MASA Governing Board
John Moe - Chair
Gerry Mich -Vice Chair
Bernie Koszewa, Executive Director
Bob Ronk, Vice Director, Secretary
Jo Koszewa, Bookkeeper/Volunteer Coordinator
Bob Badeau, MIS Director
Terry Montambo, MASA/EAA Liaison
Lee Smoll, Church Relations
Les Ison, Treasurer
Debbie Montambo, Kitchen Supervisor
Connie Long, Meal Provider Coordinator
Kathie Steward, Housing Coordinator
Nancy Clark, Dining Room Supervisor
Virgil Dudgeon, Vehicles
Gerry Mich, Chauffeur Transportation
Joyce Ison, Meal Registration/Check In
Bonnie Hegner, Baggage Security
In addition to those named above, we have many faithful servants that have worked with us for years to make this ministry possible. Everyone plays a vital part in serving our aviation missionaries. If you would like to be involved, please contact:
Bernie Koszewa Executive Director 920-585-9800 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Mission Aviation Support Association (MASA) exists to support JAARS, MAF and other IAMA organizations at the EAA AirVenture by providing:
To provide meals, we coordinate with area churches, Bible study groups and interested individuals to prepare and serve well-balanced meals at our on-grounds hospitality tent. To provide housing, we personally visit homes prior to sending our guests. To provide transportation, we coordinate with individuals for loan of personal vehicles and arrange for drivers to pick up passengers at local airports. To provide speaking opportunities, we contact area churches and community groups interested in learning about the organizations we serve.
Reasons Mission Aviators Come to EAA Air Venture
Local evangelical churches and their members are involved in the following ways
MASA Statement of Faith
We adhere to the following truths of the Christian faith:
It all began in the late seventies with a request that Lee pick up Bob Griffin, a JAARS pilot, at the Appleton Airport and deliver him to UWO. Bob was an exhibitor at the EAA and was staying in the dorms at the university. He was representing the work of JAARS, the missionary aviation and logistical/technical support arm of Wycliffe Bible Translators. Looking back… Lee had long wanted to be a missionary pilot. An MAF pilot from his home town had inspired him to follow that path. The 1956 incident with the Waodani (Auca) Indians and the five martyred missionaries in Ecuador had spread across the globe. Lee and many others were challenged to fly for missions. Lee graduated from college with a teaching degree. This was followed by Military Service during the Vietnam Era. While in the Air Force he learned to fly as a private pilot, but the dream to become a missionary pilot was put on the back burner when the door closed to attend Moody following his tour of duty in the Air Force. Lee settled into life as a teacher, computer programmer, business manager and eventually started his own business as a fresh and waste-water systems inspector for the Real Estate industry. Because of the growing friendship with Bob Griffin, Lee, and his 3 sons, attended the EAA and camped for the week, next to the small group from JAARS, early in the 80’s. Lee observed Bob’s wife, Louise, cooking all their food over a camp stove and it occurred to him that local churches could help with meals. At the time he was working at Rawhide Boys ranch and living in New London, Wisconsin. But he knew that co-workers, Randy & Marlene McMullin, lived in Oshkosh. He asked Marlene if she would be interested in providing some meals for the group from JAARS. Marlene was delighted to do so and served the missionaries for several years in the eighties, with the help of several people from her church in Oshkosh. In the mid-eighties, MAF learned about the service that Marlene and friends were providing for JAARS and asked if they could become part of the group as well. Thus began the JAARS/MAF Support Team. The ministry was growing. In 1990 Lee visited area churches to see if they would be interested in providing a meal during the week. Folks agreed, and thus began the MASA ministry as we know it today. Lee met Debbie at Oshkosh in 1990 when her church provided one of those meals. They have served together in the ministry ever since. In 1999 there was a change in leadership for the JAARS team and they began wondering about the value of coming to the EAA. It was decided that in addition to exhibiting their work on the EAA grounds and exploring the new technology in the aviation field, the missionaries should reach into the community more, and share their stories with the local residents instead of just the EAA audience. Now, the JAARS/MAF Support Team, was not only providing housing, vehicles, and meals - we were also arranging speaking engagements within the communities. Lee’s job increased greatly! But the reward for getting the missionaries in the churches was great. Also in the mid 90’s we invited other organizations, all members of the trade-association IAMA (International Association of Missionary Aviation), to be a part of the EAA AirVenture participants. In contrast to the meager beginnings of just Bob Griffin in the early 70’s, our attendance in 2009 topped out with over 400 missionary aviation guests. That year the EAA invited missionary aviation, and humanitarian aviation, to be one of the main features. The event was called “Fly 4 Life.” The missionary aviation organizations, unified under IAMA (International Association of Mission Aviation), manned several display areas across the convention grounds – including over 30 mission aircraft, staggered as points of light, throughout the EAA AirVenture. The scope of that year was a huge stretch for our guest missionary aviation agencies and our MASA Team, providing meals, homes and transportation. BUT WE DID IT!! God is good! Since 2009 our new normal is about 225 missionaries. With the volunteer hospitality workers and mission guests, our meal counts range between 200 - 300; still a huge undertaking for our faithful meal providers. MASA was established as a 501 (c) (3) organization in 2001. A governing board was established in 2010. We also have a great Leadership Team of about a dozen individuals. With each of our team members and volunteers doing their job, the huge task is accomplished every summer. Each spring we have an Appreciation Dinner for our wonderful volunteers. We have a tasty meal, blessed fellowship, music and ministry updates. We also have a featured guest speaker, from one of our supported organizations, who shares encouraging results of their ministry. Each summer, in preparation for the EAA AirVenture, we rent 14 sites in the EAA Campground. A 40X60 hospitality tent and a smaller “Baggage/Security” tent are erected. Then the supplies come in - much of which is located in a rented unit near Oshkosh. Other items of equipment are borrowed and gathered at the Campground. From our EAA camping site with limited water and generator electricity, we build our attractive and inviting Hospitality Center. Several camper trailers (3 or 4) are also moved onto the site for some of our on-grounds staff.
We have both accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior and followed the Lord’s leading in baptism . We both were blessed to have Christian parents. My father served as church moderator and Jo’s father served as a deacon. Our family lives revolved around family and church, activities.
While serving in the Army in Thailand, I became involved with the Overseas Christian Serviceman’s Association keeping me close to the word of God. After military service Jo and I were married in our home church in Milwaukee in 1970.
Jo is an alumni of North American Baptist College (now Taylor University) and toured the US and Canada with Gods Volunteers a music and ministry outreach. We have both served actively in various church related roles and responsibilities putting God first in our lives. God blessed us with two children who are now actively serving the Lord in their home churches. God has shown us numerous times not to judge what happens when there are difficulties in life and problems we think are insurmountable, that in fact God allowed these circumstances to pull us closer to Him.
Like with many Christians, numerous doors have been opened and shut in our lives, not always to our understanding at the time but always there was a clear picture and blessing associated with each circumstance.
Semi-retired now and Jo close behind has given us the opportunity to reflect on God’s impact to our personal lives and those around us. Considerable time in prayer was spent about where to go from this point forward to serve Jesus.
Our understanding is to live as a disciples of Jesus Christ and to accept what God has given us in the way of talents and blessings and to apply them as He leads. Acceptance of God’s will has shown us that God’s word needs to be shared with others even though we may never see the result of that interaction. Discipleship to us many times means denial and changes in life that sometimes are uncomfortable but serve to further the Kingdom of God.
We are both grateful and honored to have this opportunity to carry forward the MASA ministry that Lee and Debbie have put so much of their lives into.