Elijah and Melanie Renicker, serving with MAF since 2017, have had a front row view of the work God is doing in isolated regions around the world. Having served as a pilot/mechanic, country director and mobilizer, Elijah and Melanie enjoy the opportunity they have been afforded to combine their passion for missions and enthusiasm for aviation to help spread the Gospel. Elijah additionally serves in an advisory role on a special initiative being developed to gain access to restricted countries. Melanie homeschools their children and uses her gifting in hospitality to make their home a comfortable place for ministry and worship.
Elijah was born in California and had lived in both Washington and Alaska by the time he was 13 years old. He was raised in a Christian home where the importance of Gospel outreach was strongly emphasized. Elijah remembers at an early age feeling the call of God on his life to serve in ministry. After a short-term mission trip to China, he began to pray seriously about serving God on the mission field. While living in Alaska, Elijah developed a passion for aviation and looked for every opportunity to spend time pursuing his dream. Now, many years later, he feels incredibly privileged to be able to use the passion God gave him for aviation to advance the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.
Melanie was born in Modesto, California, but moved immediately with her family to Pasco, Washington, where she spent most of her formative years. She attended Columbia Basin College after high school, where she earned her degree in Early Childhood Education. She was privileged to have the opportunity to teach in two different private Christian schools and one international school for a total of six years. Melanie shares, “I remember as a little girl when the National Geographic magazine would arrive in the mail. I would spend hours poring over the pictures of children…some of them poor, others starving. I could never get their images out of my mind. I have wanted to be God’s hands and feet to those people ever since. I knew then that God was calling me to the mission field.”
Elijah and Melanie met on a mission work team in Haiti. A few years later, when Melanie returned from her teaching assignment overseas, they began a courtship and were married in 2011. They consider themselves privileged to have served in both Southeast and East Asia as missionaries and are currently enjoying a phase of ministry with MAF based back in the United States. Together with their four children, Samuel, Mercy, Selah and Adaiah, they are based in the beautiful Willamette Valley, Oregon, where Elijah is the Northwest Mobilizer for MAF.
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.