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Plane crashes in Congo complicate ministry

By October 8, 2007

Congo-Kinshasa (MNN) — The Congolese government has
forbidden Russian-made commercial planes to carry passengers due to the number
of recent crashes. After another deadly
crash Thursday, Congo fired its transport minister.

Grace Ministries International's Sam Vinton says, "The government put a ban on these
planes, which really are the lifeline into the interior. We have missionaries, a hospital and other
activities taking place. This ban was lifted, and then two more of these
Russian planes crashed."

Local airlines need passengers to make their flights
profitable, so all flights in the area have been stopped while the government
and airlines work through this problem.

The transportation
problems add up to big trouble for them. Mission Aviation Fellowship was forced to evacuate its base in Eastern
Congo. "That is creating some real
problems as to how we transport medicines and supplies into the interior, also the matter of the transportation of missionaries."  

GMI has looked into the efficiency of working with MAF in
spite of the evacuation. However, Vinton
explains that to use MAF's services, people, medicine, literature or building supplies, would have to be
flown in from Uganda or Kenya first, which adds to the expense of
transportation.

The GMI team has urgently-needed medicine and other supplies
stuck in Bukavu waiting for the planes to start flying again. With the rainy season coming up, building
repairs from a summer windstorm need to be completed soon. They have been delayed because the supplies
haven't made it to the work site. At
this point, they're looking at renting a plane from another company. 

Please pray that a solution would be found to make the
planes safer, and that they would begin flying again soon. Pray also that the
1,500 copies of Bill Vinton's book printed in Nairobi, Kenya, will be
transported safely to Bukavu this month.

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