My name is Daniel Bristol and I am currently working for Mission Aviation Fellowship in Papua, Indonesia. This is my dream job and something I have worked toward since high school. I felt a call to go into missions and when I found out I could mix my passion for aviation and my purpose to serve Christ with my life, I fell in love. My journey to the field is a bit different from the traditional college graduate, however, if you talked to 50 different missionary pilots they would all have a different story.
I moved to Waco with my wife, Kacy, 2 weeks after our wedding. My focus for being in Waco was to go to Texas State Technical College and become an Airframe and Powerplant mechanic. I was still focused on going into mission aviation and needed to be both a pilot and a mechanic. When I arrived in Waco I was a commercial single engine pilot with instrument rating and I had about 330 hours. The requirement for Mission Aviation Fellowship was 400 flight hours, Commercial Single Engine pilot with instrument rating, and A&P mechanic.
I knew that while I was in Waco I needed to build my hours and hone my skills. Wings for Christ was a perfect match and a wonderful resource. I was able to connect with the team at Wings and explain my situation and my desire to continue to build flight hours. They were very welcoming and opened the doors for me, not only as a pilot but also as a mechanic in training and in administrative work. I was able to gain about 75 flight hours with Wings in their Cessna 150, Cessna 172, and Mooney M20. Wings for Christ was a huge blessing in allowing me to fly their aircraft at a reasonable price so that I could build my hours while in full time schooling.
When I started working with Wings the Mooney was down for maintenance and so I was able to put to work some of the things I was learning while in school. While I was there they replaced the Mooney with a Piper Cherokee 6-300 that helped me to build my high performance time. I was able to use the aircraft at Wings to build cross country flight hours for the requirement that MAF. While applying for MAF I would also go through a Technical Evaluation where they would look at my skills as a pilot and mechanic and determine if I had the foundation needed to fly as a missionary in the difficult conditions that exist in Papua. I was able to prepare for this evaluation with the help of Wings and their aircraft. Also, while at Wings I was able to see the inner-workings of a ministry and the administrative things that were needed so that I could utilize the aircraft. I was able to help with creating a website, a Facebook page, and spreading the word about the ministry. This was very helpful as I am doing the same things with MAF as our family gathers prayer partners and supporters.
I am very thankful for my time at Wings for Christ and how God used that to build my hours as a pilot and also connect me to loving people who would encourage me in my journey to Mission Aviation Fellowship.