'shine your eyes’ is a phrase that I picked up in liberia, west africa. it means to open your eyes and see the Truth. this is my hope for people everywhere, myself included, that we will continually be transformed to see and be the ideals God has set forth as the Kingdom. the book of isaiah says it this way:

'see, a king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice. each man will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land. then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed, and the ears of those who hear will listen. the mind of the rash will understand, and the stammering tongue will be fluent and clear.’ isaiah 32:1-4

currently this is taking shape in my life working with bahamas habitat. we are working to provide aviation support to bahamas methodist habitat, a hurricane relief/sub-standard housing repair organization based in the bahamas. know that we would love for you to come spend some time with us as we take part in all the beautiful ways that God is loving His creation.

in the words of mother teresa, “pray for me that i not loosen my grip on the hands of Jesus even under the guise of ministering to the poor.” and i pray that in all that you do, whether coming to the bahamas, serving in haiti or celebrating life in your part of the world that you will simply love and come and see all that God has for us. let this place be a place of celebration and conversation for us to greater understand life with one another.

‘and because of our faith, He has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand. and we confidently and joyfully look forward to actually becoming all that God has in mind for us to be.’ –romans 5:2



haiti relief

Today I got to sleep in…went to sleep at 9:00 last night and got up at 9:15 this morning.  Went on a walk to the store and got settled in the room that is a condo/time share marina called Sandyport donated to us for 2 weeks.  It’s ideal..3 beds/2 bath with a kitchenette.  I’m very thankful for a place to stay.  For the last 2 weeks we’ve slept at the airport, and Odyssey aviation is the FBO where we’ve based the relief efforts for the last month.  They gave us a warehouse space.  It’s a quirky space with one wall dedicated to a line of our air mattresses.  Pretty funny looking.  We now have a place just about 10 minutes away that is comfortable.  An update.  Where to begin?

The gist of the operation is that we are meeting needs through the use of general aviation.  We carry medical supplies, food/water and shelter materials (tarps, tents, sheets, etc.), listed in order of priority.  We carry passengers but it is by far the biggest challenge of everything.  We do not charge to carry passengers, as per legal reasons mostly but rely on pilots raising their own support to cover fuel costs.  We have a solid understanding as an organization that money will not be what inhibits a pilot’s willingness to serve Haiti through aviation.  Therefore, we rely on the financial support of donors.  I’m thankful to say that we have been supported solidly by many generous donors, many of who are you.  (Thank you!)

General Aviation (GA) opens many possibilities through its capability for small, pointed and flexible operation to respond almost instantly.  It’s interesting comparing the beginning of this effort to when we started growing into larger and faster aircraft.  At the beginning it was eating meager meals and going all the time.  When the bigger and faster boys came in, we found ourselves being asked to order catering for when the pilots returned and having to calculate every pound being loaded on the aircraft but able to get 2 runs to Haiti in a day as compared to the 1 by small planes.  We’ve had a few laughs about that, and learned to balance our fleet with small and larger aircraft.

One of my favorite stories is that a few weeks ago a Citation flew critical antibiotics destined for Cap Haitien, Haiti from Montgomery, AL to Ft. Lauderdale, FL by 10 am.  A few of our small aircraft met the plane and an Alabamian politician to transport them to Nassau, and from there, a Pilatus took the load to Cap Haitien in the afternoon.  I was amazed.  We didn’t even plan for it to go that quickly, we actually were excited when we planned to get it there the next day. This is the opportunity of GA.  Although seemingly inefficient as you think about how small and comparably slow the deliveries are made, small aircraft meet the needs without the red tape and provisions of large micro-organized operations.

