God of Big Dreams

A story of the impact of aviation for Nard Pugyaou and his village

While most people come to JAARS to serve, JAARS went to Nard Pugyao. As a youth, Nard helped clear an airstrip for his village in the northern part of the Philippines. The airstrip brought a JAARS pilot and translators, whose work on the Isnag Gospel of Mark later brought Nard to belief in Christ. Nard’s newfound belief prompted him to pray for God’s provision for a dream that seemed unrealistic: high school. God answered his prayer with both the provisions and a flight to his new high school in Mindanao, in the southern part of the Philippines. It was the first of many instances where God would provide beyond what Nard could ask or imagine.
During his first flight spanning the 900 miles to Mindanao, Nard was terrified for his life—flying was for the birds! “When I landed, I said, ‘Not me! Not ever again.’” But God changed that with pivotal words from a JAARS pilot: “One day we might not be welcome in your country. You’ve got to go learn to do what I do so you can come back and fly.”

Despite enjoying airplane watching when not in school, Nard still believed he wasn’t meant to fly: he was content on the ground, in the jungles with a machete. But God slowly changed the desires of his heart until becoming a missionary pilot was his dream. Nard had no money to pursue this dream, but he believed in God’s faithfulness to provide.

Now, Nard’s passion is to fulfill the need local churches have to be subsistent and sustainable after translators leave. It’s another big dream that only God can make possible, as he has done throughout Nard’s life. And God is still working in Nard’s village: the translation team finished checking and revising the Isnag Old Testament on July 7, 2021. Praise God with us!

Now retired from flying with JAARS, Nard stays busy, urging the next generation to rise up, inspiring and investing in them at mission conferences and other special occasions like the JAARS Missions at the Airport events. Using the five languages he knows, he’s also active with the English as a Second Language program at his church. He continues to dream big, knowing God will make a way according to his will.

Written By: Julia Rose