We both went on short-term mission trips in 1992. David went to Romania to distribute aid. Jen joined a Tearfund taskforce project in remote Uganda where, significantly, she travelled back by MAF plane after experiencing the demands of travelling by road. We returned with a desire to bring Christian hope to others through practical service, although our engineering and administrative careers did not initially lead us towards an obvious mission activity.
Later that year, David felt a growing call 'to fly' and commenced private pilots licence training in the UK in early 1993 shortly before we married. Blessed with Graham (1994), Jonathan (1995) and Jen's encouragement, David persevered to expand his flying experience and finally gained his commercial pilot licence in 2003 with an instructor rating shortly afterwards. Throughout this time, our dream to join MAF remained central to our future plans.
Our MAF journey
The following year, service with MAF became a real possibility so we moved as a family to Melbourne to undertake a year of theological study together at the Bible College of Victoria. Joining MAF in mid-2006, we were based on Elcho Island, an outstation of the Arnhem Land programme, where we were all involved in various ministries with the Yolŋu people and the Bible Translation Centre. Jen also facilitated the boys' distance education through to the completion of their Year 12 studies in 2014.
In addition to line flying, David performed the roles of Base Manager and Operations Manager, becoming part of the pilot check and training team from 2010. Moving to Cairns in September 2014, David has taken on the role of MAF International Fleet Training Captain for the piston-engined aircraft in service in both the African and Asia Pacific regions. He is now responsible for the aircraft standard operating procedures, provides training to new pilots entering service with MAF, and supports the operational pilots and training teams in the various programmes.
Join the Petts' support team
As we continue our service overseas, we are looking to expand our team of supporters who pray for us and support our work financially. Could you be one of them?