MAF Pilot Daniel Loewen-Rudgers
MAF Pilot Daniel Loewen-Rudgers -Photo credit: Jacqueline Mwende

It is when I was a kid that I thought it would be cool to be a MAF pilot.

That’s how Daniel Loewen-Rudgers remembers the start of his journey to fly for MAF in Kenya, where he has spent most of his 17-year career.

Daniel is the programme’s sole permanent pilot and Head of Operations, driven by faith and the mission to bring help, hope and healing to Kenya. 

“God is very involved in the day-to-day activities. It is sometimes hard to see, but often if you are patient and consistent over a period, then you can see the effect that he’s having. When you look back, you can see what he has done,” he said.

Every time we thought it wouldn't work, we saw an opening, like God made a way.
Daniel Loewen-Rudgers, MAF Kenya Pilot

Passengers flying with Daniel have consistently praised him for his expertise and charisma, acknowledging the impact of his flights.

Reflecting on memorable flights, Daniel highlighted a recent mission with the Fred Hollows Foundation to Mandera, where eye specialists conducted over 250 life-changing cataract surgeries. The impact was so profound that plans are underway to double flights to meet the growing need.

Another impactful initiative is the CURE medical flights, which provide essential medical care to children with physical disabilities. Daniel emphasized the significance of bringing a pastor along to offer support and prayer to the affected families.

Pilot Daniel preparing for take-off at Wilson Airport.
Pilot Daniel preparing for take-off at Wilson Airport. -Photo credit: Jacqueline Mwende

The passion to serve Africa began with Daniel’s formative years in Kenya and Tanzania. From ages two to twelve, his family resided in Arusha and Mbeya, Tanzania. It was in Mbeya, near a small airstrip frequented by MAF pilots, that Daniel had his first encounter with an MAF aircraft.

The family later relocated to Kenya, where Daniel pursued his high school studies. He ventured back to Canada for university. During a Christmas break back in Kenya, Daniel encountered a friend who shared similar aspirations to attend Providence College in Canada to study aviation.

Grounded in faith, Daniel draws strength from the book of Philippians, particularly the message from Paul about running the race and he sees life as a marathon, not a sprint. He shares, "I am reminded that I need to be consistent over a long period of time and not expect everything to happen quickly."

Pilot Daniel with his wife Damaris leading worship during the MAF global prayer day.
Pilot Daniel with his wife Damaris leading worship during the MAF global prayer day -Photo credit: Jacqueline Mwende

Beyond the cockpit, Daniel is a man of diverse talents and interests. He strums the guitar and is part of the praise and worship team in his church. In his leisure moments, he delves into woodwork. He even built a sauna out of wood pallets. Running, hiking, and quality family time are his preferred ways to recharge.

While not a frequent chef, Daniel boasts a culinary specialty in chilli, Mexican food, and hamburger soup.

Arriving in Kenya in 2006, Daniel took a brief trip to Germany in 2007, where he tied the knot with his beloved Damaris. A year later, the couple returned to Kenya in 2008.

However, life took an unexpected turn when their first daughter, Samara, faced medical challenges. This led Daniel and Damaris to relocate to Germany for 13 months, navigating through nine surgeries and 15 house moves.

Samara, blind and equipped with cochlear implants, became a living testament to God's guidance, amid these challenges, greatly touching the lives of those around her with her resilient and joyful spirit.

A beautiful portrait of the Loewen-Rudgers Family.
A beautiful portrait of the Loewen-Rudgers Family. -Photo credit: Paula Alderblad

Despite the hardships, Daniel emphasizes, "Every time we thought it wouldn't work, we saw an opening, like God made a way."

In 2013, Daniel and Damaris welcomed their son Joshua and their daughter Aliza in 2016, both blessings that brought immense joy.

In the skies and on the ground, Daniel embodies the spirit of MAF – a mission fuelled by faith, resilience, and a commitment to making a lasting impact on isolated communities.

Story by: Jacqueline Mwende