Friday, October 23, 2009

Heaven's value increases

Today was another sobering day. I found out a mentor to many missionary pilots died in a training crash. I imagine, today, pilot rooms in every corner of the globe fell silent.

Ron put me through his paces in January 2008 to help me get to where I am now. He was a gifted pilot and extraordinary instructor. He started by giving a lot of his energy and wisdom at Moody Bible's flight program in Tennessee, then recently focused on prepping soon to be missionary aviators with what they needed before taking the tough technical evaluations of the ministries they were called to serve.

The pilot he was with was probably at the same place I was one and a half years ago... eager to get the evaluation behind him, eager to get out to the field, and appreciative of the knowledge he was soaking up from Ron in the right seat. I can even picture the flight they must have been doing when the accident happened.

I doubt we will know what happened, but I do know Ron knew that C 206 like an old friend. For my training we drilled and drilled on emergencies I had previously only wondered about. I felt confident with both what I learned and his ability. That's the shocker that guys in jungle stained pilot shirts all over the world are wrestling with. Even the best ... even the best.

A friend told me on the phone today "Jerry, you should think about doing something else. This aviation stuff is dangerous." I told him "It always has been."

In our candidate training in New York before coming out we watched a sermon on video for a missionary's funeral. The African pastor talked about the story of a man who sold everything so he could buy the field which had hidden in it a priceless treasure. To that man, the value of the field was everything. We can say that with the sacrifice of Frank, Ryan, and now Ron, the value of Heaven is so much more. They gave everything to have that treasure.

Mission aviation is not the best job for anyone's health ... but the chance to give it all for God's kingdom is something I would not trade, even for the world.


Aerochet said...

Thank the Lord for people that sacrifice so much for the Kingdom of God. I'll bet he received a "Well done, my good and faithful servant".

Fellow Believer and Pilot in South Carolina

Leslie said...

Jerry, I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm sure you weren't over the loss from a few months ago, and this one again.

If anyone ever tells you that your job is dangerous; remind them that life is dangerous. People die every second of every day. Be encouraged that you are doing something that glorifies God and you are doing His will.

Kathi said...

I'm sorry to hear of this loss. I am praying for you. May the Lord comfort and encourage you.