Transportation Solutions: 4WD Training for Papua New Guinea

Working together with fellow mission organizations to solve their transportation problems is an important way JAARS supports Bible translation.

JAARS supports Bible translators’ transportation needs in a variety of ways, but “land vehicles are by far the predominant travel method,” asserts John Pepper, a JAARS internationally certified 4WD instructor. With poor roads common in remote areas where translators work, reliable, versatile vehicles are essential. Recommending appropriate vehicles and providing training to operate those vehicles is what JAARS does.

The Aitape West Cluster Project in Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a Scripture translation project that includes 11 neighboring language groups. Translators working in this remote area on the northern coast of PNG have long needed a replacement vehicle to facilitate mission travel. They asked the JAARS Land Transportation Department to help them determine what type of vehicle would be best for their needs. Working together over months, the team evaluated multiple possibilities. “We looked at large vehicles such as ex-military-style trucks but determined that they could not recover on their own if they got stuck in the poor roads of this area,” says Pepper. “But a smaller vehicle such as a Toyota Land Cruiser could recover itself from an off-road incident with the addition of winches, recovery ropes, and proper training.”

Based on this analysis plus the better availability of Toyota parts, the team selected the Land Cruiser for the Aitape project. JAARS procured the vehicle and shipped it overseas. JAARS provides training for all the vehicles it supports, so Pepper and Jim McCabe, a 4WD instructor with SIL, traveled to PNG to conduct a two-week training course. They expect to train both translators and local workers, emphasizing driving safety, preventive maintenance, and recovery techniques.

Pepper has learned from the many overseas courses he has taught how important training is. “Many people have been injured due to poorly maintained vehicles or a lack of driving skills,” says Pepper. “Once we do the training, accidents go down and driver proficiency and confidence go up.”

Your help is needed for the purchase and deployment of additional land vehicles in Africa and the Pacific to provide safe travel for our Bible translators. Learn more here.