It’s a joy to see people of faith on the frontlines of innovation. In the November issue of Popular Mechanics, Steve Saint is highlighted among “The Year’s Best Inventions” for building the first flying car! Sound like fiction? It’s not. Nearly ten years ago, Steve started I-TEC, an engineering ministry in Florida. He envisioned a vehicle that would allow the very same tribe that killed his father to get around the roadless world of rainforest and rivers they live in.
You may be familiar with this historic story. In 1956, Steve Saint’s father Nate, along with four other missionaries, Jim Elliot (husband of Elizabeth Elliott), Roger Youderian, Ed McCully, and Peter Fleming, made a historic journey to meet the Aucas or “naked savages” in the jungles of Ecuador. Steve Saint was only five years old when he heard the news that his father and the other missionaries had been killed by the tribesmen.
In an unforgettable story of love and perseverance, Nate Saint’s sister, Rachel Saint, and Elisabeth Elliot, widow of Jim Elliot, moved into the rainforest to live with the tribe. Eventually many of the tribesmen in the contact group converted to Christianity, including those who had killed the missionaries. Instead of hating or fearing the Aucas (who now call themselves the Waodani), Steve Saint grew up loving the tribe and forming a lifelong relationship with them. He is still passionately committed to serving hard-to-reach tribes.
And he’s still making the headlines. Powered by a 128-hp engine, as noted by Popular Mechanics, the 1100-pound “Maverick” can travel 80 miles per hour on pavement and move over dirt tracks. When a trees, rocks, or the end of the road get in the way, the driver/pilot hoists a parachute up a mast and shifts the vehicle into flight mode.