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Pay Day

February 6th marked the day the Iski tribe has waited for – the beginning of “God’s Talk.”

For so long, this people group, numbering over 10,000, has faced the futility of trying to keep tribal traditions as well as following a misguided idea of Western religion. “We are unchanged. ... We have done everything we were told to do, but we are still controlled by our desire to do bad things,” they said. But then they heard that God’s Talk had dramatically changed a neighboring tribe.

Desperately hoping to hear the message, a group of 300 Iski made an unprecedented, counter cultural decision: They relocated to a tiny hamlet nearer to their neighbors, taking all their possessions and clearing virgin jungle for new houses and gardens. When their efforts to learn the neighboring tribe’s language failed, they petitioned for missionaries to come to their village.

LongRanger sling load

NTM Aviation pilot Mike McGregor knows the place well. It’s located in a swampy, remote valley where outsiders had never been. The only way in and out is by helicopter. Oversize supplies go by “external loads suspended by ropes beneath the helicopter,” says Mike — a type of flying that can be very challenging and exhausting.

Missionary Seth Callahan remembers preparing to fly in and build his family’s house. “Helicopters run off of liquefied $100 bills,” he said jokingly. So he wrote “extremely detailed supply lists,” trying not to forget anything! “Paying an extra $1,440 to call in a helicopter because you forgot to pack glue for your plumbing is very uncool.”

But all the expense and work was worth it. Once serviceable houses were set up, the missionaries could dedicate their time to cracking the code of the Iski language and culture.

The villagers helped the missionaries all they could. They were “ready to help with language sessions, and they regularly [brought] gifts of food … asking for nothing in return,” says Seth. “When [the missionaries] offered thanks for these services, the people consistently replied, ‘We’re not doing these things for you. We want to hear God’s talk, so we want to do whatever we can to help you learn our language quickly.”

The missionaries learned, and now the lessons have begun! Soon they will hear that only Jesus can free them from their sin burden. And all the expense and work to bring them that message will be worth it.  Thank you for your donations to the Missionary Flight Sponsorship Program that make it possible for missionaries like the Callahans to continue working in remote village locations.

Tags: Helicopter, Papua New Guinea
POSTED ON Mar 14, 2017 by Wonita Werley