I vividly remember the desperation I felt as I raced to the hospital in the middle of the night, my son gasping for air in the back seat. The fifteen minute drive to the hospital felt like an eternity, and I prayed fervently for Ian, who was having a severe asthma attack.
An hour later his symptoms were under control, and I was thanking God for the blessing of modern medicine and access to the treatment my son needed.
Many people in the world are not so fortunate. There are regions where a trip to the nearest hospital or medical clinic requires hours—or even days—of travel over hazardous terrain. In these areas, common medical problems such as broken limbs or complications with a pregnancy can have dire consequences. Transportation from remote villages to medical facilities is literally a matter of life and death.
This is where missionary aviation enters the picture. In some remote regions an airplane turns a five-day jungle trek into a one-hour plane ride, or a jostling 20-hour drive on unmaintained dirt roads into a smooth thirty-minute flight. Every day missionary pilots not only save lives that might otherwise be lost, but provide safe passage over treacherous and unforgiving terrain.
The work of missionary pilots is not limited to medical evacuations. Missionary pilots transport everything from building materials to livestock. They provide safe and efficient transportation for medical teams, aid workers, local officials, pastors, and other missionaries. This allows more time and energy to be devoted to ministry and mission, and less time and energy expended on travel.
As followers of Christ, we believe that meeting physical needs is important (see James 2), but that is only a starting point. Jesus commissioned his followers to carry the news that He is reconciling the world to himself, and because of his death and resurrection we can have hope for this life and for the life to come. Missionary pilots support this holistic calling: to show his love by meeting tangible needs while bearing his message of reconciliation.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.