Family’s mission work leading to Haiti

Dan and Stephanie Kramer, along with their five children: Anna, Julia, Luke, Ruth and Timothy, hope to travel on a mission trip to Haiti next year. (Submitted photo)

GREENWOOD — Back in the 1990s, their paths crossed in Haiti while on different humanitarian missions.

As fate and faith would have it, sometime next June — after 20 years as a married couple and as parents of five children — Dan and Stephanie Kramer plan to return to the impoverished Caribbean country, along with their kids.

The Kramers’ 2021 trip is through Mission Aviation Fellowship, a Christian organization that provides aviation, communications and learning technology services to more than 1,000 Christian and humanitarian agencies, as well as thousands of isolated missionaries and indigenous villagers in the world’s most remote areas.

“We are not aviators. But in Haiti, they have a need for a facilities maintenance person, and there is a guesthouse we will be running. Stephanie will run guesthouse hospitality,” said Mr. Kramer, formerly of Greenwood. “My job is to take care of their needs, their vehicles, their houses, so they don’t have to worry when they are flying around Haiti. My job is just basically to get it done. It takes the load off their shoulders. The base maintenance takes care of the pilots down there. There are four families that are pilot mechanic families; they fly all around Haiti.”

This mission will be a family affair as the Kramer children will have roles, too.

“The children will be able to assist with the guesthouse, since from an early age, my wife has taught them how to run a household. Not slave labor or anything, but they understand this is a family endeavor and are really capable of helping out,” said Mr. Kramer.

MAF’s mission statement is “sharing the love of Jesus Christ through aviation and technology so that isolated people may be physically and spiritually transformed.”

A native of Chestertown, Maryland, Mr. Kramer was raised in Greenwood and graduated from Greenwood Mennonite School. He earned an associate degree from Delaware Technical Community College in agribusiness and a history degree from the University of Delaware. He is the son of Martha and the late Daniel J. Kramer of Greenwood.

A Connecticut native, Ms. Kramer has a master’s degree in art education and taught art for three years at a Christian school in Indiana. She home-schools their children – Anna, 16; Julia, 15; Luke, 13; Ruth, 9; and Timothy, 6.

“She basically has a full-time job doing that and taking care of our home,” her husband said.

At present, the Kramer family calls Nappanee, Indiana, home. Mr. Kramer has worked for Jiffy Lube and in customer service for a projection screen company. For the past 9½ years, he has worked in the organic livestock industry.

Before the Kramer family heads to Haiti and the Port-au-Prince area, they must be fully funded.

“We actually are on staff with MAF, and we get a partial salary to build our team. We have to be 100% funded before we go. We build our team of supporters, who either give a one-time gift or commit themselves to like a monthly gift. Then, that is all channeled through MAF,” said Mr. Kramer. “We go to churches, whoever wants to hear our story. Next April is the next pre-field training with MAF. We’re hoping then by next June to be fully funded and move to Haiti. That is our goal.”

Plans are for a prolonged stay.

“We are planning on ‘career,’ which means years … long-term,” said Mr. Kramer.

As a senior in college, Mr. Kramer went on his first mission trip, to Trinidad. He went to Haiti right out of college — and stayed longer than originally planned, from 1992-99, during which time, he became familiar with MAF.

“I actually went for six months and stayed 6½ years. Stephanie was there two years. We met there. We moved back to northern Indiana to work with a church there,” he said. “So we have been knowing even as we got married that we would go overseas sometime. We basically have prayed about that, raised five children, and now 20 years later, God is taking us back overseas on a mission.”

At the end of October, Mr. Kramer will be back in Delaware and will speak at his sister’s church, Family Ministries in Bridgeville, on Nov. 1. His son, Luke, will join him on the trip.

Anyone interested in following the Kramers’ mission can sign up for newsletters at their MAF biography page, maf.org/dkramer, which also has links for giving.

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