More than 20 years ago NTM leadership discovered a people group in the Philippines living in and functioning alone in a isolated area. Except for a few who lived amongst them, they spoke their own dialect. It was then that a desire to share the truth of the gospel with this group in their own language was born. But the laborers were few and there were none to send to tell these people the Good News. At that time Wycliffe were working in various locations in the Philippines and NTM asked them to begin translating the New Testament so that when the missionaries came they would have it already. Wycliffe agreed, being assured that NTM would send missionaries as soon as they could.
Thanks to a few faithful Wycliff missionaries, the translation was started. It took 14 years to bring it to completion and several years ago it was printed and available for this people group. But still there were no missionaries to teach. The area was very isolated and so some missionaries were told it was too unsafe, not reachable with a single engine plane etc. and as time went on, the truth of the gospel was still not taught.
Soon Wycliffe even produced a dictionary in the peoples heart language, but still no missionaries were available to be sent. It was at this time that a little NTM family were looking for a work where they could plant a church. They had worked amongst a small pocket of people in another area helping other missionaries in a church plant. Their desire was to teach Gods word to the same language group and so they began surveying to find the origin of these people. It was then that they came across this people group. The original language group!
But soon they discovered that others before them had been denied to work there. Would they be told, no? They had 3 young children and so they wondered if this would be a reason why they too would be denied. Also, their partner was a single lady, not a family like the previous missionaries. But they requested to start the work there anyway. It took a few weeks before they were told the answer. NTM aviation had to first agree to fly that route with a single engine plane, even though they knew it meant flying over open water with no landing place for several stretches. But they agreed! Much to their delight this family was told yes!
They began to make plans to relocate to the area and build a family home. There were many challenges along the way. Almost being shipwrecked on the seas, living through typhoon Yolanda when it came through the island, having their ministry partner leave the work, learning the difficult language that was spoken on the island and translating the Creation to Christ lessons into the language. It took four years, but they persevered.
More than 20 years after this dream was born the time has finally arrived. This year the darkness that has been over this people group will be lifted, because this year the truth of the Gospel will finally be taught!
We cannot express how thankful our little family is to finally be able to bring the Good News to the Agutaynen people! We are privileged to be used by our Heavenly Father in reaching these people that He loves and who we have come to love too.
Many of you have been valuable partners in reaching the Agutaynens. Whether as a wycliff translator pouring your life out into translation, a pilot agreeing to fly to the island, a faithful giver keeping our family fed and clothed or a friend on their knees lifting us in prayer – you are part of God’s work on Agutaya. From the bottom of our hearts we thank you!
Will you continue to stand by us as we begin the teaching?
Please pray for our family. Pray that we will remain unmoveable in our persuit of reaching the people with truth. Please pray that the truth of the Gospel will penetrate the hearts of the people here. Pray that they will cling to truth and stand against years of lies that they have been told. Pray that we will remain bold for Him no matter what may come. Pray for many to be added to God’s children so that together we may celebrate another brother coming home!
A little NTM family