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Trip to a Tribe

A Mechanic Sees the "Why" of His Job

What happens when an NTM Aviation mechanic sees church planting first hand?  Ace Glidewell, program manager at NTM Aviation headquarters in McNeal, AZ, got a sneak peek recently when he traveled to PNG to do an inspection on the new Kodiak airplane. 

While he was there, he noticed a Cessna 206 preparing for a flight to the Pawaia tribe — and it had an empty seat.  Hmmmm.  Just maybe he could fit — if the cargo on the flight wasn’t too heavy. 

Pilot John Meerstra did the math and invited Ace to ride along.   

Then Ace met his fellow passengers — not the typical western missionaries he expected.  Instead, two PNG believers, Iteve and Philip from the church in the Yagaria tribe, took their seats in the 206. Not only were they believers, Ace discovered, but Iteve was going to be a presenter at a Bible conference in the Pawaia tribe.  

This was not just a little Bible class.  Hundreds of Pawaia believers gathered in the village with “great joy and singing,” says Ace.  And the people were ready to learn — not just to get more Bible knowledge.  No, Iteve was there to teach them how to teach other villages using the comprehensive Creation to Christ model.

What did it take for the Pawaia church to come to maturity?  How did they become strong enough to extend the Gospel to other villages and tribes?

For one, it took decades of dedication, as missionaries Jack and Isa Douglas lived and breathed Christ in the language of the Pawaia.  For another, it took decades of reliable, dependable aviation service to keep the Douglases supplied in the virtually inaccessible Pawaia village. 

“It is very doubtful that this tribe would have been reached without aviation transport,” says Jack Douglas.  Multiple times each year, flights brought months’ worth of food, fuel, and equipment, saving days of trail and river travel each time.  Flights transported Jack and Isa and their small children safely in and out of the village year after year.  “Medical evacuations for the missionaries and the local people have been invaluable life-saving flights,” adds Jack.

Most of all, God’s Word took root, and the Pawaia church is multiplying itself in the region. 

Mechanic Ace Glidewell feels that he is a part of this “epic success story,” seeing how aviation facilitates the spread of the Word of God to those who need to hear it. 

 

Tags: Aviation, Papua New Guinea
POSTED ON Jan 07, 2016