CHRISTIANS IN AVIATION
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1. Lessons from a missing plane
2. 'My place taken on disaster flight'
3. 'My dad's with the Lord' - Capt. Piet Uys (Helderberg captain's son)
4. Alclad Angels
5. Letters from (the late, ex-SAA captain) Laurie Kay
6. Missionary plane saves life shortly after arriving
7. Mission pilot Betty Green wasn't 'yellow'
8. Aviators in Finland responding
9. Brave young flyer loses fight
Top: A six-seat twin-engine Piper Seneca, like the one that went missing with a pilot and four occupants in the Drakensberg Mountains in 1990. The late Keith Page, pilot of the missing plane, had flown Mirage III CZs like the one (above) piloted by Glen Warden captured by top-class aviation photographer Justin de Reuck +27 82 457 5299; firstname.lastname@example.org
Lessons from a missing plane
Johan Lottering writes that hearing the Lord’s voice is invariably the deepest longing of any Christian believer. Sometimes we perceive, but don’t know how to respond or what to believe.
When a six-seat twin-engine Piper Seneca charter plane went missing on the fateful afternoon of Oct. 18, 1990 many gathered in groups to pray for the safe return of the aircraft, its pilot and four other occupants.
Last communications with the homebound charter flight from Richards Bay in KZN to Grand Central Airport in Midrand in dismal weather terminated around 16h38. The aircraft disappeared from Durban radar screens and the missing status became official when the latest possible time of arrival exceeded the fuel endurance.
The pilot was the cream of the crop. In the South African Air Force he had flown ‘Strykysters’ or Mirage III fighter jets, the most difficult of the series, known for inherent instability and responsiveness. If a pilot like Keith Page (29) with 1 497 hours to his credit and a ten-year stint in the Air Force could not make it home, it was unlikely that anybody else could.
Some months before, he had left the Air Force after being selected by South African Airways. He was biding his time before the course on Boeing airliners would commence by logging charter hours on civilian aircraft, providing for his young family that way. According to all accounts, Keith Page was a devout believer in Jesus Christ and an active member of the Hatfield Christian Church.
Dozens of planes would take part in the search and rescue effort, to no avail. Having conducted several charter flights in the same area on charter flights some months before, I had often encountered difficulty picking up the navigational beacon at Ladysmith. To my mind the ill-fated pilot had waited for his on-board equipment to detect the navigational beam of the VHF Omni-directional station, which would aid him in altering course towards Warden and Johannesburg away from the mountain range.
I had in fact marked the very spot where he collided on a wall-map in my charter flight office at Wonderboom Airport in Pretoria. I had pointed it out to two of the search coordinators. But, they had an entirely different interpretation.
How does one tell the family and perhaps give them false hope? I had no option but to bow to the superior insight of the two coordinators. In those days Global Positioning Systems were but a dream and the pilot was flying in clouds, solely relying on instruments. The aircraft was not equipped with anti– and de-icing equipment and could freeze over and fall from the sky within minutes of climbing higher than the assigned level, equivalent to 10 000 feet above mean sea level.
But, the mountains mere miles ahead were as high as 12 000 feet. Some of the on-board equipment such as radar, Distance Measuring Equipment and Automatic Direct Finder were also suspected not to function properly. They had a tail-wind of such magnitude any mental calculations would have been pointless. Disciplined as the pilot was, he would wait on the signal to come alive… and it never did. (Remember the Hansie Cronjé Accident at George?)
The real anguish for loved ones must have started when the whereabouts of the missing plane went on for months. Mrs Chris Stead, nowadays of Hermanus but a member of the same congregation as the bereaved family at the time, had the unction from the Holy Spirit about the precise location of the plane. She had shared what she had sensed with “whoever had an ear”. With all avenues exhausted no-one knew how to respond anymore, least of all to the opinion of a housewife… A hiker stumbled across the plane wreck six months later, at an elevation of 9 800 feet near Cathedral Peak and the Grass-cutters’ Cave above the Icidi Pass… in the area the Holy Spirit had revealed to Mrs Stead. The five male occupants had evidently died on impact.
