While the Akolet people were hearing evangelistic Bible teaching earlier this year, Randy and Diana Smyth were taking special interest.
Since missionaries first moved into the Akolet, Randy, a missionary pilot with NTM, has made nearly 100 flights, carrying more than 81,000 pounds of essential supplies, equipment and missionaries in support of the Akolet ministry.
“The crucial contribution of aviation to tribal evangelism becomes painfully obvious when flights are interrupted,” Diana wrote, “such as when the Akolet airstrip was damaged by earthquakes.”
Such an event occurred in July 2010. A strong earthquake with an epicenter dangerously close to the Akolet airstrip caused the strip to buckle and fracture, making it unsafe for landings.
Without the airstrip, the missionary team to the Akolets had to make a trip by boat across treacherous open ocean for two to three hours each way to pick up their supplies. The boat trip cost $1,000 and sometimes required two days away from the ministry.
Thankfully the damaged airstrip has been repaired so Randy could resume transporting the Akolet team and supplies to their airstrip.
Praise God for the availability of missionary aviation. Pray for Randy and Diana and others who are a vital link in supporting those who are planting churches in remote locations.