By way of introduction, what is your name and job title?
My name is Emil Kundig, currently the MAF Country Director in Liberia, also I am one of the two pilots flying in the programme here.
How long have you been with MAF and where have you served?
We have joined MAF in 1986 and have served in Chad, Uganda, Madagascar, Cambodia and Bangladesh and now in Liberia.
What brought you and your wife Margrit to MAF?
Our wish and prayer was, and still is, to serve the Lord in mission through the work of MAF.
How many children are you ‘Dad’ to? How many grandchildren do you have and where do they all live?
I am the ’Dad‘ to Tiffany born in the US, Timon and Tabitha born in Switzerland and Tobias, our youngest, who was born in Uganda. Currently we have 5 grandchildren: 3 live in Switzerland and 2 live in Timor-Leste.
What was it like bringing up children on the mission field? Did the benefits outweigh the challenges?
Bringing up children on the mission field is a privilege and the benefits definitely outweighed the challenges. They grow up in a particular, different way and learn early on to have a broad view of their world. The multilingual environment gives them opportunity to learn and grow up in different settings. They learn to adapt to third world challenges and this has a maturing effect. The biggest challenge was the separation and the return to their passport country. Family and church friends played a vital role in supporting them.
What advice would you give other MAF dads raising children on the mission field?
Enjoy it! Trust the Lord with the challenges and share that with the children as an opportunity to grow. Do fun stuff with them in the country to allow them to have good memories.
You are currently Country Director in Liberia – what would you say are the challenges of living in Liberia right now?
The challenge is that there is always more to do than you can actually do. Being distanced from family with growing grandchildren is a ‘sacrifice‘ for our children as well.
You live quite far away from your family – do you have lots of visitors to your new home in Monrovia?
So far Tobias and his wife Esther have managed to pay us a visit. For the others, it isn’t so easy with young families.
What do you love most about being an MAF pilot and Country Director?
Meeting so many different people enriches the life here, plus, being able to support them in their work with my ’passion‘, flying, is a fantastic combination.
Your son Timon is following in your footsteps as a pilot working for MAF – how do you feel about that?
I am thrilled that he takes God at His word and follows the Lord and particularly as a pilot/engineer which really confirms that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!
What was it like visiting Timon and his family recently?
It was humbling to see this young family adapt to many challenges and difficulties in light of the visa delays and the subsequent quick move to Timor-Leste. Sharing the same mission work gives us so much in common and that is delightful. Spending time with my grandchildren was a joy!
Is there a particular Bible verse that has helped you in your parenting over the years?
I might not have a particular verse but we always knew that ’children are a gift from God‘ entrusted to us for a certain time in life to bring them up fearing and trusting the Lord.
Father’s Day in Liberia is on the same date as the UK – what will you be doing on Father’s Day this year?
In my up-bringing, Father’s Day was not a day that was celebrated but Mother’s Day was. But I see with the way the world is going, it is a good thing to include Dad’s and give them a special day.
To read an interview with Emil's son, Timon, click here.