"Wings of the Morning" Airplane Update
Following an unimaginable $1.5 million outpouring of love from within our West Ohio Annual Conference, the General Board of Global Ministries just purchased the Cessna Caravan plane that will reach the North Katanga people in the rural-most areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo where roads run out. The Greater New Jersey Annual Conference raised over $320,000 and the Arkansas Annual Conference raised another $100,000. Individuals and churches across the country, including Church of the Resurrection in Kansas, also contributed. $25,000 was raised within the North Katanga Conference itself, a region of the world where the average income is less than $10.00 a month. In total, $2.1 million was raised, including $250,000 in a West Ohio long-term maintenance endowment. According to West Ohio’s George Howard, “The new caravan will increase the capacity of the leaders in North Katanga to respond to humanitarian and evangelistic opportunities. Instead of bringing one person out of a village for health treatment, the plane will be able to deliver a medical team to treat hundreds and to prepare health workers. At other times, teaching teams will provide leadership training for pastors and leaders.”
For Gaston Ntambo, our main United Methodist missionary pilot in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, flying is more than a passion, or even a career. It’s his ministry. “The best part of my life is when I’m coming down with a patient and I’m close to landing where I know they’ll get help, and they’re still alive.” After receiving word that the money had been raised to buy the new plane, Captain Ntambo wrote, “You have just opened the biggest door for mission work. You touched and changed my life when you sent me my very first pair of shoes at 9 years of age. Today you are sending me home with the a perfect airplane to go and make a difference for our people. Thank you for believing in us and for saving North Katanga Wings of the Morning flight ministry.”
We can be proud of the miracle offering we took here at Bethel International UMC last spring to invest in this “flying clinic” ministry that now soars into holy action.