This year while we're visiting our supporting churches, instead of talking a lot about who we are or giving a lot of information about MAF UK, both of which we've shared about in the last few visits, we decided to share more about MMS Aviation which is a lot less well known. (When I say 'we' ... I do most of the the admin stuff, newsletters, presentations etc ... so with my hubby's permission, 'I' decided it would be a good idea!!)
MMS is totally unique. It maintains and repairs mission aircraft while training future mission aircraft engineers ... or 'maintenance mechanics' as they call them. MMS's mission statement which encapsulates it's essence is ...
'Preparing People and Planes for Worldwide Mission Service'
All the staff at MMS, admin staff, trainers and apprentices are working on faith support. This means that they are not paid any wages but are supported entirely by individuals and churches. As a result, when work is done on a mission aircraft, MMS doesn't need to charge them any labour costs. In 2010 alone, staff at MMS worked on 31 missionary aircraft from 15 different ministries and invested over 11,000 maintenance hours ... saving mission aviation approximately $450,000 (£300,000) in labour expenses. I'm really proud that my hubby is able to be part of that!
Since 1975, when MMS started in a garage, it has grown unimaginably. They are now in 3 hangars and 74 apprentices have completed service, 64 of whom have served or are still serving in ministry around the world. The staff of MMS have served 96 different mission aviation organisations, performing over 475 major aircraft repairs and modifications.
MMS also sends maintenance teams on Rapid Response around the world to meet emergency needs, to places such as Florida, Haiti, Gabon. Since 1980, MMS have sent out 128 teams with more planned in the pipeline.
We are really pleased that MAF UK have secured an effective partnership with MMS to allow individuals and families like us to begin our mission journey with this hands-on training. It means that my husband, who is already an aircraft design engineer, can work on mission aircraft while training for his A&P (Airframe and Powerplant) Licence.
The training is three years, unbelievably we're already two thirds through this ... and then we've agreed to a further 8 years (two 4 year terms) on project with MAF UK. Although Mark will be certified then, I'm sure the learning process will continue daily.