Tom and Valli Howard, missionaries with Mission Aviation Fellowship, serve out of MAF's home office, in Nampa, Idaho, in support of MAF's worldwide ministry. Since joining the Nampa team in 2006, Tom has taken on several roles, and currently, as Project Coordinator, is implementing the Remote Access Aviation System project. Tom shares, "My work with RAAS will allow our staff to better track required maintenance, mechanical problems, mechanic training requirements, and parts inventories, resulting in less down-time for our aircraft and safer operations. The bottom line will be better stewardship of parts inventory, aircraft, and staff time. The projected savings in aircraft down-time, as mechanics wait for parts, will be equivalent to adding three new planes to the fleet, and the additional safety will prevent accidents."
Valli complements the Ministry Partnership Team as Administrative Assistant, where she has numerous opportunities to design and create tools for ministry, such as prayer cards, thank you notes, display boards, and brochures. God has also given her a venue for music as the “Congo drummer”, and oboist for both MAF our local church worship team.
Tom accepted Christ while in Jr. High and grew in his faith through working at church camps, summer bike trips with a Christian group, and as an officer in the Indiana Baptist Youth Fellowship. He was active in campus ministries while a student at Ball State University in Muncie, IN, where he first felt God’s call to missions.
Valli grew up in Connersville, IN. At the age of eight she accepted Christ as her Savior. Two years later, while reciting the Great Commission for a program at church, God called Valli to missions. That summer in Louisville, KY, God touched her heart with a call to Congo, and cultivated that call during her High School years in Seymour, IN. Valli attended Indiana State University, earning her B.S. in Music Education and Performance. She also had a year of Graduate Study in Ethnomusicology at Indiana University.
Tom and Valli met while working at Indian Creek Baptist Camp before their freshman year in college. They were married three years later, and attended the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. Tom later went to Purdue University to earn his aircraft maintenance licenses in anticipation of serving with MAF. In 1979, they filled out the MAF application, sealed them in the envelope, and put on the stamps, but felt God did not want them to mail it. “It was like God was saying, ‘It’s not My time.’” Tom took a faculty position at Purdue for seven years. During that time both he and Valli struggled with God’s calling to missions. In 1986 they became American Baptist missionaries to Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo), where they served for 18 years, most of the time on-loan to MAF serving in pilot/mechanic and management roles.
In 2004, they could not return to Congo. Still very sure they were called to missions, Tom says, “When MAF called and said ‘Come, serve with us,’ it was as if God was saying to us ‘OK, now it’s time!’”
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 the Howards’ ministry. Please prayerfully consider becoming a Ministry Partner with them through prayer and/or financial support.