andy and Helen Symmonds


Andy has wanted to be a pilot for as long as he can remember and as a youngster, growing up in Teesside, he hoped to join the Royal Air Force. This wasn’t God’s plan though, and when Andy was a teenager God began speaking to him about one day serving with MAF.

Convinced that joining MAF as a pilot was God’s will for him, Andy began trying to gain the required qualifications. Although it took many years and many avenues were explored, he eventually obtained his Commercial Pilot’s Licence in 2008 through a cadetship scheme with Reconnaissance Ventures Limited (RVL), for whom he then worked for the next ten years. Based initially at Coventry and then East Midlands Airport, he gained lots of valuable experience flying Cessna twins in a wide variety of roles, even flying in Guinea in West Africa with a Cessna 406.

Helen grew up in Leicester and trained as a dietician at university in Leeds. After qualifying, she started work in Guisborough, North Yorkshire. Helen settled in a great local church and was very involved in children’s and youth ministry. She met Andy in 2007 and around this time God was speaking to her about full time mission work, the verse from Isaiah ‘Here am I, send me.’ repeatedly being brought to her attention. Helen was exploring what God’s will was when Andy mentioned the possibility of one day serving with MAF, and she wasn’t scared off!

Our MAF journey

Helen and Andy married in 2009 and now have two sons, Joel (born 2011) and Daniel (2015). They have known God’s leading and sustaining through some tough times, with the loss of both of Helen’s parents in the last few years. They are now serving in Papua New Guinea. They relocated there in April 2019 after completing all the required training and preparation.

‘Looking back, we can both clearly see God’s hand on our lives, leading, guiding and preparing us, individually and as a family, eventually bringing us to this point, where we pray we will serve well.’

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Papua New Guinea

Favourite Bible verse:

'And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.'
- Micah 6:8

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