Airborne Connections

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Airborne Connections

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Part 1.
What God is doing in people's lives

 

Testimonies Index

It's a Blessed Life Capt Bob Wilkerson
Samuel Banfro, Ghana Airways Landra Chasteen
Michael Jackson on board F/A Valerie Ong
Boy George in the Cockpit Capt Peter Kentley
Following the Holy Spirit F/A Francis Murphy
Martyr for her faith at School Cassie Bernall

 

Getting your Faith Airborne

Reflections, food for thought!
Q & A on the faith journey
Does God have a call on your life?
Entree to Faith in Christ 
Being Disciples - On Line course

 

It’s a Blessed Life
by Bob Wilkerson

There is a popular movie shown on television throughout the holiday season called "It’s a Wonderful Life." Jimmy Stewart portrays the main character George Bailey who, through various trials and struggles, comes to recognize that his is truly a wonderful life. In context of the truth of God’s love in our life, I have come to realize that for me it’s a blessed life. That would be the name of my movie!

I have always felt that I was blessed. I had loving supportive parents. I have a remarkable wife of 33 years, two sons and a career as an airline pilot that started in 1969. Now in reality this is a part of what it means to be blessed. However, it is not the source of a blessed life. I met The Source of a blessed life in 1974. I had been brought up in a Christian home, but I was 33 years old before I experienced what it means to be changed by God’s saving power. It was like a light was turned on in my darkness and all at once I knew Him. It has been 24 years since I was saved, yet I am only beginning to understand God’s redemptive plan and what it means to be blessed.

In Genesis 12:2-3, God told Abraham, "I will bless you... and in you all families of the earth shall be blessed." God entered into a relationship with Abraham which was part of God’s plan of redemption. This of course was completed in Jesus Christ. Through Jesus we are redeemed and called into that same relationship with the Father. I have known this from my earliest years as a Christian but my focus was on working for God. I involved myself in every activity both in the church and outside the church trying to please God and serve Him. While I was doing good things, God never called me into this activity. I was doing everything in my own effort. Over the years I became frustrated, tired and especially disappointed by others. I saw churches split, relationships tear apart and some leaders fall into error. In my own life, I began to look at my Christian life as a failure. In 1994, our youngest son began a four year rebellious period that could only be described as a nightmare for my wife and me. During this time I felt abandoned, but God allowed it to show me what His real purpose is and what it means to be truly blessed in life.

To be blessed in life is to be content, fulfilled, whole and completely satisfied because of Christ. God tells us, "I am your blessing. I will be your protection, provision and a friend that sticks closer than a brother." Contentment and fulfillment will never be found in the things of this world or in trying to serve God in religious activity. It can be found in one simple place, and that is the person, power and presence of Jesus Christ. Regardless of any circum-stances, in Jesus Christ I am blessed.

Over the past year I have begun to focus more on what God’s plan truly is for me. Christ died so that I might enjoy fellowship with Him and the Father. I am thankful my sins are forgiven and I have eternal life through Christ who came to give us life and life more abundantly.

In this blessed life, we are to become a blessing to others. It is a choice we make and what better place to allow God to minister through us than the workplace? Instead of seeing the workplace as an obligation or means of income, I see it as God’s plan for my life, through Christ’s redemptive power, to make a difference in the lives of those around me. I want to bring into their lives a sense of goodness, wholeness, purity and things that are right. It is also a choice we make not to bring brokeness and strife into anyone’s life. I have had to ask God’s forgiveness for judging and stereotyping people. I want to see my co-workers as Christ sees them. As a Christian, It is my prayer that God uses my relationships with others to stir up the person of Christ in fellow believers and increase the desire to know Christ in those who are unbelievers.

What a privilege we have as airline workers and what a joy that God has placed us there. We are surrounded by people who are troubled, broken and sometimes self-destructive. The blessing we have in Christ is that He is bringing us out of that life to a life of contentment in Him. He has given us the opportunity to reach others and bring them to Him.

