You think the world is changing fast around you, right? COVID-19. Unrest on all sides. Technology advancing at lightning speed. It’s hard to know how to deal with it all.

Now imagine being a person living in what we might call a primitive environment. You know the world is zooming ahead, and you and your people are barely subsisting. You can scarcely scrape enough together to exist, much less to thrive.

A remote semi-nomadic group of Manobo people in the mountainous jungles of the Philippines is facing that situation. They struggle to make a living selling produce scavenged from the jungles and sold to travelling merchants — for a less-than-fair price. They want to settle down in one place and quit wandering, but that dream can’t be realized without a stable livelihood to support themselves.

Wanting help, they approached a distant Manobo village where, a few years ago, Canadian missionaries Grant and Marianne Bayfield had worked extensively on community development. This village has access to schools and higher education, running water, a medical clinic, a livelihood growing corn and bananas — and the Word of God. The believers in this established village are willing to help the remote village. But to pull off a viable community development project for their neighbours high in the mountains will take more resources than they have.

Bamboo might be a key. The believers, the Bayfields and a big-hearted Filipino businessman named Bob are pursuing the potential model of teaching the remote group to plant, grow and harvest bamboo. Exporting it would allow those in the mountains not only to settle and build more stable communities but also to revitalize the deforested land around them.

Right smack in the centre of all this is the facilitator: the R66 helicopter. “This picture is worth a thousand words,” pilot Alex Minium says of his photo above. The missionary on the right, Grant, is holding a box of bamboo seedlings provided by Bob, the local businessman on the left. The helicopter in the centre will connect them and their team with “the precious people living in the mountains beyond — created in the image of the God of the universe, but lost and without hope, waiting for help.”

“This project aligns exactly with the centre of our focus as Ethnos360 Aviation,” says Alex. As communities in the mountains are established, a missionary team will learn the language unique to this group and teach literacy with the ultimate goal of translating God’s Word and sharing the message of Jesus Christ.

The helicopter has already delivered hundreds of bamboo nodes — too fragile to survive the land trip — to start a nursery. From that supply, the remote village can plant acres of bamboo.

“This is an opportunity,” says the missionary, “to reach out with the gospel, first with works of love, then with the Word of love, to the more remote relatives, just as we did in the beginning with our current village.”

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