Brian had opportunities early on in life to live cross-culturally as his father’s work took the family to Lahore, Pakistan and Dhaka, Bangladesh. Brian saw the plight of developing parts of the world at an early age, but it didn’t really strike his passion until much later in life. Brian grew up in a Roman Catholic church—his faith was not very “real”, nor did it have the significance of a relationship that would lead to salvation in Christ Jesus. Brian found and met his future wife while studying health and physical education at Messiah College, a Christian liberal arts school in central Pennsylvania.
Debbie grew up in Texas where her dad pastored a church with the EFCA. The family moved overseas as missionaries to Portugal when she was in 7th grade. Living in Portugal and going to an American Missionary school in Lisbon were instrumental in growing her personal relationship with Christ. Debbie returned to the US for college and studied nursing at Messiah College where she met Brian.
After marrying, Brian and Debbie began attending Keystone E-Free Church. Through very significant relationships with the mature men at the church Brian’s understanding of Christ’s position as Lord of his life was changed and his understanding of the need for a Savior started to become real.
Because of Brian’s background in athletics, summer camp, coaching, etc. and Debbie’s background in nursing they were invited to attend and serve at Teen Bible Fellowship Camp in Punxsutawney, PA. Little did they know this week would change the course of their lives! There they heard about the ministry of Mission Aviation Fellowship around the world during the teens’ missionary hour. It became obvious that God was leading Brian to a life of full-time ministry in the aviation field and he finally accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior. Together Brian and Debbie began taking steps toward the goal of a career in mission aviation. Brian received a BA in Biblical Studies at Lancaster Bible College, and attended Moody Bible Institute’s Aviation campus in Spokane, WA where he received his Commercial Pilot’s license with Instrument Rating, and Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic’s Certificates. After working for 6 years as an ICU nurse in Lancaster, Debbie was thrilled to have the opportunity to set out on an adventure- this time to Spokane with Brian while he attended Moody. During their time in Spokane, Debbie has worked as a home health RN, and the family has grown to include 2 children- Kaylynn and Noah. Debbie enjoys being involved and volunteering at the children’s school and serving as a preschool teacher at their local church.
After several years of hearing about the work of Missionary Aviation Repair Center they decided to make a visit to Soldotna, AK in fall 2018. The unique challenges and spiritual darkness that are present in native Alaskan villages became more evident as they learned more about the work that is being done to reach the rural villages of Alaska with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Fords are excited to begin sharing in the work of many ministries in Alaska through the work of aviation maintenance and flight operations and participating in the common goal of bringing the hope of Jesus to the isolated people groups of Alaska.