Agape Flights is one of 15 finalists to participate in the 2014 Lightspeed Aviation Foundation Pilot’s Choice Grant Program. The nonprofits gathering the most votes from supporters and the aviation community will receive a grant of up to $10,000.
Agape Flights joins a growing number of Christ-centered churches and ministries across America, supported by over 20 million donors that have earned the right to display the ECFA seal. When an organization is accredited by ECFA, it demonstrates its willingness to follow the model of biblical accountability.
“We are pleased to accredit a ministry committed to supporting the work of missionary families living on the mission field throughout Haiti, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas,” said Dan Busby, president of ECFA.
Founded in 1980, Agape Flights (www.agapeflights.com) operates as a Christian aviation missionary support system. They receive and distribute supplies through the missionaries and their ministries. They also increase the speed of relief supplies during disasters and emergencies.
To learn more about Agape Flights and their stewardship opportunities, visit ServantMatch®, ECFA’s program that matches God’s servants with the stewardship options of ECFA members based on ministry sectors and categories. It is ECFA’s newest online feature that allows you to quickly and easily find giving opportunities.
ECFA, founded in 1979, provides accreditation to leading Christian nonprofit organizations that faithfully demonstrate compliance with the ECFA Standards pertaining to financial accountability, fundraising and board governance. For more information about ECFA, including information about accreditation and a listing of ECFA-accredited members, visit www.ECFA.org or call 1-800-323-9473.
Throughout scripture we find the challenge to be thankful…
Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods. Psalm 95:2-3
I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High. Psalm 7:17
In that day you will say: Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. Isaiah 12:4
We recently received this message of encouragement from one of our Agape Missionary Affiliates with the email subject line that read: We are so spoiled!
Dear Friends, Greetings from sunny Haiti.
Since months we are waiting and praying for rain. We were very thankful when we had a good night’s rain a couple of weeks ago! But we still need more because the mountain sides are looking very brown and the crops are dying.
Here are a few of our experiences we’ve had over the last 2 weeks. Over 10 days without city power! No problem, the inverter’s on. Well, after a while that went dead too. No problem, let’s turn the generator on. But… since we hadn’t used it a while, nothing happened. Okay, then we’ll just have to do it the old way: kerosene lamps.
After we had some power again: 15 days no running water! I want to wash my hands and turn on the faucet on but … forgot that we had no water. So, go outside and fill it up from the barrel. The water pump had problems. What we had thought was a minor problem turned out to be a major one. And that meant hauling water! Thankfully, we could borrow 2 barrels from S.E.E.D. to fill them up there and bring them home. I was so tired of filling and carrying buckets!
This experience is a reminder of what most of our Haitian brothers and sisters do on a daily basis. I realize how blessed we are. And I am really thankful that we do not have to haul water or use kerosene lamps on a regular basis. Today, we have running water again!!!!! And after the towns people went for a peaceful demonstration we get some power again. Let’s just hope that it will last.
Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. May the Lord continue to bless you.
Frantz, Doris, Manuel Clotaire, S.E.E.D. Ministries, Haiti
In that entire message there was one line that truly captivated me – I realize how blessed we are, and I am really thankful.
Agape Flights is blessed to serve 375 of Christ’s missionaries, and we are really blessed to have you as a partner and a member of the Agape Flights family.
I am thankful for you. So it is with a heart of thanksgiving, and a mouth full of praise, that I thank you on behalf of our board of directors, our staff and volunteers, and the 375 missionary affiliates that we serve.
Imagine a world where missionaries never lack the resources to share the unconditional love of Christ. This is Agape Flights’ vision statement.
I am challenged by that vision statement and often exhausted by it. Overwhelming odds can make cowards of us all. Because there is so much to be done, we can easily lose heart and do nothing. Because there are so many to reach, it is easy to forget that God wants to use us to touch those within the sphere of our responsibility.
I recall the first time I felt overwhelmed regarding ministry within the Agape arena. My life as the senior pastor of a local church in a small rural town was quiet, predictable and manageable. And then came the call to Agape Flights, and all of that changed.
In fact, it was as the plane descended over Port-au-Prince in my first week as CEO that I got this overwhelming feeling. I looked out the little window and watched as mile after mile of houses, tents, and broken-down buildings passed beneath me. I tried to imagine ministering to this mass of never-ending humanity. I thought, how can we possibly get our arms around this enormous task? What can we do to reach the multiple millions throughout the nations of the Caribbean?
Suddenly, God gently reminded me, as He does to this day: I will never reach them all — That is humanly impossible. But I am responsible to work with those we partner with, and with God’s help, I will make a difference in their lives. What a privilege it is to join with our 375 missionary affiliates that God has blessed us with who in turn minister and go to the masses of people.
