Indonesia (MNN) — Indonesia has a larger Muslim population than any other nation in the world, and yet the Gospel message is spreading quickly.
There has been a Gospel presence in Papua, Indonesia for over 50 years. In that time, the church has been growing, says president and CEO of Wycliffe Associates Bruce Smith. "The people, especially in the Papua province, have been very responsive."
As with church growth anywhere, needs are increasing. But those needs are much more basic than finding a building to meet in or even a congregation to meet. Most believers don't even have the Word of God in their own language.
"In the whole country of Indonesia, there are almost 500 languages that still don't have one verse of Scripture," says Smith. "100 of those languages are in this province [Papua] alone."
Wycliffe Associates has been assisting Bible translators in a number of ways for year in Papua. Missionaries have a large number of needs in the province; finding solutions to transportation is one of them.
"The province of Papua is a volcanic island [with] very steep terrain, very steep mountains, tropical rain–more than 400 inches a year: a very difficult place for transportation. So air transportation is really the only viable way for missionaries to get around the country, saving them literally weeks and sometimes even months of trekking across the ground," explains Smith. "Aviation is vital to the work of any ministry that's working there, including Bible translation."
Wycliffe Associates has been responding to this need for years by providing planes in order for expatriates and nationals to meet and do their translation work. Over the last several months, that has meant replacing old planes with more fuel-efficient ones, especially as the availability of fuel wanes.
The new planes Wycliffe Associates has been able to provide in recent months are larger than the old ones, however, and there is nowhere to keep them safe and in good condition.
Thus, Wycliffe Associates has been working on the construction of a new hanger. The main portion of the hanger is up, but the offices and administration parts of the building have yet to be built. The funds aren't there to finish yet, but a donor has agreed to match any gift up to $16,700 in order to finish the project.
The end result of the hanger will have a significant domino effect for years to come. Bigger planes will be safely contained; those planes will be able to transport more goods and translators to get translation work done faster; the Bible will be translated into the 100 languages still waiting in Papua; believers will receive the Bibles, grow in their faith, and spread the Good News.