The idea is not to point fingers here, but pose the question: How can we be sure the Holy Spirit is either talking to us, or through us? One way of discerning a prophetic word or word of knowledge would be to evaluate consistency with the Bible. As believers we are not to turn to diviners, or any other spirit medium or means. The Bible could communicate in metaphors. A flying object could e.g. be construed as an eagle or an angel. In Jeremiah 14: 14 we are warned many so-called prophets are uttering ‘wishful thinking’. The situation could be very difficult indeed. Ultimately, learning to discern the Holy Spirit could only come from a personal relationship with the Lord. (Story from Pneuma SA – Christian Regional News, Edition 7, March 2017. To get a digital copy, write to: email@example.com]
In social psychology the term ‘groupthink’ applies to a type of thinking in which group members share such a strong motivation to achieve consensus they lose the ability to evaluate alternative viewpoints critically. The characteristics include perceived invulnerability by the group, leading to a misconception that the group cannot make significant errors. Group members, collectively and individually, rationalize and discount information which could contradict the predominant view of the group. The group views other groups stereotypically, justifying the dismissal of other opinions. [Social Psychology, Ed. 3, Robert S. Feldman; 2001; pp. 459—460; 488]
A most poignant example was the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger on Jan. 28, 1986. The US space program had been under severe budget pressure. The presence of teacher and crew member Christa McAuliffe as the first women in space would revitalize public interest.
An unusual cold snap in Florida had caused several postponements. The biggest technical problem would be the integrity of O-ring rubber seals in the rocket boosters which had never been tested for such conditions and could be brittle and malfunction.
NASA officials repeatedly sent the best engineers back to the drawing board to re-evaluate their findings and eventually return a consensus decision defying all logic of the launch being within acceptable safety parameters.
In the end the space vehicle exploded 73 seconds after the launch, costing the lives of all seven crew members. The program was set on ice for three years.
The lesson from the missing plane and the Challenger may be in the counsel of many is wisdom (Prov. 15: 22). But, their wisdom must come from the Holy Spirit. Strong individuals might send co-counsellors to the drawing board to reach a “desired conclusion”.
Ultimately nothing beats fasting and prayer, uncompromised Biblical principles and the leading of the Holy Spirit
SHOULD YOU LIKE TO GET A DIGITAL COPY OF THE CHRISTIAN NEWSPAPER PNEUMA SA - CHRISTIAN REGIONAL NEWS IN WHICH THE STORY ABOVE WAS FIRST PUBLISHED, CLICK ON THE LINK:
'My place taken on disaster flight’
VERY nearly a victim of the Helderberg air disaster, Dr Ben Booyens (079-626-7597; firstname.lastname@example.org) nowadays is the Western Cape representative of Trans-World Radio (broadcasting on DSTV Channel 855). He used to be a cabin controller for SAA for many years, but had swapped his seat on the disaster flight at the last minute.
He recently wrote to Pneuma SA (‘Pneuma’ means Breath of God, as in Holy Spirit), a new free monthly regional Christian tabloid newspaper in the Western Cape, he could never understand why his life had been spared instead of that of the chief cabin controller, Nico van Schalkwyk. The latter had urged him to exchange places as he'd wanted to do some Christmas shopping in Taipei. Ben obliged and caught a flight to Frankfurt instead.
About three months before the ill-fated flight Ben had led another colleague Peter Crambs to the Lord in his hotel room in London. He cannot vouch for anyone and would not presume to make any expressions about their Faith except that he had taken a stroll on the beach during a stop-over at Ilha do Sal with the late Capt. Dawie Uys, would-be commander of Flight 295 from Taipei to Johannesburg, one evening. The latter had confirmed he had a relationship with the living God, which would be reassuring for his loved ones later on.
It is neither for us nor anyone to judge.
The Helderberg Boeing 747 later crash-dived into the Indian Ocean east off the coast of Mauritius in the early hours of the morning of Nov. 28, 1987. An inquest found a fire in the freight compartment to have been the most likely cause of the disaster which had claimed all 159 lives aboard.
