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Karabensh Family

Joe and Wendy have been with MFI since 1996. Joe is a DC-3 Captain and the MFI President.

When he was 13 years old, Joe committed his life to Christ at a Christian family camp in Mt. Hermon, CA. He later attended Westmont College and gained a burden for missions while on summer mission trips to Mexico and Kenya, Africa. He graduated Westmont in 1985 with a degree in Religious Studies. His interest in missions, combined with his interest in mechanics, made him well suited for the role of "Missionary Pilot." He was accepted into Moody Bible Institute's Missionary Aviation Training Program. Before aviation school began, however, he set across America from California to find his wife.

Meanwhile, Wendy had grown up on Cape Cod, MA and had accepted Christ as her Savior at a young age. After she attended Wheaton College and earned her teacher certification at Castleton State College, Wendy taught middle school science in Vermont. Joe's travels brought him to Vermont for the winter which is where he met Wendy at Calvary Bible Church in Rutland.

They were married in May of 1986 and together they went to Tennessee where Joe attended Moody Aviation for three years and became certified by the FAA as a commercial pilot and an aircraft mechanic. After finishing at Moody, they moved with one child in tow to Cape Cod where they added two more kids, a few gray hairs, a couple of pounds, and gobs of aviation experience (as a mechanic, flight instructor, and captain on a twin-engine plane with Cape Air/Nantucket Airlines).

Then, in 1996, Joe began work as a missionary pilot and mechanic with Missionary Flights International (MFI). After a short time, in addition to flying, Joe was asked to temporarily work as the warehouse manager until the position could be filled. In 1998 Joe then transitioned from the warehouse to the office where he became the Executive Assistant to MFI’s President Dick Snook. In 2001 when MFI had to move the office and warehouse six miles south of the airport, Joe took on more responsibility and was named MFI’s Executive V.P. Over the next decade or so Joe worked closely with Dick as MFI moved from West Palm Beach to Fort Pierce where God provided a facility beyond anything “asked for or imagined.” Joe also worked together with Dick and others at MFI as it became apparent that the complete transition from piston engine DC-3s to turbine engine DC-3s was necessary for MFI to be efficient and economical. 

In January 1, 2015, after over 18 years at MFI, Joe assumed the role of president. When Joe is not in the office he can be found in the cockpit flying one of MFI’s turbine DC-3s. Joe and Wendy currently reside in Vero Beach FL where Wendy teaches violin and viola lessons to local children. Joe and Wendy have three children of their own who have now all graduated from college - Nate, Jenni, and Greg, who married Anna in 2009.

Joe is both honored and humbled to be MFI’s President. He is grateful that God has put together such an awesome team of dedicated servants at MFI and is excited about where God will lead them over the next decade. He believes that God will continue to use aviation to spread the good news of Jesus Christ by providing reliable transportation and logistical services to hundreds of Bible-centered missions throughout the Caribbean.

 

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