Sunday, March 30, 2008



Paul Harvey is famous for his "the rest of the story." In my blog "Being a Missionary Pilot" I told why I became a Christian. Here's the rest of my story.

I started out with nothing but God's calling on my life. When I finished High School my Father was totally disappointed with me because I didn't go to college and become an engineer. He had struggled for years to make a living for a very large family. He wanted me to have a better life than he had. I knew he wouldn't understand my encounter with the Lord. I left home with a few clothes, my Bible and $2.37 not knowing where I was going. That was all up to the Lord.

It was amazing how God directed me. At 18 years old I was married, preaching revival meetings and traveling with a wife and baby to support. God promised me that he would save my dad if I gave my life to him. I have often been asked if I was ever afraid when I was pastoring and building churches, traveling all over the world, doing medical projects in the Amazon Jungle, and being a Missionary Pilot. My answer was always no. I can't ever remember being afraid of anything. I knew I was in the hands of God.

Several of my closest friends who were missionary pilots have died doing it. Many of my close friends have already gone on to be with the Lord. Someday, it will be my time to go but I'll have peace in my heart when it happens. I have a covenant with God that if I do what he wants me to do, he will take care of me.

My mother called me one day and told me my dad was in the hospital with a massive heart attack and if I wanted to see him I should come home. I had not seen my Dad in quiet a while yet I felt great peace come over me. I remembered the Covenant I made with God when I was 11 years old. God promised to save my Dad if I gave him my life and became a minister. Now, without knowing the details I knew that my dad could be near death. I didn't pray, worry or feel anxious. I just got ready as soon as I could to drive home and see him.

When I got to Langdale, Alabama I went straight to the hospital, walked down the hall and turned in the door of his room. He saw me and said, "Son, I've got something to tell you."

"Yes, I know you have Dad", I replied.

"I've given my heart to the Lord", he said. "I'm sorry for the way I've acted about you being a minister. I want you to go back and get that wife and baby of yours that I've never seen and as soon as I get out of here I want you to come home and spend some time with us." We both cried and rejoiced at the same time.

I did as he asked and we had a wonderful time. From that time on he was sick and struggling but he did everything he could to help us, and was my strongest supporter until the day he died. I have a photo of him and my mother that the airport as I left to fly my plane to the mission field to work for the Lord.

After a series of serious health problems I was visiting with him and my mother in Griffin Georgia where they were living. He was weak and sick, tired of the trails of life. He asked me to come out on their front porch. He wanted to talk to me. When we sat down he said, "I have something I want you to do."

"Of course, Dad. What is it?" He had tears running down his face when he said, "Out of all the bad things I've done in my life the thing that hurts me the most is that I didn't help you become a minister. Please forgive me for that."

I told him I couldn't do that because I had never held anything against him. I had always loved him and knew God would make everything right.

"Please," he said, "Just say the will mean so much to me." It was a hard thing to do, but I said, "Dad, I love you and I forgive you..." We both cried and hugged each other on their front porch.

I never did tell him or anyone else that I became a minister because God promised to save him if I did. It was a sacred covenant between me and the Lord. A little while later he simply died and went to be with the Lord. At his funeral I couldn't shed a tear. Not because I didn't care, but because I knew he was with the Lord. All I could think about during his funeral was, "God you've kept your end of our covenant and now I must keep mine.

In the long years that have followed I've worked as hard as possible to do some really difficult things for the Lord. We've never had much money, and often worked and lived on a "shoestring budget." God has blessed us with wonderful friends and I would do it all over again. I've had the joy and privilege of preaching in some of the largest churches in the World. I've also slept on the floor of a raised platform in a thatched roof hut to preach the gospel in the middle of the Amazon Jungle. What a wonderful life we've had.


Saturday, March 22, 2008


I made this photo after I had just dropped Spanish gospels of John and Christian tracts in the center of town.

I was flying the plane with one hand and taking the photo with the other. There were thousands of little villages like this one scattered all over Mexico and this was the best way to start our outreach to them. Mexico had strict laws that no one could go into a village and evangelize without being asked to come to the village by the people who lived in the village. The Gospel of John offered them a free correspondence course in the bible and opened the door to reaching them.

