Mark Palm, the President and co-founder of Samaritan Aviation, visited Papua New Guinea in 1994. While trekking through the jungle and seeing the desperate needs of the people, he felt that God was calling him to this country and devote his in serving the people of Papua New Guinea. In January of 2010, he brought his wife and children to this country and established their home in the town of Wewak.
Kirsten Palm has earned a Bachelors of Arts Degree and a Masters Degree in Cross Cultural Education from Point Loma Nazarene University. She has her Secondary Teaching Degree in Health Sciences. Kirsten has been a part of short-term mission trips to Mexico, Portugal, Chili, Papua New Guinea, and has lived in Papua New Guinea since January 2010.
Kirsten has been a part of Samaritan Aviation since 1998.
Their children Sierra, Drake and Nolan love helping out and being a part of the ministry. Sierra helps in the hospital ministry, and all three kids have helped in the delivery of medical supplies to remote villages up the Sepik River. They are a part of the community outreach and relationship building with the Papua New Guineans. As a family, the Palm’s make a great team. They work together to make the rescue flights, hospital ministry, hospitality with teams and meetings possible, and are working full time to build relationships with the people of Papua New Guinea.
Chris and Sarah Cooke, along with their four daughters Riley, McKenna, Amelia, and Lucy, arrived on May 26th, 2015.
Chris is a registered nurse and will fill an important role in overseeing the medical aspect of our ministry. Because of his background in trauma nursing, we will be able to offer training to the local nurses who fly along with us on emergency flights, as well as more advanced care for patients in life-threatening situations. We’re looking forward to the avenues this will open for further ministry in the local clinics, hospital and among the medical community. Chris and Sarah will both be a part of our hospital ministry as well!
The Cooke family shared that they are eager to begin this journey with Samaritan Aviation. As an RN, Chris is thrilled to be a part of sharing Christ’s love and saving lives through medicine. As a family, they are excited to use the various gifts and talents God has given them be His hands and feet to the people of Papua New Guinea.
Forrest and Marlene Williamson and their two children, Sophia and George, moved to PNG in October of 2016. Forrest attended Capernwray Bible School in New Zealand in 2007, and after marrying Marlene in 2010 and moving to Washington, he attended Moody Aviation and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mission Aviation Technology. Marlene grew up in a small town in southern Germany, finished nursing school in 2006, and has been working as a nurse since that time. The Williamson’s recently wrote the following. “After almost a year of looking into different mission organizations, we stumbled across Samaritan Aviation’s website. While watching the videos and reading more about what SA does, we felt an overwhelming desire of wanting to be involved in that kind of ministry. We never seemed to find the right fit when researching other organizations, but Samaritan Aviation always felt like ‘this is it.’ We are both excited about being able to serve the people of PNG in such a practical and much needed way. The way SA is able to connect the physical and spiritual part of their ministry is very unique. It was fun watching each team member in Wewak have multiple different roles and responsibilities. Everyone is able to use their gifts and talents and there is no thinking ‘in a box.’”
Natalie Waters will be joining our team in Papua New Guinea beginning in January of 2017! Natalie was raised in Europe and developed a deep passion for the nations and a desire to share Christ’s Gospel with the least reached people of our world. While in high school, God opened Natalie’s heart to the possibility of missionary aviation after flying with Mission Aviation Fellowship. She graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics from Liberty University’s School of Aeronautics in Lynchburg, Virginia and later earned her flight instructor certificate. While pursuing her degree, she became the Administrative Assistant at the School of Aeronautics and later became Executive Assistant to the Dean, the position she has served in since 2014.
Luke and Tracy Hamer are scheduled to arrive in Wewak in October! They are both experienced float pilots, mechanics, and aircraft engineers from Alaska. They spent a few months in early 2017 with our team, and we are extremely excited to welcome them into the Samaritan Aviation family!
We first met Robert in 2015 while he was working as a contractor on our compound renovation. We were initially drawn to Robert because of his dependability, hard working nature, and great sense of humor. As one project finished and the next started we requested that he be on the crew of workers. During this time period we began a daily Bible study with the construction workers. Each day as we taught, it became more and more apparent that Robert was a believer who knew and loved the Word of God. After several more months continuing to disciple him and getting to know him and his family, Robert joined our national staff and is thriving in his training to become a leader in this important ministry.
Robert and his wife, Ludi, have been married for 11 years and have three children: Rodney (10), Guesti (9), and Maino (1). He brings with him 8 years of experience as a welder and carpenter, which is a huge asset as he also helps maintain our compound. While typically quite and reserved, Robert becomes passionately bold when sharing the gospel of Christ and caring for our patients in the hospital. He has been an excellent addition to our staff and we are excited to see him grow and develop as he serves in our hospital ministry.
Bryan says, “I have been a fan of Samaritan Aviation since 2000. At the time I was introduced to this organization I was the senior pastor of a church in Montrose, Colorado. Over the years our congregation as well as my family supported and partnered with several projects Samaritan had taken on. It was also our churches pleasure to have had Samaritan Aviation’s President Mark Palm, on our staff for three years as one of our worship pastors. Mark and I have many fond memories working together. It is with this long term relationship with Mark and several of the board members as well as a strong belief in what Samaritan is about that I have accepted my new role with this organization. I look forward to being a part of the team as we move forward with the mission of bringing hope and a message to the people of Papua New Guinea.”
Bryan and his wife Mary have been involved in ministry since the late ‘70’s. They received their missionary experience when they went to Nairobi, Kenya in 1987 and began doing missions work in one of the largest slums in East Africa. Bryan has traveled in over thirty countries speaking in leadership conferences in many of them. In 1993 Bryan went on board with Promise Keepers and while he was with this organization he served as the National Director of Volunteers as well as the National Director of Events. In 1998 Bryan and his family accepted the Senior Pastor role of Grace Community in Montrose, Colorado. Samaritan feels blessed to have a person of Bryan’s experience, qualifications, passion, and expertise joining our team.
Danielle McGrath is an Arizona State University alumnus who has spent years investing in her local church’s student ministries. In 2016, Danielle and her husband, a student worship pastor for Central Christian Church, moved to Gilbert, Arizona and began to build their life and community there. Upon hearing about Samaritan Aviation’s vision and commitment to being the hands and feet of Christ to the population of Papua New Guinea, Danielle jumped at the chance to be a part of the organization. Working as an Administrative Assistant out of the Mesa office, she hopes to grow with the organization and help support the great work being done by Samaritan Aviation.
Chris Bridges volunteers and serves as our design consultant and graphic artist. Chris oversees the design of all of SA’s newsletters and print media. He also works full time as a Project Manager for Coal Creek Consulting in Arizona. Chris and his wife, McKensie have been married for two years and enjoy traveling and leading worship at their church.