(Note: The events of this story happened before the COVID-19 pandemic.)
Would you hike four hours again and again to help with a building project? One Kovol man did. Why? “We’re not thinking of anything else. We want God’s Word.”
He joined other eager Kovol men in building houses for an anticipated church planting team.
“I want to let you know,” the man told the missionary, “that the reason we’re helping you is because we really want
to hear God’s word.”
This Kovol village of Papua New Guinea is remote. It’s so remote that a person would need to hike 12 hours through the jungle from the closest road to get there, writes Miriam Eikelboom, a Swiss missionary who runs the Ethnos360 Aviation parts department in Papua New Guinea.
Twelve hours of hiking is grueling in itself. “And on this exhausting hike you only are able to carry the essentials, at most about 10 kg [22 lbs.],” said Miriam. Maybe that’s okay for a recreational hike. But imagine moving all your construction materials – and then your whole household – 22 pounds at a time. It’s just not going to happen.
“That’s when our LongRanger helicopter comes into operation,” said Miriam. “The helicopter only takes 25 minutes from Madang, the nearest town, and can carry 450 kg [992 lbs.] at a time.”
So, it’s no surprise that the helicopter has flown many shuttles of building materials into the Kovol village — and also shuttled in a building crew — to construct serviceable houses for the church planting team. The idea is to make houses sturdy enough that the team can dedicate themselves to full-time language and culture study for the next four years — and then stay there ten to fifteen years after that to teach God’s Word and establish a thriving church.
A few months ago, the houses were at a point where the team could move in and begin interacting with the Kovol people.
They are settling in for the long haul of language learning, teaching literacy, translating Scripture and teaching the message the Kovol have waited so long to hear.
Thank you for praying and upholding the Kovol team in this huge task. Pray that, once the COVID-19 crisis is past, the helicopter can once again serve the Kovol village. Pray also that God will provide three smaller R66 helicopters to continue uninterrupted, reliable flight service in Papua New Guinea.
To help, go to ethnos.ca/helicopters-for-papua-new-guinea/