Haitian Government Waives Landing Fees for Agape Flights
Nine months after Agape Flights’ aircraft was destroyed in Haiti, another blessing rises from the ashes.
When the Agape Flights twin-engine Chieftain aircraft was abducted and burned on in Les Cayes, Haiti, on March 29, no one watching images of the burning airplane could have imagined that good would come of the situation. No one except maybe Agape’s CEO, Allen Speer.
“Romans 8:28 tells us that all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose,” Speer said recently. “So, yes, within those first few hours I started to look past the immediate situation and started wondering how God would use this for good.”
Speer says he had plenty of encouragement in the days that followed. “From near and far, we received phone calls, voicemails, notes, texts, and emails from faithful friends and new acquaintances, all with the same message: “What was meant for evil, God will turn to good for His Glory.”
And that’s what happened. The Agape Flights team began to pray for a new airplane. A very specific airplane. “Our chief pilot wrote me a note about a Reims Cessna F406 – and that’s what we prayed for. I still have that note on the wall in my office,” Speer added.
Within a few weeks, the story of Agape’s aircraft loss reached a businessman in the Bahamas who owned a Reims Cessna F406. The aircraft owner and Speer “happened” to be in Fort Lauderdale at the same time. A meeting took place, and a conversation began about Agape possibly purchasing the aircraft to replace the destroyed Chieftain. Meanwhile, Agape’s donors responded to news of the loss with an outpouring of generosity. Faith Life Church of Branson, Missouri, and Sarasota, Florida, committed to a major gift for the replacement aircraft.
This past summer, just months after the Chieftain aircraft was destroyed, Agape Flights took possession of N17CK – the first-ever Reims Cessna F406.
After a period of pilot training and some mechanical upgrades, the 406 was placed into service in early fall. It flies faster, farther, and can carry more cargo than the Chieftain. But the blessings didn’t stop there.
On December 7, 2022, Allen Speer flew to Haiti aboard the new aircraft for a special signing ceremony with Haitian aviation authorities. Speers met with Yves Ducarmel François, Director General of Haiti’s aviation authority. The two signed a 10 Year “Exoneration Agreement,” exempting Agape’s aircraft from landing fees and air traffic control fees when operating in that nation. “We’ve spent hundreds of dollars a week on these fees,” Speer said after the signing. “This agreement will save Agape Flights tens of thousands of dollars in the coming years,” he added.
Speer said he doesn’t think God is finished bringing blessing from the events of March 29. Agape Flights mechanics were able to salvage both engines from the burned aircraft – and those were gifted to an aviation ministry serving in Bolivia. “Those engines are flying today, helping to transport the Word of God to people who have never heard the Gospel before.”
Beyond the material blessings of donations, a new airplane, and being able to salvage the engines for another ministry, Speer says there’s another layer to the good that’s come from the Chieftain tragedy. “Relationships in Haiti have been strengthened through this ordeal,” he said, referring specifically to Haitian government officials. “I’ve had a chance to pray with people I might never have prayed with. I’ve shared the Gospel with strangers who have now become friends,” he says, adding, “We have seen people come to Christ because of the things that happened after our airplane was destroyed.”
It’s fair to say that the team at Agape Flights has seen some incredible things over the course of the organization’s 42-year existence. But the Chieftain’s abduction and destruction – and the blessings that have flowed since that event earlier this year – form one of the most amazing chapters in Agape Flights history.
“I think it’s entirely possible that God is just getting started,” Speer says when contemplating all the good that will come from the events of March 29. “God is s much bigger than we can possibly imagine,” he adds, “and I can’t wait to see what He does next.”