‘My dad’s gone to be with the Lord’ – Capt. Piet Uys
In response to an article in Pneuma SA – Christian Regional News (email@example.com) Mango Airlines captain, Piet Uys [firstname.lastname@example.org] son of the late Capt. Dawie Uys, wrote the following letter, which may well encourage next-of-kin of victims of the Helderberg and similar air disasters...
He wrote, “My father had served in the Dutch Reformed Church as a deacon for many years.
“I knew he was a Christian, but my concern was whether or not he had a Spirit Filled relationship with the Lord. I was in turmoil and yearned for confirmation that he had inherited Eternal Life.
“I began praying in earnest and asked the Lord to give me confirmation, or some sign that my father had gone to be with Him.
“Not long afterwards, the Lord showed me in a dream how he had fetched my father from the wreck of the Helderberg. Today I know for sure my father has gone to be with our 'Abba Father' in Heaven! The image of God’s Grace totally overwhelmed me. I will be eternally grateful for His love and grace.
[Despite a busy schedule as training captain, Capt. Piet Uys is an incredible Christian motivational speaker. He had e.g. spent months inspecting the salvaged wreck and has a unique insight into the causal factors leading up to the disaster – Editor]
4. ALCLAD ANGELS
Some two decades ago Cecile and I had the privilege of regularly meeting with a former Mustang fighter aircraft squadron leader. In a sense he was like an angel from heaven, without us realizing his worth at the time. Gordon Marshall, at the head of Mission Aviation Fellowship's head office, with whom we had regular encounters at Wonderboom Airport was a wonderful man.
In the early 1990s we were trying to run the ‘one-stop-aviation-shop' situated at the proverbial city gates. The MAF people would pop in for tea whenever they brought their Cherokee Six, ZS-FOM for servicing. Gordon must have been in his sixties, but despite our beckoning and insistence would waiting patiently to let some client finish his business first. He was always accompanied by a friend Robert Cook, who drove him back to Edenvale where he lived. Though we knew him as ‘Gordon’ it turned out his Air Force name was 'Gus'. He was never boastful and we'd known him for years by the time we discovered he was actually a Korean War hero who had flown P-51 D Mustangs.The discovery was purely by chance.
It so happened that around the time of Gordon's visits the South African Air Force (S.A.A.F.) had issued a 60th Anniversary Commemorative coffee table book. Cecile had gotten me a copy of limited edition book through a contact in Armscor where she used to work in the Public Relations department. One day, silvery haired Gordon with his always impeccably kept moustache in his customary reserved and dignified manner inquired "...if he 'might' page through the book?" He was both elated and surprised and at discovering pictures ‘yours truly’ in full fighter pilot attire depicted atop the wing of a Mustang P-51 D in Korea!
His hair was still raven black back in the image, but the high cheek bones and facial expression were unmistakably his. It took quite a few prompts to extract a few war stories from Gordon. Upon relating one story he would do his level best to give all the glory to God and to credit his fellow wing-men. He swallowed back a tear or two as he fondly did them proud in his tale. I could picture them standing there.
The aerial comrades were: Lieutenants John Howe, Larry Eager and Jesse Powell Verster (23). The latter would be killed only days after that glorious display of courage on June 24, 1951, succumbing to wounds after attracting rifle fire and still doing a near-perfect forced landing whilst on a ferry flight from K-10 to K-16 airstrip in Korea on July 1, 1951.
Gordon added that upon being summoned to assist the pinned down troops the Mosquito Controller had considered the gun batteries so effectively arrayed he would dispatch the Bell G-47 medical evacuation helicopter even before the Mustangs commenced their attacks.
He and everyone else had thought the anti-aircraft guns' fire screen to be impenetrable. However, wing leader Marshall had a theory that a gun would always need an angle, however slight, to strike an attacking aircraft. He would put this theory to the tes.
To the men on the ground those thundering chariots in leading Springbok insignia, bursting streams of molten lead and fire, must have been like iron clad angels from Heaven.
