International (MNN) ― Aviation is a vital life line and needed service for missionaries on the mission field. For many working in tribal villages, it's the only way for them to get into these areas. Aviation is also used to deliver supplies and can help in an emergency situation.
However, the increasing costs for aviation fuel, brought on by high oil prices, is putting financial pressure on missionary aviation. Mission Aviation Fellowship's Denny Hoekstra says, "The high cost of AV gas has certainly escalated in price, probably on most of our programs any where from 25- to 40-percent increase per gallon." And, they've been forced to eat those additional costs.
According to Hoekstra, the higher prices are causing MAF to rethink how they're funding their flights. He says either the mission agencies will have to raise the extra money to pay for services or MAF may have to begin operating a commercial service to subsidize the extra costs.
What ever the case someone is going to have to raise the extra money somewhere. Hoekstra says, "By going out and having to raise money for fuel, it takes away dollars that can be used in other areas of ministry."
The other major problem is that aviation fuel is scarce in many areas where they're working. Hoekstra says, "We have had to shut down our flight operations in some areas because we just can't get AV gas any more. Aviation jet fuel is much more readily available. And so, MAF is looking ahead to getting more and more turbine airplanes that burn jet fuel rather than AV gas because of its demise."
Pray that fuel prices will stabilize and eventually fall so that missionary aviation can continue being an effective tool for evangelism.
High Oil prices hurting missions work
Posted: 29 October, 2004