In October 2014, NTM Aviation pilot Jon Leedahl woke up from surgery to the realization that his right leg had been amputated due to a life threatening injury in Papua New Guinea. Who would have thought that 11 months later Jon, wearing a computerized prosthetic, would be the pilot to deliver the third and final Kodiak N118KQ to McNeal, Arizona. September 21, 2015 was indeed a day of celebration. This was not just a day for Jon to celebrate his first flight back in the Kodiak after his near fatal accident, but it was also the culmination of a 19 month leap of faith that NTM Aviation took to secure the pilots and aircraft needed to sustain the NTM Aviation flight program in PNG.
In December 2013, NTM Aviation asked God to do what only He could do. The need in PNG was great for personnel and aircraft to replace the aging fleet of Cessna 206’s and a King Air C90. Jon Leedahl was asked to go to PNG and start training with JAARS in their Kodiaks when we only had 10% of the funds needed to purchase our first aircraft. Jon arrived on the field in March 2014 trusting God that when he finished his training, NTM Aviation would have a Kodiak on the field for him to train the rest of the pilots. One month later, Phil Koop NTM Aviation’s Executive Director was informed that a donor had given us our first Kodiak, which was delivered on June 6, 2014. One month after that the second Kodiak was donated. No wonder there was excitement and anticipation in the air on Monday as Jon landed our third and final PNG Kodiak on a very wet airstrip and taxied to our NTM Aviation hangar.
We thank the Lord for His gracious provision of both pilots and aircraft to serve New Tribes Mission’s church planting missionaries in the vast jungle areas of Papua New Guinea. Kodiak N110KQ arrived in PNG this summer, and we are trusting the Lord that the other two Kodiaks, N111KQ and N118KQ will be in place by July 2016. All we can say is “To God be the glory great things He has done.”