Executive Director of SAM Ministries Inc. Bill Green, founder of Mercy Air Ron Wayner, and SAM Ministries pilot Bob Guzak with the Kodiak aircraft ready to head for Mozambique to assist with mission and development work.
Wetaskiwin was one of the Alberta stops for a Kodiak aircraft in preparation for its flight to Africa and work for missions and development in Mozambique. Three organizations have worked together to acquire the Kodiak and outfit it for its specific work, Quest Aircraft, Mercy Air, and SAM Ministries. The purposes of the visits to Alberta airports in Wetaskiwin, Red Deer, Edmonton and Fort McMurray are to make people aware of these organizations and their work, and to raise the funds needed for fuel to fly the Kodiak to southern Africa and for a year of flying in mission and development service there.
Quest Aircraft had a vision to develop a bush plane to serve mission aviation needs, especially where runways are remote and short, and to provide every tenth plane produced to a mission aviation organization at cost. The Kodiak is the plane Quest developed for this purpose. Besides its short take-off and landing ability, it uses the less expensive and more readily available Jet A fuel. A Fort McMurray company has replaced its fleet with Kodiaks. If anyone buys a Kodiak because of learning about it through this fund raising drive, Quest Aircraft will donate the commission.
Mercy Air (U.S.A. And South Africa) was founded in 1991 by Ron and Barb Wayner as a niche ministry to supply air transportation for mission groups serving in remote areas of southern Africa, with its base at White River, South Africa. An important part of this work was to meet mission teams at the Johannesberg Airport and fly them to the mission station and stay and work with them and then bring them back to Johannesberg to fly home. They have acquired a Kodiak at cost, had it upgraded for medical usage and added all weather radar, new paint, and cargo pods capable of carrying 2000 pounds. On the tail it says, “Wings of love to people in need.” The acquisition of the Kodiac, along with the preparation of a home for it, has been a seven year project. During that time, the decision was made for Mercy Air to develop a remote site in central Mozambique on the 1000 hectare property of SAM Ministries. The runway was started as a work-for-food program during one of the Mozambique periods of hunger which occur almost every year because of floods and droughts in this land where everything can be grown when conditions are right. The runway is now complete. Also almost completed at this site are a house for Mercy Air staff and visitors, and a hanger for the Kodiak.
Strategic Action Mission Ministries Inc. (SAM Ministries, Canada) works with people throughout Mozambique to bring them the Gospel and to help them recover and rebuild after the more than 20 years of civil war which destroyed the infrastructure and prevented millions from acquiring education or skills. The civil war ended in 1994, but there remains a need for help. SAM Ministries has a training program in which 1000 leaders are enrolled in four provinces of the country, sustainable agriculture projects in isolated areas which include the installation of water pumps and training in animal management, provides health care training and support in numerous remote communities as well as three medical clinics, runs three schools and a women's literacy training centre, and serves 1600 orphans in three provinces through its orphan program. The Kodiak will facilitate efficient support of these programs spread throughout the country as well as support of the mission personnel, emergency medical situations, and the transport of qualified professionals who volunteer to bring their expertise and training to a people who desperately need their help. A two hour flight in the Kodiak would require two days on the terrible roads.
The Kodiak is able to transport eight passengers as well as the pilot and co-pilot, and to carry 2000 pounds of cargo. It uses Jet A fuel, which at this time is much more easily available and about one third the cost of aviation fuel. Even so, it will cost $45,000 to $50,000 for the fuel for the five or six day flight to Mozambique, and over $200,000 for the fuel to do its work in Mozambique for the first year. One purpose of its visits in Alberta is to help raise these funds for fuel. This will be the fifth plane which Bob Guzak flies to South Africa for Mercy Air or SAM Ministries. The plan is to fly it over in late October. Further information is available on www.samministries.org . Anyone who would like to contribute to this important work may do so on the web site, or may mail cheques to:
SAM Ministries Inc., 3715 85 St. NW, Edmonton, AB, T6K 3R9