Smith, Nathanael

Smith, Nathanael

Nathanael was the first person to be enrolled on MAF UK’s Engineer Trainee programme. He is spending four years training in the UK before joining an MAF programme. He will be part of a team helping to maintain our planes so we can enable our partners to reach isolated communities. He married Joanna in 2021 and they will be serving together.


Nathanael grew up a child of missionary parents serving in Cameroon. His interest in aviation started as a result of flying on missionary aircraft between boarding school and home. He spent a gap year in 2013-2014 working as a volunteer at the missionary hangar in Cameroon and gained experience working on the aircraft he had flown in. It was during this time that he first felt called to mission aviation. On leaving school he returned to the UK and studied aerospace engineering with the view of going into mission aviation in the future. Since graduating in 2018 he has briefly worked as a caretaker for his home church and then for a company making and maintaining microlight aircraft.

Joanna is from a Christian family and also has some mission experience having spent a gap year in 2014 serving with Tearfund in Peru. She and Nathanael first met while studying in Cambridge in 2015 and then again at church in Norwich where they were leading Bible studies together. They were engaged in 2020 and married after Joanna finished her PhD in Plant Science in October 2021.

Our MAF journey  

When he heard that MAF was offering an engineering training programme, Nathanael applied straight away. He is studying in Perth, Scotland, for two years in preparation for becoming a licenced aircraft engineer. He will gain that licence after a further two years of practical experience here in the UK before going overseas to serve with MAF in 2025.

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