Recently I read what a typical day in the life of missionary affiliate Dave Stockeland was like. Here are his words:
MOUNTAIN SEMINAR: Last week I went high in the mountains to give a seminar. I left the house at 6:30 a.m. and drove four and a half hours up a mountain road where, at times, I reached speeds of 3 and 4 mph! Most of the trip the people walking were passing me. The seminar was blessed of the Lord and then I drove four and a half hours back and arrived at my house at 6:30. Nine hours of driving over very rough roads … I felt a little beat up but very blessed of God.
WONDERFUL SUNDAY: Last Sunday I started out by going up a mountain to preach at a church where I had never been. The pastor is one of my students. After that service I went 45 minutes further up the mountain to another service. I had preached there before so I listened to the pastor preach (he is a student as well). He is a very humble man and delivers the Word of God with grace and humility. After the service I was invited to the pastor’s house for tea. That meant the pastor’s wife had to make the fire in the outdoor kitchen and while the fire was getting going she had to go in the woods and find the leaves to make the tea. They sent one of their kids to get some milk from a neighbor. The tea was made with the leaves and then milk and a cinnamon stick were added. It was delicious … and it only took two hours! From there I started back down the mountain and stopped by to visit another pastor and his wife. From there I came back to town and visited the men and women in the local prison. After that I went to visit two other pastors that live in town. It was getting dark when I got back to my house. What a wonderful Sunday!
MORE GLORY: My friend in Indiana, who headed up the project to get me my motorcycle, also made a customized GLORY sign on the front of it. My friends along the road as well as my police friends often shout Glory when I drive by. Now there are folks I don’t even know who are saying Glory when I drive by. Don’t think I am not enjoying that!!
God bless you all,
And so my dear friend, my encouragement to you and even to myself is this: Don’t panic, count on the Lord to honor and multiply even your smallest efforts. Last time I checked, He was still rewarding faithfulness.
Thank you for your faithfulness through your partnership prayerfully and financially. You are a blessing to us and the 375 missionary affiliates we are privileged to serve. In the words of Pastor Dave, GLORY!
In the most basic sense, a legacy is something handed down from one generation to the next, such as a sum of money or a piece of property. But a legacy is not restricted to money. It also includes traits, habits, talents, and attitudes that are social, physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional.
In essence, everything you are and possess today, whether good or bad, is your legacy. This is what will pass down to those who come after you.
I have been reminded in writing this letter that I do so for the following purposes:
To encourage you to focus on what is truly most important in life. Like the apostle Paul, I desire I will someday say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7).
To encourage those who never had a good legacy passed down to them. If you were the first to accept Christ as Lord in your family chain, you need not be the last. Whatever your history, tomorrow is your future.
I write this for my children and grandchildren and every associate, employee, friend, supporter, partner, missionary affiliate and acquaintance I have ever had over the years.
I write these thoughts to give honor to a man who served well, but more importantly to a Savior who worked through a man so that the all of the glory and praise belong to Jesus Christ!
Mr. Keith Conrad Starkey, 87 years of age, went on to be with his Lord on April 23, 2014. Keith and his wife, Clara, founded Agape Flights in October of 1980. When I was first introduced to Agape Flights and had the privilege to sit down with Keith and Clara Starkey, my initial response was that I was impressed by the faithfulness of this man and woman. Neither of them were pilots, but God said, purchase a plane and I will supply the pilots and other volunteers to get Agape started…
Stepping out in faith, they chose one of the Greek words for love, AGAPE, (the unconditional love that God has for each of us through the giving of His only Son Jesus Christ) to describe this Aviation Missions endeavor.
These past few years I have had numerous opportunities to visit and share with Keith. I have traveled to Haiti with him and here is an abbreviated list of what I have discovered about this wonderful man and the legacy he leaves all of us:
He loved God first.
He loved his precious wife, family, and his extended Agape family.
He loved his friends.
He was a giver.
He was an encourager.
He kept his word.
He honored God with his life.
He always had a positive attitude.
He was not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Ghrist.
He was a role model.
He always helped you laugh.
He consistently helped others.
He dared to dream.
Keith and Clara Starkey, from farming to flying missions, and one of the greatest blessings of my ministry career has been to witness God’s power, love and wisdom manifested through these servants of the Almighty. I am thankful and honored for the privilege to lead this ministry.
Certainly it should be said that those of us who have come behind Keith Starkey have found him faithful!
Thank you for your faithfulness in supporting Agape Flights, you are a blessing to me, the Board of Directors, our staff and volunteers, and to the 375 Missionary Affiliates we serve throughout the nations of the Caribbean.
My prayer is that we may each strive to leave a legacy like that of Keith Starkey. Well done, my faithful servant!
Keith Conrad Starkey, 87, of Bradenton, Florida, passed away April 23, 2014.
