By Jon Weber, Director of Development
Hurricane Matthew tore through the Caribbean last week. I’m heartbroken in the storm’s aftermath, knowing some of the poorest people in our hemisphere have lost housing, clean water, and loved ones. Over 1,000 people are dead. Infrastructure destruction and the outright poverty of these areas means recovery will be challenging.
The physical loss alone is tremendous, but these are people like me and my family. Have they lost hope? I’d struggle with hope in this situation. Sitting in my warm office, I try to imagine the terror of being homeless, cut off from food and medical help. I wonder what it is like for parents to doubt their ability to care for their children.
It is clear: things are not all right. That bothers me.
Disasters like Hurricane Matthew are obvious, headline-grabbing examples of pain and need that exist around the world, all the time. If you’re anything like me, your heart longs for a day when wrongs are made right. You want justice and provision. You want sickness healed, broken things to be made new again, and isolation replaced by connectedness.
As a follower of Jesus Christ, I have hope: a day is coming where ALL OF THIS WILL HAPPEN. Until then, we must demonstrate God’s healing, justice, provision, and hope to one another. Especially in the wake of disasters, it is critical that we bring hope into heartbreaking tragedies. We can all help to make wrongs things right again.
I’ve been closely watching updates from our missionary aviation partners operating in the Caribbean, including Missionary Aviation Fellowship, Mission Flights International, and Agape Flights. Each organization is using different aircraft types, in different locations, and meeting different needs. Each are hustling to bring hope to those in desperate need.
Well-maintained aircraft engines can provide years of reliable, cost-effective service for this purpose. Back in 2014, Greg Haman of Agape Flights came through Spokane Turbine Center’s PT6A course here at Felts Field. Our objective was to give Greg an increased ability to maintain the two PT6A engines on Agape’s EMBRAER 110 aircraft. Since the hurricane cleared, Agape’s airplane (which Greg maintains) has shuttled supplies between Florida and Haiti. In addition to flying, Agape has also been gathering supplies, and coordinating with other missionary aviation partners to help get items to the hardest-hit areas of Haiti. Food, water purification tablets, tarps, generators, and tools are arriving to help provide hope.
Spokane Turbine Center’s little building in Spokane has prepared missionary aviation professionals to help make things right again, in the aftermath of natural or man-made disasters, or in everyday logistic challenges. Without donations, we cannot provide the training to Agape Flights or and other organizations need to effectively operate turbine engine aircraft.
I’m proud of what organizations like Agape Flights are able to safely and cost-effectively do with the help of professional aviation training. Each month, my family donates to Spokane Turbine Center because we are called to help bring God’s hope into a world that is broken. Perhaps you feel called to offer direct support to organizations like Agape Flights. Or, perhaps like my family, your role is to support professional turbine training at Spokane Turbine Center. Please join us in making things right, and bringing hope.