Carl A. Mortenson grew up on a farm in Illinois. At 28, he is again working in the Illinois farm country, but not as one who, having put his hand to the plow, looks backward. For Mortenson’s life now revolves around one of the most forward-looking Christian enterprises of modern times: development of a compact aircraft specifically designed to meet the rigors of missionary use.

Electric toothbrushes and powered golf carts illustrate the vast range of man’s appropriation of technology for sheer human convenience. By contrast, there are invariably long delays in employing scientific advances for the furtherance of Christ’s Gospel. Some churchmen see this lag as one of the gravest indictments of contemporary Christianity. A key example is audio-visual equipment: only a smattering of the wide assortment now on the market has been adapted for use in Christian education.

Here and there, however, a devoted Christian catches the vision. In Quito, Ecuador, it is a group of technicians at missionary station HCJB who have been building and distributing pre-tuned radio receivers and have established the world’s first missionary television station. In Philadelphia, it was the late Percy Crawford, who pioneered Christian television. In Palo Alto, California, it has been Wil Rose, who runs a technical problem clinic for missionaries.

The late “Jungle Pilot” Nate Saint saw the need for a specially designed missionary aircraft a number of years ago: “There is no market in the U. S. for the type plane we need and consequently it isn’t built … so, we just bite our lips and go ahead with what is available.”

Mortenson, a short, brown-haired graduate of Moody Bible Institute’s missionary aviation course, picked up Saint’s challenge while serving ...

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