Flight Briefing - Missionary Flights International

December 2014
Passing the Baton
Twenty-one years ago Dick Snook took
the baton from Founder, Don Beldin,
to begin his tenure as the second
President of MFI. All he wanted at the
time was “God’s continued grace for
the ongoing outreach of Missionary
Flights International.” As evidenced by
the current facilities, the two turbine
DC-3s, and MFI’s partnership with
400 missions in the Caribbean, Dick’s
leadership and vision have led to the
blessing of MFI. Now it’s time to pass
the baton again as Dick transitions to
President Emeritus and Joe Karabensh
takes the title of President of MFI.
Take the Matching Gift Challenge
Fifty years ago, Don Beldin founded grows continually and MFI envisions
Missionary Flights International to expanding to more countries in the
better serve the needs of missionaries coming years.
living in the Bahamas.
In order to keep
In an early report to
meeting the needs of
supporters, he indicated “... keep in mind that the mission community,
a need of $200 per any gift given to MFI MFI must expand its
month to operate the
towards this project fleet by adding a third
one airplane MFI
will actually double turbine DC-3. MFI has
owned at the time. The
this year.”
been raising funds since
current fleet of two
last summer and the
turbine DC-3s and one Cessna 310 exciting news is that a foundation has
require a slightly larger operating awarded a matching grant toward this
budget than that.
third plane. For every dollar given this
MFI now serves 400 mission
organizations compared to just 250
a mere five years ago. The number
of flights and usage of the planes
year toward the new turbine DC-3, the
foundation will match up to $50,000.
As you consider your end of the year
giving, keep in mind that any gift
given to MFI towards this project will
actually double this year. As the Lord
has blessed you, please consider how
you can be a blessing to MFI and the
missions it serves.
enclosed envelope or online at​
Affiliated Mission Spotlight
Mission Emanuel - Dominican Republic
Promoting discipleship through short-term mission trips focused on community transformation.
In a partnership with the Association for Dominican
Rehabilitation (ADR), Mission Emanuel’s pediatric physical
therapy clinic has hosted an annual trip each of the past seven
years. The purpose of this trip, in addition to discipleship,
is to deliver custom wheelchairs and other rehabilitation
equipment to the ADR and Mission Emanuel. This has
always been difficult with respect to the space and financial
limitations placed on getting the equipment from the United
States to the DR. However, thanks to MFI, Mission Emanuel
was able to provide custom wheelchairs to 70 children. In
addition, over $250,000 worth of equipment arrived in the
Dominican Republic for rehabilitation services
This is significant because children having disabilities with
diagnoses including meningitis, cerebral palsy, muscular
dystrophy and other syndromes do not fit in a standard
They are too
old to be
carried by
their parents
but have too
specific of
needs to be
safely and
The wheelchairs on the ramp in Barahona, DR.
comfortably transported in
a stroller. It took a team of
six wheelchair specialists
nearly five days to fit 70
children for chairs that are
custom to their needs.
Gabrieles is a 10-year-old
child with osteogenesis
imperfecta which results in
bones that are very easily
fractured. Due to this, both
of his knees were stuck
Gabrieles in his new custom wheelchair.
bent and he walked on the
back of his hands with his feet crossed and curled underneath
him. He has normal cognition, social interaction and wants to
be a pediatrician when he grows up. He attends public school
and makes good grades. However, his ability to be included as
a social equal is an uphill battle due to his disability. He must
be carried on his mom’s shoulder for long distances or outside
the home to prevent damage to his hands. He has never had
a wheelchair. The Mission Emanuel team was able to deliver a
custom chair that was adapted to his body with scoliosis that he
could push independently. He immediately took to it and was
spinning circles before anyone could give him instructions.
2014 George Knoop Volunteer of the Year - Jim Stewart
Jim Stewart served as a Palm Beach
County Circuit Court judge before
retiring in the late 1990s. Shortly
after his wife passed away, Jim began
looking for opportunities to serve in
the area when he came across MFI.
MFI needed dedicated people to help
with loading the aircraft and other
duties around the organization.
Jim receiving his award from President Dick
Snook at the Ft. Pierce Banquet in November.
MFI created this award in honor of
George Knoop, an MFI volunteer
living in Port-au-Prince. He was
murdered in May of this year at his
home in Haiti.
Fifteen years later, Jim still volunteers
every loading day (normally Monday
and Wednesday). He selflessly works
with the MFI staff and other volunteers
selecting the cargo for the flight and
then loading that same cargo onto the
Some of the staff remember Jim
riding his bike to the Palm Beach
International airport each day with
his lunch box and a cooler filled with
sodas for the loading crew. The only
time Jim doesn’t show up to volunteer
is when he is off visiting one of his
three children or grandchildren.
Jim Stewart personifies dedication
and commitment to missions. The
ultimate example happened in 2006
when MFI moved from West Palm
Beach to Ft. Pierce. Instead of staying
in West Palm, where he had lived and
worked for many years, Jim chose to
move with MFI so he could continue
to serve MFI and its many affiliated
Standing in the Gap for Missions in the Caribbean
A Legacy of Missions
Moving Forward
For the past 28 years it has been my
privilege to serve with Missionary
Flights International. When my
wife, Linda, and I moved our
family to Florida in 1986 to join
MFI, the ministry was pretty small.
