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Stranded on a Sandbar in Brazil

Tags: Aviation, Brazil
POSTED ON Sep 18, 2017 by Wonita Werley

They'd dodged potholes on a treacherous Brazilian jungle road the day before, so Sergio and Alfredo thought the boating part of the trip would be easier.

The highway

With the river very low, they extended the motor out on a pole - a common technique. But when the pole support broke, they were stuck on a sand bar in the middle of nowhere. Night was coming on. They were far from the village. And things would get worse.

But at least for tonight, they managed to get to shore, where they got some sleep in a barge moored along the bank.

Next morning, they set out with the motor pole jerry-rigged to the boat. But that failed too and landed them on another sand bar. Finally, they found a man along the river who lent them the part they needed.

And that was only the trip into the tribe!

Meanwhile, back in the USA, help was on the way! Well, not exactly for this trip. But events were already unfolding that would dramatically change the pace of church planting work among people groups in Brazil who still need to hear.

NTM Aviation had decided to trust God for a helicopter in Brazil -- to fly into places that would never be accessible by the Cessna 206 already there, especially since new airstrips are out of the question.

It seemed that the helicopter idea would take a few years to implement -- because NTM Aviation has no pilot ready to fly in Brazil. But God was already working in an amazing way.

Jeremiah Diedrich, an experienced pilot who serves in Brazil with another mission, had occasionally lent his time to fly NTM Aviation’s Cessna 206 when missionaries needed flights. He had already expressed his deep desire to serve in the region where the 206 was based, knowing that people groups there still lacked God’s Word.

When Jeremiah heard the idea of a helicopter, he agreed to start training to fly it. On September 12th, NTM Aviation loaned our R44 to Jeremiah and his mission so he can transition to helicopter. Now, with a pilot on board, and trusting God for an R66, the helicopter program is predicted to start in Brazil within a year.

Jeremiah with Joel and Janelle Rich -- Joel is our maintenance specialist in Brazil

Meanwhile, Sergio and Alfredo finished their consultant visit and traveled out of the jungle village. The boat trip was fine this time.

Alfredo and Sergio

But they blew a tire from hitting potholes on the rough road. They continued on with the spare but soon blew another tire. Stranded again! Sergio ended up hitching a ride so he could catch his scheduled airline flight that night. Alfredo waited on the road until morning for help to come.

“With an aircraft, this [trip] would have taken at most a couple of hours!” says Sergio.
Many more villages and people groups in this region of Brazil need the Gospel – and that will mean lots of trips by consultants too. “We are certain that … mission aviation will be imperative,” says Sergio. “Without a doubt, the helicopter will be an incredible tool for church planting.”

You can be a part of accessing people groups that seem unreachable –- and also completing works in progress in Brazil. Pray for Jeremiah to finish his training and return to Brazil with his family. And pray for NTM Aviation to find and purchase the right helicopter in Brazil.

You can be a part of the project by giving at the Helicopter Program for Brazil Project.