Brad and Michelle Venter
serve with MAF in Papua New Guinea

Our Story

Brad and Michelle have been serving with MAF in Papua New Guinea (PNG) for the past eight years.

The Venters live in Goroka in the Eastern Highlands. Brad is a pilot and training pilot on the Twin Otter aircraft and is also currently the Flight Operations Manager (Chief Pilot). Michelle looks after our home and family and is involved in ladies’ ministry and in many other areas as needed.

Brad's work in PNG is varied; he flies everything from food supplies, local produce, building materials and medical supplies as well as missionaries and church workers. MAF in PNG is also well positioned to be the first responder in the event of a natural disaster and are often involved with relief flying in many different situations over the years. PNG has a very poor road network and mountainous terrain so most of the time flying is the only way to get in and out of places, making MAF a life-line for many.

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The Venter's Newsletters

Brad and Michelle have been married for fifteen years and have three children, Nathan, Hailey and Megan. Brad: I am qualified as a pilot and also as an aeronautical engineer. I have always wanted to fly as a missionary pilot. We are now full time with MAF and I am excited about flying for them as I am pursuing my passion for flying and get to use my skills and gifts to serve the Lord.

Michelle: I am a qualified teacher and remedial teacher, but am currently a stay-at-home mommy with a full-time job of looking after the family. Outside the home I have been involved in various moms and kids groups during our time in Papua New Guinea.

Nathan is 10 years old and is the chatterbox of the family! He is in grade 3. He loves building Lego and making things with wood and other stuff around the house. Hailey is 8 and a delightful girl! She is always happy and has a smile for everyone. She is really outgoing and wants to play all the time. Megan is 5 and still our baby girl. She is really outgoing and talks the hind leg off a donkey!

Country of Service

Papua New Guinea

PNG is mostly jungle-covered mountains or swamps and there are very few roads. For many communities, medical care is several days trekking away. In medical emergencies (broken limbs, snake bites, pregnancy and birth complications), getting help without MAF is next to impossible. Likewise, many communities depend on MAF’s air transport for access to school teachers, health programmes and development agencies, Bible translators and church leadership. By necessity, many landing strips on sharp ridges or cut out of the jungle resemble little more than a cricket pitch. They present just one of a multitude of challenges that have deterred other air operators, meaning the much of the seven-million strong PNG population turns to MAF for access to help and hope. With some of the most extreme terrain in the world, combined with unpredictable weather, a MAF pilot’s skills are tested to their limit in PNG.

A Day in the Life of a Twin Otter

The Twin Otter plays a prominent role in Papuan’s daily lives. On an average day, Brad will land eight times and transport around 130 passengers and 2400 kg. There are various reasons these passengers take an MAF flight. Some are injured or sick and need transporting to a hospital, sometimes a casket with a body needs taking to where the deceased will find its earthly resting place; sometimes passengers need to get somewhere that would take too long to walk to, like a voting station, or their work place. “Sometimes flying the Twin Otter you can forget about the impact that our work has,” Brad tells me. “In the business of the day and the need to keep the program going while making decisions about weather and airstrip conditions amongst others, it is easy to just treat each flight and it's load as exactly that, just a load. “But if we take the time to speak with the passengers and find out the details of the story behind the flight, often we are amazed at what it has meant to the people involved and their communities in the bush. How these simple flights are showing people the love of Christ, and bringing help to many people and spreading the word of God to the far reaches of the world. So, even a load of building materials has a story, and what a privilege to be part of these stories!” Each airstrip has its own challenges, on Brad’s route he has to land on an airstrip 470 m in length with an 8% slope, and surrounding terrain that causes a strong visual illusion. Each flight has a specific purpose and requires grace to deal with difficult and differing factors such as weather, terrain and a passengers’ unique need.

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DID YOU KNOW? APPROXIMATELY 80% OF PNG'S POPULATION LIVE IN RURAL AREAS

SUPPORT THE MINISTRY OF BRAD AND MICHELLE VENTER

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