One shell would explode so close to the cockpit that the young Lt. Marshall’s ear would bleed. He would wear a hearing aid for the rest of his life.
Upon pulling out from the near vertical dives the G-forces were so enormous they’d ended on the floor of their Mustangs, fighting to regain consciousness and control having blacked out, each time.
One can seem them in the minds eye doing victory rolls before setting sail over the horizon.
A US marine present that day, wrote on a website many years later, he had been young and he had been old. He had seen many great things. His sons would be grid iron rugby players and he would experience the exhilaration of them playing in championship finals many times. When the stadium's roof would be about to lift with the roar of the crowd he would always remember that no moment would ever surpass that particular day.
“I’ll ever recall with minute detail the most spectacular feat I’ve ever lived to witness - and tell about. We had gained the ridge line of our objective upon which we were catching all hell because of an overwhelming ‘Gook’ (Korean) counter-attack. The tide of battle was leaving casualties in its wake like seashells cast upon a beach. It was then we saw four silvery streaks plummet from the skies with guns blazing. It was so wondrous a sight we completely forgot our whereabouts or line and just stood up in our foxholes and cheered. The “Hall of Fame” does not possess any greater men than those who flew that day’.
Here's what the website of the Eighth Army Air Wing, under whose overall command the mighty men of valor, the South African contingent, were operating, at one stage displayed:
‘On 24 June Lt G. H. Marshall put up a noteworthy exhibition when he led a flight of four Mustangs against a concentration of enemy troops situated in a practically inaccessible location. The surrounding terrain was defended by numerous enemy automatic weapons and heavy anti-aircraft guns. Without hesitation and with complete disregard for personal safety, Lt Marshall led his flight through the screen of intense and accurate enemy fire to deliver repeated attacks on the target, resulting in the destruction of five 40 mm guns, two automatic weapon positions and 150 enemy troops.
Lt Marshall was granted the immediate award of the US D.F.C. for his outstanding gallantry and leadership, while the other members of his flight were awarded the US Air Medal. The websites worth looking up include
5. LETTERS FROM LAURIE KAY
GOD’S TIMING IS ALWAYS PERFECT. HE HAS CALLED UP LAURIE KAY, BUT NOT BEFORE HE'D LEFT A SERIES OF INSPIRING MESSAGES FOR AVIATORS, WHICH WE ARE PRIVILEGED TO SHARE WITH YOU. YOU MAY SEE BY THE DATES THE TIMING WAS DIVINE.
HAVING CONSIDERED FOR HOURS WHETHER OR NOT LAURIE WOULD HAVE WANTED SUCH CORRESPONDENCE POSTED, WE COULD ONLY CONCLUDE DUE TO THE NATURE OF HIS MESSAGES PERTAINING TO AIR SAFETY AND OUR ATTITUDES TO LIFE AND FELLOW MAN, HE WOULD HAVE WANTED IT.
MAY YOU TAKE HIS LESSONS TO HEART AND NOT DELAY IN CHOOSING THE LORD AS PERSONAL MASTER AND SAVIOR. MAY YOUR DECISION REFLECT IN YOUR APPROACH TO YOUR FLYING CAREER AND SHOW EVEN IN YOUR DAILY CONDUCT ON THE ROAD... AS LAURIE HAD ONLY RECENTLY APTLY POINTED OUT.
PLEASE REGARD THIS AS A TRIBUTE TO A GREAT AVIATOR, A TRUE SOUTH AFRICAN... A HUMBLE MAN... AND A BELIEVER IN GOD. HERE GOES...
To: Laurie Kay
Sent: Apr 9, 2013 08:37
Thank you so much for the invaluable inputs and permission. It must do some good.
I believe it's the Lord's Grace which preserves us. I must run, but will convey greetings to the folks at NAC.
From: Laurie Kay
Sent: Apr 9, 2013 08:28
No problem at all. As long as someone reads and perhaps applies to their operation or way of flying and it saves a life. Having spent many years attending airshows, funerals, fly-pasts, safety lectures, weapons camps, pub nights and all those fun and not so fun events one gets a relatively broad spectrum of ideas. Some are good and others not so good.
