Translation in jeopardy unless aircraft are replaced

By April 25, 2008

USA (MNN) — Bible translators and missionaries have a problem — accessing the unreached peoples of the world. After all, if you can't access the nations who need God's Word, how are you going to tell them the Good News of salvation?

President of Wycliffe Associates Bruce Smith says the problem is that there is a shortage of aviation gasoline needed to power the Cessna aircraft that have traditionally been used to transport missionaries and Bible translators into the field. Smith says, "That gasoline is just not being refined in the same volume. It's not being delivered in the same places in the world mostly because it's expensive and there's not enough demand for that fuel."

That's why Wycliffe and many other organizations are purchasing the new Kodiak airplane. "The real innovation here is that this runs off of jet fuel, has a totally different kind of engine, and jet fuel is available everywhere that airlines fly. And pretty much now-a-days, that's everywhere."

MNN asked Smith if the fuel crunch is putting translation work in jeopardy. "Jeopardy is probably a good word. In some places the supply for aviation fuel has been interrupted. I know for a fact that in Indonesia, many aviation operators have just had to ground their aviation fueled airplanes. And so that means you get back to going on foot, going on boat, or some places become inaccessible."

Wycliffe has already raised the money for their first Kodiak airplane and is close to completing the funding needed for the second. They're both headed to Papua New Guinea. "These are places that don't have a lot of infrastructure, that typically depend on aviation transportation to and from their locations. It's essential to have continuous access," says Smith.

There's other good news to go along with this plane. Smith says, "This is a larger plane, but it can still use the same airstrips that the smaller planes have used for years."

With the increase in payload along with cheaper aviation fuel costs, missionary aviation will become more efficient, effective and economical.

Wycliffe plans to purchase a total of four Kodiak aircraft short-term. Your financial support is vital to keeping Bible translation moving forward.

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