Wally was brought up as an MK (missionary kid) in Mexico where his parents also served with Mission Aviation Fellowship. After high school, he made his faith his own and began to seek after God’s plans and not his own plans. In 1976 he felt that God was calling him to work with MAF and was sent to Irian Jaya, Indonesia, now called Papua, Indonesia.
Joan was also brought up in a Christian home, but on the East Coast in New Jersey. She accepted Christ as her Savior in Vacation Bible School when she was eight and by the time she was in high school felt called to work with MK’s. After Gordon College and grad school, she joined SIL (Wycliffe Bible Translators) and went to Mitla, Mexico, where she and Wally met.
Joan and Wally married in 1978 and moved between MAF programs and countries, settling down together in Irian Jaya (Papua) with two children, Jacinda and Jared.
Over the next 32+ years in Papua, Wally’s role transitioned from construction manager, to base manager, to program manager, to MAF Indonesia regional manager. During this time, he also founded the Papua Harapan Schools, focused on giving a Christ-centered education to Papuan children. Meanwhile, Joan found an outlet for her love of teaching missionary children in the MK high school.
Two years ago, Wally stepped aside from his regional management position to become MAF Indonesia’s “chief advisor” and to focus on the educational and health-care needs of the Papua people. Today Wally continues to expand the Papua Harapan Schools and to work to establish a hospital and clinics in the Papuan province.
Joan continues to teach Advanced Placement English to missionary kids and to watch their grandchildren. “We are so blessed,” says Joan, “because both of our children and their spouses have returned to work with MAF in Papua. I get to be with my children and grandchildren!”
Verses that mean a lot to Wally are Philippians 3:10, 13b, & 14 because they reflect Paul’s passion for Christ and his willingness to give up anything worldly in order to know Him. “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death…Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”