Paul and Carol Bergen are missionaries with Mission Aviation Fellowship. Currently they are serving at MAF headquarters in Nampa, Idaho. Paul is the manager of Aviation Training, and Carol is the Administrative Assistant for the Nampa Base Operations department. From 1980 until 1990, Paul and Carol served in Irian Jaya (now Papua), Indonesia, which is the western half of the huge island of New Guinea. For seven of those years, they served in a single-family base in a beautiful coastal town where Paul flew and maintained the aircraft. Their ministry consisted of daily flights into the rugged, mountainous areas where missionaries as well as isolated native tribes were living. “The airplane was an absolute necessity. The only other option was for these dedicated missionaries to walk on dangerous trails to get the vital supplies they needed. A 10-minute flight could easily turn into a two-day walk,” says Paul and Carol.
While Paul was flying into some of the trickiest strips possible, Carol was constantly on the radio verifying his position. From 1987 until 1990, Paul and Carol served at MAF’s main base in Irian Jaya where Paul worked as Chief Pilot for the entire program.
The Bergens came to headquarters in 1991 where Paul’s experience in flight training was put to use. Paul says, “There are a large number of pilots and maintenance technicians who come to MAF for advanced training to better prepare for field service. This training, as well as the overseas trips I make, is done for the purpose of confirming flight and safety standards.”
Life before MAF? Paul holds the unique distinction of being born on a boat en route to the hospital in Port Edward, British Columbia. When the boat docked, the 2nd ride of his life was in the only available vehicle to get him to the hospital…a garbage truck! It only seemed natural to transition from a boat, to a vehicle, to an airplane at some time in his life! Paul grew up in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Manitoba.
Carol was born and raised in Monroe, WA, and has always had an interest in missions. After graduating from high school, she went for a 7-month short-term mission trip through her Mennonite Church where she worked in the slums of Philadelphia, PA, doing street ministry and working with the kids. Through this experience, she held her interest in missions and went on to Bible School in Abbotsford, B.C., to get more grounded in the Word.
Paul and Carol met at Columbia Bible College in British Columbia, Canada. Shortly after their marriage in 1974, they moved to Tacoma, WA, where Paul earned his aviation ratings. After 37 years in aviation, Paul has flown over 9,000 flight hours. At MAF headquarters, he is working with many technicians who come from around the world, preparing for MAF service overseas. This typically includes the 15-20 pilots being evaluated yearly before joining MAF or gaining additional training. In addition, Paul has oversight and management of the Aviation Training Program.
Throughout their years in MAF, they felt very blessed as they keep focused on glorifying God in everything they do. 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 Paul and Carol’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.