Matt and Amanda

I have been on the field in Papua, Indonesia now for two years now.  It has been a dream since I was a kid to be able to serve in Papua.  After the tsunami hit Sumatra, Indonesia in 2004, I dropped out of my maintenance school and my dad and I left for Sumatra.  We were with Samaritan's Purse and their aviation department.  It was during this time that I saw just how vital helicopters are to saving lives.  My main job was to load the helicopter, refuel it, and to help with maintenance.  It was a great month of serving the people of Sumatra, and after that I was all in for Helicopter Ministry.  Since my dad flew helicopters with MAF in Papua, we had a lot of contacts with Helimission.  Helimission took over the helicopter missions for MAF and a few pilots swapped from MAF to Helimission.  I contacted Helimission right away and then 12 years later I'm serving the Papuan people with the useful tool of a Helicopter.  I have really enjoyed learning the language and building relationships with the locals here.  I'm currently serving mostly as a mechanic keeping our aircraft safe for the rugged terrain we fly in.  I just obtained my Indonesian pilots license and am awaiting the check out process with our Chief Pilot to fly here in Papua.  Over the past year and a half of not flying, God has been teaching me patience.  I get so focused on time and feel that I need to get things done right now.  But, we serve a God that is outside of time and he cares more about who we are rather then what we do.  I have always told people, "I'm here to serve" and I think God was testing that in me.  I found out that is very easy to say, but much harder to live out.  I love flying and wasn't sure why God wasn't letting me fly, and it was hard to watch my friends get to fly while I was grounded.  But, God got me to the point of serving in whatever capacity was needed, and loving it!  I told God that he always has a pilot ready to serve when He needs one, and for some reason, that time is now.  But it isn't instant....again I have to wait for the check out process, but God is good and has taught me a lot about Him and myself in the past two years.  He also taught me that God is willing to use me in ways I am not "equipped" for.  As long as we are willing to be used by God, he will supply the "skills" we need to perform them.  From the bottom of my heart I want to thank all of you that support and pray for me to serve the people in Papua!  


I came into this world in 1986 in the great state of Montana.  My family moved to Washington state when I was 12 years old for a job opportunity.  As I continued to grow up I knew all about God and I knew all the right things to say, but they started to seem more like well rehearsed stories rather than truths that were alive in my heart. In my late teens my heart was rebellious toward God and my parents, but Jesus wasn't done with me! He began to change my heart, bringing me back to Him. I am so thankful for His grace and mercy. I was raised in church and my mom tells me I asked Jesus in my heart when I was three years old.  When I was 12 years old my eyes were opened to missions and I was very interested. I still have the Bible I wrote in all those years ago saying, "I know God is calling me to missions."  For years I wondered where this would lead me.  
In my early twenties He led me to Mars Hill church, and I am so thankful that He did!  I have grown so much,  learned so much, and fallen so much deeper in love with Jesus. This is where I met Matt as well. Matt knew he would be going overseas with Helimission when I met him, so he made sure I had a heart for missions.  All these years later and NOW I knew where that call to missions would lead. Now Matt and I are on the same path toward Papua Indonesia working with Helimission. God is SO good, and so faithful, gracious and wonderful. 

Our Family:
We met at a weekly Bible study through our church. On the first date Matt asked all the hard hitting questions, such as "Do you love Jesus?" he was about to ask how Amanda felt about missions when she beat him to it. She wanted to do missions. It is amazing how God works.  We got married in July, 2011.  We had Grace two years later and now Audrey just came to be with us!  We are loving our life serving in Papua!  It is a great place to raise kids and its fun to watch them interact with the locals!  We have a lot of fun together whether its going on adventures, serving in our local church, or just doing life in Wamena!  

 We even had a helicopter at our wedding! 

Our sweet little Grace


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  2. HI Matt.
    I am currently working on m ratings in Seattle and I am thinking about also becoming a mechanic. Where did you do your training at? I was looking at West Seattle or Clover Park.
    My wife and I have just had our first child, a little girl we named Clover (shes 9 months old now) and two months after she was born, we moved from Nevada to Washington for my flight training. The grandparents (both sides) took it a little hard even though they knew it was coming and I was wondering how the talks with your parents went/ are going about moving soon after having a baby. We are still several years away from being eligible (flight time) to join Helimission and I would love to hear from you guys about how you handle the relationship with your extended families over the next few years.

    Tony Riley

  3. Hi Tony,
    Congrats on your baby! thats super exciting. Our little girl is 20 days old today! It has been a crazy transition with not a lot of sleep :) But they are totally worth it. I love being a dad!
    The grandparents are attached to her as expected. It is difficult to leave but in this day and age technology will be a lot of help. Skype is an amazing tool. But, leaving family to go a long ways away, raising kids apart from extended family is always a struggle for missionaries and is probably the greatest area of tension. I think it is important to keep family connected through photos, emails, face time etc. I don't have a great answer for how to deal with it as it will be tough and is tough all ready. But, I'll love to keep you posted on how things are dealt with for sure
    As far as training went, I did my A&P first at Clover Park. By far the better school of the two. It focuses on helicopter training too for a whole semester. Which I loved. During A&P school i was working at a FBO in Auburn and ended up finding Airwork, a helicopter flight school. Soon after i got my A&P I became their mechanic and got my private there. I don't know how they are doing now,but we can talk about flight schools and the maintenance schools over email if you would like to know more! I totally recommend getting your A&P as I feel makes you a better pilot. Being able to know and understand the systems as you fly makes my a lot more comfortable in the machine. And its a huge help over seas too! It will be a longer process for you to get ready for Helimission but is totally worth it!
    I live in Chehalis Washington and would love to meet you and your family sometime. I come to the kent area a bit as my parents live there so if you are close it would be fun to meet. I'll send you an email with my info and we can get in touch! Thanks for getting in contact with me!


  4. Matt and Amanda, we are so thrilled that you are reaching the point of entering into your calling as a missionary pilot and wife. Congratulations for all your hard work of preparation. Greetings also in the name of Jesus to little Grace. We have subscribed to your blog and will pray for you. Oh that God would prosper your labors and that of Helimission to bring the gospel to the captives (Luke 4:18-19).

    John and Gail Barnett

  5. Hi guys this is your "FAVORITE " cousin Madison and I just wanted to say GOOD luck and I love you all!