Shaking the Maliyali World

Aviation takes the gospel to the Maliyali people

An earth-shaking, paradigm-shifting clash of worldviews is happening right now in Papua New Guinea. And Ethnos360 Aviation pilot Josh Verdonck has had a front row seat from the beginning.

It started in 2017 when Josh was flying Kodiak airplanes. “I had the opportunity to fly house-building materials to an airstrip in the Western Highlands. From there, the supplies were shuttled by helicopter to a place called Maliyali. Three families – the Rimestads, Muellers and later the Earls – built their houses and moved their families into this remote location.”

For years, the chief council man of the Maliyali people had written letters to nearby missionaries asking for someone to come and teach them God’s Talk
"Other groups around them were hearing the story, but no one had come to them."

God was at work, though, and He spurred that enthusiastic team of young missionaries to face the task. By 2017, after initial visits to lay the groundwork and verify permissions, the team moved into the Maliyali’s remote location, knowing that the helicopter would be their supply line for everything they needed.

For five years, the church planting team delved deep into the Maliyali language and culture. As they worked and interacted with the people, they discovered the thinking, the language and the illustrations that God would use to pierce through the darkness to the hearts of the Maliyali people.

Through those five years, Ethnos360 Aviation supplied and sustained the team. But Josh was not a part of it, having returned to the USA for required training. As a welcome bonus, though, he added a helicopter rating to his flight credentials.

By the time he and his family returned to Papua New Guinea, the Maliyali team had reached the point of translating Scripture and developing plans to teach foundational Bible lessons. And Josh was ready and willing to help. “I get to serve the Maliyali people with the helicopter as well!”

"[Jesus’] death … that was for me! Now I am trusting Him.”

A few months later, he sent news: “On August 29th, 2022, the village will gather to hear the missionaries begin teaching Bible lessons in their own language. … That understanding will transform the worldview of these people who have not had the chance to hear and have lived in darkness.”

Transform it did! Many voiced their belief: “My ancestor’s road was not God’s road. They did not know, but the jungle spirits are Satan’s. I have turned my back on all other roads! Any other road? Not for me!"

“The payment for my sin—Jesus already took it! So I don't have to pay for my sin. My sin debt is gone. ... I have … Jesus' righteousness! God looks at me and I am His friend. I will be forever with Him!”

The Maliyali’s dramatic transformation from darkness to light is just beginning. The missionaries have years of teaching and disciple-making ahead as they bring the Maliyali believers to maturity. Ethnos360 Aviation will, by God’s grace, be there to sustain the team. Josh is committed to standing with them as they work: “We have been honored to be part of making it possible for the missionaries to live in Maliyali. … We are in a battle for the Truth.”

Written By: Ethnos360 Aviation