I pray that we are getting more organized and balanced.  I think we are on our way more and more everyday but are also slapped every once in awhile when we try to do too much and get ahead of ourselves and possibly the Spirit.  A normal day:

6:45:  Breakfast for the pilots, prepared by St. Michael’s Methodist Church

7:00:  Dispatch airplanes and make final preparations for the day’s mission (fuel, load, plan, coordinate with air traffic control) 

**Flights are made both Ft. Lauderdale-Nassau and Nassau-Haiti carrying supplies**

8:30:  Pilots are out, and we (staff) coordinate pilots, planes, supplies, passengers, meeting requests of Haiti doctors and missionaries, receiving new pilots and supplies from Ft. Lauderdale and otherwise

4:00: Planes begin returning from Haiti

7:00:  Finalize the logistics for the following day

8:30/9:30:  Dinner

Abraham, Matt and I work together on all of these parts of the day.  I am usually coordinating and flying, working with people both in person and otherwise throughout the day.  I’m thankful that we all get along well and have grown to depend and support each other so critically.

The situation in Haiti is still desperate.  For the first two weeks it was constant trauma and emergency care.  Haiti is very centralized in Port au Prince (PAP) as a governmental power play and because of the port.  A parallel is if we in the USA had to drive to NYC from Tennessee to get your driver’s license.  Therefore, the country is extremely rural and undeveloped.  Many have asked if I’ve seen much damage but honestly Haiti was a desperate place well before the earthquake.  The silver lining is that this is an opportunity for a fresh start for an already hurting Haiti, even before the earth moved under its feet.  Haiti has the world’s attention.  (I can attest, we fly in sequence with Japan, Jamaica, USA, Germany, Bahamas, and others.) 

After the emergency phase, the second wave came.  Many many many people fled PAP to the outlying villages where many had family or some sort of transportation to get there.  Anywhere but PAP was good in most people’s minds.  Les Cayes (pronounced: la kii) is a city about 100 miles west of PAP with a population of about 7,500.  Within two weeks after the earthquake the population doubled. 

We are walking into the third phase now, which is the foothold for long-term partnerships and sustainable solutions.  Much of the needs that we meet are very necessary, but short-term focused.  We will continue as long as need and provision are there.  A personal hope is that the outlying cities will be strong enough to retain the influx of people and the country will grow stronger as density is dispersed.  That would mean opening more ports and a couple cities in particular, such as Cap Haitien, Jacmel and La Cayes are ideal locations to receive shipments.

Everyone involved with the Haiti relief effort are beginning to raise our heads and open our eyes to the long-term solutions and how we might contribute, if at all.  We are in a unique position here nestled in the middle of the USA and Haiti with access to so many resources such as medical personnel, aviators/planes, and incredible support from so many.  We plan to continue going daily as we have been through February at least.  Support is still strong, thankfully.  In March we have talked about having pointed missions every week, or on need basis, and go from there…we’ll see.

If you don’t have time/are done reading, thank you for your support.  Stories are coming if you are interested in the fluff, and pictures are on Facebook.  If you want to be involved, see these ways: 

1.) Pray and tell the story of Haiti’s situation.  Get in touch with the local Haitian community in your city.  I’d bet there is a lively one near you.

2.) Collect medical supplies and get it as least as far as Ft. Lauderdale.  The address is: 5320 NW 20th Terrace Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33309.   Clearly mark it for Haiti Relief c/o Bahamas Habitat.  See the needs list attached.  You may also send food: Rice, Beans, Oil and Dry Milk.  We place a high priority on medical supplies, as rice becomes very expensive rice when transported on our airplanes with limited loads.

3.) If you are a doctor, particularly a surgeon, or a pilot with an airplane and IFR rating, volunteer your time and skill.  See www.bahamashabitat.org for both sign-up forms to get you on your way to Haiti.

4.) Give financially to contribute towards fuel and operating costs.  All donations are tax-deductible, including flights made as pilots.  You may make donations through our website:www.bahamashabitat.org.

5.)  (insert creativity)  Consider long-term partnerships and sustainable contributions.  (who loves buzz words?)

The day off was really welcomed.  I’m thankful for this team who makes me feel okay about taking the time to rest and be quiet today.  A song that runs through my head a good bit is by The Swell Season called “A Love that Conquers”.  Enjoy it if you find the time to listen to it.  I know y’all are busy having babies, doing well with your businesses, loving people constantly and pursuing incredible lives.  How are you?  What has been going on in your world?  I would love to know.  I hope you take time to breathe with the confidence that God is good, His love endures forever and His strength will withstand eternally.  Love you all.



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