The 6th of July, pilot Mathias Glass flew a building material charter for Sibilanga Junior Highschool, located in the northern Sepik parts of Papua New Guinea. On the flight he brought the little toolbox, also known as the Bible box, and sold Bibles to the people of Sibilanga.
The 7th of July, on the way back to Mt Hagen, a short stop was made in Tekin to drop off Glenda Giles and the Bible box was emptied.
In this interview Mathias describes the Bible box, what it means to the people and how it usually plays out when he brings the toolbox.
MAF PNG pilots have carried Bibles into remote mission stations and communities since the birth of MAF PNG in 1951. Historically, such transport has been in response to requests from MAF’s mission partners. Since the nationalisation of church denominations, and subsequent reduction of funding for the import and distribution of bulk Bible shipments, access to Bibles has reduced significantly for isolated people.
MAF is improving accessibility to Bibles, both printed and audio versions, by carrying a “Bible box” on board most flights.
The Bibles (print and audio) are sourced from MAF Technologies (CRMF), who arrange bulk imports. The Bibles and resources are “sold” to the local people at remote airstrips. They are often sold at less than half price, for “location-appropriate prices”. The price varies from area to area depending on corresponding poverty levels. It is unwise to give the Bibles away for free as the culture only ascribes value to what you buy.
A Bible box normally contains:
Tok Pisin Bibles
The Bible Box Impact
The indigenous population of PNG is one of the most heterogeneous in the world. With more than 1000 different ethnic groups speaking approximately 830 languages (20% of the world’s total), it is the world’s most ethnically and linguistically complex nation. The rugged mountains, vast swamps, thick rainforest, heavily dispersed population, and very few transport options result in high demand for aviation services and in many of these areas MAF is the only air service provider. Safe, reliable aviation services are absolutely essential if the geographic boundaries, barriers and logistical hurdles to sharing the Gospel in PNG are to be overcome.