As we celebrate Christ’s birth, let’s remember that it is not circumstances that bring the greatest blessings. It is instead having a relationship with Him filled with contentment and satisfaction because of Who He Is. In Him we can truly say it’s a blessed life!n

Bob Wilkerson is a Delta Pilot. He and his wife Marianne live in Atlanta, Georgia. Bob may be contacted at  deltabob2000@Mindspring.com

 

"I thank God he has been Faithful to me"

By Samuel Banfro
Ghana Civil Aviation Authority Engineer
(As told to Landra Chasteen)

I come from Ghana, the city of Accra. My family is made up of my mom and Daddy, one sister and three brothers. I am the second born. I came to know the Lord when I was in secondary school at the age of twelve.

We had been hearing the Scripture Union, a group based in the United Kingdom. They did ministry work in the secondary and middle schools around Ghana. After entering secondary school, some colleagues of mine and I said "Why not go join them?" It was my desire to travel around making friends. I did not have my mind on Christ. It was during this time that I heard a message and saw myself mirrored in the words the preacher spoke.

I realised if I were to die, even at that moment, that I had no chance of going to heaven and that hell was meant for me. After this message, I went to see the preacher and spoke to him. I then surrendered my life to the Lord.

That was in 1969. Since then, I have had a steady walk with the Lord. At times things have been tough. Like they say, "Sometimes you are up and sometimes you are down." But, I thank God he has been faithful to me.

Even now I see his hand upon my life in so many ways. I see the Lord in my marriage, my church work and also in my work as an engineer.

I got married about six years ago. After marriage, we were wanting a baby. For a time nothing happened, then due to complications, it seemed as if we would not have a child. People were concerned and praying. Naturally at times there would be anxiety and I would tell friends, "Let’s pray." So, there were prayers coming from people all around. God was faithful through it all and sometime last year my wife told me we were expecting. I said, "Let us see what God will do." In July of 1997, we had our first baby, a son. God is good and he never fails us.

Ever since I came to know the Lord, he has been using me in ministry work especially with youth. In our church, we have been ministering to youth by singing, teaching and taking them around on excursions. All of this is done to lead them to the Lord. Currently, I am an elder in my church. I have a teaching ministry to youth and adults. I have participated in outreach programs in surrounding villages and we have been able to plant five churches. In addition to this, I am involved in music. Our group T. Banfro and the Robins has a cassette recording of gospel songs. In all of this ministry, I am grateful to God for all that he has done and will do!

At the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, I am an engineer with the Radio Engineering Section. I am very active with FCAP in Ghana. My affiliation with them started in 1986. By God’s grace, I am the vice-president now of the Ghana group.

We have 80 to 90 participants overall between three domiciles. The groups meet about three times a week at varied lunch times. Once every month, we have a general meeting where we all come together. Sometimes we go out for recreation and invite people to give talks.

I thank God for FCAP because I realise that it is a tool that God is using to touch people not only in the airlines, but also people who travel in the airports of various countries. FCAP is part of God’s plan. There are many ministries that God uses to reach out to people. I believe that FCAP is one that will stand until Christ comes. FCAP has had a lot of impact on the lives of many in our organisation.

The officials of the company are all aware of FCAP and when we tell them of something we would like to do, they quickly allow us. I believe that the ministry is God ordained. Overall, the fellowships have a good reputation at the airport and people are open to coming. By God’s grace, we want reach out to all workers.

 

Ambassador for Christ
By Valerie Ong, Flight Attendant
Singapore Airlines.

 To be called up for JNB flight which disrupted my original 10 day DXB/IST pattern was not something to be pleased about. However, I went on the flight knowing that wherever I go God is with me... and that He has always astonished me with good things when I learn to let go and please God in my attitude. So I went on the flight happily. True enough, the surprise came on the way back from JNB. We were told that Michael Jackson would be on board.
MJVAL1.jpg (4973 bytes) All the crew were anxious to see him including myself. I murmured to myself and thanked God for bringing the ‘King of Pop’ on our flight. Mr Jackson and his family were very friendly and humble. He chatted with us freely and without hesitation, he would pose with us for photography. There’s just no airs about this man of talent and glamour.
However, knowing that he is a not a believer in Jesus, I prayed for opportunity to share with him about salvation. As I was resting in the crew bunk I was reminded in Col 4:5 ~

" Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity to proclaim the message of Jesus Christ."

