Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Wings of Hope Restored

Jacques Akasa Umembudi, a United Methodist missionary pilot for Wings of Caring Aviation, flies a plane over the Congo from Tunda to Kanaga. Image by: Paul Jeffrey

A few minutes into the flight the engine just stopped. The small Cessna piloted by Global Ministries missionary Jacques Akasa Umembudi did not have enough air speed or altitude to glide to a safe landing. Hitting a house and several trees, the plane finally came to a stop. The impact had forced open the small cargo door while wedging the other doors shut. Bleeding badly from a head wound which would require multiple stitches and a couple of weeks in a hospital, Jacques took stock of his four passengers and got them to out of the plane to safety. Although he left frightened, bruised and battered, God flew with Jacques that day.

The Wings of Caring aviation ministry of the Central Congo Conference provides hope and help to thousands of people. Serving as an air ambulance; transport for Bishop Yemba, missionaries, doctors and volunteers; and a supply line enabling emergency medicines, food and other items to be delivered where needed, the loss of the plane was devastating. It was painful to hear Jacques tell the story and show the pictures of that fateful day. It was difficult to imagine the many who would suffer from the loss of help the plane’s crash represented.

God is good. UMCOR, thanks to many donors, was able to direct $150,000 to providing a plane so that Jacques could fly again. A used airframe was purchased from the North Katanga Conference, a rebuilt engine was found, tires and new rubber all around will be purchased, other missionary and volunteer pilot/mechanics have offered their labor to build a “new” plane. Tools and upgrades to the hanger and workshop servicing the plane require additional donations, but God will provide what is needed through his faithful children. The Wings of Caring ministry will take wing once again. It has been an overwhelming experience for Jacques and those of us who know him well.

By Sam Dixon, Deputy General Secretary, UMCOR
Watch a video of Sam Dixon sharing a story about Aviation Ministries.

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