God’s Grand Purpose

By Karissa Maust

Rob Peterson grew up as a missionary kid in the Philippines, and Bintou Peterson grew up in Cameroon. One could say that the two grew up a world apart. But God, in his grand purpose, brought them together. 

As an adult, Rob felt that God was calling him to be a mission worker like his parents. He completed pre-field training at JAARS and went to Cameroon as a pilot/mechanic. He had no prior interest in the African nation but was open to going wherever his skills were most needed. While working in Cameroon, he met Bintou on a flight to Banso, where Rob was to do orientation for a new pilot and Bintou, having finished medical school, wanted to see how she could serve at Banso Baptist Hospital. This flight changed the course of their lives! Rob decided he could not live without her, and a year later, they married. 

Like Rob, Bintou has a heart for mission work. When they met, she was excited that he shared her passion for the Lord and missions. The couple worked together in Cameroon and neighboring Gabon.

Rob and Bintou with their son Isaac.

While they were on a short visit to the United States, political unrest in Africa delayed their return. As they waited for the situation to improve, they found out that Bintou was pregnant. They extended their stay so that Bintou had access to the health care she needed and their son, Isaac, could be born in the U.S. Things didn’t go exactly as planned, however. 

Isaac was born at 26 weeks, weighing only 1 pound, 11 ounces, so he had a rather lengthy hospital stay. Because God had brought Rob and Bintou to the U.S. at the right time, Isaac was able to receive the care he needed.

More challenges arose. The young couple had no car or place to live. Also, Bintou had only a green card and didn’t speak much English. Rob knew French, Bintou’s main language, but in the U.S., she had to communicate in a language largely unfamiliar to her. God intervened and provided a place to stay at a Ronald McDonald House while Isaac was hospitalized. When Isaac was 7 months old, they were able to take him home on oxygen to a house that God provided.

Rob and fellow pilots Mike Bunn and Jeff Johnson flew our new R66 helicopter from Arizona to Waxhaw.

Since Isaac’s birth, Rob worked in helicopter operations at JAARS while Bintou  primarily cared for Isaac. Until recently, Rob helped with our Missions at the Airport events and learned to fly helicopters. He was also a great asset administratively in the research and planning of adding our new R66 to the JAARS training fleet. They are now back in Gabon, where Rob will be flying fixed-wing aircraft and Bintou will re-engage at the local mission hospital. 

Rob appreciates the relationships he built with others in the Aviation Department and the chance to regularly interact with international aviation programs.

Though circumstances have not always been easy for Rob and Bintou, God’s purpose has been clearly evident in their lives. We are so glad that God brought them to JAARS and are excited to see how he uses them in Africa!

See what purpose God might have for you to serve at JAARS.