Smoke burned Pandak’s eyes as he swung in his hammock with fierce concentration. But he couldn’t see the smoke, nor could he hear the clatter of the village around him. He was deep in a trance, fighting desperately to navigate his village through a world ruled by hundreds of spirits.
Nearly a year had passed since his dream about the Batangan crossing the fiery sea, and he was beginning to get discouraged. So little progress had been made toward reaching them with the news of Jesus. “God!” he cried out. “What is Your plan? Why is it taking so long?”
As Ramon lay pleading for the Batangan, God once again gave him a dream. He found himself looking down at a map of the world.
On one side, Ramon saw an indescribably beautiful land and many Alangan church members standing there. On the opposite side of the sea stood the Batangan about to be destroyed by the fire. Screaming in terror, they begged for deliverance, but there was no one to help them.
I did what I could, going into the foothills where I providentially met a few Batangan and interviewing anyone who knew anything about them. When I left, I was certain I had accomplished nothing except wasting the Lord’s money.
Fearing the outside world would contaminate them, these people, sometimes referred to as the Highland Batangan or True Batangan, hired men to guard these trailheads so no one could reach them, not even the rest of their tribe who chose not to flee the foreign influences.
You see, I grew up working with AFM among the Philippine Alangan people. As I grew, God began opening my eyes to what was all around me. I saw the desperation of the lost. I saw the vastness of the work still to do. I saw the eyes of that little boy, and I felt God telling me that this was the calling for which He was preparing my life.