Dr. Don Fanning, Chairman of Global Studies Department at Liberty University, spent all his free time over the past year building a high performance kit plane with Indians and Nationals in the Ecuadorian rain forest. The RV-10 is a 200-mph plane with the latest in instruments, radios and a fully-digital panel, satellite weather, three-axis autopilot and beautiful leather interior.
Missions work is not just preaching the gospel, especially in rural and jungle areas. People living in the jungle need guidance to rebuild their spiritual lives around the Word of God as well as to help them build a new economic infrastructure where one does not exist, otherwise the church may not survive. I-TEC [Indigenous Technological and Education Center] is an organization founded by Steve Saint, son of Nate Saint, martyred missionary in Ecuador attempting to reach a dangerous tribe. Steve was the pilot and one of the lead players in the movie, “End of the Spear,” a reenactment of the killing of his father and four other missionaries by the “Aucas” or Waodoni Indians in 1956. Some of those very killers and their children helped in the building of this plane.
Steve Saint, as the founder of I-TEC, is training indigenous people and rural people groups all over the world in technical skills to enable them to take care of themselves physically and economically in an ever encroaching civilized world into their previously isolated life. The primary areas of this training are Dental, Para-medical and aviation.
The latest venture, Don Fanning partnered with I-TEC in training these indigenous people in the building of aircraft in the Ecuadorian jungle, then marketing them all over the world. Don is an A&P aircraft mechanic and former jungle pilot in Colombia so he has seen first hand the ability and skills of indigenous people.
Steve’s concern is for the Waodoni Indians since the oil companies and greedy commercial interests are seeking to exploit and corrupt the Indians. I-TEC is committed to building up the economy of the tribes to enable the indigenous people to not be dependent upon the foreigner’s products and susceptible to the abuse that is too common for Indians who may not know any better.
Many tribal works are destroyed because the missionaries did not take the time or commitment to help the tribes through the transition to relationships with the outside world and the skills necessary to enable them to stand on their own economically as well as spiritually.
Liberty University will be involved with I-TEC in training tribal people in Latin America and rural people groups in Africa, India and China in how to meet the dental and basic medical, optical and mechanical needs of their own people. Within a two week period they are taught how to extract, clean and do basic fillings with specially build equipment from I-TEC and solar panel-driven high-speed drills, as well as ten basic medical skills from delivering babies to stitching up deep cuts. Our students can be trained to become coaches in these training trips. Some of the missionary pilots-in-training at Liberty University are able to spend their breaks or a whole semester working with the next plane projects in the jungle. More on these ventures will be written in the future.
The plane in the picture was the first plane produce in the jungles of Ecuador with the help of Waodoni Indians, Ecuadorian Christians, Steve Saint and his son, Jesse Saint who is the Chief Operations Officer of I-TEC along with Professor Fanning. Don Fanning and Jesse Saint are the builders of record. The fuselage and wings were built in the jungle, then the leather interior and painting was done in Quito, Ecuador, before shipping to the US. The engine and instruments were installed at the I-TEC headquarters in Florida of this 4-place, 200 mph airplane. Half of the profits of this plane are used in the development of the needs of the Waodoni people and their church. This will enable them to maintain their autonomy as well as give them confidence over the temptations of the corruption of the Ecuadorian civilization. This is cutting-edge mission work for the 21st century.