Airstrip maintenance crucial to Bible translation

By April 25, 2011

Papua New Guinea (WAS/MNN) — Transport in
Papua New Guinea is often heavily limited by the mountainous terrain. In some places, major towns and highland
villages are not connected by road and can only be reached by light aircraft or
on foot.

Those involved with Bible translation can spend five days
navigating a perilous way from village to population center, but most opt to
cover the distance by air, cutting the trip down to two hours. However, in the most isolated areas, air
travel has its own risks because of the airstrips involved.

Many are little more than clearings
that cling to the side of a mountain or are surrounded by jungle. Over time,
heavy rains and thick vegetation contribute to the deterioration of the landing
sites, which represent a connection to the outside world for Bible translators
working in relative isolation.

Translators rely on aircraft for the
delivery of food and supplies, as well as transportation for themselves and
support staff. An air evacuation during health emergencies and natural
disasters can mean the difference between life and death.

Wycliffe Associates, an international
organization that involves people in the acceleration of Bible translation
efforts, is working to repair and reopen airstrips in some of these areas.

"Air transportation–the lifeblood of
support for translators-i-s at risk," says Bruce Smith, president and CEO of
Wycliffe Associates. "In addition to repairs, we must reopen multiple airstrips
this year to begin translation in languages that desperately need God's Word."

Wycliffe Associates needs to raise
$50,000 this year to carry out necessary repairs to maintain or reopen crucial
airstrips in Papua New Guinea. The funds will be used to purchase mowers,
shovels, wheelbarrows, airstrip markers and windsocks, and to deliver gravel.
In addition, the funding will provide surveys and earth-moving equipment for
new airstrips.

At any given time, approximately 1,000
adult volunteers, translators, support personnel, and children are in Papua New
Guinea in connection with the work of Bible translation. Click here for more.


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