Haiti the focus of aviation ministry as new president is elected

By February 17, 2006

Haiti (MNN) — Haiti declared Rene Preval, a one-time ally of ousted leader Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the country’s next president on Thursday after reaching a deal on vote fraud claims that averted a feared outbreak of violence.

Protesters had taken to the streets prior to the announcement. Mission Aviation Fellowship works in Haiti. MAF’s President Kevin Swanson says those protests did have an impact on their work. “Our staff (is) fine and we have not gotten to the point of considering doing an evacuation. There have been a couple of days when our pilots have not been able to get to the airport, so we have had to cancel flights, but it’s been temporary. So, we’re just grateful to God that we have been able to continue ministering through this time of unrest in Haiti.”

The needs in Haiti are incredible, says Swanson. “The country of Haiti, because of the extreme poverty, there is literally no infrastructure once you get outside of the capital. And so, the MAF planes become the only safe and reliable means of transportation for literally hundreds of missionaries, church workers and aid workers.” MAF is currently servicing about 46 different organizations

Swanson says they’ve made Haiti a top priority in 2006 for a very good reason. “What we’re finding there is that the doors are opening pretty wide for ministry right now. When that happens we want to be responsive. I can remember a just a few years when most of the small airstrips in the interior of Haiti were closed. The government has now relaxed that.”

Swanson says they hope to add another plane to the field, but at a cost of $300,000.

As MAF is able to provide supplies, teachers, and other good things, Swanson says, it makes their ministry more effective. “When the plane brings in a team with the Jesus Film and shares Christ with them, there’s a ready acceptance on the part of the people to listen and to take part in this and not be suspicious because MAF has proven in the past that they bring good and helpful things into these villages.”

Pray that MAF will be able to secure the funding needed to purchase this new aircraft.

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