Planes, Trains, and

Tags: Exploring Missions, SEND North, Story

Most everyone knows that iconic movie with John Candy and Steve Martin.  If it were filmed in the Far North, it would be more like planes, boats, and snow machines! Up here transportation is more of a struggle than anything Neil Page had to contend with. With 663,300 square miles of land, there is under 5,000 miles of paved road throughout Alaska. Most of the villages SEND North serves are off the road system entirely. However, roads are not the only way to get around this beautiful state. Our team members and rural community members commonly travel by way of plane, snow machine, boat, four-wheeler, or dog sled team. 

Planes are a multipurpose tool used to bring people and groceries alike to villages. Many use personal planes for hunting and gathering, visiting family in another village, or flying into town for doctor’s appointments and the like. At SEND North, we use our planes to transport team members in, out, and around the field. We also use our planes to transport materials for projects or relief efforts. 

Many villages are located by a river for the sake of subsistence hunting and gathering. This opens up the availability to use nature’s road systems, the rivers, to travel between villages. Boats are a valuable asset for individual travel, but rivers open shipping lanes for valuable cargo.  Barges can go up the river or come in by way of a bay or inlet, to bring everything from fuel, furniture, groceries, and automobiles.  The barges are only able to visit the villages they service one to three times a year in the summer because the rivers and bays will freeze.

When the rivers freeze in the winter, they turn into a winter roadway.  Many folks follow this same routes but this time using snow machine or dog sled team. Snow machining and sledding are common ways to get around the state in the winter (and spring), but can often be dangerous with seasonal storms and no set trails. This is why most travelers will follow the river if one is in the area. 

Life in the Far North does not mean having everything within a 20-minute drive radius. However, other modes of transportation offer a chance to experience the greatness of the terrain that humbles even the most experienced pilot or driver.  It takes dogged determination and creativity at times to get where one needs to go.  However, the payoff is more than worth it, because we want to see everyone make it home to their Father!

Please Join us in praying for safe travels for our SEND pilots and our members as they visit surrounding villages to share the Gospel.