Adventist Aviators Open Papua New Guinea Airstrip
The people of Sisimin in Oksapmin, Sandaun province, Papua New Guinea, welcomed the opening of a new airstrip in their village, and they asked Seventh-day Adventists to do the honors.
Captain Bennett Spencer, an Adventist Aviation Services (AAS) pilot originally from the United States, officially cut the ribbon to open the airstrip.
With Captain Spencer were Max Zaccias, Western Highlands Mission president; Luke Tanop, Sandaun district director; as well as other church leaders and people from villages around Oksapmin.
With no road infrastructure available, the people of Sisimin have been deprived of all basic services, such as schools and hospitals, for the past 40 years. The only way of getting in touch with the rest of the country was by walking 20 hours to the nearest airstrip in Oksapmin.
The Sisimin people, both church and community members, decided to build an airstrip in 2009 so AAS could extend its services to this very remote area.
The project took them three years to complete using both traditional and modern construction methods.
The guests arrived in an AAS aircraft and landed on the newly built airstrip to the delight of the local people who had gathered there to celebrate the official opening.
—Ronald Tanop and Sam Mollen, reporting from Sandaun, Papua New Guinea