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The Mysterious Batangan

Deep in the rugged interior of central Mindoro live the Batangan. Though Overseas Missionary Fellowship personnel have long had contact with the people group, reports of an isolated Batangan sub-tribe continue to circulate.

Adventist Frontier Missions Holbrook family recently planted the first Christian presence among the neighboring Alangan tribe of Occidental Mindoro. As the indigenous Alangan church grows, stories of encounters with the chief of the Batangan sub-tribe have been relayed by Alangan elders. The Batangan representative claims to be the only one of his people to have had contact with the outside world. Aerial surveys indicate as many as 12-15,000 Batangan live in the extremely rugged terrain.

To an outsider, Alangan Christians, clad in g-strings, appear modestly dressed compared to the entirely natural Batangan. According to Alangan leaders, the Batangan have expressed interest in medical help, under one condition – anyone coming to live among them must come as they are – naked!

Tim Holbrook’s passion is to see the church planted among the Batangan sub-tribe. Two major obstacles stand in the way. Years of exposure to malaria have taken their toll and the project is so remote that it can only be accomplished with regular airdrops of supplies. The area is only accessible on foot during a three-month period in dry season. One must hike and climb the river upstream as it flows from mountains ascending nearly eight thousand feet into the tropical sky. There are no roads, trails or runways.

On May 28, 2003 God convicted an AWA donor to underwrite an exploration team into this inhospitable environment! We take this as God’s signal to reach into the unknown! Months of planning and preparation lie ahead. Little information is available. The Alangan are the only ones to have contact with the Batangan sub-tribe. The Holbrooks are the only outsiders who speak Alangan. The Alangan must be canvassed to learn as much as possible. A careless encounter could destroy any potential influence for good. A strategy of contact must be developed. Provisions and contingency plans need to be prepared.

This is where you, dear reader, play a specific and crucial role. We need you to pray. Pray, in accordance with Christ’s instructions to ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers. Spirit-filled courageous young people are needed to endure this dangerous expedition and potential subsequent ministry. Share this opportunity with a friend and invite them to pray. Act by investing. God has, through His people, provided an airplane for the Philippines. Resources are needed to purchase a container, ship the plane, and pay duty and processing fees. Tools and spare parts need to be purchased. A place to base the aircraft needs to be secured.

As stewards of the resources God has entrusted, we all have an obligation to invest God-given possessions where they will yield eternal dividends. What has God given you that may be used to reach others? Don’t let this opportunity pass. Contact AWA today!

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