When I was a very young pilot I could fit into many a role. I was immortal when (I) needed to be, I could be invisible and I could be faster than the speeding bullet and I was stronger than superman. Only through sheer good fortune did I survive and with age and maturity I realized I was never ever any of the above.
Having been on the airshow circuit since the early seventies I recognize several of the above tongue in cheek statements pertinent to current pilots and also young people who do not fly but perhaps drive fast and powerful motor cars.
I have been driving for fifty years now and that does make me an experienced driver. Put me in any high performance racing car and I will probably stall it as the lights go green, but if not I will try my best to stay with the pack. I will now prang at the first corner without a shadow of a doubt. Why though, I am a very experienced driver people will say!
No Johan, so many of the pilots who attend airshows as either spectators or participants end up in dangerous situations because the hype during the show and the lack of discipline is a factor that makes them go outside the parameters of aircraft capability or their own personal ability People who have been to Kayalami race days drive like idiots when they are going home. It's the same old story at the airshow when it's all over as well.
These topics are here to stay because of the onion skin syndrome and as one layer is removed then a younger layer is there to take its place. It's a fact and it's simply a tragedy. I really hope that you enjoy your seminar. If Nigel and Gary are there, please send them my best wishes.
Sent: Monday, April 08, 2013 7:04 PM
To: Laurie Kay
Apologies for the intermittent replies! However, I am attending a school at NAC over the next four days. Your two stories can be merged, which I'd be pleased to post - if that's okay. Thank you and best regards,
From: Laurie Kay
Sent: Apr 8, 2013 11:14
I have been in this aviation game for many years now. I am certain that many of my colleagues in the SA Air Force probably had the same thoughts going through their minds when we were sitting on those terribly uncomfortable pews in a church somewhere in South Africa looking at a coffin with the remains of a friend or loved one. I have been to too many funerals and especially in my youth, dressed in "full blues".
I would often think and say "it was only a matter of time before he crashed" or "why did someone not say something to him or his superior?"
Well, age has perhaps made me far more vocal. A year or two ago I was working from Skukuza Airport with the anti-rhino poaching when a young fellow came in and landed.
Everything was very impressive and rather interesting about his arrival. It was his departure that intrigued me though. I made some enquiries and obtained his details. I called him and left several messages on his cell phone to call me when he had a chance. This he did some five days later.
He asked who was speaking and I said "your friendly Boeing pilot". There was a bit of a stunned silence because when he had been approached by a female member of the SAP as to certain contraventions, she said it had been witnessed by a person called Laurie Kay. His response was an all-time classic and he said and I quote from the words of the SAP Lady Officer..."What does he know? He only flies Boeings!"
6. Plane saves life after arriving at Mission Station
FOLLOWING the air crash in which volunteer workers Dr. Jay Erickson and wife Katrina lost their lives on June 2, 2012 at Chitokoloki Mission Hospital in Zambia’s Northwest Province it had been truly amazing how the Lord provided. The tragic events were reported in a previous article, below.
After numerous hold ups with the insurance the Billy Graham Foundation eventually decided to donate a more superior Cessna 206, with stronger engine and even better avionic equipment to replace the one destroyed in the crash. Now isn't that a testimony of the Lord's Grace and Intervention?
[Picture: Don and Gordon shortly after a grueling flight. Minutes later they had to do their first evacuation!]
Gordon Hannah, the administrator of the hospital, can still see the Hand of God in preparing just the right aircraft. In the end it was only His guidance bringing all together. The aircraft had been based in Nairobi, Kenya.
Pilot-cum-engineer Don Amborski and Gordon went to Nairobi on March 17, 2013. The aircraft was inspected and not only met but exceeded their highest expectations. The aircraft had been completely rebuilt in 2009 and was very well maintained by AIM at Wilson Airport.
Over the next two days a flurry of activity occurred such as the transfer of ownership permits, licenses, insurance, pilot checks, maintenance checks and the last document received around midnight from the Kenyan Civil Aviation Authorities – affirming what favour the Lord had bestowed in the hearts and minds of all involved.
