A Mentor Named Max

November 13, 2015 • Haiti

Young men in Haiti gain skills for a lifetime because he cared

Alissa Sandoval is the communication intern for Samaritan’s Purse in Haiti.

1505HT-D1-013Max Filen is the fleet manager in Haiti. His love for the staff that he supervises has unlocked his greater passion: mentoring and equipping. Under Max’s leadership, two previous volunteer mechanics are now full-time employees with Samaritan’s Purse in Haiti.

“My whole ethos is to skill people,” he said.

Max studied motor engineering and worked for the prestigious Mercedes-Benz dealer franchise network in South Africa and overseas as a general service manager for Mercedes-Benz. He saw that Haiti presented another chance to use his skills and passion to train the next generation.

“I realized it’s been my heart’s desire—wherever I’ve been—to mentor staff,” Max said. “And I thought to myself, ‘What an opportunity to do exactly what the Lord would have done.”

Malcom or “Max” as all staff members refer to him, has now served in Haiti with Samaritan’s Purse for three years. He is also a minister of the Gospel and teacher of the Word of God at our base and some of the local churches.

Unlocking Doors to Success

A few years ago, Max discovered a small amount of money left in the training budget, so he put his ethos into action. He enrolled two volunteer apprentice mechanics for Samaritan’s Purse in an intensive 18-month engineering program in the capital, Port-Au-Prince.



The purpose behind investing in these young mechanics was that they would be able to adopt a trade that would enable them to be successful providers for their future families.

One of the young men is Charlie. “It was my goal to see him registered as a paid mechanic for Samaritan’s Purse,” Max said.

The other is Jean Paul, who has become an active member in the lives of everyone on base. He joins the staff every week for volleyball, and at 5:00am on Saturday mornings, he goes fishing with Max.

When it was time for Charlie and Jean Paul’s graduation in August, the base rallied behind them and attended the ceremony in Port-Au-Prince. Max was invited as the guest speaker. “It was so wonderful to give your own staff member a certificate,” he said. “It was very rewarding; I absolutely loved it.”


Jean Paul

The entire base has taken steps to pour into these two men’s lives, desiring to communicate how loved and appreciated they are. Both mechanics now hold full-time positions in their fields of study.

Max has already arranged for two new students, Amos and Sonel, to be enrolled in this mechanic/electrical program.

“Sonel will be trained in the technical side of air conditioning–how to repair and how to restore. These are all critical skills, which you need here with some 45 AC units on base,” explained Max. “I am so thankful to Samaritan’s Purse for giving them an opportunity.”

Max and his wife, Jennifer, will be leaving in December in order to spend more time with their family. Even though Max’s time in Haiti is coming to an end, the impact he has had on these young men’s lives will carry on.

1505HT-D1-002“The graduation I just spoke at was a culmination of my three years here. To me, this was my final achievement in getting something done, in terms of placing skills into the hands of my staff, which has been on my heart from when I started. It has brought closure for me and a highlight while being here at Samaritan’s Purse,” he said.

Max’s staff has been transformed into disciplined and hardworking young men. They are now equipped for a future of employment—all because one man decided to pour wisdom and skills into their lives.

The Blessing of Mentors

As we grow, it is natural to resist the initial stretching we feel. Sometimes growth is painful. Other times it’s easy. But in every season of growth, we find abundance at the end. Whether we are experiencing growth professionally or spiritually, we are continually transformed to be closer to God’s likeness. God uses growth as positive enforcement in our lives.

1505HT-D1-008When I think of the people who encouraged growth in my life, I remember them as an immense blessing. They refused to allow me to remain stagnant. They saw my potential in Christ and desired for me to reach that place.

We all have a “Max” in our lives. God places them there for our benefit, because he already knows who we are in Him and desires for us to see that with our own eyes. Because of mentors like Max, we are able to reach the potential Christ has laid in front of each of us.