Soaring on God's provision

Tags: Alaska, SEND North, Story

It’s really best when Mark Faires’ job is boring.

Faires, a missionary pilot in Alaska, plays a key support role in SEND’s efforts to reach the unreached villages of the Far North. Hundreds of these small communities are off the road system, so anything that would travel by car in the Lower 48 has to go by plane.

“Maybe it seems exciting, and I do enjoy it, but the flying isn’t what it’s about. I look at what I do as enabling others to do the exciting work of sharing the gospel,” Faires says. “My goal is to make my flights not exciting. My goal is to make it boring for the passengers.” 

Faires first started flying a four-seater plane for SEND, but he quickly realized that it was a bit small, especially for picking up missionary families in remote villages and for carrying heavy supplies. So, he started praying.

God answered his prayer when another organization offered to loan SEND a six-seater Cessna 206 that can carry twice the cargo load of his former plane. 

“We quickly put it to use. It was much more helpful,” Faires said. “For one summer camp, I was able to fly in 900 pounds of groceries and a passenger, and I landed on a gravel bar on the river because there was no runway. This plane can both haul a lot and can go into more difficult places.”

That borrowed plane was already an answer to prayer — and then the owner offered to sell it to SEND. For half price.

Now that’s exciting!

But SEND still needed $60,000 — a big chunk of change.

“It gave me a lot of peace to remember that God had provided the plane in the first place,” Faires said. “As long as I was faithful in following him, he was going to work it out. So, I just started praying. Eventually, God put on my heart people to talk to about this opportunity.”

The money for this plane practically flew in. A matching grant for $20,000. Another $10,000 donation. Lots of smaller — yet still so significant — gifts. Three weeks after SEND made the need widely known, the project was fully funded, and SEND is now the proud owner of the Cessna 206.

“When people are obedient and attentive to what God calls them to do — willing to give generously as God calls — that’s an act of obedience and a blessing to everyone,” Faires said. “I’m thankful that people were willing to be obedient in order to be a blessing.”

You might also be interested in

Fly-by Pastor: Airplanes are crucial to supporting believers and reaching the unreached in tiny communities in the Far North.  

Video: It takes a team of people to reach out in the Far North. This short video shows how we use aviation to make a difference in people's lives and how you can be involved.

Give: Help keep SEND North's airplanes fueled and functional.