2019 Flight Briefing - Volume 1

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Standing in the Gap for the Next Generation

Missionary Flights International transports missionaries and cargo to the Caribbean. The missions we fly for must make it a priority to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ; therefore, we know that each flight we make means we are standing in the gap and making an impact with everlasting effects.

In February, Many Hands for Haiti (MH4H) held a Color Blast run event in Pignon, Haiti. Prior to this event, students in churches in the area of Pignon were encouraged to invite their friends that did not attend church. After the run, they were given a copy of the Word of God and presented the Gospel.

“The young people in Haiti don’t often have a chance to go to youth events. We put on the Color Blast to have some fun and provide a spiritual experience as well,” stated Karmen Brown, Team Leader for MH4H, “We always make sure that we have great speakers, we get the message out there, and we let them know how much Jesus loves them. But, above all, we want to make sure that we put the Word of God in their hands.”

“When Karmen pulled the Bibles out of the bags for the students, there were literally gasps. For our youth that were there, that was just so awesome to witness,” said Shelly Helmink as she reflected over the event.

Could this event happen without the support of MFI? “I honestly don’t think so,” said Karmen.

For more on this event and other Standing in the Gap Moments, click here.


Hospitality Park Update

Missionary Flights International (MFI) closed the year of 2018 asking for assistance in meeting a $1 Million Match. We are pleased to announce that our goal was met! An additional $500,000 match has been challenged for 2019.

The Hospitality Park has RV pads in place, a beautiful curbside and driveway, and our “Missionary Flights Hospitality Park” sign painted with letters affixed.

The Hospitality Park will allow MFI to expand its service to faithful missionaries in need, enable short term mission teams, and increase our volunteer work force.


MFI Volunteers serve lunch at family day.

MFI Volunteers serve lunch at family day.

Volunteers Serve at Family Day

Family Day at Missionary Flights occurs annually in March at our hangar in Fort Pierce, FL. Each year, guests are given an opporunity to fly in one of our DC-3 planes, enjoy a free meal and activities, and learn how they can partner with MFI to stand in the gap.

This event was a large success thanks to the overwhelming level of response from volunteers. Family Day had 120+ volunteers serving and tending to the needs of the day. Volunteers included MFI pilots, staff, spouses, and kids. Others were locals from the community and dedicated volunteers throughout the week. Still others included seasonal volunteers who take residence in local RV parks. About 40 individuals from the Road Runner Travel Resort, just down the road from MFI, were among those to lend a helping hand.

One volunteer living in Orlando, FL, found out about Family Day and the opportunity to serve. After contacting the office and committing to volunteer, she hired a driver to transport her the 120 miles so that she could be a part of the experience. Though she was scheduled to be relieved of her volunteer assignment at noon, she stayed until 2:00 p.m. Furthermore, she requested her transportation to stay in the area. For her, the expense was worth the opportunity to be of service, and we are grateful.

A group of local teenage students stands among the great stories of volunteers who made an impact during the day. They ensured that all of the tables set out for lunch were consistently cleared of trash and wiped down clean. Many of those students were eager to move to another position of service when their shift had ended. We were encouraged by their dedication to the task of providing a clean environment.

Information about future MFI events can be found below. If you are local to the MFI hangar in Fort Pierce, or if you think that you will be in the area during the time of one of these events, please call MFI to get involved.


Missionaries make their way to board an MFI DC-3 during evacuations.

Missionaries make their way to board an MFI DC-3 during evacuations.

Evacuating Missionaries in Haiti

“Tires were burning. Our family was housebound. There were roadblocks set up all over the country. Businesses and schools were closed. Then, the U.S. Embassy raised their travel alert to the highest level Warning: Evacuate as soon as you can safely do so. We could not safely do so. After 10 days of being housebound, there seemed to be a calm. We heard MFI was flying people out. We made the difficult decision to pack up our family.” - email from Becky Browning

Missionary Flights does not normally perform operations on Sunday. But, as our pilots walked into the Les Cayes, Haiti, airport on Sunday morning, at least 150 missionaries were there anxiously waiting for a flight out. The missionaries were so glad to see them! From there, MFI shuttled many missionaries to various locations to board commercial flights out of Haiti. In addition, MFI flew a full plane back to the United States. Less than 24 hours from their decision to leave their house, we also had the privilege of flying the Browning family, and many others just like them, to safety.

From what we can make of the reports that came in from the field, Haiti’s prolonged state of unrest began on February 7. However, nothing in Haiti is easy nor simple. Many factors go into this unrest. Fuel prices have doubled and shortages have ensued over the last seven months. The breaking point was a sharp rise in inflation. And so, February 7, the opposition party began “Operation Lock Down Haiti.” It is just as it sounds, a total lock down of roads and all commerce. This shutdown has led to nationwide suffering. Port au Prince, Haiti’s capital, saw the most concentrated violence. From that location, various levels of violence occured depending on the size of population and the influence of community leaders.

Becky’s email finished: “The pilots prayed before we took off, and I felt my heart calm. As the tires lifted off the ground, the tears came. Thank you, MFI! Your pilots risked their lives to rescue others.”

Because of those who pray for and financially support Missionary Flights, these stories are possible. In moments of disaster, we are able to react quickly because our planes are maintained and we have a reserve of funds. To financially partner with MFI, click the button below:


Preparing for the Future

MFI President, Joe Karabensh

MFI President, Joe Karabensh

FROM THE PRESIDENT

It seems that each year begins in a sprint. But, as I have taken some time to reflect on the stories in this FLIGHTBRIEFING, I’ve noticed areas where MFI stands in the gap most often.

We stand in the gap for short term mission teams as they use the services that MFI provides to make their trips a success. Many of these teams fly with us. Over the last couple months, we have been posting pictures online of various flight mornings that show the faces of these teams and the stories of what their organizations are doing in Haiti.

Among those short term groups are the full time missionaries who have followed the Lord’s calling to live in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, or the Bahamas. We stand in the gap for these faithful missionaries when we provide cargo and individual transportation. It is always a blessing to shake the hand of one of our missionaries and hear the stories of what God is doing in their ministry and how MFI has supported them in that work.

We stand in the gap as we continue to increase our volunteer work force. Most of you are aware that MFI pilots and mechanics raise their own support to serve as “home-based” missionaries. You also may be aware that we employ a small group of office staff to oversee administrative tasks. However, I want to make sure that you also understand the enormous impact that is made by our volunteers. They are responsible for loading planes, managing donated goods, cleaning the facilities and planes, and handling our incoming and outgoing mail, etc. Our recent Family Day event is proof that these volunteers help MFI to operate efficiently.

The MFI Hospitality Park is seeing its roadway and RV spots paved. After their completion, the Hospitality Center will be in construction. I am certain that this property will expand our service as we Stand in the Gap.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support.

Joe

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