Keith was born March 29, 1927 in Tiffin, Ohio, to the late Melvin R. and Herma M. (Conrad) Starkey. He moved to Bradenton in 1970, coming from Tiffin where he worked as a farmer for many years.
His memberships include the First Baptist Church of Bradenton where he was active in Sunday School and Mission Ministry. He was also a former member of Men for Missions and OMS, and was honored to be named a Kentucky Colonel.
Keith and his wife, Clara, founded Agape Flights in October of 1980. Agape Flights operated from Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport for many years before moving to Venice Municipal Airport in 2006. The Starkeys carried all types of supplies, mail and cargo for many missionaries working in the Caribbean with weekly flights there, as well as providing humanitarian aid following hurricanes and earthquakes that have hit the islands over the years.
Keith was predeceased by his sister, Helen Widmer, and is survived by his loving wife of 50 years, Clara of Bradenton, daughter, Nancy Snow of Bradenton, three sons; Bruce (Deb) Geary of Bloomville, Ohio, Lee Geary of New Riegel, Ohio, Don (Lynne) Geary of Tiffin, Ohio, seven grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, and many extended brothers and sisters in Christ.
A celebration of Keith’s life will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 3, 2014 in the main sanctuary of the First Baptist Church of Bradenton, 1306 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers that memorials be made to Agape Flights Endowment Fund, 100 Airport Ave., Venice, Florida 34285 or online at www.agapeflights.com, or to Tidewell Hospice, 5955 Rand Blvd., Sarasota, Florida 34238 in his memory.
Spring is always a busy time at Agape Flights but the past month has been particularly active.
Our Pie in the Sky open house March 1 was a true blessing, with more than 400 people coming to our hangar to meet the board of directors, our staff and tour our facilities. The food and desserts were delicious and money raised from the pie auction will be used to replace awnings on the exterior of our hangar.
In late February, Agape was able to send two staff members to Cap Haitien, an area of Haiti we don’t have the chance to visit nearly enough. During the six-day trip, we were able to throw a picnic for our missionary partners at the home of Steve and Nancy James on the campus of North Haiti Christian University in Limbe. Nearly 50 missionaries and family members were able to attend to enjoy hamburgers, hotdogs and fellowship.
During the trip, Directory of Missionary Services Jeff Yannucciello was invited to preach to about 600 people at the nearby Eglise Baptiste du Haiti-Limbe. We were witness to what God is doing through missionary partners in and around Cap Haitien. We toured an eye clinic administered by Mubudiga Nzunga, saw churches planted by Pritchard and Dana Adams at Rehoboth Ministries, as well as churches and schools operated by Monel Jules and Earnest Saintilvert.
We spent a sobering afternoon inside the civil prison in Cap Haitien, where missionary partner Audrey Volz preached through bars and metal screens to inmates who thirst for the Word despite being forced to exist in unimaginable conditions.
We saw God’s boundless mercy at Children of the Promise, an orphanage and adoption center offering care and hope for the littlest victims of Haiti’s crushing poverty.
They were all reminders of Agape Flights’ vision: a world where missionaries never lack resources to share the unconditional love of Christ.
Thank you, and may God bless you, for your continued support for Agape Flights, which exists to serve the glory of God through the work of 350 missionary partners in Haiti, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas.
Each month I am privileged to communicate with you through means of a support or receipt letter. Often I have found that this letter is written for me through our missionary affiliates. I recently received this letter from Johannes and Luise Schürer, Agape missionary affiliates in Les Cayes, Haiti.
Dear Friends at Agape Flights,
With grateful hearts we are writing to you, not only for the wonderful turkey dinner at Thanksgiving but for all the faithful service that you provide for us, the missionaries on the field. When we have a need and contact you we feel that you provide the service with a willing and joyful heart.
This January we completed our 39th year of service and as you can imagine we have seen many changes in this country that has become home for us. In spite of all the need and tragedies natural and political, God has done a great work and raised a strong church throughout the land. We are most grateful that we were privileged to have had a small part in it.
Be encouraged in the Lord to continue your valuable ministry, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord,” a verse that our Haitian brothers and sisters quote very often.
In Christ, Johannes and Luise
I am greatly encouraged through this letter. Because of partners like you we are able to provide faithful service, joyfully and willingly. And in the words of these precious missionaries, we have been called to provide a valuable ministry: To serve Christ by serving His missionaries.
Thanks to Johannes and Luise for these words of encouragement. And thanks to you, for partnering with us and investing in Kingdom ministry touching the lives of Agape’s 350+ missionaries, their families and their unique missions.
I appreciate you, and on behalf of the Agape staff, the Agape Board of Directors, our Agape volunteers, our missionary affiliates, I say, “thank you, thank you, thank you, you are a blessing!”