Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitos. Until recently, outbreaks had only occured in countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The virus didn't show up in the Americas on the islands in the Caribbean until late 2013. Since then, it has spread throughout the islands - recently making it to Haiti. The most common symptoms of the disease are fever and severe joint pain. These usually occur 3-7 days after being bitten. The joint pain is extremely painful for a short time. While the disease is not fatal, in some cases, the pain becomes chronic and lasts for weeks. There is no cure - just treatment for the symptoms.
Chikungunya has rapidly spread through Haiti - possibly infecting millions of people living there. Personal reports from missionaries affiliated with MFI put the infected at over half of the population. One missionary couple who run an orphanage and school were both infected. The disease has also affected over half of the more than 30 kids at the orphanage.
Please pray specifically for those who have already contracted the disease. Pray that their symptoms will be removed and that their pain is reduced. Pray for the missionaries that they will find relief and also will be able to treat and care for those who are infected. MFI continues to fly regularly during this time. The crew are taking extra precautions while in the country by applying insect repellant. Pray that God will protect them from the disease as they continue to serve him. Lastly, please pray for the team leaders of mission teams. Pray for wisdom as they make decisions on whether or not to postpone or cancel their trips.
Port-au-Prince Mailroom Upgrade
Affiliated missionaries living in Port-au-Prince have seen many changes to how they pick up their mail and cargo over the past few years.
For the first few decades, the MFI "mailroom" resided in the homes of missionaries. The Ragsdales hosted the mailroom first and then after that the responsibility fell to the Goldens. Soon after the earthquake in January 2010, some local woodworkers, who leased a building near the airport, built a tiny building on their property and that became the new mailroom. When their lease expired, MFI had to again find a new site for the Port-au-Prince mailroom.
Since 2012, missionaries have been picking up their mail and cargo at the first permanent mailroom MFI has ever had in Port-au-Prince. A shipping container was purchased, put on a foundation, hooked up to electricity, and painted. The container is located near the General Aviation Terminal at the Port-au-Prince airport. It has regular hours when missionaries can pick up and drop off mail and cargo.
The mailroom got another upgrade in June 2014. Jon Bardwell and Jim Carlin, MFI volunteers in Florida, built, painted, and dry fit 240 new mail slots for the mail room. These mail slots were then disassembled, flown to Haiti, transported to Baptist Haiti Mission, reassembled, transported back to the airport, and then installed in the mailroom with the help of MFI staff member Al Colson.
Al, Ronald, and helpers at BHM loading Al in front of the newly installed mail slots
the assembled mail slots onto a truck
Another change the missionaries will notice will be a streamlining of mail pick up. Missions used to be organized alphabetically. In an effort to make the foreign mailrooms more like the one at MFI, missions will now be organized by the Mission Unit #. So with the newly issued Mission ID Cards, all a missionary or his/her representative will have to do is present the card and Ronald will quickly be able to find their mail or cargo.
Ronald Jean Joseph managing his newly renovated office
In Honor of George
If you ever had the privilege of meeting George Knoop there were several things that quickly became evident. First was his love of prayer. You could not be around George for long before he was asking if there was anything he could help you to pray about. Second was his love for the Moody Church. He was an active prayer partner at Moody events and had a deep love for the ministries there in Chicago. The last was his love of discipleship and mentoring. He played an active role in ministry at Quisqueya Chapel in Port-au-Prince, Haiti teaching Sunday School and mentoring men that showed an interest in spiritual things.
Missionary Flights International has set up a Memorial Fund to honor George’s memory. All gifts are tax deductible. The funds will be distributed to Quisqueya Chapel to be used for projects in the area of discipleship and mentoring.
Please follow the below link and select "George Knoop Memorial Fund" from the selection box. You may also send a check to MFI at 3170 Airmans Dr., Ft. Pierce, FL 34946 and indicate it is for George's Memorial Fund on the memo line.
Thank you for helping to continue George's legacy.
George Knoop traveled to Haiti after the earthquake near Port-au-Prince in January 2010 to help serve and minister to those in need. While there, George learned of MFI’s need for a mail room manager and felt God calling him to fill that need. He commented that he wanted to serve in Haiti for at least 10 years – at the time George was 74 years old.
On May 13, 2014, George passed away after being attacked in his home in Port-au-Prince. George faithfully served the mission community and met every MFI DC-3 flight at the airport in Port-au-Prince since moving there in the fall of 2010.
George is survived by his two sisters. At their request, George will be cremated in Haiti.
The MFI staff as well as all the missionaries who interacted with George will remember him and his commitment to the Lord fondly. George also had a close relationship with his home church in Chicago, Moody Church.
“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
Maintenance Update - Wing Pull
Every 2 1/2 to 3 years, specifically every 2,000 flight hours, regulations require that both wings of a DC-3 be removed for a major inspection. The purpose of the inspection is to look at all of the attach angles, stringers, ribs, and the complete structure inside and outside of the wing. If any problems are found, such as corrosion or damage, it is repaired and brought back up to airworthy standards.
One of MFI's turbine DC-3s, N500MF, is currently down for a Wing Pull inspection. Below is a picture showing the left wing detached from the airplane with mechanics doing a preliminary inspection. The airplane will be out of service for 2 to 4 weeks while the inspection and repairs are being completed.