Darrell and Valerie were born and raised in Illinois. Darrell’s family often read missionary stories during devotions, including Jungle Pilot, the story of MAF pilot, Nate Saint. After a mission trip to Mexico, God laid it on his heart to become a missionary pilot. He had always desired to fly and was so excited to be able to serve God full-time doing something he loved!
Valerie was also raised in a Christian home with parents who loved God and served Him actively. Valerie desired to serve God full-time carrying on the legacy her parents instilled in her. Darrell and Valerie met at Moody and were married in 1991. Darrell graduated from Moody Aviation in 1996 with a B.S. in Missionary Aviation Technology and joined MAF in July of 1998. He has FAA commercial pilot's licenses with instructor and instrument ratings. He is also an aircraft mechanic.
In 2000, the Ashes moved to the Indonesian island of Kalimantan. Darrell provided safe, reliable transportation for pastors, missionaries, sick and injured people, government officials, delivered medical and missionary supplies, and provided regular transportation from the large cities to the jungle regions of Kalimantan. In Darrell's words, "We loved ministering to the people of Kalimantan and sought opportunities to establish relationships to plant the Gospel seed in their life."
Valerie managed their home and homeschooled Megan, Michael, and Matthew. She always looked for ways to minister to the Indonesian people and provided hospitality for visiting missionaries. She particularly enjoyed being a member of a team that developed Indonesian Sunday School curriculum for interior villages.
In 2008, Darrell and Valerie sensed God leading them back to the States, largely because of Valerie’s health conditions that could not be treated overseas. As they followed His leading, God orchestrated events resulting in them being seconded to serve at LeTourneau University in Longview, TX. Darrell has many opportunities to minister to the hearts of students and point them to Christ.
Darrell shares, "We are humbled by God's provision and thankful for the opportunity to train missionary pilots. We continue to have a strong desire to return overseas, yet we must focus on our faithful Father because He knows what is best for us.”
God calls the men and women of MAF to serve Him in unique ways. He may also be calling you to a special role in Darrell and Valerie’s ministry. Please prayerfully consider becoming a Ministry Partner with them through prayer and/or financial support.