Then I prayed, "Lord, guide me."

Again I was reminded that I had a cassette tape by Hillsong: Worship I. Those of you who have heard this tape would agree with me that all the songs were beautiful. I decided to give this cassette tape to Mr Jackson. I laid hands on it and prayed,

"Lord this tape (the seed) I have to plant (sow) in a man who seems to have the world but not you. I ask you to touch Mr. Jackson with your songs of love and power. Amen!"

Afterwards, I looked forward with excitement to giving Mr Jackson the tape. I took a walk into the passenger cabin, checking if everything was fine. Then I saw a passenger standing at door one left stretching himself and I stroke a conversation with him.

Mr. Hughes was going to SYD and has resided there for the past 10 years. In the midst of our conversation, he mentioned that he has not been to church for a long time. I told him that there is a very good Christian worship team in Sydney. I told him of the Hillsongs tape which is produced in Australia (in Sydney) and asked if he would be interested to listen to the tape... to which he readily agreed. With my Walkman, Mr. Hughes was observed to be in deep thoughts and enjoying the songs as he closed his eyes and hummed along swaying his head once awhile.

Praise God! Mr. Hughes copied the address of the church on the cover and said that he would be visiting the church. Glory to God. I was very blessed and encouraged. I told Mr. Hughes that I would love to give him the tape but because I had decided to give it to Mr. Jackson I would mail him one... but he declined and said that he would buy one himself. You see, with one tape God blessed two people on the same flight. Glory to God who was and is to come. Amen!

After the second meal service I approached Mr. Jackson. I mentioned what a great inspiration he is to many people through his songs. Then I asked him if he listens to any Christian songs... He said, "Yes, I do".

Then I told him that he had blessed me with his songs and in return I had a Christian tape for him. He thanked me pleasantly and agreed when I asked him to listen to the tape at least once. I shared with him to open his heart to allow God to inspire him to compose songs that would touch many in God’s power with his talents. A seed has been sown, someone will water it and others will harvest it one day. In all of these I give God all the glory and praise.

 

Boy George in the Cockpit
By Capt Peter Kentley

 

In the early 1980's I was Captain of a DC9 on a flight from Brisbane to Melbourne. Just before departure while parked at a stand off bay, traffic staff advised me that we would be delayed, as we were uplifting Boy George and his entourage on the flight.

This news made the hair on the back of my neck stand up, as I wasn't at all pleased with the image and example that Boy George portrayed to our young people!

Sure enough, at the last moment a number of mini-buses drove onto the tarmac… and Boy George and his group came on board. We then started the check lists for departure.

Later on during the flight, Boy George's manager visited the cockpit and asked me whether Boy George could also visit the cockpit for some video footage. Again, I wasn't too pleased about this, but said OK.

A few minutes later Boy George was sitting beside me on the jump seat in the small DC9 cockpit. As I engaged him in conversation I was amazed to find that I couldn't dislike him as much as I wanted to! It was quite clear that this was a person with a good mind who was part of an incredible marketing program.

As we sat there I prayed… "Lord, what is this person doing here beside me in my cockpit".

The answer came straight away… "Well you pray for him then".

Now here we are in 1998 and this prayer concern has been with me ever since that day. I am regularly drawn back to prayer for Boy George and I share a burden for his welfare before the Lord.

Would you join me now in praying for Boy George and Michael Jackson ~ to come into a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you.

