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A First-Ever Gathering

the Tala-andig literacy graduates pose with other villagers in front of the helicopter that made the gathering a possibility

It was a “big deal,” said one Tala-andig villager. For the first time ever, some of them were graduating! Because the village now had a school, these students, some of whom were adults, finally had an education.

tala-andig graduation

But graduation was only one event of the big gathering. Pilot Brian Pruett flew Tala-andig believers from some outreach areas to this main village for a baptism, a mission strategy meeting, and the first-ever school graduation. Never had the Tala-andig been able to gather like this. The terrain was just too rugged, and the villages had no airstrips.

gathering of the tala-andig people

But now, with a helicopter – combined with Ethnos360 Aviation’s affordable flight plan – travel is feasible, not just for gathering, but for reaching out.
“The main Tala-andig church is now a sending church that would put many Western churches to shame!” says Brian. They are reaching out to five villages, facilitated by the helicopter. “But they are facing fierce spiritual opposition as they teach. So this gathering provided encouragement and re-energized them,” adds Brian. They even took advantage of the meeting to strategize how to reach village number six!

The Tala-andig really wanted the aviation team – including the wives, whom they’d never met – to be there for this special weekend. During the graduation ceremony, many of the students voiced their thanks to the pilots for their support of the local school program. They knew their schooling wouldn’t have been possible without flight service to bring all the school supplies, curriculum, and other essential items into the village. As an expression of their thankfulness, the Tala-andig even invited Bailey and Candy to present the certificates and awards to the very first graduates.

one of the first tala-andig graduates receives her diploma

“The reason this graduation is a big deal,” ran the gist of one lady’s speech, “is because now I can read [the] Bible for myself and I won’t be deceived by false teachings.” She then proceeded to read from Genesis in her own language! — a clear result of her schooling.

For pilot Brian Pruett, that was the pinnacle of the whole celebration. “She knew the gospel, had God’s Word in her own language, could read and was educated, and could teach others,” says Brian. “It was the complete package!”

a Tala-andig graduate reads from a portion of the Bible in her own language

As missionary Jason Birkin says, “From the Bible, they know God pursued them and found them here in the middle of the jungle and brought them into His family … and now through the pilots they are seeing something of how God's body, the Church, works and functions together in ministering and reaching out to others. They see they are part of something very big.”

Do you want to be a part of “something very big”? You can help make helicopter flight feasible for education in remote villages and for outreach by trained, willing, and eager indigenous missionaries reaching into isolated villages that still need the gospel.

This article originally appeared on the Ethnos360 Aviation website and was localized for use in Canada.

Posted in Aviation, News, Philippines, Tala Andig People