For over 40 years BIMI missionaries have been using aircraft as a valuable tool to aid in evangelizing isolated peoples and to establish indigenous churches. From Africa to Central America, from the Islands of the Caribbean to remote villages in the far north of Alaska and Canada, BIMI missionary pilots have used their skills and aircraft to transport themselves, fellow missionaries and nationals to serve often forgotten people. They have proclaimed the Good News of salvation through faith in Christ Jesus but also have transported disaster relief, Christian literature, medical teams, and served as a supply line for the missionaries and nationals living in the tribal villages.
It is unbelievable that there are still groups of people living in areas so remote that they are practically cut off from civilization and the Gospel. The LORD surely must have had them in mind when HE spoke of being "a witness to the uttermost." HE has so graciously provided the airplane as one of the tools to help us reach these people for whom HE died.
Aviation ministries open whole new areas to the preaching ministry of our missionaries. BIMI missionaries using aviation, as servants of God, are soul winners but also men that are capable of handling the task of operating the plane in and out of the very short jungle airstrips. The task of missionary flying is very demanding. Having personally visited the Randy Alderman Family in Togo, West Africa, Don Arnold can tell first hand that missionary pilots like Randy are special people. Special because they have a genuine love for the people they serve but also for aviation. The Cessna U206, which Randy flies some 400 hours a year, with its powerful 300 horse power engine, huge oversize tires, six seats and long range fuel tanks, is the ideal airplane for the task. The STOL kit (short takeoff and landing) is a welcome modification. Though God has blessed with wonderful equipment it is still the man of God and his message of salvation through faith in the LORD JESUS CHRIST that makes the plane the valuable tool it is.
The demands of flying on the mission field are many but it all becomes worthwhile when another soul is saved, another church planted or another life saved through an emergency medical flight. The airplane is vital to Randy's ministry. Lord willing, missionary pilot/mechanic Jeremy Benbrooks and his wife Mattie will be joining the Alderman Family in Togo very soon.
Evangelism and Church-planting
At BIMI we recognize there are good aviation organizations that exist to provide “air taxi” service for the missionaries serving in places beyond the reach of conventional means of transportation. We thank God for them and have benefited greatly from their service. BIMI Aviation Ministries does not intend to compete with these organizations. Our objectives are evangelism and the establishment of indigenous churches. Because the ministry of the Word is the first calling of our aviation personnel, they can partner effectively with the national evangelists, church planters and other BIMI missionaries in the preaching ministry. At times the pilot’s ministry is one of assistance. At other times he is directly involved in the matter of preaching and teaching with the results being souls saved and national churches established.
We have a great heritage at BIMI. Aviation has been used effectively to accomplish our goals of winning souls and planting churches. As we look back we are thankful for the blessings of God as seen in the prayers and financial support of many thousands of people like you. Even now we recognize the vital part that our supporting churches have had in helping develop and maintain the tribal aviation ministries. Presently additional personnel, equipment and funds are needed. It is our desire to see the ministry sustained and yet to also extend the aviation outreach to other fields. We seek your help.
Pray with us to the LORD OF THE HARVEST as we seek His provision in the matter of personnel, additional equipment and the finances to operate the tribal aviation ministries. Pray with us for effectiveness and safety. Pray for souls. Ask Him if and how He would have you to be involved with us in giving “wings to the Gospel.”
Most BIMI missionaries that have used aviation in support of their ministries have been preachers and church planters. Most have used the plane for transportation to and from the remote areas where they personally minister the Gospel of Christ. They have also used the plane to transport fellow missionaries, to transport supplies, and for emergency medical trips, etc.
BIMI does not pay a salary to missionaries, including aviation personnel. Because of the necessary on-the-field orientation that would be required for a pilot to be approved for service on a particular field, short-term service by pilots is not generally practical.
1. Aviation personnel, generally, must meet the same basic spiritual and educational requirements as the other missionaries serving with BIMI. BIMI is interested in aviators who are missionaries first, aviators second.
2. We recommend and prefer that pilots hold a commercial and instrument pilot’s license and ratings with a minimum of 350 hours of PIC flight time. BIMI pilots do not fly “for hire” but the training and skills leading to a commercial license should mean they are better prepared. Safety is essential. The pilot that uses the plane to serve other missionaries would be held to a much higher standard than one who is limiting the use of the plane to his own ministry.
3. Depending upon the area of service and type of aviation ministry, pilots may be required to take additional tactical training. This training involves operations from very short unimproved airstrips, mountain flying, etc.
4. An A&P mechanic’s rating is preferred. In some cases it would be required. It should be understood that the ability to troubleshoot mechanical problems and make repairs is the important consideration, especially in a remote or jungle situation. Not all foreign governments allow A&Ps to exercise their privileges as a mechanic.
At BIMI we are praying continually for missionaries that have the call of God in their lives, a pioneer spirit and the ability to use aviation as a means to carry the Gospel of Christ to the peoples that live in remote areas. We are praying for the development of evangelistic, church-planting, aviation ministries in Alaska, Canada, Africa, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.