Meet those serving overseas
Let’s break the ice…
Taking the plunge into serving overseas can be daunting.
Let me introduce you to some of the missionaries serving in Africa and the Asia-Pacific region.
I hope you enjoy getting to know them and finding out how they ended up serving with MAF.
Just so you know, the concerns you may be feeling and the issues you’re possibly considering have probably been shared by these guys!
First up, right next to you, are Dave and Becky Waterman.
Dave and Becky Waterman
Dave has had a love of aviation since childhood.
When he was 13, an MAF stand caught Dave’s eye and he read about our need for aircraft engineers. From that point on, his course was decided and he started training in aircraft maintenance at the age of sixteen.
When he completed his training, Dave spent two months with MAF Uganda, then returned to Gloucester to gain further experience and expand his licence to include avionics.
Becky grew up in Cornwall and also felt the call to mission from a young age. She pursued this call in the UK, preaching in a variety of churches and assisting a variety of church and charity projects. Alongside this, she ran her own freelance writing and website design business, and wrote her first novel.
The two met in Gloucester, married in 2010, and relocated to Southampton for Dave’s work.
The call to overseas service was later reawakened at a Christian conference and at a conveniently timed 24/7 prayer week – Dave and Becky aware that God was affirming their desire to join MAF.
Dave is currently MAF’s Africa Regional Avionics Manager, based in Liberia.
Just head down the aisle a little and meet Mark and Steph Draper.
Mark and Steph Draper
Mark grew up in a Christian family in Ascot, Berkshire and, from a young age, was fascinated with aviation.
His late grandfather had served in the RAF during World War II, working on de Havilland Mosquito planes in Egypt before joining British European Airways to work as an aircraft radio engineer.
MAF was already on Mark’s radar because both his parents and grandparents had supported the organisation for many years.
After leaving school, Mark pursued his interest in aviation by studying for a National Diploma in Aerospace Engineering before starting an apprenticeship with Marshall Aerospace at Cambridge Airport.
After completing his apprenticeship, Mark continued to work for Marshall Aerospace before moving to Luton for a job with Gulfstream Aerospace, fixing business jets. Mark has also worked for Monarch Airlines and EasyJet.
Steph grew up in Kempston. After leaving school, she trained as a nursery nurse before changing careers and, after qualifying as a midwife in 2009, worked at Luton & Dunstable Hospital.
Although Mark and Steph had often talked about serving with MAF since marrying in 2010, the timing had never seemed quite right until they decided to apply ten years later.
It was the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and Mark had been put on furlough due to the impact the virus was having on the airline industry.
During this time, he was praying about what God wanted him to do in terms of career, and ended up watching a YouTube video about MAF Pilot Joyce Lin.
Feeling that God was encouraging him to join MAF, Mark told Steph what he was thinking and was surprised when she agreed it was a great idea!
From January 2023 Mark will be based in Uganda as an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer.
Now it’s time to change seats and meet Becki and Matt Dillingham.
Becki and Matt Dillingham
Becki grew up in Devon and has had a passion for planes ever since her first flying lesson at Exeter Airport at the age of nine.
Pursuing her interest in aviation, she went to Johannesburg, South Africa, after finishing her A-levels, to gain a Private Pilots Licence.
Becki then went to Bath University to read physics. While she was there, she joined the Christian Union, went to a local church and became a Christian.
After living in Qatar until he was 12, Matt moved to Dorset with his family; living in Wimborne and going to Canford School. He went on to read Physics at Bath, where he met Becki.
They married in 2008 and moved to Cheltenham so Becki could continue with her training to be a commercial pilot, with Matt starting teacher training at Gloucester University.
A job flying out of Plymouth Airport as the ‘eye in the sky’ pilot for a local radio station resulted in Becki and Matt moving back to the south-west, where Matt taught science at Holsworthy Community College.
Becki first heard of MAF in 2005, and decided to become an Area Rep, telling various churches and groups about our amazing work.
She spent a week in Uganda in 2007, seeing MAF in action and, having obtained the required flying experience, Becki applied to become a pilot with MAF.
They went as a family to Madagascar in September 2014, then moved to Chad in October 2017, where Becki serves as Pilot and Operations Manager.
Finally, let’s take a moment to meet our last passengers on this trip, Stewart and Michelle Ayling.
Stewart and Michelle Ayling
Eighteen years working for motor racing teams might seem like odd preparation for mission work in Africa, but apparently not to God!
With their children they moved to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in 2011 to take up their role with MAF.
Stewart grew up in a Christian family and made a commitment to Christ at the age of 15 during a youth group house party.
He had always had a keen interest in motor racing, studying mechanical engineering at Hatfield Polytechnic with the aim of pursuing a career in motorsport.
In 1992, Stewart began working in touring car racing, followed by the Le Mans 24-hour race and, later, with Jaguar in Formula 1.
Michelle’s calling to mission in Africa came at the age of eight during a school assembly. After coming to know Jesus at 19, she studied world religions and history at Crewe and Alsager College, then took a PGCE at Newcastle University to become a secondary schoolteacher.
After the two met in Michelle’s hometown of Norwich, they married and moved to Kettering a year later, in xxxx. [SHOULD WE GIVE DATE?] They joined Christ the King Church soon afterwards and were involved in a variety of activities, including children’s and youth work.
Aware that God was calling them into full-time service overseas, they took a brief trip to Tanzania in 2010 to explore potential opportunities with MAF there.
Stewart is now MAF Tanzania Country Director, overseeing the office and liaising with other mission organisations and NGOs in the region.
There’s a lot more where they came from!
Right now, we have about 27 families serving throughout the MAF world. We couldn’t fit them all in on this journey, but you can hear from some more by clicking here.
That’s it for now. In the next email, we’ll introduce you to your flight crew (the friendly MAF UK HR team).
See you then!
The MAF UK HR team