On the Same Team

By Rachel Greco

Three JAARS mechanics recently had the opportunity to travel to Haiti, the land of breathtakingly blue seas, spicy French Creole cuisine, and fluttering palm trees. Jon Chin, Mark Ott, and Paul Wiedenfeld didn’t go to sip coconut juice in a hammock, however. They went to serve MAF, an aviation partner of JAARS. 

The primary mechanic at MAF Haiti experienced a medical emergency and had to return to the U.S. on a medical furlough. 

This man’s absence left a sizable hole for MAF Haiti. One of its mechanics, Zacharie, a native of Haiti, had recently trained as an aircraft mechanic at a mission aviation school in the U.S. but had little experience. So when it came time to perform a major inspection on the Cessna Caravan aircraft, MAF contacted JAARS for help. 

Zacherie, Jon, Mark, and Paul getting an overview of the inspection ahead

Jon, the JAARS maintenance manager, saw this trip as the perfect opportunity to support a like-minded organization in its kingdom efforts while mentoring the MAF mechanic and giving more experience to Mark and Paul, who hadn’t worked much on Caravans. The knowledge they received could help them better serve our partner in Indonesia, which has recently procured this type of aircraft.  

But while they were planning and preparing their trip to Haiti, the country switched its stance on COVID-19 testing. So the men had to scramble to find a place to get tested within a 72-hour window before traveling. They called one of their supporters at a local church in Charlotte, and he put them in touch with the right people to get the testing quickly. “That was one way that God pulled the whole trip together,” Jon said. 

The men also didn’t know if they could get testing in Haiti to come back because the requirement was still fairly new. The people in Haiti hadn’t been able to prove that it could be done. When Jon presented this risk to Mark and Paul, they both said: “This is where the Lord wants us, so this is where we need to go. He’ll get us back.”

God definitely used Jon, Paul, and Mark in the two weeks they spent inspecting MAF’s Caravan. Jon was able to pour out his knowledge and experience on Zacharie: “One of the highlights was being able to speak into the life of this young Haitian mechanic, to be able to develop him into the type of mechanic that any organization wants to have in keeping the gospel effort going forward overseas.”

The men also used their mechanical skills on other MAF aircraft. The organization uses Cessna 206s for medical evacuations and other medical relief flying. Once during their trip, when a relief flight was scheduled, the engine developed an oil leak. Since Mark has quite a bit of experience with Cessna 206s, he was able to repair the aircraft so it could fly out that same day. Paul was able to help fix some of the other aircraft. Without their help, it would have taken a lot longer to get the aircraft flying to help these hurting people. God’s timing is providential! 

Mark also worked on the Cessna 206 to help keep it flying and prevent MAF from missing flights

The trip opened Paul’s eyes to God’s kingdom work overseas, since he’s served only on short-term mission trips, and never with his mechanical skills. “That’s what makes the opportunity to go to Haiti that much more special, because [it] was my chance to see the field and use maintenance.”  

Overall, the trip reminded all three mechanics about the importance and beauty of working together with other Christ-followers: “We are better together than we are separate,” Jon said. “We are all on the same team, so we can utilize each other’s gifts, skills, and abilities and leverage those resources to further God’s kingdom.” 

Paul, Zacharie, and Jon checking the PT6 engine for prohibited cracks

You too can help further God’s kingdom by partnering with JAARS! Click here to find out how.