“From headhunters, they are now soul hunters.” That’s how Filipino missionary Rene Tanjusay characterizes the Ilongot tribal people of the Philippines.
Before NTM sent its first missionary to them, the Ilongot were well-known killers. But in 1954, a Filipino missionary went to work among them, followed by an American. From that small beginning, 23 groups of Ilongot believers reach out to those around them.
Last year, church leaders in one Ilongot village began asking Mr. Tanjusay whether he could possibly help them arrange for a medical team to come help them. Many adults and children needed health attention. But since their location has no road access, getting help was tough. It would take about a day to hike out – a difficult option for small children and the elderly. Even if they could get to the lowlands, the medical costs would be out of their range.
The idea of a visiting medical team suited the villagers. However, for a team to hike in with medicines and dental equipment was not feasible.
Mr. Tanjusay talked with NTM Aviation to see if the medical team could get transportation by helicopter to Keyet. Sure enough, they could help.
A doctor, a dentist, an optometrist, four nurses, a missionary, and five helpers made up the team. Pilot Zach Keller shuttled them into the village on the appointed day. The medical personnel set up their clinic in the church meeting house and went to work. They served 143 people with medical needs, 43 with dental problems, and 47 with optical issues.
“The people were so blessed and happy that we could use the helicopter for the medical mission” said Rene. One of the church elders commented on how much the medical personnel helped the village. They definitely look forward to another visit in the future.
Thanks to those who give and pray, NTM Aviation can use aviation to encourage people in the Body of Christ like the Ilongot.