On March 27, 2013 the plane made its first trip to Chitokoloki after clearing customs in Lusaka, Zambia. Shortly after landing and an exhausting day they were required to do an emergency evacuation. A Canadian visitor at remote location had been seriously injured in an accident. The speedy transfer to Chitokoloki Mission Hospital probably saved his life!
The pilot is reportedly very impressed with new Cessna 206, especially the bigger engine than the previous one, excellent avionics and very good condition. They praise the Lord for making all possible and expressed appreciation for the many prayers which had gone into the situation.
[Four years later the new plane had logged no fewer than 800 hours of mission flights. Glory to the Lord!]
7. Betty Greene was never ‘yellow’
AS aviator Betty Greene (1920 – 1997) never needed plumes of fire to announce her arrival as an aviator. As a lady she never needed ‘a little black number’ to focus attention on her. Yet, wherever she'd gone, she'd created quite a stir.
In her heyday an airplane would be the most unusual means of drawing folks from afar to hear the Gospel.
[Picture - Betty Greene bringing the Gospel message by plane in Peru after WW II]
Betty started a movement as a woman, but had no qualms naming it after *men... [*possibly realizing how their brains work]. But, such real men of God would return the favor. They would insist that the movement originally founded by Betty and known as 'Christian Airmen’s Missionary Fellowship' be renamed without connotation to gender as 'Mission Aviation Fellowship'. Betty (must have) just shrugged, as she needed to get a job done and the Lord's work at that.
She never boasted, despite having flown at staggering altitudes during research and development phases of combat aircraft *for which some men would give their front teeth to have on their licence... Really!
[*I just made that up. But, these **WASP ladies were flying Hurricanes, Spitfires and Mustangs... ** WASP did not refer to the feminine shape, but Women's Auxiliary Service Pilots program.]
According to testimonies about her, she avoided publicity. She was modest and reserved in company, despite *stunning good looks [*check the pictures!] She never lacked a passion for the Lord and had the both the courage and tenacity to do His will... and that's a fact!
As Mission Aviation Fellowship’s first pilot, she would become the first female cross the snow capped Andes Mountain in South America - in a light plane at that!
[Picture - She might be wearing a skirt and apron, but Betty Green ain't ironing. As engineer she could do field repairs. In those days planes were covered with Irish linen and not Ceconite]
She became the first woman to command an aircraft in the Sudan. According to some sources Betty's older brother Al, who in 1940 sailed with his wife to China as a missionary, had set the example and was her source of inspiration. Her fascination with flying began at an early age. As member of her church youth group she once shared with peers her sense that God had called her to use airplanes to further missionary work. At the time, ‘flying missionaries’ must have been an ‘out of this world’ concept.
While training for the WASP program in Sweetwater, Texas she wrote articles for Christian publications how flying could promote Christian ministry. Three American military pilots responded, which led to the inauguration of the Christian Airmen's Missionary Fellowship.
Betty was discharged when WASP disbanded in 1944 to set up an office for the fledgling fellowship in California. Over the years she would skilfully weave a network of like-minded pilots in the USA, Canada, the UK and the Commonwealth. M.A.F.'s first flight was piloted by her, in partnership with Wycliffe Bible Translators to Mexico.
She subsequently undertook mission flights to Peru… and Sudan and Nigeria and New Guinea… altogether 12 countries over 16 years. As trained engineer she undertook her own field repairs. She stepped down from flying in 1962 to head the M.A.F. headquarters.
She could be rated with pioneer flyers like Amelia Earhart, but never sought a spot in the limelight… knowing she had stepped up to the plate when and where she was needed. Her head might have been in the clouds, but her treasure and reward in Heaven. We salute her!
