International (MNN)– Geographic isolation is a key obstacle in taking the Gospel to tribal people. Where possible, teams and supplies are flown in.
New Tribes Mission’s Dave Zelenak says it’s now time to replace the fleet. They’re looking at buying 14 Kodiak aircraft, many of which were already paid for by the end of 2006. It’s important because, “When you’re moving into a new area, a lot of work and effort and money is setting up. This will help you set up faster, which means you will be starting to learn language and culture faster, which means the Gospel will get to these people that don’t have it yet, faster.”
On top of that, the plane seems to be built for the rugged demands New Tribes places on their aircraft. Many pilots have to land on short, rugged airstrips in remote tribal locations, which means that there are fewer mechanics to go around. The plane’s lower maintenance requirements make this a smart option, especially since it can also fly 35-percent faster than the older Cessna’s while carrying twice the weight.
Zelenak says New Tribes donors understood the project’s efficiency and immediate need. “One of the many blessings to this aircraft is that it runs on jet fuel, which is kerosene, which is more prevalent all over the world, where the old Cessna’s, it’s using AV-gas, which is very difficult to get in many countries, in some countries, almost impossible.”
Says Zelenak, in December, the 13th plane was funded, and the expenses for the last plane were nearly completely taken care of. In anticipation of the first delivery, NTM Aviation is expanding hangars in Arizona and overseas to accommodate the Kodiak. Praise God for what He is doing, and for His provision.
Click here if you want to help with the Kodiak project.