The Abell family has faithfully served with MAF since 1994. They have served in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC, previously Zaïre), Zambia, and in the US, working in aviation, parts inventory, purchasing, and shipping. In 2005, as MAF headquarters was preparing to relocate from Redlands, CA, to Nampa, ID, Jim was asked to take a position in the Purchasing and Shipping department. Jim’s contribution to MAF’s ministry is now as a shipping agent, helping to keep the MAF worldwide fleet stocked with parts and supplies. They are pleased to be involved in the overall ministry of MAF. In addition to taking care of their family and home, Candy has served in various volunteer capacities in churches and with MAF. She has worked in the educational ministry of churches as a youth coordinator and children’s ministry director. She has also taught middle school and high school math and served as a substitute teacher for grades K-12.
Jim, the son of missionaries, was born in Vanga, DRC. “My parents,” Jim remembers, “strongly influenced my decision to ask Christ to be my Lord and Savior when I was in fifth grade. My commitment deepened during my middle and high school years.” Jim earned a B.S. degree in Aviation Technology at LeTourneau College. He holds an airframe and powerplant (A&P) license and a commercial pilot license with instrument, single, and multi-engine ratings.
Jim served for two years as a volunteer pilot/mechanic in Moanza and Kinshasa, DRC, with American Baptist International Ministries. He also served as a pilot/mechanic in northwest DRC with MAF. In 1991, Jim began studies at Fuller Theological Seminary where he met Candy and earned an M.A. in Intercultural Studies.
While based in Lubumbashi, DRC, Jim provided flight services for churches, missions, and organizations that were helping in community development or medical aid. Candy assisted Jim and other mission pilots by following flights by HF radio and extended hospitality. She also enjoyed helping lead a women’s Bible study for missionaries and other expatriate ladies. Due to civil unrest, they evacuated from DRC twice. After the first evacuation they served in Zambia, and after the second they came to MAF’s US headquarters.
Candy grew up in a Christian home in Indiana. She says, “I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior as an elementary school student through the influence of my parents and my church.” She earned her B.S. degree in Mathematics Education at Indiana State University. Candy has taught in public school, Christian school and church settings in Indiana, California, and Idaho. She had the privilege of serving as a volunteer English and Bible teacher in a local church in Tokyo, Japan, during the summer of 1990. Candy earned a Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary in 1993. She enjoys working in the areas of missions and the educational ministry of the church.
God calls the men and women of MAF to serve Him in unique ways. He may also be calling you to a special role in Jim and Candy’s ministry. Please prayerfully consider becoming a ministry partner with them through prayer and/or financial support.
The U.S. offices of MAF serve as a hub for MAF services worldwide. A day in the life here includes specialized flight training, staff mobilization and counseling, purchasing and shipping of aircraft parts, finance and accounting, administration of an Internet gateway for worldwide email, fund raising, printing and mailing of various materials, and many, many more activities. Some staff serve around the country; training future pilots and mobilizing potential candidates to serve with MAF.
MAF missionaries raise support for a pooled fund out of which MAF covers salary, housing, benefits, and staff-related ministry expenses. MAF exercises discretion over the use of missionary support in the exercise of its mission and care of its staff.