Dan and Karen Carlson

Daniel and Karen Carlson, along with their remaining four of seven children: Desiree, Lyle, Timothy, and Caleb, are missionaries with Mission Aviation Fellowship. Since joining MAF in 1985, the Carlsons have served in nine different bases in central Africa.

Dan has served in many roles during his time in MAF. He shares, “I have been a line pilot responsible for one plane, a base manager responsible for all the flying and ground management, a Chief Pilot, and a base pilot. We even served one year as hostel parents to twelve missionary teens.”

Dan was born in Tandala, Belgian Congo, where his parents served as missionaries. In 1974 they relocated to Eaton, Colorado. Dan came to know the Lord during Sunday School through a special speaker. Dan says, “I recognized my need for forgiveness and asked Jesus into my heart.” Although from the age of 10 he wanted to be a MAF pilot someday, in 1976, Dan felt called to full-time missions when he was serving as a short-term missionary.

Dan attended Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, CO, and earned his A.S. in Automotive Technology. He attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, IL, and Moody Aviation in Elizabethton, TN. There he earned his B.S. in Missionary Aviation, as well as Multi-engine, Commercial/Instrument, Flight Instructor Single Engine Airplane, Single Engine Seaplane and Glider ratings. In 1998, Dan earned his Air Transport Rating before serving with MAF-Europe in Kenya.

A special verse for Dan is Philippians 1:6, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” “We have seen some fairly turbulent times in our service with MAF. It has been reassuring to know that the One who brought us into MAF is still with us, working in and through our lives.”

Karen grew up in Broomfield, CO. In high school she became close to a Christian family who was able to provide the answers she was seeking about the Bible and her faith. After graduating from the University of Northern Colorado with a degree in elementary education, she taught in public school for two years and then served with Cru for seven years. Dan and Karen were married in October 1986. Philippians 1:21 is a favorite verse of Karen’s, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Karen shares, “My first passion in life is to allow Christ to live in me, and when He takes me home to be with Him – now that is fulfillment!”

God uses their behind-the-scenes gifts and abilities to support pastors, evangelists, missionaries, hospitals, health workers, teachers, and community development.

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 Dan and Karen’s ministry. Please prayerfully consider becoming a Ministry Partner with them through prayer and/or financial support.

Country of Service

Map of DRC

2 Bases: Kinshasa, Nyankundé
7 Aircraft
Population: 83.3 million
Capital: Kinshasa
Official Language: French
Currency: Congolese Franc (CDF)

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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.

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