Captain’s Log-22 October 2014-Where Do Mission Bush Pilots Come From?

Jebel Miller helping to fly the plane.  I put my Lightspeed headset on him and had a delightful talk about the joy of flying in Africa.

Jebel Miller helping to fly the plane. I put my Lightspeed headset on him and had a delightful talk about the joy of flying in Africa.

Today I had some people from SIL and Sam’s Purse with me in the plane, and the couple from Sam’s Purse with their two young kids. I remember being a missionary kid in the Philippines and always looking with Awe at the MAF pilots, as they flew into some of the most challenging airstrips in the world. I went to school with their kids and I remember the pilots circling the campus after they had dropped their kids off for boarding school at Faith Academy. My parents taught there and knew the pilots, who were closer to their age. Once when we were holidaying in Baguio up in the mountains we were invited to MAF pilot Dave Steiger’s home for supper. It must have been a chore to have the Cadds over as there were 5 of us kids, but they didn’t seem to mind. They lived up a hill overlooking the airstrip and I remember breaking away from the crowd and walking down to the hangar and peering in through the crack in the hangar doors to see the dark outline of the Cessna 185 within. I longed to go inside and touch it. To get in and take the controls in my hands would have been do wonderful. But I was too shy to ask. I know Dave would have gladly taken me in but I couldn’t bring myself to ask. Because of this memory, I have always made every effort to make sure that if I have Mission Kids along on a flight, I put them up front with me. And just maybe, I will be passing on the passion to fly and to serve in the remotest parts of the world.

So, today, it was Jebel’s turn. In point of fact I had to bribe him with sweets! But he did come up front and when he got there he came alive. It was great. I put my spare Lightspeed headset on him and we had a great conversation the whole way to Bunia. There was rain all around so we dodged back and forth of course, which put us over a beautiful waterfall that we had to tip over to get a better look at before crossing over Lake Albert and the green hills of Africa before arriving at Bunia. We shared my lunch, Jebel, “handled” the controls most of the way until, done in by excitement, he fell fast asleep. So, just maybe there was a future MAF pilot born today. We will see.   I love my job. I would be happy to pass it on to those who would take it up with passion and a love for the people we have the privilege to serve.

Yeah, we are man down. I repeat, Man Down.   Just too much excitement for one day.  But it was a beautiful day at the office!

“Yeah, Mayday, Mayday, we are Man Down. I repeat, Man Down.”    Just too much excitement for one day. But it was a beautiful day at the office!

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9 Responses to Captain’s Log-22 October 2014-Where Do Mission Bush Pilots Come From?

  1. Samuel Bälter says:

    Hi Jon!

    I love this story! It reminds me so much of my own childhood and it really makes me missing all of you guys.

    All the best and Gods blessing to you!
    /Samuel

    • Jon says:

      Hey Samuel, We miss you Jen and the kids as well. It was great working and playing with you. I imagine CAR was amazing when you were there.
      Blessings my friend,
      Jon

  2. Baden says:

    This is truly how MAF pilots are born. I will never forget the similar experiences given to me in North Mozambique; they are what got me hooked on the idea of flying. Jan next year I am actually off to Moody to study Mission Aviation and my hope is to one day soon be a MAF pilot.

    Keep up the amazing work and thank you for noticing “us” kids. It was over 12 years ago, but it still remains a special memory in my heart!

    • Jon says:

      Hey Baden, very proud of you. I wish you every success and blessing from the Lord as you take up studies. You can do it. I remember with great pleasure the beauty of flying Northern Mozambique. It is nice to have intimate knowledge of a place you fly and that is some stunning landscape there. Blessings on you, Jon

  3. Zach Proud says:

    Hey Jon! My name is Zach and I’ve really been thinking about MAF after I get out of the Air Force. Could I get in touch with you sometime?

  4. Jonathan Germann says:

    Hey Jon i like always how you tell stories, tat’s cool. And these one is sweet
    be blessed. Your friend Joni

  5. Chris Steiger says:

    Love this, and yes uncle David would have loved to sit you in the cockpit!

    • Jon says:

      Hi Chris, Yes, “uncle Dave” had lots of great stories. I love his book. He was inspiring. I remember him talking about hunting for food in Zimbabwe in the Gokwe area which became my happy hunting grounds in later years. I benefited from the hangar at Sessami mission and flew airborne clinics into many of the same places he flew. Very good memories for me.Thanks for writing in. Jon

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