Bible translators get a new plane

By December 7, 2010

Indonesia (WAS/MNN) — Wycliffe
is an international organization that involves people in the
acceleration of Bible translation efforts. They are currently working to help raise more than
$1.5 million to complete funding of a new Pilatus PC-6 aircraft to replace
aging 42-year-old aircraft for the work of Bible translation in Indonesia.

Because Bible translators work in
extreme isolation, they rely on aircraft for a number of services, including
transportation to and from remote areas, delivery of mail and supplies, and
emergency evacuations. Bible translators typically work in extremely remote
areas, often coping with the challenges of treacherous landscapes, hazardous
mountain trails, and even hundreds of inches of rain each year.

"There is one tool that has probably
done more to keep Bible translators on the field than any other: the airplane,"
says Bruce Smith, president and CEO of Wycliffe Associates. But Smith says this
tool is being threatened due to the rising maintenance costs of older planes,
the need to replace aging aircraft parts, and the increasing scarcity of avgas.
"Many of the planes have more years on them than their pilots," says Smith. In
addition, the older planes use 100-octane, leaded avgas, which is not only
expensive (at up to $12 per gallon), but is also becoming increasingly scarce.

"In the Pacific region, there is a
very real threat that the single refinery in Australia — a prime ‘affordable'
source for many Bible translation teams there — could stop making avgas at any
time. When that happens, those missionary planes may be grounded," says Smith.
"Hundreds of Bible translations could be adversely affected."

Wycliffe Associates is raising funds
to help replace the older planes with the Pilatus PC-6. These planes have been specifically designed
for the rigors of service in remote areas, and they use jet fuel which is readily
available and less costly than avgas.

The new planes also are capable of
faster speeds and heavier loads but can still take off and land on the same
short airstrips as their older counterparts. The organization also anticipates
the new aircraft will lower costs and speed the work of Bible translation.

Currently, 2,026 languages worldwide
have Bible translation projects in progress, while 2,078 languages do not yet
have a Bible translation project started.

"The work of hundreds of Bible
translators and national workers can be greatly enhanced and sustained if we
can provide new airplanes," says Smith. "Rather than face a cutoff of aviation
support, Bible translators could see their work accelerated, prospered, and
costing less."

Wycliffe Associates involves people
in accelerating the work of Bible translation through their time, talents, and
treasure. Because millions of people around the world are still waiting to read
the Scriptures in the language of their heart, Wycliffe Associates is working
as quickly as they can to translate every verse of the Bible into every tongue
to change every heart. The organization partners with nationals, mother tongue
translators, staff, volunteers, and supporters to direct and fund these
efforts, as well as provide logistics, networking, and technical support.
Through a growing global network, Wycliffe Associates is striving to overcome
local limitations of time and resources to achieve the goal of beginning the
translation of God's Word in every remaining language that needs it by 2025.


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