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Stranded!

“I know what that feels like,” reminisced Ethnos360 Aviation pilot Jamin Peck, serving in Asia-Pacific.

Traveling to school hundreds of miles away from his parents was a difficult choice for Jamin to make as a child. But with his parents serving in a remote village in central Africa, going away to school was sometimes the best option to get a good education.

Twenty years later, Jamin sees many young people from remote people groups in Asia-Pacific also make that same tough decision, spending months away from their families. Such was the case for a group of 12 students – indigenous missionaries’ and church members’ kids – from the Tugutil tribe, studying in a city far from home as 2020 began.

Then came the global COVID-19 pandemic. Their schools shut down, travel was restricted, and their parents exhausted all options trying to bring their children home.

Finally, four months later and following all the new national, regional, and local protocols, the Ethnos360 Aviation team in Asia-Pacific – including Jamin – obtained all the permissions needed to fly these dear students home to a wonderful reunion.

Family members shared long, tight embraces and tears of joy as they greeted the returned students. “I was fighting back tears myself,” said Jamin.

Though sending their children off to school is a tough step for Tugutil families, they know that investing in the next generation is essential. They need young people capable of leading the Tugutil church to face a rapidly changing world. And until good education comes to their island, the youth are prepared to go and find it, armed with strong spiritual teaching to face the challenges.

COVID-19 Obstacles

Though some students were relieved to return to their remote homes after being stranded by COVID-19, students from another indigenous church wanted to get to the city to continue their high school or college educations.

One huge obstacle faced them: To enter the city where their schools were located, a person needed to test free of COVID and have a letter of health. But the city did not have enough test kits. So, they required all arrivals to bring a letter of health and a negative COVID test from their point of origin.

“This is just not possible in the remote locations where we serve,” said pilot Jamin Peck, “and even if we provided the test kits, there’s no one with the authority to administer them interior.”

Jamin and his co-workers took action, going far beyond their normal aviation roles. They contacted a doctor in the city, and, with the permission of the airport there, worked out a deal to have her perform the tests and generate the letters of health right there in the airport. Ethnos360 Aviation agreed to provide the test equipment, using funds from our Disaster Relief Fund. With documentation in hand, the students could leave the airport and enter the city.

Your participation in the Ethnos360 Missionary Flight Sponsorship makes flights affordable for these churches that we all have been privileged to support and watch grow from the beginning. Thank you for helping them prepare their young people to face the inevitable encroachment of civilization so their churches can thrive. As Jamin says, “Investing in the next generation is essential for a mature church.” Thank you for your part.

Tags: Asia-Pacific region, Kodiak Aircraft, Tugutil People,
POSTED ON Sep 08, 2020 by Wonita Werley