I am copying this blog from our friends Travis and Paul who headed out to the mission field one year ago. They suggested that I add a FAQ section to answer some of the questions that keep coming up to us. I have adapted some of the answers to match Lance and I’s journey but all of the information on Agape Flights is courtesy of Travis and Paul and their blog.
Thanks, Travis and Paul for walking this road ahead of us. We love you!
Q: Who and what is Agape Flights?
A: After hearing from missionaries in Haiti in 1980 about the need for dependable mail and delivery service, a group of friends in Bradenton, Florida gathered in Keith and Clara Starkey's living room to pray about a way to help. The result was Agape Flights. On November 15, 1980, Agape’s inaugural flight left the Sarasota-Bradenton Airport, bound for Cap Haitien. The small Cessna 411 was loaded with donated emergency supplies and mail for about 25 families. Today, for about 350 missionary families in Haiti and Dominican Republic, Agape Flights is a lifeline to family, friends, supporters and supplies. Agape Flights serves Christ by serving His missionaries on some of the most challenging mission fields in the world. Agape serves over 350 missionary families in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Agape’s regular weekly flight leaves Florida just before daylight each Wednesday morning, delivers missionary mail, packages, supplies and volunteers in four cities and returns to the U.S. on Thursday afternoon.Round trip flying time for each weekly flight in Agape’s Cessna Grand Caravan is 13 hours. Volunteers are the backbone of Agape. Every year, over 150 local volunteers donate over 7,000 hours to Agape. Missionary families donate 5,000 hours per year as they meet the plane, process supplies and people through customs and immigration, deal with airport, customs and other government officials and paperwork and organize and staff the distribution centers in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. During the last fiscal year, Agape received and distributed to missionaries and local organizations donated goods worth $740,000. The economic impact of Agape’s ministry in the local community exceeds half a million dollars each year.60% of Agape’s financial support comes from individuals in all 50 states and several foreign countries. 33% comes from churches and religious organizations and the balance from businesses and other organizations. Agape hosts volunteer mission teams from around the U.S. each year who spend their time working at the hangar and in other local ministries. Agape arranges short-term mission trips for individuals and groups to Haiti, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas and other Caribbean countries. The plane lands in Cap Haitien, Les Cayes, Port au Prince, Santiago, Santo Domingo and Eleuthera.
Q: Where will you be living, working, and attending school?
A: We will be located in Venice, Florida. Agape is located at the Venice, Florida municipal airport. The offices are at the hanger, and all administrative and logistical activities occur there. I will work at the hanger. The children will attend a Christian preschool once we are settled and find the one that is closest to the house. There are several preschool options. Housing, school and work will all be within ten minutes travel time of one another.
Q: What will your work be at Agape?
A: Lance will be the IT Director for Agape Flights. His job description was something we got to create. It was fun to use all of the skills God has given him to serve this organization. Here is the job description we have arrived at:
IT Director/ Web Manager/ Facilities team member:
- Maintain Agape's Small Business Server system
- Support and revise as necessary Microsoft Access database for shipping and receiving and the Sage 50 fundraising software.
- Finish requirements for new financial system and supervise the development of the new system.
- Design new user reports.
- Train and Support users with Microsoft products.
- Assist as needed the missionary community with their computer/network issues.
- Integrate new applications.
- Manage the web page and oversee the Web Design team
- Develop a Volunteer Database – interview and enter volunteers into the db.
- Maintain the telephone system for Agape offices.
- Work as needed on the Facilities management team when construction skills I have are needed.
- Assist Volunteer Coordinator by leading bible study small groups, counseling, or 1 on 1’s.
- Lead groups to Haiti or DR when needed.
- Assist Facilities Manager in the same way.
- Minister to Agape staff
- All other Duties as needed.
- INTEGRITY: "Conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ" (Phil. 1:27)
- EXCELLENCE: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord" (Col. 3:23)
- STEWARDSHIP: "The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it" (Psalm 24:1)
- DIGNITY: "God created man in His own image" (Gen. 1:27)
Q: How long will you stay with Agape Flights?
A: This is a full time, permanent position. We do not envision an end to this service, and potential moves to other countries in cooperation with Agape Flights are possibilities.
Q: When do you plan on moving?
A: We have a target date of July 1, 2009. Two things must happen for us to move to FL. Our house must sell and we must build our financial support. We know God will make these things happen on His time but we have a goal for ourselves to have our part complete by July 1.Q: What do you need from a supporter?
A: First and foremost we need your prayer. Please pray for guidance, and ears that will hear God when he speaks. We need your participation in the form of encouraging phone calls, emails, notes and the like. Visits and service trips are encouraged for all supporters. Our home is open to you. Finally, we need financial support from team members willing to partner with us on a monthly basis. We need to raise every dollar that we cost Agape Flights. (Medical insurance, employer and employee taxes, workers comp insurance, overhead costs. etc.) I will go over our detailed budget with you if you desire.
Q: How do we give?
A: Electronically from your bank account, credit card or on line at http://www.agapeflights.com/. We have pledge cards available with details for EBT’s (electronic balance transfers). Checks can be made out to Agape Flights (Anderson family in the memo) mailed to: Agape Flights 100 Airport Avenue, Venice, Florida 34285