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Following the leading of the Spirit
By Frances Darby (nee Murphy), Air New Zealand


Frances1.jpg (53333 bytes)

My alarm clock was set for 8 a.m. I'd almost forgotten about my special mission which the Lord had requested a week beforehand. I sure remembered when the alarm resounded in my ear! I felt extra lousy and full of flu, but I sat up then fell on my knees to pray. I prayed about the "mission" - nothing was going to deter me - I would sleep later that day after it was accomplished.

The Holy Spirit had laid it on my heart a week before - I was to take a carrot cake to a Catholic priest whom I knew, Fr Gilbert, to let him know that he was seen as precious in the eyes of the Lord and to talk about the Holy Spirit. (Carrot cake was the best I could bake and everyone's favourite.)

"When shall I go Lord?" I asked.
"Next Saturday" came the answer very clearly in my heart.
"What's the best time Lord?"

Again, a clear answer. "Nine o'clock in the morning." Later the book "9 O' Clock in the Morning" by Denis Bennett came to mind, and I kept remembering its title during the week. I prayed much about this and asked the Lord to confirm His guidance in His Word.

I remembered that the previous year, the Lord had sent me on a similar sort of mission" to Fr Gilbert in answer to his prayer. I'd never met him before. I had had a dream in which I saw myself delivering a book to the Catholic priest of that presbytery. I knew exactly where it was. The dream was crystal clear. I can still remember it to this day. I gave the book to the priest dressed in black whom I knew as Fr Gilbert, although I had never met him. Others had spoken of him. In my dream I then looked down to see the title of what I was giving - "Power in Praise," by Merlin Carothers. The dream ended.

After asking the Lord, He gave me the time and day on which to present the book. Sure enough, Fr Gilbert was there, introduced himself and I presented the gift. He unwrapped it, and was speechless. He thanked me as he looked at the title. "It's the answer to my prayer," he stated, twice. "Just thank the Lord" I replied.

Back to "9 O'Clock in the Morning" ... The Lord confirmed my mission by this Scripture which was quickened in my heart as I read it

"…Go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift." Matthew 8:4. Just those words had jumped at me when I read that particular passage and they came to mind several times during the week. The "gift" I understood to mean the Holy Spirit (God's gift) and the carrot cake. The gift of the Holy Spirit is talked about in Acts 1:4-5,8. Jesus speaking "... wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptised with water but in a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit ... you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you…"

I showered and dressed as quickly as possible, praying that the Lord would clear my head and that He'd make sure my infection was not passed on to Fr Gilbert.

Off I went armed with carrot cake, feeling nervous and excited about being on one of the Lord's minor "missions". I arrived at the church just before 9 a.m. and entered. Fr Gilbert was at the front near the altar, so I walked to the front. (I'd left the carrot cake in the car to give later on.) No one else was present. After our greeting, I shared with him what I believed the Lord had put on my heart - that he was very precious in the eyes of the Lord and that He really cared for him. We sat down as I shared about the Holy Spirit's power being released in our lives and about being "born again".

He became "born again" and was baptised with the Holy Spirit's power at that moment. When I later presented the carrot cake to him, he was so grateful and made this comment - "Just before you arrived, I'd been praying to the Lord, 'Lord, when will you show me that I'm precious to you?' then you walked in with His message. Thank you, the Lord has answered my prayers.

I praised the Lord for answered prayer. He'd given me the strength from my sick bed and a horrific experience the night before to do His will - as it states In Matthew 17:20 "Nothing will be Impossible for you." That's you and me, the believer. The Lord has no favourites.

Nine in the morning had been the Lord's perfect timing. We had uninterrupted time to discuss what was needed. Amazing in a busy priest's Saturday schedule. God is so great!

Author: Frances Murphy, Flight Attendant, Air New Zealand.
From her auto-biography: Flying High on Miracles pp 64-65
McLaren Brown Publishing, Auckland New Zealand

Comment

This story is just the kind of thing we are hoping Christian Crew will be inspired by. To follow the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and operate in their gifts, especially when away from home in our jobs. God can use you mightily to bless others as you lift your vision to Him.

Testimonies Index

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  Page update: 30 August 2008 ~ Contact us at Feedback

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