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Riding the Winds of Change

And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.  Mark 13:26-28 (NIV)What do the Messiah College Flying Club, the Wycliffe Bible Translators and College Ministries have in common? They all helped make it possible for a Robinson R44 four-passenger helicopter to land on the campus lawn across from the Grantham Church as part of an alternate chapel.

Crowd at helicopterA large crowd had gathered as the crew disembarked from the black aircraft. Don Pratt, professor of engineering and faculty adviser to the Flying Club, welcomed everyone and remarked that he had no idea that the first-time event would attract so many! Some had come because of their interest in missions, some in flying, and some seeking an unconventional option for chapel credit.

Jeff JohnsonJeff Johnson, a pilot for JAARS, explained how this support organization has partnered with Wycliffe Bible translators since 1948 to fly personnel and supplies to remote parts of the world in support of spreading the gospel to those who have never heard. Originally known as the “Jungle Aviation and Radio Service”, JAARS now handles a variety of technical and logistical needs for continuing the work of the Wycliffe organizations.

Both fixed-wing planes and helicopters are used, depending on the availability of land for runways. Helicopters can be equipped to carry large, bulky payloads, but are more expensive than planes to purchase and maintain. In addition to the required flight training, helicopter pilots are also thoroughly trained as mechanics, in the event of a breakdown far from maintenance facilities.

Cockpit closeupThe crowd was then invited to view the helicopter up close and ask questions. The cockpit and controls appeared almost delicate, and the onlookers were advised not to bump against the craft due to the ease of dimpling the thin aluminum skin.

As the crowd dispersed the helicopter took off over Orchard Hill, the President’s residence, heading back to the airport near Lebanon, Pa.

Taking off!Walking back onto campus, associate professor of writing Larry Lake explained how—growing up as an MK in Indonesia—the arrival of an aircraft at a remote village was always an exciting event that drew a crowd. This unique outdoor chapel experience proved to be no exception!

To Learn More:


Wycliffe Bible Translators

Robinson Helicopters

College Ministries


The Lost are Found in Translation

Due to its extensive work in cataloguing and translating languages, the United Nations has commissioned an affiliate of Wycliffe (SIL International) to be the compiler of the Ethnologue”, a reference work for the world’s nearly 7,000 known living languages.

There are still more than 2,000 languages for which there is no translation of the Bible and Wycliffe begins translation in a new language approximately every three days!

Even at this accelerated pace, it will be nearly 2050 before all the peoples of the world have a New Testament to read in their own tongue.


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