Greg & Melanie Hess
Born in Minnesota, Greg remembers becoming a believer in Christ when he was in first grade while his family lived in Sioux City, Iowa. Greg and Melanie met shortly after he graduated from high school, and while he was attending Minneapolis Technical College finishing an Associate's Degree in Aviation Maintenance, he met a missionary pilot from Melanie's church. Excited about the opportunity to combine his faith and maintenance skills, Greg continued his education at Moody Bible Institute where he spent two years in Chicago studying Bible and Missions, and another two years in Tennessee at Moody Aviation earning his pilot's certificate and graduating with a B.S. in Missionary Aviation.
Melanie also grew up in a Christian home in Minnesota. She studied agriculture and horticulture at the University of MN, and dreamed of someday being able to use that on the mission field. Melanie and Greg were married in 1995 while Greg was attending Moody Bible Institute, and her training was put to use as she worked at a hydroponic tomato greenhouse while Greg was in flight school.
In 2000, Greg and Melanie began serving in full-time ministry with Missionary Aviation Fellowship, serving as a pilot/mechanic family in both Mozambique and Central Asia. Their daughter Hannah, born in Lisbon, Portugal, made her appearance in 2002 while they were in language school. In 2007, the Hess family moved to Alaska where Greg again served as a pilot/mechanic for Missionary Aviation Repair Center. After spending some time on loan to SOAR International, they transitioned to full time SOAR staff in 2013 - eager to serve the church in Russia.