Wycliffe Associates, an international organization that involves people in the acceleration of Bible translation efforts, is seeking to raise $1.5 million toward the purchase of a Pilatus PC-6 aircraft for operation in Indonesia.

A former missionary pilot, Wycliffe Associates President and CEO Bruce Smith calls Indonesia “one of the most challenging mission fields on earth.” This remote and rugged chain of islands in the south Pacific is among the least explored places on earth, and among the hardest to travel . . . where people speak over 700 separate languages.

In some of the harder-to-reach areas, multitudes are trapped in the bondage of animism and spiritism. Poverty is epidemic. Many are living literally on the edge of physical and spiritual survival.

“It takes specialized airplanes to keep Bible translators at work, planes designed specifically to get in and out of the incredibly complicated terrain: steep cliffs, narrow gorges, short runways carved out of thick jungles,” says Smith. “I’ve been in some pretty difficult situations as a missionary pilot, and I can tell you that a dependable airplane is not optional. An airplane is a lifeline.”

Travel by other means is extremely difficult, even dangerous.  It can take as many as five days traveling by bus, boat, and on foot to reach some of Indonesia’s language groups, while the same trip takes only two hours by plane. One Bible translator working in the area says a plane is “like a white-winged angel.”

Wycliffe Associates is seeking to help replace 40-year-old planes that currently serve the area and utilize avgas, an expensive fuel that is scarcely produced and becoming more and more difficult to find.

The Pilatus PC-6, also known as “The Pilatus Porter,” is a utility plane with unique short takeoff and landing capabilities that make it especially suitable for the rugged terrain and high altitudes of Indonesia.

The new aircraft will be a vital part of Bible translation efforts in the region, where some 340 languages still need a Bible translation to begin.

“This is not really about machinery—it’s about eternity,” says Smith. “A single plane, over the course of its projected lifetime, will serve hundreds of thousands of people.”

Wycliffe Associates involves people in accelerating the work of Bible translation through their time, talents, and treasure. Because millions of people around the world are still waiting to read the Scriptures in the language of their heart, Wycliffe Associates is working as quickly as they can to enable every verse of the Bible into every tongue to change every heart. The organization partners with nationals, mother tongue translators, staff, volunteers, and supporters to direct and fund these efforts, as well as provide logistics, networking, and technical support. Through a growing global network, Wycliffe Associates is striving to overcome local limitations of time and resources to achieve the goal of beginning the translation of God’s Word in every remaining language that needs it by 2025.

In 2010, the organization mobilized 4,381 volunteer and staff members to accelerate Bible translation in some 59 countries. Additional information is available at www.wycliffeassociates.org or by calling 1-800-THE WORD (1-800-843-9673).

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