[Image left - Betty Greene's biography on www.amazon.com]
8. AVIATORS IN FINLAND RESPOND TO GOD
THE LORD'S PLAN OF REDEMPTION HAS ALWAYS INCLUDED NOT ONLY CHRISTIAN BELIEVERS, BUT MEMBERS OF THE JEWISH FAITH, ALL OVER THE WORLD. THE LORD HAS EVIDENTLY BEEN RAISING AND PREPARING PEOPLE IN THE SPIRITUAL AND PHYSICAL REALMS (INCLUDING AVIATION) FOR A PROPHETIC MOVE... TO WHICH WE NEED TO BE SENSITIVE.
PASTOR TOMMIE PRINSLOO, FELLOW AVIATOR AND C.A.N. MEMBER, RECEIVED THE MAIL BELOW FROM A GROUP OF AVIATORS AND A.T.C. IN FINLAND. THEY HAVE A SPECIAL VISION, WHICH WE WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH VISITORS TO THIS WEBSITE.
On 1/11/2013 at 12:48 a.m. Olli Jaatinen wrote:
I found your e-mail address from Christian Aviation Network and I considered that you are (a) man who believes in God. That's why I made decision to contact to you.
Little background information about us... Group of Christian aviators and air traffic controllers from Finland has got word from Lord that we need to start to fly Jewish people back to their home country (exodus work) and establish airline company.
I don`t know what you think about this or what is your personal opinion about that. But the reason why I made is simple. Can you pray for us what becomes of our view and our calling in Christ?
It took lot of courage make contact with you and I don´t know how you (will) react (to) this kind of mail what comes suddenly far from Finland? I think all aviators in the world are part of the big family, especially Christian aviators. Our concept is ready to start this work, but financing is still the big issue for us.
We have supporters in Finland, but we need lot of prayers all over the world who are able to carry this work (of the) Lord. If you like you can forward this message to other fellow Christian pilots and fellow Christians. I`m not a person who generally sends messages to total strangers, but I felt I can do that now.
PS. God bless for you and your family and all wonderful people who trust our dear Lord and His only son Jesus.
TOMMIE'S REPLY WAS...
I am glad to hear that the Lord is also working in Finland as well, and not only in Africa, I thought everything is sorted out there (joke). No on a more serious note, I am glad to hear from you. This is not the first time that I've heard of a ministry like this, concerning the Jews. Definitely the Lord knows something about the end times, we probably don't.
I visited Helsinki in April 2012 and spend some time with Christian friends there. Also, we support a Christian missionary in Estonia, who also ministers in Finland regularly. We are also at the beginning of our vision to get support into Africa for Christian missions via Aviation. We will remember you in our prayers. It was good hearing from you, maybe we can learn from each other in the future.
Tommie Prinsloo - Flying Word Ministry
9. Brave young flyer loses fight
IN July 2012 veteran crop-sprayer pilot Frik Grobler took Erich Schoombie (8) for a flight in his four-seat single engine Cessna 177B (Cardinal) to help fulfill a dream. Erich had been diagnosed with aggressive brain cancer and was already paralyzed on one side when the flight took place.
The brave young flyer lost the fight against cancer and passed away at the Vereeniging Hospital in the early hours of Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012. He is survived by his parents and a younger brother (6) and sister (4).
Frik was amazed by the boy's mental acuity, overall awareness and fine sense of handling the aircraft. Sitting on his father's lap, the young man had put the aircraft through a series of gentle climbing, descending and level turns during a flight along the Vaal River near Parys aerodrome in the Free State.
After landing Frik was adamant the boy deserved his 'wings' in recognition of his brave and active participation. Frik's son Manie had cut his teeth on his lap in the cockpit and nowadays flies for a major airline. So, if Frik reckons someone is a flyer, he or she is! Without further ado he'd phoned an old friend and a set of wings and bars were donated. Erich's parents got him the pilot's shirt and he was induced into the ranks of flyers at a small ceremony at the Parys Flying Club clubhouse a few days later (see picture below).
The youngster, though visibly tired, seemed both pleased and proud about the little 'fuss' made of him. Even the local 'Press' attended and a picture-story appeared a week later.
As Christian aviators we salute Frik for being Jesus' hands and feet to young Erich (who passed away on Sept. 6th) for a few precious moments.