United Methodist Pilots Deliver Hope
Rukang Chikomb grew up and went to school in Kapanga, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) at the United Methodist mission station. As a child, he used to go to the airstrip and help workers fill the holes in the dirt runway to smooth the landing surface for the next arriving aircraft. In return, the missionaries paid for his school fees. Today, Chikomb is a United Methodist church leader and pilot serving Southern Congo.
Like Chikomb, who prepared the landing surface for incoming aircraft, Congolese United Methodist pilots are role models paving the way for future church leaders and aviators in their local communities.
The United Methodist Aviation Ministries (UMAM)
The United Methodist Aviation Ministries (UMAM) is a program of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). It is a ministry of transportation, connection and service to many rural communities in Africa. Currently, UMAM works out of three DRC Conferences—North Katanga, Central Congo and Southern Congo—supporting emergency relief efforts, evangelism, education, church and leadership development or other church ministry transportation needs.
UMAM pilots are a lifeline for the sick in transporting patients to places of emergency medical care or for the most vulnerable when delivering lifesaving relief supplies and medicines. UMAM pilots also connect worldwide church leaders for ministry work in often remote locations. They play a pivotal role in helping delegates get to meetings vital to DRC communities.
Download High-Resolution Video: Quicktime format
Congo Pilots Medical Missions (umc.org video)
We are all called to serve in our own way. Meet the son of an African bishop who found his calling in the cockpit of a rescue plane. Kim Riemland has his story.
The United Methodist Flyer Newsletter
"The aviation work is not just a means of transportation, but it is a whole ministry-the gospel that is preached in many different ways."
— Jacques Akasa Umembudi, a UMAM pilot serving Wings of Caring
“I remember (as a child) praying for a patient who was being loaded onto the plane by the pilot to be flown to the hospital in Lubumbashi. Today, I am blessed to be the pilot doing the same mission work.”
—Rukang Chikomb, a UMAM pilot serving Wings of the Morning
“The Wings of the Morning aviation ministry provides vital transportation to many of the hard-to-reach areas of Congo, which is especially important in emergency situations. I believe God is using me as a tool to often reach out and save lives.”
—Gaston Ntambo, a UMAM pilot serving Wings of the Morning