When mission aviation and tragedy collide

MAF_air strip in a field

(Photo courtesy Brian & Heather Marx)

Indonesia (MNN) — There’s a silver lining to every crisis, and God sometimes uses tragedy to show people the calling He’s placed on their lives.

Take Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) pilot/mechanic Brian Marx, for example.

“Around the age of 16, I had already developed a keen interest in aviation, and…there was a serious aircraft accident,” Marx shares.

The son of MAF missionaries, Marx’s family was living in Central America at the time. An accident led to the loss of both an MAF plane and pilot; fellow missionaries were devastated, and ministry was crippled.

“I was able to see the suffering that went on in the areas that MAF had been ministering, and God began tugging on my heart, says Marx.

“[The accident] is what God used in my life to say, ‘Hey, you have this technical interest. What if you become my pilot and fill the shoes of this man who died?'”

Mission aviation: career path or calling?

(Photo courtesy MAF)

The Marx family (Photo courtesy MAF)

Fast-forward a decade or two: Marx graduated from Moody Bible Institute with a degree in Mission Aviation, joined MAF, and married the love of his life. Today, the Marxes are serving as MAF missionaries in Indonesia and raising three young children.

As described here, Brian Marx plays a key role in MAF’s medical aviation ministry. As a missionary pilot, Marx transports patients from remote villages to hospitals, where they can receive the advanced care they need.

“The airplane really is a lifesaver for them, especially in a place like that,” Marx shares.

“[The villagers] consider MAF on a different level because of the way we treat them. They know if they have a need, if they have an emergency, that they can call, and we will come.”

As opportunity arises, Marx shares the Gospel with patients and points them to the Great Physician: Jesus Christ.

“I love what I do,” he says. “There is not a single day that goes by when I don’t look in the back of my airplane and see a missionary, see a patient, see a pastor, and I don’t think, ‘Wow, it is amazing to see what God is doing here in this part of the world.'”

(Image courtesy Jaclyn Abeyta via Pinterest)

(Image courtesy Jaclyn Abeyta via Pinterest)

A Jim Elliot quote hanging on the wall of his home inspires Marx daily: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” He passes along similar advice to anyone considering mission aviation as a career path.

“It is a very difficult thing; it takes a serious commitment, but to be in the center of what God is doing in taking the Gospel and expanding his Kingdom is unbelievably fulfilling.”

MAF has many opportunities to serve Christ using aviation, education, information technology, and more! To learn how you can serve with MAF, please click here.