Mark and Steph Draper currently live in Luton, Bedfordshire with their three girls; Lexi age 9, Evelyn age 7 and Raya age 4. Having nearly completed his Aircraft Maintenance Licence here in the UK, Mark and family will move to Kampala, Uganda in mid/late 2022 where Mark will serve as an aircraft engineer for MAF.
Mark grew up in a Christian family in Ascot, Berkshire and from a very young age he was fascinated with aviation.
Mark's late grandfather, Leslie, had served in the RAF during WWII, working on Mosquitoes in Egypt before joining British European Airways (BEA) to work as an aircraft radio engineer. The passion for aviation that his grandfather had during his career was passed onto Mark's father who would often take Mark to air shows as he grew up.
MAF was very much on Mark's radar from a very young age as both his parents and grandparents had supported the organisation for many years. In fact, Mark's grandfather was part of the BEA Christian Fellowship team who helped to re-assemble the first MAF UK Cessna 180 in the hangar at Heathrow in 1956.
Mark also has memories of reading ‘Jungle Pilot’ at the age of 14 and wondering if God would ever use his passion for aviation to serve him.
After leaving school, Mark continued to pursue his interest in aviation by studying for a National Diploma in Aerospace Engineering at Brooklands College Weybridge before starting an apprenticeship with Marshall Aerospace at Cambridge Airport.
After completing his apprenticeship, Mark continued to work for Marshall Aerospace for a short time, working on the RAF’s Lockheed C-130K Hercules and L1011 Tri-Star’s before moving to Luton for a job with Gulfstream Aerospace at Luton Airport fixing business jets.
Mark worked at Gulfstream Aerospace for seven years working as an airframe fitter to start with and later moving into continuing airworthiness management, before moving again to work for Monarch Airlines. Mark stayed with Monarch for two years until its collapse in 2017 when he then got a job working for EasyJet as a powerplant engineer, where he stayed until joining MAF UK.
After moving to Luton in 2008 Mark met Steph when he started attending Hope Church Luton. They were married in 2010.
Steph grew up in Kempston, Bedfordshire before moving to Lincoln with her family at the age of 16. After leaving School Steph trained as a nursery nurse and moved back to Luton to work. After working as a nursery nurse for a few years Steph decided to change careers and trained to become a midwife at the University of Bedfordshire. Steph has worked at the Luton and Dunstable Hospital as a midwife since she qualified in 2009.
Our MAF Story So Far
Mark and Steph had often spoken about serving with MAF since they got married in 2010, but the timing had never seemed quite right for them to make an application until early 2020.
It was the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and Mark had been put on furlough due to the impact the virus had had on the airline industry. During this time, he was praying about what God wanted him to do with the rest of his career and he ended up watching a YouTube video about the life of the late MAF pilot, Joyce Lin. Feeling that God was stirring up a fresh call in him to work for MAF, Mark told Steph how he was feeling and to his surprise she said she thought it was a great idea!
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Mark and Steph rely on a team of partners who agree to pray for them and to provide the financial support which enables them to serve with MAF.
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