When I saw this blog of a muddy, 7 hour, 40km motorbike slog my memory jumped to a BC mud bog race where I saw a snowmobile cover 200 feet of 2 foot deep mud in under 3 seconds. “There is a faster way across mud,” I thought. Talking to missionaries and researching blogs I found that soggy airstrips, bad weather, and rivers in rainy season bring usual air and ground transportation to a halt, as they are unable to traverse flood and mud. Snowmobiles are able to cross water as well as snow and mud, in fact there are regular organized races, even at one time on our local North Thompson River.
For dirt use there are kits available to switch your sled (snowmobile) over, which include the front wheels, small (bogey) wheels for the track (the plastic sliders melt without snow/water to cool them), engine air filters (sleds air boxes only filter out snow, not dust), and a radiator with an electric fan (liquid cooled sleds use snow on solid panels for cooling, and air-cooled sleds are under powered).
So a sled can go on dirt and water but switching from tires to skis isn’t realistic, and I don’t think you need to. I think you can cross water without skis (see water photo above). I haven’t see it done so I’m going to test it myself. While I’m at it I’ll find out if this is a viable vehicle. I would also like to stuff it with the 12 cubic feet of floatation needed to float machine and rider in the event of an open water stall – since sinking is the obvious weakness.
Here’s the project so far.
I’m frequently asked if I will be taking it with me in June. The answer is no. I don’t know of any specific location that could use this specific tool at this time. I also want to avoid a paternalistic perspective – the notion that I have a better way of doing things than they do; that my help is essential to the success of others. This can destroy a ministry.
The technology of aircraft has revolutionized tribal missions overcoming challenges and hastening the gospel – things we are grateful for – but technology is not what is holding back the gospel. Though I’ve found a few stories where a machine like this could have helped, God stepped in and made another way, or it became a valuable opportunity for teamwork and sacrifice and learning– both valuable experiences.
But on the chance that someone at the end of a wet and muddy road may need a hand, that the Gospel may be forwarded, I’m putting my God given creativity to work just in case, believing that God has gifted me for a reason and reaching the lost is the best reason there is.
“There are hundreds of strange and radical things God is calling his people to do in the cause of world missions. Not everyone will hear the same call. Yours will be unique. It may be something you never dreamed of doing. It may be something you only dreamed of doing.” -John Piper