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 to carry out its mission and care for its staff.
Fred and Desiree Schmidt, missionaries with Mission Aviation Fellowship since 1984, have, after a 9-year stint serving at MAF headquarters in Nampa, Idaho, in the Purchasing/Shipping Department for MAF worldwide operations, accepted a short-term assignment to Tarakan, Kalimantan, Indonesia. Fred is helping with the maintenance on the two Kodiaks at our MAF base, and Desiree is using her skills in the little school for MAF children.
The Schmidts began their career as a pilot/mechanic family in Africa, flying in both Zimbabwe and neighboring Botswana. After 10 years they transferred to MAF headquarters in Redlands, California, where Fred instructed in the Flight-training Department for nearly 3 years.
Returning overseas, Fred and Desiree invested their talents and skills into Ecuador, MAF’s first traditional program, where they experienced the “birth pains” of slowly turning the flying over to qualified Ecuadorian pilots under the Alas de Socorro team. Mentoring and orienting these pilots proved meaningful to Fred. He considers I Peter 1:3 as the core of his daily serving the MAF overseas programs. “I’ve been impressed over and over again that we have such a special message of Hope in Jesus Christ. What a joy to share something so life-changing and eternal.”
Fred, although born in Minnesota, grew up in Ecuador with his missionary family. He accepted Christ as his Savior when he was 10, after hearing a radio message by Billy Graham. Earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible and Missions from Grace College of the Bible in Omaha, Nebraska, he also earned his Airframe and Power-plant (A&P) mechanics license, Commercial-instrument pilot’s license, and a Flight Instructor rating at Moody Aviation.
Desiree grew up on a cattle ranch in North Dakota and became a Christian at age 9 while attending a Bible camp. She says, “We had missionaries in our home, and I often felt very drawn to their lives and stories. At age 12, I dedicated my life to missions.” She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Grace College of the Bible and Associate Degree in Nursing (R.N.) from the University of Nebraska College of Nursing. Fred and Desiree met in college and married in 1981.
Part of Desiree’s ministry in Indonesia includes offering hospitality, encouragement of the women of the team where they are based, and helping students struggling with learning difficulties. She shares that her favorite verses are Proverbs 3:5-6.
Tyler, their oldest son, and wife Renae, with their four children, are also a part of MAF as a pilot/mechanic family serving in Indonesia. Trevor, their second son, with wife Kristen and two children, practices physical therapy in Boise, Idaho. The Schmidt’s only daughter, Danica, with husband Adrian, and the Schmidt’s youngest son, Kyle, with wife Janna, both graduated from John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, and work in North Dakota.
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 Fred and Desiree’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.