2nd March, 2012

MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship) began operating in Haiti in 1986, serving missions and relief agencies in remote areas of the country.

Poor infrastructure has plagued Haiti's development and causes non-profit organisations serving there to seek alternative transportation. A trip that might take eight hours or longer over rough, unsafe roads can be reduced to 25 minutes aboard an MAF plane.

Following the massive earthquake that hit Haiti in January 2010, MAF's knowledge of the country and expertise in transportation, communication, and disaster response positioned the organisation to effectively serve the scores of humanitarian and medical aid groups that descended upon Port-au-Prince. It is that longevity within Haiti that has endeared MAF to local church leaders, medical groups and government officials.

Over the past two years, MAF has played a critical role in efforts to halt the spread of cholera in Haiti. MAF has assisted Samaritan's Purse, Operation Blessing, Medical Teams International, and other groups by transporting medical teams, equipment, and supplies.

With more than 100 missionaries, aviation officials, and other guests on hand, MAF celebrated 25 years of service in Haiti with a special ceremony on 28th February at the MAF aircraft hangar at the Port-au-Prince Airport.

MAF officials shared about the work in Haiti, as did guest speaker Joe Hurston, an independent missionary pilot who lobbied MAF to come to Haiti in the mid-1980s.

"This morning I had the opportunity to visit Pignon and see some of the impact MAF is making in Haiti through the ministry partners we serve," MAF president and CEO John Boyd said at the event. "I am as excited as I've ever been about what is happening here in Haiti and look forward to what God is going to do through MAF in the next 25 years."

Greg and Barb Van Schoyck, missionaries serving in Pignon with the Haitian American Friendship Foundation, noted how MAF has enabled them to minister more effectively.

"Flying MAF gives us the opportunity to be good stewards of the resources God has provided us. Trucks are expensive and the roads take their toll," Greg said. "Long drives over terrible roads batter not only our trucks but our bodies as well. It didn't take long to determine that flying is more cost effective for us in the long run."

Anniversary celebrations were slated to continue Wednesday, Feb. 29, with a reception and worship service at Quisqueya Chapel in Petionville, Haiti.

MAF is a Christian ministry organization that uses airplanes and other technologies to serve church and relief organisations in remote areas of the world.

Mission Aviation Fellowship (www.maf.org) is a family of organisations with a singular mission: to share the gospel through aviation and technology so that isolated people may be physically and spiritually transformed. Serving in 32 countries with a fleet of 142 planes, MAF supports the efforts of some 1,500 Christian and relief organisations.

A significant part of this global network, MAF-US is headquartered in Nampa, Idaho. In addition to its aviation services, MAF-US also provides communications and learning technologies to support the work of hundreds of Christian, mission and humanitarian organizations throughout Africa, Asia, Eurasia and Latin America.

- MICHAEL IRELAND, Assist News Service

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