Haiti (MNN) — When did Zacharie François know he wanted to be a pilot? “It would be the first of May 2013,” he says. “I had my first flight on an airplane [over Haiti] on a Cessna 206. The Lord used that flight to show me the needs of my country and the beauty of my country. He also during that flight showed me, ‘Hey, I’ve allowed you to grow up among Haitians and expats, and that puts you in a unique position that you could use to help My kingdom.’”
Mission Aviation Fellowship celebrates 75 years of work this year, and they are renewing their goal of training local people to help serve their neighbors. François, a Haitian national, is part of this program and earned his mechanic’s certification in Michigan. He hopes to return next year to get his pilot’s license. Watch a video about his story here.
François, whose parents often worked alongside missionaries in Haiti, describes how he started working with MAF. “After I graduated from high school, we knew that God was directing me towards mission aviation work. And since we knew all the MAF folks, They invited me to the hangar as an Aircraft Maintenance Technician trainee.”
François hopes his story can inspire Haitians and point them to the goodness of Christ. “My parents were poor. My dad never made it past second grade, my mom only made it up to ninth grade. See that and see the work of God in my life, how He saved me. How He is using me.”
The training program
And MAF is glad to have him back, says David McCleery, the MAF regional director in Latin America. “Right now I would say staffing is a real issue in Haiti, and we’re excited that Zach is back in Haiti now after his maintenance training and is able to work there as a fully trained mechanic, and then work into becoming a pilot in the near future.”
McCleery says the training program is picking up steam, with people in Brazil and Central Asia joining soon.
McCleery says many people MAF has trained have gone on to work in the flight industry as well. “We just had a recent example of a pilot in Africa that wrote an article in his home country in a magazine and pointed back to his time with MAF, starting him down that road. And now he flies for an airline, flying a Boeing 777.”
Pray that Zach will be able to pursue his pilot’s license next year and pray that Christ will use him to build His kingdom in Haiti.
The header image shows Francois working with MAF. (Photo courtesy of MAF)