Since 1998, Tim and Tonya Vennell have served as missionaries with MAF in many locations. As a pilot/mechanic family, the Vennells ministered in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Kingdom of Lesotho in Southern Africa until August 2008. They found their time in Lesotho very rewarding, as they saw firsthand a fast-growing program, saving lives through the medical work that MAF flights supported. Another highlight for Tim was seeing the VSAT technology installed at the clinics MAF serves. Tim worked closely with the Lesotho government for over two years, to see that goal realized.
The Vennells relocated to Nairobi, Kenya, so Tim could fulfill the role of Operations Director for MAF International beginning in 2010. He was pleased to be able to use his newly-completed master’s degree in strategic leadership in a very practical way. During this time, Tim became familiar with many of the challenges our programs face around the world. His vast experience in this arena prepared him for what God had planned next.
As Tim and Tonya ended their time of service in Kenya and South Sudan, there were many places around the world that sounded inviting. Africa had been a huge part of their lives for more than 12 years, but the work of MAF was vital to so many livelihoods, and there was even potential for new fields of service. Little did they know that the Lord had been preparing them for a great work at MAF headquarters in Nampa, Idaho, in support of worldwide operations. While this need came as a surprise to them, it has become clear that Tonya’s life verse, Proverbs 3:5, 6, has become a reality… “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
Tim has been asked by MAF leadership to assume the lead in the process of MAF changing to a part 135 aviation operation. He is currently the only one with the background and qualifications to fill this vital role. With increased government regulation around the world, it is becoming more and more difficult to bring the Gospel to the isolated peoples of the world. Adapting to ever-changing country operation regulations is essential to keep MAF’s mission moving forward.
Tim shares, “One of my favorite aspects of ministry is to connect people who have a need with people who can provide for that need. It has been great to do that through our ministry with MAF. We also love having people in our home and doing our best to show them the love of Christ while they are there.” Tonya agrees, “We have a saying in our home that there is always room at the table for one more.”
Psalm 118:24 spurs the Vennells on in their faithful service to the Lord. “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
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 the Vennells’ 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.