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.


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