As 2011 comes to an end and the New Year quickly approaches, we at Morningstar Fishermen would like to take the opportunity to inform you of some of the exciting events that have taken place in 2011. We are experiencing some very exciting times. You will not only see and hear new names and faces but several positive changes within the organization as well. It is our hope that through our strategic partnerships, Morningstar Fishermen will play a more significant role in helping to raise awareness in the race against world hunger.
In order to reach as many people as possible we know it is essential to provide training worldwide. Early this year MSF Director of Education Jaime Gurerra and MSF Board Member, Don Purvis made several trips to Nicaragua. MSF has collaborated with UNA University to develop a training center there in Jinotepe where we were asked to teach aquaponic classes to both their students and the community. This new facility has played a vital role in teaching the local people how to raise fish and vegetables putting the future of their community back in their own hands.
From the south to the north our reach continues to grow. Our Canadian friends in the great white north invited us up to train aquaponics. MSF linked arms with friends at Notre Dame and sent our very own founder Hans Geissler to Ontario to provide aquaponic training for their community. Our work continues with our other Canadian partners at Iris Ministries. Remember MSF teamed up with Iris Ministries to develop an aquaponics training center at their orphanage in Malawi Africa. During a trip there this year Hans spent many days ensuring that the system got off to a great start. He was also there to see the orphans eat their very first meal from the aquaponics system. Since its inception the system has been progressing and is turning out to be blessing for everyone.
Shortly following these events Morningstar Fishermen received a visit from the Chief of the Seminole Nation and by renowned actress Lynn Whitfield. These two prominent figures have made enormous strides in raising awareness of the impact aquaponics can have on their communities.
Things really started to swing into high gear in August when the decision was made to bring on board our new Executive Director Phil Reasons and his family. Phil brings a wealth of knowledge to the table not only in the area of business but as a missionary as well. With all the new activity and changes that are happening, Phil, along with his wife Terri and daughter Elizabeth are bringing much needed help to the entire Morningstar team.
In November Don and Lindsey Luttrell were brought on board to follow up on new student requests and to help manage our growing database. Together they have played an important role in reaching out to existing and prospective students to provide important information needed to ensure that their visit with us is a memorable one. Bill Mazzio and Christian Geissler also joined the team and have made remarkable improvements in the Greenhouse working primarily on seedlings and plant production. We are looking forward to 2012 with our new and growing team!
We have devoted a lot of time during the last quarter to developing new training opportunities. We have added a new one day class, a two day advanced aquaponics course, expanded our four day course to a full five days in order to better cover plant production and also created online training courses that will be available in 2012.
Through the whirlwind of change that has taken place over the course of this year Morningstar Fishermen has remained true to its original mission goal. While we are more than happy to teach our philosophy of aquaponics to any interested in learning, we still have a heart for the mission field and a desire to show the love of Christ by providing a sustainable food source to those in need. For example, missionaries like Sisters Margarita Mendez and Sister Yluminada Santos who with the help of the Rotary Club of Casselberry were able to attend our intensive training program and will now be able to provide fish and vegetables for their Girls Home in Bani Dominican Republic. Organizations like Ak Tenamit in Guatemala have also benefited from the training and expertise of MSF. Jaime recently traveled to their facility in Guatemala to provide a week of aquaponics training.
Hans and Sigrid Geissler who seem to still be out working everyone on the team, made a trip to Nashville Tennessee to participate in River of Life’s International Missions Conference as a way to reconnect to missionaries from around the world and revitalize there heart for the mission field. They also were honored guest of Bobby and Sherri Burnette of Love a Child and Bob D’Andrea of Christian Television Network at the Love a Child Christmas Banquet in Clearwater Florida. We were excited to hear that the aquaculture project in Haiti has been consistently feeding the orphans at LAC and that a couple of the Haitian students that were trained by MSF are now running successful fish farms in Fond Parisien Haiti.
With so many changes that have taken place it’s difficult to fit everything into one short letter. It was our hope to touch on just a few of the more notable events that have happened over the last several months. Each year we come closer to the vision that God has placed on our hearts. We are truly humbled by the love and support of our faithful partners and alumni without whom none of this would be possible. With gratitude we want to thank each and every one of you for an outstanding 2011 and invite you to continue to grow with us as we move into 2012.
Hans & Sigrid Geissler