By Jenna Quentin |

Newton, KS – Small towns look up to their sons and daughters who go on to bigger and better things. Sometimes they have to look a little farther than sports or government positions.

Four years ago, Marshal Giles seemed like a typical Newton dad of three boys, working as an engineer at Cessna/Bombardier. Then Giles and his wife, Rachel, moved their family to Ethiopia.

In the capital city of Addis Ababa, Giles works a construction/maintenance manager, providing technical support for a group of ten families/units serving with Christian Missionary Fellowship (CMF). His role encompasses many things from vehicle repair, to designing and constructing buildings. There’s a need for those who are good with their hands, with a mechanical mindset, and a people-person attitude, said Giles. “We need all skills sets, especially in the mission community.”

As deputy country director for CMF, Giles helps with some finance matters and also serves as a representative to the Ethiopian government. This involves signing documents and contracts, speaking with and answering questions for those in the government and helping missionaries with immigration papers.

Giles’ wife Rachel, originally from McPherson, manages a guesthouse for missionaries from CMF or other organizations. Missionaries down country will deplete their supplies after several months and will come back to the capital for resources and to recharge.

The guesthouse consists of three 3-bedroom units and two 2-bedroom units. Rachel manages the bookings, maintenance and food preparation while managing four Ethiopian women. While occupancy is sporadic, with many guests one month and fewer the next, the guesthouse stays fairly busy.

As their sons, ages 5, 7 and 9, have lived a large portion of their lives in Africa, they consider it home. Giles said they had  to readjust to fewer electronics and less TV time, but they enjoy the raw beauty of nature and the freedom they have to explore. The boys attend an international school, experiencing the richness of many cultures in their classmates.

The family actually has the opportunity to continue the legacy of Giles’ grandparents who pioneered Ethiopian missions in the 1960s-1970s. Giles’ parents met there and then served in Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as in Ethiopia.

Giles spent his childhood in Africa, moving back to Newton when he was a freshman in high school. He graduated from Newton Christian, then received his degree as a Mechanical Engineer at Kansas State. He worked at Cessna/Bombardier for about five years until 2008 or 2009 when he was emailed and asked if they would be willing to apply for a needed position in Giles’ field.

The couple had previously considered mission work, and this position seemed like a “good fit” with their abilities, as well as being a familiar culture for Giles.

Source: The Kansan
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