Mission Origin Story - Rick Rempel
From Farm to Mission
At the age of six I came to faith in Christ. Growing up I recall a missionary visiting church showed photos of herself aboard a plane coming into land at a bush airstrip and I thought that one day I would like to do that.
Growing commitment to Christ
As a young man I‘d put my stake in the ground, my landmark decision to not only believe in Christ but to entrust my entire life to Him. I prayed for direction and the way opened for me to go to Bible College in Austria.
Farming and Supporting Mission
As a young farmer I spent many hours driving a tractor cultivating corn. I remember thinking, if I too would be called, just as Elijah called Elisha from the farm. I had a strong interest in aviation and started to take flight training between my grade 11 and 12 school years. I completed my commercials 2 years after high school. Still, I decided to farm which I did for 10 years. During this time, I went on a mission trip to Mexico and struggled with evangelism especially door to door visitation. I thought that it would be better if I stayed home and supported missions.
Working out my gifting
I continued dairy farming for a few more years. But the interest in missions remained. I was in a church care group at this time working through a book called Network by Bugbee, Cousins and Hybels, where you align your gifts, passions and style so that you can be more effective and fulfilled. For me this led to using the interest of aviation, the gifts of serving and working with my hands, and being able to speak to others more one on one whilst flying.
Taking the next step
Taking the initiative, I called up Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) and asked if there was a current need for pilots and they said yes. At the end of 2000 I sold my cows. I studied for my multi engine and instrument flight rules tests, and maintenance licence. I started my evaluation at MAF in Canada.
Having some doubt about my evaluation with MAF I met an older man on a walk. He asked me what I was doing and why. He replied, “I have walked with God for the past 40 years and he has never failed me, I will pray for you”.
The rest of the evaluation went well, and I was accepted to join MAF. My first posting was to Botswana with MAF seconded to Flying Mission and then Zambia for 12 years, also with Flying Mission and now Canada with MAF and Prairie Aviation Training Centre (PATC) since 2017.
Training other pilots
Now I teach, train and equip others to be in the forefront of mission aviation in many different countries.
Why the changes of countries? First, it was work needs that were offered with Flying Mission but the move to Canada and to PATC was for family reasons.
Missionary Family and Care
God showed me that family needs are important and despite our weaknesses he has promised that He will build His church. Prayer has been of utmost importance in seeking God’s will for myself and my family.
When we were wondering what was next after realizing that we were not returning to Zambia we committed our concerns to God in prayer, like where are we going to work? How was I going to provide for the family and still be able to be home to support them? Where would we live? What school would the boys go to?
God has been good to us in this whole process and has provided for us in ways we didn’t expect. He brought us a great job where we are able to train the next generation, the community and church that we have been a part of have been really good for us as a family, it has also been a time for healing, Tracey has also been able to work part time in an area that she does really well in using the gifts and skills of organisation and administration.