During the past year of disruptions and uncertainties, developments continue and milestones have been reached. In Far East Russia both aircraft in Khabarovsk are operational, certified, and are being used in ministry.
In January both aircraft were used for ministry as teams travelled to various villages with a Christmas programme.
Due to the winter weather conditions the team paused flying for a few months but resumed operations in time for the summer village children’s programmes.
Preparation for summer programmes needs to begin during the winter season. The facilities we use for the programmes often need renovations or upgrades and supplies, for such projects are delivered using the winter ice roads – frozen rivers! Once the supplies are in place, people can be brought using the aircraft.
Because of the location of these villages, lots of effort goes into co-ordinating various trips in support of the summer and winter programmes. It is often difficult finding people to help in all these projects, but God always sends just enough help. This year as the summer programme was being prepared, God sent a family from the western part of Russia to help with Holiday Bible Clubs.
As the aircraft finally began to be used for ministry, it became even more clear that to sustain this ministry and continue to expand and be able to reach villages further from civilization, the team would need to grow.
More pilots, more mechanics, more administrators would be needed to keep up with the demands of missionary aviation in Russia. But ministry workers are already few in these parts of the world, and the borders are closed to foreign help, especially since the start of Covid-19.
Praise the Lord, very unexpectedly, two people from other parts of Russia have contacted the team and requested more information regarding the aviation ministry. One has almost completed his flight training. None of them have made the move yet, but the team has been greatly encouraged to see the effort and cost that these families are willing to invest, in order to start the process of serving people in remote villages by means of aviation.
Getting the aircraft into the air took longer than expected, but looking back the team learned many valuable lessons along the way. As they went by boat, train, and ice to the villages, they learned first-hand the value of aircraft in these vast lands of Far East Russia.