Hope in the Congo

In 1970 my parents sent me to Africa to live with a missionary family in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was a year that changed my life. I fell in love with the people and the country. Now, 42 years later I am working on one of the most ambitious projects that I have ever undertaken. I am writing to ask you to join me in contributing to the purchase of an airplane. It is not about a plane, but what that plane provides that matters.

Gaston Ntambo, the pilot, is the link between life and death for many. He flies to remote villages to deliver the cholera vaccine during the annual February outbreak. He flies in everything from malaria nets to bibles. He airlifts critically ill patients to the hospital, which at a minimum is a week’s journey by foot or bicycle. He flies me and other volunteers into the bush to deliver training and supplies. Last July he even transported pastors from the edges of the province to their annual conference meeting, cutting a week or more of travel each way. of their travel.

He enables the largest United Methodist Conference in the world to stay connected. It is a conference which is a symbol in the Congo, and across Methodism of comprehensive community development. More importantly however, as a Congolese UM Pilot he is a symbol of hope for the thousands of villagers in the remote areas in which he touches down.

The plane Gaston currently flies severely limits the number of passengers and the weight he can carry. Even more challenging is the fact that it uses expensive and hard-to-get AvGas, which is unavailable in Congo, rather than standard Aviation fuel. Gaston must regularly take precious time, fuel, and air hours to fly into Zambia, load the plane with barrels of AvGas, then fly back to Congo. It is essential that this plane be replaced with a larger and more practical Cessna in order to continue the important Christian ministries in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as well as protecting the health and life of its important pilot, Gaston.

Gaston needs our help now. My heart is in the Congo, and I ask you to prayerfully consider joining me in making a sacrificial gift to this effort. We are nearing the finish line. The price of this airplane is on the rise and it is urgent for us to purchase the plane this spring and refurbish it over the summer.

More information is available at http://www.wocumcsecure.org/wotm . It gives you a picture of what we are making happen. I would also encourage you to look at a short on Gaston at http://www.umcom.org/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=mrLZJ9PFKmG&b=4865169&ct=9145679 .

There are several options available for donations:

  • Online giving is possible through http://www.wocumcsecure.org/wotm or online at
  • UMCOR – United Methodist Committee on Relief Aviation Project #3019626 at http://www.umcor.org/Search-for-Projects/Search-for-Projects
  • Checks and stock transfers can be sent to the Council on Development, 32 Wesley Blvd, Worthington, OH 43085 with a reference to Wings of the Morning – Caravan. George Cooper can be reached at 614-844-6200 for more information on stock transfers.
  • United Methodists within West Ohio are encouraged to give through their local church and designate their gift for UMCOR Aviation Project #3019626. this will be part of Bishop Ough's call for a "Miracle Offering" this June.

Please contact me if you would like to know more about this vitally important ministry.

George Howard

North Katanga Caravan Committee Chair




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