While operating in Ecuador Forrest had an experience where he had just flown in from a village with a radio operator and his family. This family needed to be in Quito. He flew them there and landed at the international airport. He dropped them off and then stayed the night. This happened to be during August when the winds are particularly more violent. They call them the “Winds of San Juan.”

So, he waited to take off when the winds abated in afternoon. He knew he probably couldn’t get all the way to the center but probably to half-way. So he took off at about 4pm. When he was about 50 feet in the air, the engine exploded…”it just went to pieces”, as he described.

What happened was, a counter weight on the crankshaft had become disengaged. Looking at the engine later, they could see that one of the fasteners had come loose. The counterweight, held by just one pin, was beating around inside of the engine. He was at 3400 RPM (take off RPM) so the engine was laboring under bad conditions which caused the counter weight to fly off. Its trajectory took it through the side of the cast aluminum engine, it hit the propeller and they found it about 200 feet on the taxi way.

At 50 feet in the air with no engine he had to “dead stick” land. Then the problem was he couldn’t get off main runway. So he radioed the tower which in the meantime had cleared a jet to land right behind him, and told them that his plane was disabled and he couldn’t move. They notified the Air Force, who had a maintenance base at the airport. They towed him to maintenance base off the runway.

They had spare parts so another of their pilots was able to fly a spare engine up to Quito. It took almost a week to change out the engine and test fly and get the approval of the authorities to fly out.

However, in the course of working on this issue, they were helped by an Ecuadorian mechanic. When they were working together, they shared their faith with him. His name was Fausto and they became good friends.

Some months later, he and his wife went to Quito for vacation. One of the guys asked if he heard about Fausto. Fausto had gone to an evangelical church, accepted Christ and was baptized. In his testimony, he talked about the two pilots he helped out at the maintenance base. He spoke of how impressed he was with their kind and considerate demeanor.

This teaches that it’s not just what you say but how you act. Putting those together makes for a powerful witness. He never saw Fausto since that time.

Comfort from Scripture

One time when the Scriptures meant the most was when they were going through a process in Colombia and they were under much criticism. Primarily the Marxists were on their case trying to get them kicked out of the country. They were the highest profile foreign organization in the country. They were also easy targets. Claims were made that they were people with the CIA, or they were there to run drugs, or they were with the military and they were setting up for when US military takes over the country…just all lies.

They were in Bogota, the capital city, at the time and would read the newspaper to see what new distortions they were coming up with.

“I started reading in Psalms and David would describe the difficult experiences in his life. That was very comforting to me. David always followed the difficulty with a statement of faith. The Lord was very near me.”

What’s Next?


Forrest, after losing his first wife, Margaret, was blessed to marry his current wife, Wanda, in October 2013.

Currently he has two jobs…Minister-at-Large and Major Gifts Officer.

As Major Gifts Officer, he is responsible for raising funds for major field projects. These are large projects in the field that can’t be funded by the missionaries in the field. For example a project for getting the Word communicated to the deaf across the world.

Additionally, they have projects for airplanes to provide for mission work. They were working on raising funds for a helicopter in Papua New Guinea. In Papua New Guinea there is no room for an airstrip in a lot of places in the mountains so the helicopter makes it convenient to get to where they need to be.

Bibleless Peoples Prayer Project

If you want to see the world hear about the Good News of Jesus Christ, you can begin praying for others who have not heard. Join the Bibleless Prayer Project by visiting Prayer Requests – Wycliffe Bible Translators.

How to contact:

If you would like to have Forrest speak at your church or to help with a field project, you can contact him in the following way:

Forrest Zander
0N063 Myrtle Street
Winfield, IL 60190-1303

Phone: 630-752-4050 Office, 630-639-7766 Mobile
Email: forrest_zander@wycliffe.org

Take Off – Part 1

Take Off – Part 2

Take Off – Part 3