Over the years we have seen the
Lord bless MFI to what it is today.
What a joy it was for me to work
with Founder Don Beldin in those
early years.
On December 31, 2014, I will step
down as president of MFI. As the
ministry continues to grow, there
is a need for someone to represent
MFI to churches and supporters.
For the next several years my wife
Linda and I will be ambassadors for
MFI traveling the U.S. and Canada
hosting banquets and representing
the ministry. When the Lord called
An airplane cannot accomplish its
purpose unless it is “moving forward.”
Once the airflow over the wings has
enough velocity, then sufficient lift
will be produced to launch the craft
into the sky to fulfill its mission.
So it has been with Missionary
Flights International under
the leadership of Don Beldin
and Dick Snook. MFI has been
“moving forward” for the last 50
years to “Stand in the Gap” for
missions in the Caribbean.
As times have changed, MFI has
been able to adapt by upgrading
equipment, airplanes, and even
hangars in order to fulfill its
mission of spreading the Gospel.
It has been my pleasure to be
part of the team at MFI and to
work with Dick these last 18 years. I
have learned a tremendous amount
from him and have appreciated the
way he took me under his wing shortly
after my wife and I moved our family
to Florida in 1996. When I joined
MFI as a pilot and mechanic, I never
imagined that one day I would have
the incredible responsibility of being
the next MFI president.
In 2001, I was given the title of
Executive Vice President and worked
closely with Dick on a daily basis as we
transitioned into turbine aircraft and
eventually moved our operation to
us here, many years ago, it was a
lifetime commitment so we are not
retiring, only changing positions.
Linda and I will serve MFI as long
as the Lord gives us strength.
Please pray for Joe Karabensh as he
becomes the next MFI president.
Joe has served with MFI for the past
18 years and he is a capable leader.
Harold Martin, who has been
with MFI for 12 years, will step
into the vice president’s position.
With Joe and Harold’s many years
of experience and love for the
ministry, MFI will have quality
leadership well into the future. May
the Lord bless you for supporting
us and MFI.
Ft. Pierce, FL. I am both honored and
humbled by this important leadership
role that God has placed before me.
I am thrilled about the team of godly
men and women that God has brought
together to serve at MFI. I know
there will be challenges ahead
and I trust that God will give us
the wisdom and guidance that
we need.
I, as well as all the staff, covet
your ongoing support and
prayers as we seek to provide
reliable transportation and
logistical support to hundreds
of Bible centered missions. It is
my desire to see MFI continue
to do what we have done for
the last 50 years and to keep
“moving forward” by adjusting
and fine tuning the ministry as we
advance further towards excellence. I
am excited to see where God will take
us in the next 50 years.
Turbine DC-3 versus Piston DC-3
The turbine is 55 mph faster than the
piston - which translates to an hour
savings on a flight from Florida to
Haiti. Since most days are round-trip
flights for the pilots, that savings in
time can shorten the flight day by up
to two hours.
N200MF (turbine) outside on the ramp.
MFI began flying piston DC-3s in
1977 and flew them regularly until
2011. The first turbine DC-3 arrived
in 2003 with the second one being put
into service in 2011.
Why the change and what’s the
difference? MFI personnel are often
asked those questions. The many
advantages of flying turbine DC-3s
over piston DC-3s are realized by the
passengers, pilots, and mechanics.
Because of its heavier engines, a piston
DC-3 weighs more than a turbine DC3. This translates to 18% more cargo
and passengers by weight that can be
carried at a lower cost per flight hour.
Piston airplanes use Avgas for fuel
while turbine airplanes use Jet A.
Avgas sometimes costs as much as $2/
gal more than Jet A and hasn’t been
available in Cap-Haitien since 2004.
There are also many intangible
benefits associated with flying turbine
DC-3s. Turbine engines are more
reliable - meaning less unscheduled
maintenance in Florida and abroad.
N300MF (piston) shown from above.
Also, the overall cost to operate a
turbine DC-3 is less which benefits
MFI and the missionaries it serves.
Please help MFI purchase its
third turbine DC-3 by donating
to this project. You can use the
enclosed envelope or give online
at www.missionaryflights.org and
remember that any gift given by the
end of the year towards this project
will be matched up to $50,000.
Upcoming Events
You can find more details about the below events at
ƒƒ Feed My Starving Children Event
When: January 10, 2015
Where: MFI Hangar in Ft. Pierce, FL
ƒƒ MFI Family Day
When: March 7, 2015
Where: MFI Hangar in Ft. Pierce, FL
ƒƒ West Palm Beach Banquet
When: March 20, 2015
Where: Airport Hilton, WPB, FL
Support MFI by doing all your
amazon.com shopping by going to
smile.amazon.com and selecting
Missionary Flights as your charity.
Amazon will donate a percentage of
the price of your purchase to MFI.
Come join 600 other
volunteers to help pack
125,000 meals on Saturday,
January 10 at MFI’s hangar.
Thank You for Voting.
Because of the time you took to go online
and vote for MFI, out of 15 organizations,
we finished 10th - which was worth a brand
new Lightspeed headset. Thanks again for
your support.
The 50th Anniversary book will be
available in December. You can buy it
by contacting the MFI office or on the