I could tell from the air by flying over the village several times that the people on the ground would pick up every single piece of paper we dropped. Still, I wondered about the result. One day talking with my interpreter he started telling me how we could measure the results. He suggested that we fly to a city he was familiar with and do a gospel drop. Then with the cooperation of a local pastor he knew well, we could have a revival meeting in the town and could get some information about the effectiveness of the gospel drops. Several weeks later I picked him up in San Antonio, Texas and we flew to Durango, Mexico. It was June 7, 1965. We loaded the plane with tracts and gospels of John and started the difficult flight to Mazatlan on the West coast of Mexico.

Looking at my old WAC charts I would need to fly a direct course of 245 degrees to Mazatlan. However, with some of the Mountains being 11,000 feet high I would need to pick my way across the mountain using the lower passes. This meant flying a zigzag course and without a GPS or any kind of navigation equipment I would have to try to remember my off course directions and time to get back on anything like the right track.

Danny enjoyed the 130 mile flight looking at the mountain peaks. I enjoyed finally seeing the low country and knowing we were going to make it to Mazatlan. We landed without incident, refueled the plane and took some time to walk around.

We took off for the relatively easy 240 mile flight up the western coast of Mexico to Los Mochis. It was a small city that catered to the occasional tourist, had a nice airport and a small hotel in town. Within easy flying distance there were several small villages. We went into town to get something to eat and to check in at the small hotel. Danny suggested we go back to the airport and do a gospel drop of tracts, and the Gospel of John in Spanish. We did this over the edges of town and out in the sparsely settled country.

The pastor and his church were happy to see us and had decided to have the revival meeting outside the church on their front lawn. To prepare for our meeting they had cut off four trees to the height of about four feet and nailed some lumber on the tree trunks. With some crude steps they had a shaky platform for us to use for preaching.

We had the usual annoyances from someone who didn't want us there. Each evening when it was time to start our service a man would start up a huge road grading machine and slowly run it back and forth on the dirt road. When the services ended he would shut down and leave the equipment on the side of the road.

On the last night of this week of preaching I was saying a prayer to dismiss the service when I heard a piercing scream. I opened my eyes to see an older lady jump a four foot ditch and run screaming down the dirt road. I heard her screaming, "Gloria A Dios" over and over again. The people ran after her and when they brought her back to the church the Pastor talked with her. then he told us what happened.

Everyone knew her. She had been blind for years and during that prayer she could suddenly see again. I was stunned and could only say that God had worked a miracle. I had nothing to do with it. No one wanted to go home and I wasn't surprised when a tall old man said he wanted to say something. The pastor got him up on the platform and he was so frightened he was shaking the whole platform. I didn't understand Spanish, but when Danny translated his words for me I had my answer.

He said he was a sorry husband, a drunk that couldn't find work or stay sober long enough to keep a job. His wife in disgust told him he should just go out in the woods and hang himself. He got on his horse took some rope and rode out to a grove of trees. While looking up for a limb to end his life he saw a colorful piece of paper in the branches. While he looked the wind blew it down and it landed at his feet. He got off his horse, picked it up and it was a Christian tract that told him how Jesus could change his life.

I found myself crying when he told how he got down on his knees, gave his life to "El Senior", and went home to ask his wife to forgive him. They cried together and wept for joy. There was only one way that colorful Christian tract could have been in the top of a tree. It was one that we had dropped from the plane several days before.

No, I can't prove any of this. All I can say is that I was there, heard the testimonies and was deeply moved by something I couldn't explain. I felt certain that God saw the questions in my heart and gave me a powerful answer for it.

My first flight instructor made me start keeping a log book of all my flights. Other flight instructors did the same. It's been a long time since June 7, 1965 when I flew my Cessna Skyhawk N7504x to Los Mochis. But today when I found the record of that flight in my old log book, I know it was God's way of saying, "Mission Accomplished."

I'll soon be 76 years old and I needed that memory to touch my heart, encourage me and lift my spirit. Maybe we all need to keep a log book of the good things God has helped us to do.